suet feeder and suet refills

Gnomes, Bird’s Delight

IMG_7634Cold winter days and nights are upon us now. The birds that didn’t fly south are in need of food. One of the kinder relationships between the gnomes and birds is helping to provide bird food during the winter months.

A favorite is the gnomes’ recipe (suet like) call “Birds Delight.” First the gnomes must raid the barn or vegetable storage room to find the rendered lard used for cooking. Peanut butter mixed with shortening will also work. So, two parts suet, one or two parts yellow cornmeal, one part sugar. Mix it all together by hand adding a few tablespoons of fine salt and fine sand. The sand is needed to help digestion. I also add the best quality bird seed you can afford. I prefer the excellent 100% edible birdseed from Costco. They have it in a big green box. Perfect for feeders too and there are no cheap fillers. Good job Costco!

You can mold your mixture into squares for the commercial cages, or purchase a suet feeder from us at whimsicalwoods.net. They look perfectly natural, like a tree! So, gather your mixings and invite the kids. A big mess perhaps, but fun.

A word of warning, raccoons will tear down a feeder if they can get to it. I use an old style “slinky over the pole stretched and secured at the top and bottom. They cannot deal with this and will not be able to climb up. Same for squirrels. A funny thing to watch though.

So, have some fun and treat the birds to a winter delight. You will enjoy watching the popularity of a simple suet like feeder.

All is well at Whimsical Woods.


Suet feeder and Val's homemade suet

Bird Feeders, Suet Feeders – Summertime!

Suet feeder and Val's homemade suetHere in the Pacific Northwest, we are blooming with daffodils and tulips, a sure sign of warmer weather. Some parts of the country are still seeing snow and much cooler temperatures. As the season changes, it becomes less important to feed the birds. Of course, you can continue, but they’re able now (or soon) to find the food nature provides. If you enjoy watching the birds, keep your feeders full. The natural suet/lard filling we make does not contain wax or any other unnatural fillers to prevent melting in the heat and direct sun. Store bought suet is like a white brick likely not to melt, but who knows what it’s made of to prevent that.

If your daytime temperatures are around 60° F and you have hung your suet feeders in the shade, you should be okay. You’ll see it dripping if it gets too warm and then it’s time to put it away until next Fall.

Seed feeders and hummingbird feeders are welcome all year round, but not necessary. The flocks of our ground feeding birds are gone now. Likely eating real bugs! Our summer time hummingbird mixture is 4 parts water and 1 part sugar (no food coloring!). Thoroughly boil the mixture first. The winter mix is strong, 3:1. The red dye in the hummingbird mix you find in the store contains red dye #4 and I’ve read,  is very harmful to the birds’ kidneys. Clear water in a red feeder works just fine.

Enjoy your Spring and bird watching

All is well


BNH-red

Gnomes and Birds

BNH-redWe are seeing the return of song birds to our log bird houses here in our Whimsical Woods. Nest building is in full swing now. We’ve put up a few of our popular Bird Nester’s Huts around our house and enjoy seeing the birds pick out just the right type of material for their nests. It’s not too late though to get a few sent to you for your birds to start building their nest with. It is fun to watch! Note – the Bird Nester’s Huts come fully loaded with nesting materials.

I would not be surprised if a few gnomes snuck out at night to grab a handful of brightly colored yarn or wool to take to their home for a new set of slippers. You just never “gnome” what they’re up to.

The older birds will introduce the little ones to the kindness and help that the gnomes provide. Not uncommon for a group of crafty gnomes to help a little chick back into their nest if they were to fall out.

The gnomes tend to hurt birds and often share their seeds with them. Keep that birdseed coming for a little longer. A sign of good luck and fortune is having a new bird nest near your house.

Song birds and nearby gnomes are two very good things to have around your home. Add a gnome home and chances are they will be there. If you are smiling, they are already close by. That’s what happens.

All is well. Birds are singing and the sun is out here at Whimsical Woods.

