STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Colddd Little Chickies...

Backyard, view from bedroom window
It seems I've been blogging in fits and starts lately. I've been too busy trying to just keep warm! Man, I'm getting mighty tired of this cold weather. I know spring is only 24 days away, but it seems like it's a long way off when you look at our backyard and the bitterly cold temps. Last night and this morning were brutal - with wind chill it felt like between -35C and -40C here in the Maritimes. For those of you who are only familiar with Fahrenheit, that's between -31F and -40F. Yep, minus forty is where they are equal. Now that's COLD!!! I could not believe it when my doorbell rang about 7:30 last night, and when I opened the front door, there stood two young female Mormon missionaries, in dresses and tights!!! Yes, they were wearing winter coats, boots, scarves and mitts, but their dresses looked like summer dresses- very thin, certainly not February clothing!! Needless to say I invited them in and we chatted long enough for them to warm up. Two little frozen chickies....
Speaking of frozen chickies, I've been thinking of the birds and wondering how they are managing to stay alive in these sub zero temperatures, wearing only feathers. They must be anxious for spring too. I know they fluff up their feathers, and burrow down in their nests, but still, I cannot imagine being out in this cold 24/7. I have a feeder and a suet cake out for them, but today I decided to make up some "birdie treats". Following a recipe given by Linda at Crafty Gardener, I had all ingredients on hand so it didn't take long. Linda calls it "All Season Suet" because you can use it year round - it will not melt. apparently. I don't think I'd bother with it in the summer, but figured it might be appreciated by my local birdies on these cold days. Hopefully it'll make them happy and give them some much needed energy for warmth.

Here's the easy recipe:
1 cup lard (no substitutions - do not use shortning or margarine)
1 cup crunchy peanut butter  (Since I had some on hand, I also added a few extra peanuts, unsalted of course, and finely chopped.)
2 cups quick cooking oats (oatmeal)
2 cups corn meal
1 cup white flour
1/3 cup white sugar

 Stir the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.


Over low heat, or in microwave, melt together the lard and peanut butter, stir to mix well. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.


It almost looks like cookie dough, doesn't it? It did smell good (like peanut butter cookies) and I almost wanted to take a little taste... but I resisted....


 Form into balls or if you have a square plastic container from a purchased suet cake, you could use it as a mold.



 I formed mine into balls and hung out the first two in the plastic mesh from a bag of onions. I put the others in the freezer, wrapped in saran and then in a freezer bag. It was late afternoon when I finally hung them out, I don't think they've been "discovered" yet. I'll be watching tomorrow morning to see if the woodpeckers, chickadees, etc. give them a try. Maybe I'll get some "action shots".....

Do you give your birds any special treats to help them through the winter?

Peace,
Linda

"God gives every bird its food, but He does not throw it into its nest." ~ J.G. Holland



10 comments:

Jennifer said...

Gawd that's cold. That is really cold......I can't imagine how cold that must be.....it's plus 34 deg C here now, mid afternoon, and we are nearly melting.

Sara D.B. said...

Hello, Linda! You have a lovely view from your bedroom window!
Astronomical or meteorological spring... I don't care: For me March, April and May are spring months, and that means spring will begin very soon! Great tits with their spring song know it too. Citing Simon Barnes: "...though winter takes a long time in dying, its fate is sealed from the moment the great tit sings". :)

Country Gal said...

Lovely post and photos ! I buy my suet at TSC stores I can get a box of 20 mixed suet's for $10 and they last most of the winter but I have made it from time to time . I have been brutally cold here to and I have had enough of the cold as well but the sun has been shining a lot now so that is good and it is warming up bit by bit . Here the weather can change on a dime so I am hoping for a good change of spring and warmer temps soon . The say the month of March is to warm up so fingers crossed ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good week !

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Linda's recipe is a good one and although I usually make my own, we were gifted suet blocks for Christmas which I've been using. Any coniferous trees will benefit the birds to keep warm, we're lucky we have a whole line of them at the back of our property.

Pamela Gordon said...

That is way too cold Linda! I'm glad I'm missing it and the new foot of snow you got today!! Good grief. I'm not looking forward to returning to all that snow on the deck. It's been snowing all day here but doesn't seem to be accumulating much more than a few cm. Take care.

Sheila said...

It sure has been cold huh and snow , will it very stop snowing . We got quite a lot today with wind to blow it around . Thanks for the recipe for the bird suet , must pick up some lard and give this a try .

Susan Mac Donald said...

thank you for the recipe; your weather's the same as mine & I'm losing hope that we'll have spring by late June.

Vee said...

I don't know what sustenance the birds are getting from the Eastern Spruce we see beyond our deck, but that thing is loaded with activity. We calll in The Spruce Hotel.

Thank you for the bias tape solution. I will definitely try it, though I am going with rawhide shoelaces for the marble bags.

Stay warm!

Lorraine said...

I can't believe all that snow and man oh man, that is COLDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. Stay warm :)

Jeanna said...

I don't believe I could survive those temps at all...not anything below +40 degrees, certainly not -40 degrees F.

It was very kind of you to put our the suet. I hope you get lots of 'action.'

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