I love the winter. It is one of my favorite parts of living in Indiana. So when the groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter I did a happy dance. Not everyone feels the same. I know it is easy to start to feel a little stir crazy when schedules are out of order because of cancellations and delays, and when it takes more time to get everyone ready to go out than the length of time they stay out. On Boy Island everyone seems a little, okay a lot, louder and even more wild as they try to burn off their energy inside instead of out. It can be tempting to begin to feel like a prisoner, but I have found that embracing what it brings rather than resisting is the key to making it through. One of the best ways to break up the long days stuck inside is to do something fun outside. Especially when it is snowing. This week was a jackpot. An afternoon snow that was just begging us to come out and do something in it. We decided to go to the park and make bird-feeders. Easy and cheap. Two of my favorite things! And making them outside means no sweeping up birdseed from the floor. Win, win, win.
Then we baked them to dry up the sap. You can skip this step, but even a little sap will make everything sticky. Trust me, I put them in my pocket as we finished walking and my pocket was stuck together for the rest of the day. Lesson learned.
Put your pine cones on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 275 for 15 minutes. It not only stops the sap but it also opens them up so you can spread the peanut butter more easily.
Use regular or chunky peanut butter, the birds like both. Then you spread it onto the cone, making sure to get into the nooks and crannies. Put the birdseed of your choice into a paper bag, drop the covered pine cone in and shake.
That is almost it. You can tie a string around one end to hang your feeder from a tree, or you can simply nestle it into a branch, or even place it around the base of the tree for the ground feeders.
Now starts the real fun. The silent walk as we searched for the perfect place.
Here it is. We all agreed. A bench under a snowy pine. Surely lots of cardinals and chickadees will stop here to eat from the newly hung feeder.
When we got home it was time to tell stories over hot chocolate. We used the picture above as our starting place. Soon we were laughing over G’s made up escapades of the squirrel who would surely try to get to the feeder first. See the mid winter doesn’t have to be bleak. What is your favorite way to break up a winter afternoon?