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Stephens crochets nests for rescued birds
new kl Ruth Stephens bird nests
Ruth Stephens of Hoisington displays the bird nests that she crochets for the rescued birds in California. Birds cant tell color, she said, so she uses yarn of many colors. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

HOISINGTON — Some people care a little more than others and seek to continue to make a difference in this world even after they retire. Ruth Stephens of Hoisington is just that person.
From her easy chair at Country Place Senior Living in Hoisington, Stephens crochets bird nests for baby birds that need rescuing for the Bird Recovery Center in Santa Rosa, Calif.
The bird hospital has volunteers that search the area veterinarians for baby birds that have been found, which are then nursed back to health. After only a couple of months, Ruth has crocheted 128 nests-so far.
“Crocheting is restful and being kind to birds,” said Stephens. She said that when she becomes nervous and jittery, she crochets and it all goes away.
The Center only uses one nest per bird. After the bird leaves, the nest is thrown away to prevent the spread of diseases.
Stephens became interested in the project through her nephew and his wife who live in California. They heard the Center needed help with nests and thought of Ruth.
They sent her instructions and patterns for the nests, which range from 3-6 inches wide and 1-3 inches high. Cotton is preferred because of its softness, but at times, Ruth will combine a cotton strand of yarn with an acrylic.
The cost of yarn is pretty high, though, so Ruth searches for bargains. She has had a friend donate the remnants of her yarn and found a box of yarn at a second hand store. Although there is plenty of yarn for now, Ruth keeps her eyes open.
Ruth is giving up her candy money to send the nests to California. She plans to send one box per month, which costs in the neighborhood of $16.
Stephens has been crocheting for much of her life starting crocheting when she was about 14, “when everybody was poor.”  She  pulled twine from the closing ring from the sugar sacks to roll into balls to practice.
“I graduated from that,” she said. Graduate she did, crocheting beautiful afghans and baby afghans, scarves and doilies.
Prior to moving to Hoisington, Ruth lived in Claflin for 37 years. She likes to collect unusually shaped rocks, and has a collection of them in her room.
“When you are used to being busy all of your life, you need to keep those hands busy,” she said. Her husband, who passed away, worked in the oil field. Ruth raised two children, one who lives in Claflin, and one who lives in Iowa.
And she feels like she is making a contribution as she continues her craft.
“I don’t know how many people have thanked me for doing it,” said Ruth.  “People have been so kind to me, you like to give back.”