Feed the Birds

The beautiful snow arrived at Pickwell on Friday. I know we had less than others, being so close to the sea, but we have really enjoyed it. It does make everything even more beautiful and magical, just like a scene from Narnia! There are some wonderful photos that Susannah took on our facebook page if you would like to see more. The snow is lovely for us, but always makes us mindful of our Pickwell feathered friends who find it tricky to find food.
Molly got this great book by Stephen Moss for her Birthday which we absolutely love (highly recommended for adventurous, nature loving families). There is an enticing trailer for it on you tube.
We have been out spotting birds in the snow with the aid of the 'guide'. We have a little Wren that flutters around the herb garden that we can watch from the kitchen window and also a Wagtail, who sits on our sill, that we are particularly fond of.
So in light of the challenging conditions, we decided to make some 'fat balls' from a recipe in the book as a special treat to feed the birds.
We didn't have any coconut shells to hand so searched in the garden for pine cones to fill instead. The fat and seeds can collect really nicely into the cone and it gives the birds something to hold onto. First Millie-Grace melted some lard in a pan.
Then we stirred in the seed.
There was however, rather a horrible smell to the melted lard, which was particularly difficult for Molly who is a vegetarian!  She decided to sellotape her nose to escape from the smell! Since making our 'fat ball' lots of people have suggested just mashing the lard and seed together to avoid the smell. We are definitely going to do that next time!!
We then spooned the mixture onto the pine cones....
and left them to cool and harden.
All ready to hang on the tree.
Ta da!!! Lunch is served birdies!
We have put lots of bird boxes around the Pickwell woods to encourage nesting.
I wish we had put a little camera in them, I would love to see if anyone is in there.
Believe it or not this unsuspecting mound of old wood has a hedgehog house under it. We are hoping it has a sleeping hedgehog in it too, shhhhhh!!
So just enough time to play in the snow before it all melts. I wonder what she is making??
And Zac??
Surprise, surprise, a snow man!! Cute!!
A balancing thing?! And then....
a snowman....maybe a slightly muddy Scout sort of snowman!!
All the while Mrs Blackbird was hopping about us until....
Mr Blackbird came along singing at the top of his voice and they frolicked around the garden. Here they are on the roof, courting perhaps? A bit early, I know, but the start of spring is most definitely in the air!!
We hope that our Pickwell guests will enjoy our amazing wild birds from Owls, to Robins, Buzzards to Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, all frequent visitors to the garden. For the younger visitors there is a 'spotter back pack' in the games room complete with binoculars, spotter sheet, bird book and clipboard. Happy spotting Pickwellers and here's to lots of garden adventures in 2013!!