Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thinking of Fall....

   As I am just about out of bird food and do not normally feed the birds in the summer, my thoughts head to fall and what  I will need to save or buy this summer so I am stocked up for next winter.

  Suet is a great food to offer birds in the fall and winter when they need greater numbers of calories to maintain their body heat and energy levels. While there are many commercial suet blocks and plugs available, making your own bird suet is easy and affordable.

 Winter birds will love suet cakes, which you can make easily.

 My mother gave me this recipe for making cakes for a suet bird feeder. Save the fat trimmings from beef, chicken and pork and keep them, along with the grease from bacon and hamburger, in coffee cans in the freezer.
 When you have a couple of full cans, thaw and then heat the contents so you can filter the fat from the solids. Discard the solids. Remember to keep the heat on low so you dont start a oil fire. Oil has a low flash point, so stay at the stove and watch the oil!!  Let the fat cool, but not harden. Add 1 cup of peanut butter and 1 cup of cornmeal, and mix well. You also could add birdseed, fruit, cornmeal or ground nuts. After stirring it together, pour the mixture into half-gallon milk cartons. You could also use foil muffin cups in muffin tins. Refrigerate until hardened. Store in the freezer until you’re ready to feed the birds. This mix can also be pressed into pinecones and stored the same way, tie a string to the cone..hang from a tree and let the birds enjoy.

 To use, cut the frozen block into 1-inch cakes. Put a suet cake or muffin into a mesh bag and hang it high enough that your dog can’t grab it. Start saving your fats now and the birds will be happy this fall, its cheap to make, easy to do and next fall you will be smiling while watching the birds happy with your left overs!!
Woodpecker eating home made suet at Big Mill B&B, near Greenville, North Carolina

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