Friday, January 22, 2010

How to make Birdy fatcakes.



Sometimes I buy fatballs for the birds, particularly when the weather is very cold and wet. However, sometimes they are hard to get and sometimes my budget is a bit tight!
It is very easy to make them and great fun to do with the kids.
Just melt a pack of suet, I use Atora vegetable suet, available in baking section of most supermakets, or a slab of lard. You can use a saucepan or melt them in a microwave.
Then add some seeds and any or all of the following, dried fruit, chopped nuts, grated cheese and bits of bacon. Pour into old butter containers and leave in fridge to set.

The lard will set softer and stickier than the suet and is a bit harder to turn out of container. After turning out place in a large hole feeder, a bird house or bird table.

Sit back and watch them enjoy the feast. Easy peasy!

Robin on Hawthorn

FEEDING THE BIRDS,

One of my favorite joys is feeding the birds every morning and in the depths of winter sometimes again in the afternoon.
It has been so cold for weeks now with the ground continuously frozen, that the poor little birdies are starving. I love filling th feeders with peanuts and fatballs and watching the birds queue up in the bare branches above. Just watching them flit from branch to branch getting ever closer to their turn, gives me such a lift on these cold mornings. If you stand very still and quiet it is amazing how close they will let you get! It is a great opportunity to study them
I also throw mixed seeds on the ground for the ground feeders like the robins and wagtails. It always amuses me how territorial the robins are. God forbid one would stray onto another's patch, they just go mental, flying and squawking at the intruder. Hilarious!
My favorites are the wagtails. Some may say that they are a plain little bird lacking the color of others like the blue tit and bullfinches. I just love their independence. They just waddle about doing their own thing tails wagging as they go, feeding wherever they can, including the cat's bowl!!! Even when the bigger birds are feeding, my little wagtails just keep on doing their own quiet little thing. My sink is at the kitchen window overlooking our patio where I often throw a handful of seed. I always have a laugh at how cheeky the wagtails are, pecking away while Blackie and Fluffy, our two cats, sit bemused on the window sill.

It is important to remember the the poor ole crows and magpies are hungry too in this weather. Scavengers all, but great hoover uppers of leftovers! I often empty the remainders of the dogs dinner onto the grass along with soaked brown bread for the crows. They get such bad press but they are such clever and sharing birds. As soon as one spots the bit of grub they call out for the rest of the family to come share the feast. Only very rarely have I seen them fight over food.

The other very important thing is water. During the Christmas frosty weather, I took the lid off our compost bin and filled it with water, which literally froze within an hour. Being plastic it was easy to just turn it over and knock out the ice each day.

The birds were a little wary of this new water source at first, but in now time at all the sparrows and finches were queuing up for a drink and a bath!

Those few gentle minutes every morning help ground me and still my mind allowing the beauty and joy of each new day to come to my awareness.
Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fleeting Moments


I believe Life is made up of Fleeting Moments and that it would be a shame to miss them! All things are fleeting in this life. A butterfly lands for a moment on a pretty flower, a shadow falls on a path creating a gorgeous pattern. Light shining through the trees, a cloud filled sky. Crimson rusty hues on autumn leaves. All of these moments have a beauty and joy to them. It is my intention to notice and enjoy these fleeting moments and honor them through my art.

By the same token, when I'm feeling blue I try (not always successfully!!!) to remember that those moments are fleeting too.