wildlifetreelargeblackThe Wildlife Christmas Tree.  The tree lives on.   Today is the day we take down the tree and put it to use to feed the birds and squirrels.  We wedge our tree between two Burning Bush shrubs next to the patio. We can see the tree from the kitchen window and often pause in our day to enjoy the birds and squirrels that frequent the offerings.

We know that both birds and squirrels have high metabolisms and need loads of calories to help stay warm. With that in mind, we decorate the tree heavily.  We also use material that will compost, like cotton string found in the kitchen. (Please don’t use fishing line or other material where birds could get tangled and become trapped).

Some years we have access to more material…this year we saved our  yellow Indian corn from Thanksgiving and punched a hole through the corncob and hung them on the stronger branches. Squirrels love nuts and so our left overs were recycled to the tree.  They were a little more challenging…you can’t just wrap the string around them; that’s way too easy. So we drilled a hole completely through the nuts and tied a knot at the bottom and hung them individually rather than stringing them.

It’s more fun to watch the squirrels pull them down one at a time to eat them. Popcorn and cranberry garlands was an evening of stringing fun…it went fast because the popcorn was void of butter and salt.  No temptations for eating the popcorn rather than stringing it.  We made several more strings of cranberries because,  if it does actually snow someday in MN, the popcorn will get wet and soggy. Peanuts make great garland strings too…be sure to buy unsalted and fresh peanuts.  Peanuts could contain mycotoxin mold if they haven’t been properly processed or stored.  Chipmunks will forge for peanuts too.

Across the street in our neighborhood is a great pine…lots of pine cones.  We wrapped a string around the scales and looped the end so it would hang from the tree.  In a large kettle, I melted a pound of lard and a large jar of creamy peanut butter. I then spread it over the pinecone and rolled it in bird seed. Messy, but oh boy, do they love the peanut butter. I also had some left over bagels and spread them with the mixture and hung.

Other years I’ve made suet and hung from my saved onion bags. I’ve also used our grapefruit rind as bowls and after filling with some of the peanut butter mix, I’ve added the dried seeds from the pumpkins from Halloween, pushed grapes into the mixture and other fruits like apples or orange sections.

 I finished off the tree with grasses that still had their seeds intact.



This entry was posted on Monday, January 2nd, 2012 at 8:11 pm and is filed under Gardening Tips, Wild Life. You can leave a comment and follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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