How’s your garden, now that we’re properly into winter? This shift in the season has made a welcome change, there’s a kind of stillness in mine as everything quietens down.
Generally it’s still a work in progress, so we’ll skim over that until I have more to report back to you …. except I have got a greenhouse. It took at least three times longer to assemble than we thought it would, but you can’t hurry a project that includes nearly 30 pieces of glass … fortunately my husband is a very patient man.
Even a garden that needs work, looks amazing covered in a frost. But I felt sorry for the birds, especially our resident little robin, who puffed himself up to double his size trying to keep warm.
So I’ve made bird food shapes to help them through the winter, & decorated the lilac tree with them.
I used equal amounts of fat & bird seed & a handful of porridge oats, the fat needs to soften out of the fridge for a few hours.
Mix it all together in a big bowl, sprinkle the oats over a chopping board, lay out the moulds on the boards & squash the mixture into them. Sprinkle as much porridge over them as possible, this makes it less messy to remove them from the moulds,
Put them into the fridge to firm up a bit, then gently push them out of the moulds, coat them with more porridge if they’re too sticky.
Push a skewer through to make a hole in the centre of the shape & thread with strong twine.
The fat I used was Trex rather than lard. It’s non-dairy, so better if you’re vegetarian or vegan & don’t want to use animal fat.
I’m still looking round for a smart-looking bird-table, mainly for the robin & his mates who are ground-feeders & can’t manage the hanging bird food, dangling temptingly above them. Meanwhile I’ve squashed a little of bird-food mix into the top of his favourite fence post.
There is an ulterior motive for attracting birds into the garden. Starlings & robins eat cutworms, blackbirds eat snails, song thrushes eat snails & slugs. What a difference it would make to have fewer slugs around. In short, birds in gardens are good, though you do have to protect crops later in the year, it’s all part of the organic gardening vibe. I look forward to listening to their beautiful song in a few weeks time.
I’ve put out a big saucer of water too, because they need a drink & a quick bathe, even in winter.
Wouldn’t these be a nice simple thing for children to make in the holidays.
Find out more about feeding garden birds from Birdwatch Magazine.
Enjoy the rest of the week.
all photos: Jill Anderson.