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Bird Nester's Hut

BIRD NEST MATERIALS

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When spring returns, and it will, the nesting birds will be out looking for and gathering nesting materials that meet their needs. Why not put up an attractive natural Bird Nester’s Hut and watch the birds pick through your recycled natural materials with a beak full. Made to be hung on a tree, barn fence, etc.

Just fill the “pouch” with natural materials from around the house. Preferred is dog hair, horse or goat hair, alpaca fur, strings of wool or cotton. Just be sure to use natural materials, not synthetics. When used in a nest, synthetics will become brittle and the nest will fall apart.

Bring some color and help the birds with the addition of a Bird Nester’s Hut, now available on our website, http://www.whimsicalwoods.net. The Bird Nester’s Hut is available with either a red roof or natural wood roof.

SUET BIRD FEEDER MIXTURE

In the cold winter season, birds flock to the ever popular and nutritious suet feeders. Birds need protein and fat all winter long


Suet feeders with Val's homemade suetas their main food source, live bugs, are gone. Homemade mixtures are easy to make and are much healthier and cost less than the commercial suet cakes. Side-by-side tests prove that birds prefer the fresh suet/lard mix over the store-bought cakes.

Lard is easy to obtain and comes already rendered, like Crisco. You should be able to find it at your local market or specialty food store in tubs or 1 lb packages. We buy a 5 gal. bucket at a restaurant supply outlet.

To the lard, I add a generous amount of sugar and oatmeal (the quick-cooking kind which I pulverize in a food processor), which seems to stiffen up the mixture. It doesn’t need refrigeration, but should be kept cool. Add birdseed if you wish. The birds want the energy to to keep warm.

If you have a special recipe and/or photo, please share it with us. Have fun. Need a feeder? Drop us a line.




Suet feeder with homemade suet

Suet Feeders – Very Popular!

Val w:suetTo all the Whimsical Woods loyal gnome blog readers, a very Happy New Year, 2012. It surely will be a year of changes and politics. That is something we do not read about in the life of gnomes. They have a vocal leader in the clan – a king, who has a queen. Likely a wise elder couple who have earned great respect over the years. How different!

Although our winter of 2011- 2012 seems to be very mild so far, the winter feeding of the little birds must continue. A favorite here in the northern cooler climate is suet made from real animal fat, or in my case, lard. Here at Whimsical Woods, I prefer to make my own from scratch. I can make it to my liking much better than the cheap corn based cakes available in stores. You can find the lard at various bulk food/restaurant stores (Cash & Carry, Smart & Final, etc.) It is about $1.00 a pound in bulk. I buy a 30 lb. bucket for about $35, which will last a full season. The birds love the protein and energy from the suet feeders.

When the snow piles up on the ground, the winter birds will need your suet feeder and ice free water. Our gnome friends do their best to help, but appreciate human efforts.

The photo is a suet feeder I make and sell at the Sequim Open Aire Market, craft shows and mail order. Commercial green suet cages work, but don’t look as natural and require the use of store bought packaged suet.

Suet Recipe – simple ingredients

1 lb. soft lard
1/4 cup sugar, brown or white
1/8 cup ordinary beach sand
1/4 cup old bread crumbs
8 cups of good quality bird seed mix*
1/2 cup flour (white or whole wheat)*

Mix all and let sit in a cool place for a day, then feed the birds! Suet filled pine cones also work great!

*Note: Add more or less to thicken the mix. Optional: add natural chunky peanut butter.

Whimsical Woods is in the Costco Connection Magazine!

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Whimsical Woods in the Costco Connection magazine!

If you don’t already “gnome,” we/Whimsical Woods, are featured in the March edition of the Costco magazine, “Costco Connection” on their Member Connection page (inside back cover)!! http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/201203#pg95

This is obviously a big event for us. The magazine is mailed to approximately 8 million Costco members and we have been receiving email inquiries, phone calls and orders from all over the US in response.

We’ve been working with Costco on this for the last 6 months and were thrilled that they took interest in our creations and wanted to feature us in their magazine. We are very flattered and now quite busy!

