The other day we saw a squirrel on our back porch and we were so shocked and amazed, you would have thought we had seen bigfoot back there. I am convinced that squirrels have been slightly domesticated over the years and that they live best in the city because in the 10 years we have lived here, we have seen a squirrel one other time. I looked out the window the other day and there he was, hanging by his back set of little squirrel toes off the side of the railing, and reaching as hard as he could for a jalapeno left on one of our container garden plants.
Some people don't really like to see the squirrels in their yard or eating out of their bird feeders, but it doesn't bother me. But, rather than singe his tiny squirrel tongue on that jalapeno, I quickly jumped up and ripped open a giant bag of birdseed we purchased about 2 months ago for a birdseed ornament project. I filled a cup, slowly opened our back door and tiptoed over toward my new little friend. I got so close to him, I am sure I could have grabbed him. I slowly began to pour the seed and then... he took off.
Hey, I thought squirrels loved birdseed? All my life I remember hearing, "Damn squirrels ate all the seed out of the bird feeder again!" So, I just left the bird seed up there on the rail and hoped he would return. He never did, but the birds certainly did.
Which brings me to these ornaments...
I bought the birdseed with the intentions of making birdseed ornaments but the seed and the recipe just floated around the house, never getting done. Once I noticed how many birds were showing up to eat the seed on our porch that I put out for the squirrel, it motivated me to finally make the ornaments with the kids.
You will need:
- 3/4 cup birdseed
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
- Twine (string or ribbon can be used as well)
- cookie cutters
- Fabric scraps
In a small bowl, mix the gelatin and the water and stir. Pour mixture into a pan and heat on medium high. Bring mixture to a boil while stirring. Stir until all of the gelatin is dissolved. Once gelatin is dissolved, remove from heat and let cool slightly (approximately 1-2 minutes).
Next, stir in the birdseed until all of the seed is evenly coated. You may need to add a little more seed if there is any liquid still left at the bottom of the pan.
On a cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper, lay out your cookie cutters of your choice. Fill the cookie cutters halfway with the birdseed mixture. Cut off a piece of twine and knot the end. Push the knotted end of the twine down into the top of the mixture where you would like for your ornament to hang. Then, lastly, fill the remainder of the cookie cutters, packing them down as tightly as you can.
These set pretty quickly, but I recommend giving them 24 hours before placing them outside. Simply hang them from a tree or ledge of your choice.
During our 24 hour wait time, Elijah and I found a large tree limb with lots of crooked branches to use for hanging our ornaments. We cleaned out an old tomato plant from one of the pots in our container garden and "planted" the large limb in the pot. Once the ornaments were ready for hanging, we tied a fabric scrap at the top of each one and then hung them on our "tree".
The kids had a blast making these and each of them picked out the cookie cutter they wanted to use. We are so excited to start seeing all the birds, that stick around our area during the winter, enjoy the treats we made for them.
I would love to do these again in the Spring and even make this Bird's Nest Helper as the birds start building nests and preparing for new little baby bird family members.
I would love to hear if you make these with your children. If you do, be sure to come back and share your story in the comments.
It's NaBloPoMo, which means I will be blogging every day in November. I do hope you will follow along here.