feeding the birds

I’m often interrupted from making the essential first cup of tea of the morning by an insistent peck at the glass door of our kitchen. The Guinea Fowl who’s lived here longer than us and who roosts in the oak tree in our front garden, is asking for breakfast.

Although he’s semi-wild, as we regularly put out corn and wild bird feed for him, Guinea doesn’t venture far from our garden. In fact he regularly gives me a knock to let me know he’s peckish.

Any crumbs left by Guinea are hungrily devoured by smaller birds, and we have a great view from our breakfast table of their feasting. The arrival of the kittens has made us anxious not to provide a cruel lure to the wild birds and focused my mind on feeding them differently. Guinea can hold his own, in fact often has a stand-off with Tiger or Mog, but I’ve been meaning to put birdfeeders up for the others for a while.

Half term seemed the ideal time to get Ruby involved and, as I’m always keen to avoid waste, I had lots of plans for the back fat from our pigs. There’s plenty of it in the freezer, only so much you need in chorizo and even though we’re enjoying every morsel of pork, I can’t see rendering lard being a regular activity for me.

Thanks to our daughter’s enthusiasm for starting the day, we were woken a little earlier than ideal today, however. As I fumbled for the very necessary coffee, I decided that it wasn’t perhaps the best day for an activity involving a five year old and saucepans of hot fat.

Instead I opted for making very easy bird feeders with surplus apples, a task that was ideal for both of our levels of concentration today.

We grabbed a pile of apples from the ‘fallers’ pile, the ones that aren’t perfect enough to be eaters. As we have so much apple sauce in the freezer, not to mention apple for crumbles and apple for granola, it seemed there were plenty to share.

I cored the apples and halved them, while Ruby picked sunflowers from the sunflower head that’d been drying in the woodstore. Then we made a heap of sunflower seeds and some of the wild bird seeds from Guinea’s jar and studded the cut sides of the apples with them. String was then tied around them for hanging from trees and luckily by then the sun had come out, inviting even a tired Mum outside.

Although I still have plans for that back fat, I can recommend making apple bird feeders. It’s a very relaxing activity that 5 year olds can do easily, and even sleep deprived, clumsy fortysomethings can manage. Just hope the birds enjoy them.



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