While I am swanning off on a much needed holiday to Butlin's I have a lovely guest post for you.
Today's post is a wonderful craft post by Jennifer. Jennifer is a mum to two children, Harry (4) and Mia (20 months). A new stay-at-home-mum, she blogs about parenting, crafts and travel over at Jennifer's Little World - she also needs congratulating hugely for climbing Mount Snowdon on Saturday along with #TeamHonk. Well done Jeniffer a massive achievement, one I know I know I couldn't have done.
This is a great little project which can involve the children too and teach them about wildlife in their own gardens.Homemade bird seed cakes for the garden
It’s really easy to make bird seed cakes to hang up in the garden. It’s also a really fun and educational activity to do with young children. It’s very easy, and allows plenty of opportunity for discussion about what birds eat and why they especially need extra food in the winter. Hopefully you will also be able to observe some birds actually eating your cakes too!
All you need to make the basic bird seed cakes is some bird seed (I bought a big bag from the garden centre), some lard, suitable containers and some string. After experimenting with several different containers I have had a lot of success with silicone cupcake cases. They are small, which means that the ingredients hold together nicely, and then the cakes are very easy to pop out.
First you need to melt the lard in a saucepan. I used a whole 250g packet of lard. Mix it in a large bowl together with enough bird seed that the seeds are all coated. A ratio of about 1/3 lard to 2/3 seed works well. If you really want to spoil your birds you can replace some of the seeds with dried fruit, nuts or grated cheese.
Cut a length of string and place it into the bottom of each case. Spoon the mixture into the cases, making sure that the string is surrounded by the mixture. Place them on a tray and then put them into the fridge for a few hours.
When they have cooled, pop them out of the cases. If you don’t want to hang them up outside all at once it’s a good idea to return the spare ones to the fridge, as the lard will soften at room temperature.
Find a suitable tree or similar and hang a couple up in the garden. Experiment with different locations – sometimes it takes birds a while to find a new source of food and they may be wary of coming too close to a window or path.
You could also experiment with making bird seed cakes in different shapes, either with different shaped cake moulds or by using the mixture to fill cookie cutters before placing in the fridge. Have fun!