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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LOG BIRD HOUSES

1767_BH_1_lgOur natural birdhouses are made from recycled old logs and barn wood and result in a very natural looking and functional birdhouse. The log is our canvas and the forest finds are our paints. All of our birdhouses are fully functional with approximately a 1.25 inch hole and a 3 inch removable clean out on the bottom.

Whimsical Woods log birdhouses make the perfect gift and addition to your garden or back yard. They also survive well in the winter! :-)

Natural Birdhouses made by Val Jackson

http://www.whimsicalwoods.net

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

Winter Days Continue – Oh Nuts!

>Spring is still a couple months away with long dark nights and short cloudy days. The weather doesn’t seem to bother our Whimsical Woods gnomes however, They continue about their daily chores and activities. Repairing their homes and wood gathering takes up a lot of their time.

There is always time for fun however. I imagine snowball throwing, sledding and hide and seek games. I also imagine gnomes help the animals find food and remind the squirrels where they hid their acorns and my bird seed. With a barn or two nearby, a group of gnomes can haul away a good amount of high priced horse or rabbit food in a single night. At home here, we put out a little tub of various nuts and they disappear very quickly. Gnomes do not seem to like citrus, but put out a strawberry and it is gone in no time! Not sure they eat it all, but like to share with the  small rodents and other creatures of the forest.

They are very responsible and loyal to those who help them. Hopefully, they have learned that from us over the centuries. That is a good thing.

With that, this is nuts! But likely to crack you up! Sorry. All is well.

TRAVEL PLANS

>As the wild geese begin their practice flights about our property, the gnomes have worked out a ride-along agreement.  This is their preferred method of travel to visit clans and offspring that have settled in a nearby forest here on the Olympic Peninsula. We thought the geese were honking at each other, but maybe they’re communicating with the gnomes riding on their long necks! At 245 to about 300 grams, they’re an easy load for an adult Canadian goose. I’m sure the visits are short as there is much to do in preparation for the colder winter ahead. Hang on there!

Strawberry Poachers

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Garden gates keep the deer out of our garden, except when I forget to latch it, but that doesn’t stop our forest gnomes. Ripe strawberries look just like their little pointed red hats. I’ve got some to spare and do share, but will they take the whole berry? No! Just a nice big, round hole where they may have used a tool to carve out a section. They take a little from a different berry every night. The berries are organic and very sweet. Some rhubarb is left, so why not mini strawberry rhubarb pies? Just a thought. Better watch my raspberries! Gnomes are known to ferment them to make a potent alcoholic drink. Good thing they don’t drive! 

All is well.