I usually think of myself as the kind of person that doesn’t win anything. You know, you scribble your name and phone number on a slip of paper to win the car at the mall, but you would be shocked if anything came of it. (This is one reason why I automatically distrust those you-won-a-free-vacation phone calls. Riiiight.)
But, when decor8 announced a “what’s your favorite hobby” book-giveaway contest, I thought about my answer for a little while and decided to toss it in the hat. And I won! [I’m about halfway down, abbreviated as “build a beautiful and stylish indoor/outdoor aviary.”]
A word about my answer: as you can probably tell, I really like birds. I think you can blame my mom, who gave me the Audobon Field Guide to North American Birds when I was six. I looked at that book again and again and again, until the pages with the indigo bunting and the ferruginous pygmy owl started to fall out (strangely enough, I have a little cousin who is going through this exact same phase right now). I’ve also owned a lot of birds over the years; when I moved to Azerbaijan, one of the first things I did – much to the annoyance of my roommates – was to acquire a couple of finches and two budgies and keep them in my bedroom.
That said, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not a big fan of keeping medium-sized birds in little cages. A parrakeet or lovebird is meant to occupy more space than a 2′ by 3′ cage, which is all I can ever fit in my living space. Finches are happier, but they’re terribly small and delicate and die easily (= very upsetting). So, I have become a person who loves birds outside her window more than inside her house.
This brings me back to the contest, the parameters of which were to pick your ideal hobby if time + money were no object. After going through a list of possibilities, I decided that I would a) have a house with a nice backyard and b) build a complete aviary/birdhouse out back with indoor and outdoor cages (pens?). And I would make it look good…no ugly concrete or brass trimmings. And then I would fill my aviary with beautiful birds who were raised in little cages and couldn’t believe that they got to fly around in all that space with their friends every day.
It’s so fun to dream sometimes.