We were at my folks place yesterday. They have some big pine trees and B and I walked around the yard and picked up pine cones while Mark was inside doing some work.
But what to do with the pine cones? Well, when I was a kid in Connecticut, we used to make bird feeders out of pine cones. I immediately decided that that's what we'd do when we got home. You cover the pine cone with something sticky, roll it in bird seed, and then hang it from a tree for the birds to enjoy. What a great afternoon activity!
And then I stopped myself. Memories came flooding back and I remembered that the bird seed stuck on the pine cone with...
peanut butter. Hmmm. Back to the drawing board.
But then I had another thought. What's in my fridge at home that's made from something that birds love? Sunflower Butter!
Bella HATES sunflower butter. I think if I want to punish her, I could threaten her with a Sunbutter sandwich (seriously). So I've had a jar of Sunbutter sitting in my fridge for, oh I don't know, 9 months now. So no time like the present - let's use it up.
So we laid out a cutting board, tied a string (I used kitchen twine) around the top, and I smeared Sunbutter (actually a mixture of sunbutter and shortening, see below) all over the pine cones. We had a glass pie plate filled with bird seed, and after I smeared, I lowered it into the pie plate, where B proceeded to roll it around and sprinkle the seed on top until it was completely covered. I wont lie, it took her a while to get used to the idea of touching something that looked and smelled like peanut butter AND touching something with sunflower seeds (she avoids all nuts and seeds, although she only has the peanut allergy), but after I told her she wouldn't be eating it she was gung ho.
Mark looked at us like we was crazy when we were making these. He's a California boy so he hadn't ever done this. Oh well, I'm sure this isn't the last time :)
But after we were done she was so proud of herself and we had a nice little treat for the birds in our yard. As I write this, though, I can see some squirrels trying to figure out how they are going to get these down from the trees (those rascals)!
Here are some instructions I found online that include photos of the whole process (this is messy, so I wasn't about to break out my camera). We basically followed these directions, although when I was looking online for instructions, lots of folks gave a warning about using straight peanut butter (or in this case, sunflower butter), that it would choke the birds. Not wanting to explain the circle of life to B this early, or wanting to clean up dead birds, we mixed the sunbutter 1/2 and 1/2 with vegetable shortening.
All in all, it was a nice (not too long) crafty endeavor for us.