Tuesday, January 26, 2016

natural bird feeders

We recently made bird feeders to hang out in the bare trees in the backyard. Using citrus halves, peanut butter, seeds, oats, raisins, and hemp twine we quickly made little feeders to support the birds that stay around for the Wisconsin winters.

After we cut grapefruits and tangerines in half we scooped out the fruit to make little bowls to hold the bird food mixture. We used pencils to poke three holes evenly around the peels, far enough down so that the peels wouldn't tear when we hung them. We threaded hemp twine through each of the holes and knotted these to a longer piece of twine for tying onto the branches.

Then we prepared our concoction to fill the little citrus bowls. We mixed together raw sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, oats, and raisins, and used natural peanut butter as a binder. Coconut oil would also work well to hold the seeds and dried fruit together and to provide natural fats. Because the peanut butter was a bit dry we added back in some of the citrus juice to hold it together. Then we packed the mixture into the little citrus bowls and hung them in the trees.

We hung four of our feeders in a tree that we can easily see from the window, and enjoyed the show put on by the lively chickadees. The chickadees (and other birds) also enjoy the apples that were left over on our abundant apple trees this year.

These little feeders were fun and easy to make, and it was even more fun to watch the birds enjoy our offering!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January's grace

January 1 - 10

We started out the new year with strawberry shortcake for breakfast and have been filling our January unschooling days with lots of games, books, science experiments and related YouTube videos, snowy adventures, music playing, art, knitting, play dates, sleepovers, and volunteering. Below are some of the moments of our days that I remembered to catch on camera. 

Rather than any sort of New Year's resolutions, I like to choose a word or phrase to guide my year. My chosen word for 2016 is grace. For me this conjures up a feeling of inspiration and flow, a softening and expanding heart, a forgiving and loving nature, an awareness of beauty and awe, and an attitude of acceptance and gratitude. 

We all have struggles, and I hope to face my difficult moments as well as my peaceful ones by allowing myself, my family, and those around me as much grace as I can muster this year. Blessed be.



snowy adventure


physics kit, finding the area of gravity

shoveling our long driveway

sister snuggles

12-year-olds, building an extensive blanket fort

5-year-olds, living room music performance

You can have the other words -- chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I'll take grace. I don't know what it is exactly, but I'll take it.

~Mary Oliver, from Sand Dabs, Five