By ABBY BELDEN
Retirement frees up many hours in the day.
But for Bob Krell and Mavis Kingsley, retirement left the day open a little too much.
To fill those hours, the duo creates birdhouses, complete with a personal, decorative touch.
"It was his idea originally, and somewhere along the way I got involved," Kingsley said.
The two created a variety of birdhouses, including the "The Dilemma," which is of a cowboy in an outhouse, boots poking out the bottom, debating whether or not he should reach for the toilet paper that rolled next to a rattlesnake.
" 'The Dilemma' is a favorite, just because of the cowboy thing, and when you get the light right, those eyes show up," Krell said.
The two work with old barn wood, fences or slabs off trees for the structure. They also create small miniature details that fit the birdhouse out of wood and clay, which they sculpt and bake in the oven to harden.
Even driving has become a new way to look for items.
"When you drive now, it's not boring. You're always looking for wood. If you're on the highway, you're looking for rusty tin. Everything's got a different meaning," Krell said.
Krell, who owned Concepts Machining in Nebraska before he retired, has been creating birdhouses for years.
"I've been doing this for 20 years, off and on," he said. "I've always sculptured or chipped away on something."
Krell and Kingsley have no financial goal, but the birdhouses are for sale. Their main goal is to remain busy and create birdhouses that make people happy.
While Krell creates the houses and a lot of the details such as windows, mailboxes and birds, Kingsley lends a helping hand.
"I'm pretty much the roofer, I find stuff to shingle with," she said. "I've done most the roofs."
To keep the roofs and other details, like rock gardens and animals in place, they rely on glue.
However, Kingsley has discovered a downside to using glue.
"It ruins a manicure when you're working with super glue and putting each one of those on," Kingsley said with a laugh. "Its kind of a mess."
Working with clay also has proven to be frustrating for Kingsley at times, who is an artist that normally works with charcoal and pencil.
"I have a hard time. Bob kind of gets after me," she said. "I'm a perfectionist, and I have a hard time getting it just right. He does the tiny little miniature stuff. I can't do it because I can't get it right. ... I just get frustrated is what happens."
Regardless of the process, both enjoy keeping busy and feeding their creativity.
"Well, I'm tired of roofing," Kingsley said. "My favorite part is coming up with the ideas and what to use ... the challenge of coming up with unusual things to do."