Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Birds and Other Critters

This morning I've been in the kitchen. Outside the window is a bird feeder my husband built a couple of decades ago. Sometimes the feeder has been a combination bird feeder-squirrel feeder and other times it has sadly been a combination bird feeder-cat feeder, when some dim bulb manages to find his or her way out to our rural neighborhood in order to abandon a family pet or two. That's fodder for another post; so back to my tale.

My husband and I have a lot in common. One commonality is that we were both raised to use things up, wear them out, and use them again. So this morning I made Bird Bread. Yes, I bake for our wild birds.
Simply put, I have a covered, gallon-sized rubber container that we keep in the garage. Into it goes leftover flour or any other dry mix I would otherwise discard. I also keep a container of used cooking oil. This time of year, when it turns cold and the birds huddle on the feeder like winos around a trash barrel fire, I bring in the flour and the oil, along with a couple of cups or more of wild bird seed, then mix it all in my big mixer, along with water and some baking powder. Once the bread is baked and cooled, I cut it into squares. We put it out every day and watch what would have undoubtedly ended up in a landfill, otherwise, become a treat for our birds. Yes, I know~~the critters at the landfill would have eaten it in its original form. But that wouldn't be any fun for me, would it?

We also put out suet cakes and seed, and farther out, in a spot in the garden, vegetable peelings, stale bread, and other scraps. This morning I watched a big, raucous blue jay make off with an entire biscuit. The jays stay with us all year (actually, this is their place, we just squat here), along with sparrows, larks, finches, grackles~~and collared doves, and starlings~~the last two being invasive species.  We're visited by a wide array of migratory birds this time of year, too. It's hard to imagine these fragile, tiny creatures flying thousands of miles, some nearly to the tip of South America, on their annual  trek to warmer climes. With their departure, winter sweeps in. Our days are frigid and windblown, but there is always entertainment to be had watching our beloved birds clamor and jostle for food.

There is great pleasure to be had in small things.

Gotta run~~they're pecking on the window. The bread must be done!~

For now, I'm just Linda