Monday, August 10, 2009

treats for the creatures of the hippychick woode

daily triple digits continue and still there is no sight of rain in these here parts.

again, just yesterday rain fell in areas around us but nothing passed through. there were moments of hope as we experienced great rumbling thunder, saw greyish clouds overhead and felt blustery dry winds whip us around a bit - but no luck - still dry - crackin' bone dry. it gets to me every once in while - puts me in my dry country crazy place until i can snap myself out.

so i've been thinking about the creatures around the place - the birds, the squirrels, the lizard lizards, the night critters, the insects and all the creatures in between. how are they doing? this cannot be easy for them either.

i do my best to make sure they are cared for
  • i keep multiple sources of water available around the place
  • i think about the plantings in the yard - beneficial berries, flowers and shelter
  • i separate the good bits of my daily composting stuffs out from the bad and place it out for the creatures * the good - peach peelings, greens and bread * the bad - no meat, no oils, no egg shells, nothing spoiled
just yesterday i made up a new batch of suet. i normally would wait for the cooler months before placing any out but may begin sooner due to these current hard times. no rain, no flowers, no fruit, no nectar equaling hungry hungry creatures.

creature suet is easy to make - and can vary depending upon the types of creatures you wish to feed. most creatures dig fruit and nuts - you cannot really go wrong there - do a little research about your local bird populations to find out which seeds and nuts they like best.

i have got cardinals, blue jays, nut hatches, woodpeckers, morning doves, finches, chickadees who will definitely enjoy the suet mix along with owls, hawks and other small bird of prey who in truth prefer small rodents and such.

i chose to work in the following mixings
  • lard
  • nuts - walnut, sunflower, almond and cashew
  • seeds - amaranth, sesame, flax and millet
  • dried fruits - cranberry, peach, apricot and apple
  • sugars - unsulfured molasses and honey
  • grain - whole wheat flour, bran and oatmeal
  • you could also add peanuts and peanut butter but i did not have any on hand
how to
  • melt down the lard - i use the double boiler method - slow and steady
  • put the dry bits of fruit, nut , grain and seed into a food processor
  • whirr it batch by batch until all contents reach the nice and crumbly stage - no big chunks
  • put everything in your biggest bowl mix together
  • poured the melted lard over the top - careful of the heat
  • stir stir stir
  • once the lard has cooled a bit (2 or 3 minutes) get yours hands in there and really mix the stuff up.

i then divvy the batch up into smaller - fit in the freezer - size containers and freeze. when i'm ready to use some i pull a container out of the freezer - dig out a good chunk and either place it out in a suet feeder - only if it's cool enough around here - or i place it on an old pie pan and lodge it up in a tree crook or place it on one of my birdy landing-feeding sites.

* note
  • you could also pour the mixture out onto a cookie sheet - freeze - then cut into suet feeder size chunks - ready to go out of the freezer when you need them.
  • or you could slather the stuff on pine cones and freeze
  • or you could mold the stuff into interesting shapes around a looped piece of biodegradable string so they are ready to hang on a tree limb or feeder when the time comes
  • each of the above can then be rolled in bird seed before freezing to entice the birdies and creatures to the goods - and it's fun - so why not?
your creatures will love it and you will be providing a place of happiness for the creatures of your universe - all good!

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