John Aufdermaur displays the birdhouses he made for the Senior Center’s raffle.
John Aufdermaur displays the birdhouses he made for the Senior Center’s raffle.
The old boot could have belonged to one of his mother’s foster children. Or John Aufdermaur might have worn it as a boy.

The weathered leather and turned up toe suggest that the boot laid in the elements for decades – rained upon, baked in the sun and tossed in the wind. The laces are long gone. Two brass buttons remain.

Aufdermaur’s wife Bobbie recently found the footwear on the property she and her husband share outside of Lovelock.

“I knew right away what I wanted to do,” said John Aufdermaur.

The Pershing County Senior Center holds a birdhouse raffle every Spring. The proceeds replenish its Gift Fund. “We use the money to pay for items not specifically in our budget,” explains Jordan McKinney, the Center’s director. She’ll host this year’s raffle on May 5.

Every year, Aufdermaur makes one-of-a-kind lodges for Lovelock’s feathered friends and donates them to the cause. So the retired rancher recycled the boot into a birdhouse.

“I didn’t do anything to the boot,” he said. “It is just as Bobbie found it.” Instead, he added a nesting hole for winged visitors. A roof provides shelter.

Aufdermaur also made a larger birdhouse with five nesting holes and perches. “In a couple of weeks the whole place will fill up with birdhouses,” he said. “Mine are just the first two. I get these guys motivated every year.”

McKinney is enthusiastic about the annual fundraiser.”The best part is that anyone in town can buy or build a birdhouse and bring it to the Center,” she said. “We auction a few and raffle off the rest.” Aufdermaur doubles as auctioneer.