Wildlife in the garden beds
A Gourmet in the Garden
is what this squirrel found at our home. When the peanut butter jar gets down less than 1/4 full it’s time to open up a new jar and share the open jar.
Sometimes I lay the jar on its side somewhere under cover from predators within one of our beds with the top off of course. I try to place the peanut butter so i can watch from somewhere inside the house. It doesn’t take them long to find it and after a few jars they sorta come to expect it.
This one was nailed to a tree elevated so we could watch the comedy unfold. It gets really good when more than one moves in to eat. Also squirrels really go “NUTZ” over almond butter, which is better for them anyway.
Here’s two easy recipes for making treats on the cheap.
Tree Trunk Bacon Grease Treat
Save the grease from your breakfast bacon to make a good winter treat for birds:
1 Cup Bacon Grease (cooled)
1 Cup Peanut Butter
2 Cups Cornmeal (you may need to adjust the amount to get the right consistency)
Mix the grease and peanut butter together. Gradually add the cornmeal until it reaches a good spreading consistency. Store in an airtight container. To use this treat, spread it onto the trunk of a tree, a post, or a feeder.
Rendering suet is not for everybody; it takes time and can have an upleasant odor. However, if you have access to free or cheap beef fat, or really enjoy making bird treats (as I do), it is an easy enough project that can be less expensive than buying suet cakes. You can also add ingredients that you know birds in your area prefer:
Chop the suet into small chunks. Place the suet in a large, covered roasting pan, and put it into an oven heated to 250 degrees F. You will get the most out of your suet if you render it slowly, at a low heat. Occasionally check the suet to see how it is progressing. Once most of it has melted, and the remaining chunks are turning brown and crispy, the suet is done.
At this point, you can let it cool a little, and then strain out the chunks through cheesecloth or a mesh strainer. You can mix in other ingredients if you would like, such as peanut butter, raisins, or cornmeal. Pour the suet into molds, such as yogurt containers or tuna cans, and allow it to harden. Store suet cakes in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
Fruit for Birds
Many birds enjoy eating some fruit. Many fruits can be grown to put out for birds:
• Apples: Cut apples in half and skewer onto tree branches or nails to attract robins, bluejays, bluebirds, woodpeckers, gray catbirds, and many others.
• Oranges: Cut oranges in half and skewer onto tree branches or nails to attract orioles, woodpeckers, thrashers, tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and many others.
• Grapes: Hang bunches of grapes from tree branches or shepard’s hooks to attract robins, mockingbirds, bluebirds, towhees, woodpeckers, and many others.
In additions to these fruits, you might also want to try: cranberries, raisins, berries, and jellies.
So don’t forget our furry and feathered friends this holiday season. With family gatherings and get togethers, there are going to be kids involved. A few strategically placed jars around the outside will provide them with something to enjoy and definitely provide laughter.
By the way, I know it’s a little early but – Happy Thanksgiving from the “staff” at almost PERFECT Landscaping.