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Things to Make & Do: Pinecone Birdfeeders

Pinecone feeder, hanging in pine tree
Pinecone feeder, hanging in pine tree

Saturday I made pinecone birdfeeders. This is a nice quick winter project. I got the idea from the Houston Arboretum at their Arbor Day celebration. It’s really easy and fun. An excellent “things to make and do” project for kids, but not just for kids! It’s fast, easy, requires almost no prep before getting started, cheap, satisfying, pleasantly messy but not too messy. In fact, if you do this outside, the birds can clean up after you! All you need are: peanut butter (natural or not, just don’t get any with artificial sweeteners like Xylitol — or any other “*-tols*; it’ll kill your dog so I can’t think it’d be good for birds, either), a small bag of bird seed, and pinecones (my neighbor’s pine drops huge ones which I scavenged from the sidewalk while walking the dogs. Me juggling pinecones and dog leashes; it was crazy.)

Making pinecone birdfeeders
Making pinecone birdfeeders

I made them on the counter, on a long sheet of paper and some seeds did skitter off the paper. Pouring a small amount of seeds in a bowl would be a better way of doing it. (Doing it outside, spillage doesn’t matter.) Also, dip out the peanut butter and put it on waxed paper or in a bowl so you don’t keep dipping into the jar, risking contamination between pinecones, seeds, and your food.

Smear the pinecones with peanut butter. I used a knife, painting the nooks and crannies of the pinecone with peanut butter. You don’t need it to be thick; you just need it to stick. It’s a nutritious glue for the seed coating. Roll the pinecone in seeds, use the knife to work it in a bit, tie a string around it, hang it in a tree.

Squirrel follies. Hours of acrobatic entertainment!
Squirrel follies. Hours of acrobatic entertainment!

You’ll want to put it as high as you can reach otherwise you’ll just be luring birds down to dog-and-cat level. I had to raise the one I put in the backyard because the foster dog was leaping at it and almost got it!

I made two. One I put in the tree-shaded, squirrel infested, backyard where the bushy-tailed tree rodents went absolutely crazy over it. The other I put in the front yard where the birds have been pecking away at it, unmolested by squirrels.

 

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Author:

Ainy Rainwater has been writing and publishing short stories, essays, and novels in various genres for about 30 years. She lives in the greater Houston area with her husband and rescue dogs. She enjoys reading, writing, playing guitar and percussion, gardening, knitting, tea, baking and other kitchen improvisations, daydreaming, and wasting time online. Her novels are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Smashwords, and other bookstores. She is presently working on a chick lit fantasy series as well as a number of side projects, including a sequel to If Wishes Were Spaceships, a science fiction novel published in March 2016. She is also known for the digital pop which she makes under the name Gymshoes. "Everest Sunrise" was featured in the documentary What It Takes. After hurricanes Katrina and Rita she released an EP of songs, A Tropical Depression, the profits of which go to benefit the American Red Cross. Gymshoes albums are available from iTunes, Amazon, and other online stores. For more about Gymshoes music, please see Gymshoesmusic.com, which has liner notes, links to social media, streaming music, and much more. You can find the author on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, and Twitter. She occasionally contributes to the group food blog, The Usual Suspects: http://usualsuspects.wordpress.com and posts short miscellaneous things on The Mighty Microblog: https://ainyrainwater.wordpress.com. A Truant Disposition, http://truantdisposition.com is Ainy Rainwater's official author site.

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