I have been struggling lately to keep my rambunctious, energetic boys entertained. All I want to do is sit all day. I have a mile-long list of third-trimester pregnancy woes that leave me with the energy of… something without very much energy. And a similarly long list of aches and pains, not limited to but including the occasional contraction that makes me think there’s no way this baby will reach his due date.
But, back to the boys that aren’t causing me physical discomfort (most of the time). They need to move. They need something that keeps them active. Otherwise, they use that energy for evil mischief. I need something that doesn’t have me chasing them all over. So, we’ve been doing a lot of “projects” and “experiments” lately. The kind that mean I can pull a bar stool over to the island and sit for the duration of said project. These birdseed feeders totally fit the bill.
I bought the birdseed last spring and had intended to do pinecone and peanut butter feeders. And then the bag sat on top of my fridge for at least six months. I decided we ought to use it, but the thought of giving my boys peanut butter and birdseed sounded like a big mess for me to clean up during nap time. I remembered the gelatin I used a couple weeks ago to make the DIY Gel Air Fresheners and wondered if that would work. I googled it and sure enough, you can find other recipes that use gelatin. By this time, my children were climbing up the cabinets and I decided to just wing it rather than let them tear down the house while I searched for instructions. Here’s what we did:
– 2/3 cup birdseed (we got ours at a local pet store, but Wal-Mart -and maybe Target, not sure on that though – carry it too)
– 1 packet of Knox Unflavored Gelatin
– 1/4 cup water
– 1/2 tsp salt
– Silicone molds
– String or twine – something neutral
– Heat the 1/4 cup water in a microwave safe dish for two minutes, or until the water boils.
– Pour the gelatin into the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. I found a wire whisk worked the best.
– Add the salt and dissolve it too. I don’t know if you really need this or not; but, in the air fresheners it was added to help prevent mold. I figured I would add it rather than grow mold in my backyard. It hasn’t seemed to deter the birds any, as far as flavor.
– Stir in the birdseed 1/3 cup at a time and make sure the gelatin coats all the seeds evenly. You don’t want clumps, they’ll fall apart later.
– Pour the birdseed mixture into your silicone molds. Cut your twine or string and press the ends into the mold cavities and cover with the seed mixture. The string should make a loop you can hang the feeders by later.
– Allow to solidify. I stuck ours in the fridge to help it along because my boys are always wearing what we call “impatient pants” and wanted to hang them up NOW. They were awfully upset with me when I told them we had to wait. The fridge helped in two ways: solidifying the gelatin faster and out of sight, out of mind.
– When everything is solid, you can hang the feeders. You may need to let them dry out for a day or two before you actually hang them outside, especially if it’s cold where you live. Otherwise, the sunshine will probably help it along; and, in that case, hang to your heart’s content.