Turlock resident Bill Blair's jewelry store, Blair’s Jewelry, was a mainstay in downtown Turlock for 29 years. After retiring, Blair began creating “yard birds” – unique, decorative creations made of old parts and recycled materials.
Q. What is a yard bird and how did you get into making them?
A. "I make yard birds out of various items including parts from old tractors, bicycles, pitchforks, hay hooks, rakes or shovels and things but also martini strainers or smaller household products. I weld them together and they decorate our yard and home. I’ve been making them for about 10 years now. I used to be a jeweler and when my eyesight began to fade it made it difficult to work with such small pieces and that led me to begin welding what I call yard birds."
Q. How many yard birds do you estimate that you have made?
A. "Over 100."
Q. Do you sell your yard birds?
A. "No, I usually give them away to relatives and friends and have given away around 60."
Q. What did you do before you retired?
A. " I was in the jewelry business for 29 years. I owned and operated Blair’s Jewelry in downtown Turlock."
Q. What change would you like to see happen in Turlock in the next five years?
A. "I would like to see the small business downtown stay in business and thrive. Those mom and pop stores can have trouble keeping up with the bigger stores."
Q. What do you think Turlock should be most proud of?
A. "I like the mayor; I think he is a straight shooter. Also, the industrial business that has come to town is good such as Blue Diamond. Also, the new police and fire departments building is beautiful."
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
A. "I like to play the guitar, I played in a band for a couple of years. I used to enjoy fishing and traveling in my motor home but we don’t do that so much anymore since my eyesight has faded. I also have a playroom with my guitars and a pool table that is a lot of fun."
Q. What was the last thing you read?
A. "The newspaper."
Q. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A. "That I’m smarter than I look! But really, I’m pretty easy to get along with most of the time. I have been married for 65 years this year."