Not surprisingly, not everyone reads (or receives the magazine, or are Costco members so we are letting family and friends know with this email. Take a look and pass this on to anyone who might have an interest. Let the network begin! :-)

(Article “Reprinted with permission from The Costco Connection, March 2012.”)

Suet Feeders – Very Popular!

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Suet Feeder – for the birds!

To all the Whimsical Woods loyal gnome blog readers, a very Happy New Year, 2012. It surely will be a year of changes and politics. That is something we do not read about in the life of gnomes. They have a vocal leader in the clan – a king, who has a queen. Likely a wise elder couple who have earned great respect over the years. How different!

Although our winter of 2011- 2012 seems to be very mild so far, the winter feeding of the little birds must continue. A favorite here in the northern cooler climate is suet made from real animal fat, or in my case, lard. Here at Whimsical Woods, I prefer to make my own from scratch. I can make it to my liking much better than the cheap corn based cakes available in stores. You can find the lard at various bulk food/restaurant stores (Cash & Carry, Smart & Final, etc.) It is about $1.00 a pound in bulk. I buy a 30 lb. bucket for about $35, which will last a full season. The birds love the protein and energy from the suet feeders.

When the snow piles up on the ground, the winter birds will need your suet feeder and ice free water. Our gnome friends to their best to help, but appreciate human efforts.

The photo is a suet feeder I make and sell at the Sequim Open Aire Market, craft shows and mail order. Commercial green suet cages work, but don’t look as natural and require the use of store bought packaged suet.

Suet Recipe – simple ingredients

1 lb. soft lard
1/4 cup sugar, brown or white
1/8 cup ordinary beach sand
1/4 cup old bread crumbs
8 cups of good quality bird seed mix*
1/2 cup flour (white or whole wheat)*

Mix all and let sit in a cool place for a day, then feed the birds! Suet filled pine cones also work great!

*Note: Add more or less to thicken the mix. Optional: add natural chunky peanut butter.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2012 from Whimsical Woods

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Merry Christmas from Whimsical Woods and the Gnomes

From our Whimsical Woods to your homes, a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. From our crew and little fellows here, we all thank you for your support in 2011. We appreciate your mail, photos and your orders for special log bird houses and custom gnome homes.

Our hope is to continue to spread the Gnome news and bring a little joy to those who can imagine and share with the family. Whimsical Woods will be spreading out to bigger craft shows in 2012. We’re hoping to be accepted to the Anacortes Arts Festival  and the Olympia Harbor Days. If we are accepted, we’ll let you all know and the dates. We’re looking now to branch out to spread the smiles. You never “gnome!”

Thank you all again. Please send us your feedback and your own photos so we can share the fun we’re having. (val@whimsicalwoods.net).

All is well. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Val & Nancy Jackson
Whimsical Woods
Port Angeles, WA

Three Wise Men Come!

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Three Wise Men (Gnomes) at a Gnome Home

As the Christmas season approaches, we often hear the story of the Three Wise Men from afar who traveled to find a baby. It is possible the gnomes come from a Scandinavia heritage, which likely has a strong Christian base learned from their human neighbors. I haven’t read of any Christmas celebrations per say, but have read that the birth of a young gnome does bring in wise older clan members to celebrate the new birth. Perhaps they are guided by a friendly night owl with bright white neck feathers to be seen in the dark. Some special little gnomes do grow up to become king. Great respect is given to the gnome king and queen and they are recorded in the Great Book in a secret place deep in the woods.

Other than teasing trolls, a gnomes’ favorite past time is watching us humans and copying our habits and activities. No doubt, I think, somewhere here in the Whimsical Woods there is a small decorated Christmas tree soon to be surrounded with special woodlands gifts of food, tools and handcrafts. Maybe there is a Santa Gnome, pulled by a small flock of flying birds. What a sight that would be.

Three wise men come to see a new baby gnome on a special night in a nearby Whimsical Woods. You just never “gnome!”

All is well here in our Whimsical Woods.