Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Tale of the Greasy Peanut Butter Feeder

Many long years ago, Papa Pea made me a peanut butter feeder for the birds from a small black walnut log.  It was from a tree in our woods way back when we lived in Illinois.  We've been here in Minnesota for 45 years so that gives you an idea of how old this bird feeder is.

Every winter it hangs outside one of our kitchen windows where we can watch all our little feathered friends who flock to it for snacks all throughout the winter days.

I can't even imagine how many tons of peanut butter I've used over the years to fill the holes to provide some protein for the wild birds. 

This winter I took a container of lard from our freezer that some friends had given us.  It was rendered lard from an organically raised hog and should have been good lard.

However, when I used some of it to make some pie crusts I found it had an "off" flavor that I didn't care for at all.  So I decided to feed the remainder of the lard to the birds in the log feeder.

But first I mixed the lard with some peanut butter and sunflower seeds.  Then the next time the feeder was empty, I put some of this new (lard-laced) concoction in the holes.

The birds didn't like it.  Uh-oh.  What was I going to do with all this mixture I had made up?  I kind of ignored the feeder for a couple of days while I thought about the situation.  Lo and behold, the birds did start pecking at it and eventually decided it was okay to eat.  (Not seeing any dead bird bodies lying around, I figured the mixture wasn't going to hurt them so kept refilling the feeder until the mixture was gone.) 

Well, almost gone.  As I think you can see from this close-up shot of the log there still remains lard that dripped down the feeder when the sun was shining on it.  Since then the feeder has been an ooey, gooey, slippery, greasy mess and I have to practically wash my gloves every time after wearing them to take it down to fill (only peanut better for the last couple of months and from now on) and then put it back up on its hook again.

We store the log feeder back in a shed over the summer months, and I sure would like to get that mess cleaned off of it before then.  I think I'll have to leave it up until the days are warm enough to melt off most of the remaining lard . . . and then probably pour boiling hot water over the log to get the residue completely off.

Bottom line:  No more messing with lard mixtures for the peanut butter feeder.


wisps of words said...

Live and learn...


Susan said...

The birds were probably taken aback that their usual brown snack had morphed to white-ish! Good golly, what a mess! I keep meaning to make one of these, only to forget every year. It needs to go on The List!

Charade said...

The first year we bought an organically woods-raised hog from some friends, I got the lard from the butcher to make my own peanut butter suet cakes. The lard was fresh, no chance that it was rancid, but rendering it stunk up my house anyway and made a terrific mess.

The suet cakes looked perfect and froze beautifully. But once in the cage hanging from the tree, the sun melted them just enough to make a nasty mess. Never again!

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - Ain't that the truth!! ;o)

Mama Pea said...

Susan - I'm sure it was just exactly that. I could almost hear them, "Hey! This doesn't look like our peanut butter has always looked! What's up?" It took the first couple of them to actually take a taste before letting the others know it wasn't poison!!

Mama Pea said...

Charade - Yep, I've rendered lard from pigs we've raised in the past and, oh boy, talk about a greasy clean-up job. There must be a characteristic about lard that allows it to melt (and make a mess!) at a much lower temperature than beef suet, for instance. All that trouble you went to for your suet cakes!

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

You made me think of a feeder log that my older sister gave to my father who always liked to feed the birds. She's quite the artist and painted gorgeous cones and evergreen sprigs on it. What did my father do? he got out a drill and made the holes much bigger and more of them, you could barely see the paintings. He felt it was more important to have a proper log feeder that could hold enough suet. (eye roll) -Jenn

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - Ouch. I feel for your sister and her artistic efforts. Can't say I have much of anything good to say about your father. To my mind that was insensitive and ungrateful. Double ouch. (But then, trying to be kinder, maybe he just couldn't appreciate the thought and talent that went into the gift she made especially for him.)

Rain said...

Great story! :) must go through lots of peanut butter, that's a great feeder though! I had to stop feeding the birds recently...what with Jack's mystery stomach problem...we have no clue if he ate something bird related...droppings...who knows, better safe than sorry though!

Rosalea said...

We made suet-seed cakes with venison tallow this year. V. tallow has a much higher melting point, so it is actually somewhat brittle when cooled. You have to be fast at stirring in the seeds and putting it in molds, as it solidifies very fast. The birds have been gobbling it up, and no goey mess.

gld said...

Funny about the change of feed....I recently let the seeds run out thinking with warmer weather the birds should forage. But we missed seeing them so bought feed again. I always buy black oil sunflower seeds and wild
bird feed mix. This time the feed looked very different. The company is having it bagged special for them. It has been three days and the birds are still not back in full force. Looks to have too much corn in it to me. But the Cardinals haven't come back to the sunflower seeds yet either. Any change in food or feeding seems to put them off.

Mama Pea said...

Rain - I don't blame you one bit for being as careful as you can at least until little Jack is back to his usual healthy self!

Mama Pea said...

Rosalea Hunter - Good info to know regarding the venison tallow! We heard many of the hunters last fall commented on the unusual amount of fat they found on the deer so that would be a great use for it. Thank you!

Mama Pea said...

Glenda - Nowadays we have to wonder not only about how our own food is grown but also the bird seed! I suppose if the mix was different in some way (or one of the grains/seeds were) the birds would know it.

We've read that most black oil sunflower fields are sprayed heavily with who-knows-what-poison so that the seeds can be harvested from the heads more easily!! We stopped buying them for a while, but like you really missed having the birds around. These days it's hard to make decisions on things like that. Darn. :o(

wisps of words said...

Mama Pea!

Please read this latest post of mine!

Hope it explains the MESSSSSS I made of my blog settings. Without meaning to do so. -sighhhh-

wisps of words said...

And the Juicer we had before, was a mess to clean. We got the Ninja, which is a powerful blender, and it's easy to clean.

I want to consume, all that stuff, the Juicer was removing.

We can't put a whole apple, in our Ninja. Which could do, with a Juicer, and it would separate the seeds out.

We simply put chunks of apple in the Ninja! Without the seeds. And all is fine. And we get all the goodness, of all we put in the Ninja.

wisps of words said...

Hope you read my latest post! So you know, that I was not closing you out! I didn't KNOW that my settings, made it look like I was a Private blog!!!!!

And now, I fixed it, after asking some gals if they could read my blog. They said they couldn't and I went and FIXED settings.

At least I think I did. You can get into my blog now, yes? Yes, because you commented.

Oh sighhhh... What a mess... -sigh-

Mama Pea said...

wisps of words - I was trying to be funny, and usually fail! I know you weren't blocking me. I, too, have had so much trouble with Blogger that all I can do anymore is laugh about it. Others have said they've tried to "complain" to the powers that be about all the problems but no one seems to care enough to help rectify the system. Sigh. We all just need to hang in there and hope we can keep going without screwing up our own systems. If I didn't have my daughter as my own personal computer guru, I would have thrown in the towel long ago. Hugs to you, my bloggy friend!

Sandy Livesay said...

Mama Pea,
Nice bird log! We make peanut butter pine cones, I like the log idea better.....we have plenty logs just hanging around here.

Could you use a fireplace lighter and melt the fat off the log?

Sending hugs and love,

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I liked your idea of using a fireplace lighter to get the lard off the log. But then I wondered if the remaining lard would be set on fire and ignite the very, old, dry log. Hmmmm, may have to ponder that one before attempting same. ;o)

Hubby suggested this morning that now our weather is up near the 60s with sunshine during the day, I should hang the feeder out (maybe on our bird feeder on a pole in the yard) in direct sunlight where it would, in a few days, melt clean. This may require some experimentation! :o)