24 August 2009

He says to figure in my labor...

I don't know, I think I'd be doing something anyway, and if I'm at home while doing it, it's all good. I'd rather make it myself than pay for it; that's just how I am.

What I'm talking about is birdseed suet cakes. I just got through making 32 of them, and my back is starting to ache a little from all that standing and stirring, but if they hold together and the birds like them, it's all worth it. I figure I have at the most $15 in "materials" in 32 cakes, which would cost about a dollar each at the cheapest place I know to get them.

I used these three web pages as guidelines, and made my own recipe, which goes like this:

Lard = 2 x peanut butter
Oats = peanut butter
Flour = lard
Sugar = trace, optional

Melt lard & peanut butter together, stir in the dry ingredients.
When it's all mixed together, mix with equal amounts of bird seed.

If that's too vague, here's exactly what I did:

4 cups (one 40-oz jar) crunchy peanut butter
8 cups (one 4-lb bucket) plain lard

melt together over low heat in a large stock pot

stir in 4 cups dry oats and 1/4 cup sugar
stir in 8 cups wheat flour

when all is mixed well, scoop out two cups of the mixture into the (now empty) lard bucket. Add 2 cups bird seed. Mix well, spoon into suet cake molds and smooth out.

Stack filled molds in freezer, on cookie sheets or with wax paper between.

Repeat with another 2 cups of liquid mixture & 2 cups of birdseed, till all is used up.

  • I used wheat flour because it was left over and I had no plans for it.
  • What I refer to as "molds" are the plastic packaging commercial suet cakes come in. I saved a bunch, because I'm a packrat, and because I always think that someday I will make this instead of buying it. See?
  • I think the cheap disposable food storage containers designed to hold individual sandwiches (Glad is one brand, Sterlite is another) would be the right size for standard suet holders.
  • I put a tomato slice in one of my suet cakes, as an experiment. I was trying to get fruit flies into it - wouldn't the birds appreciate a bunch of frozen fruit flies with their seed?
  • I store the cakes in the freezer till I'm ready to use them.
  • For some reason I love making a list in html so I am adding unnecessary stuff to the list, because I can.

Tomorrow I'll fill some of our suet feeders, and we'll see how well they hold up.

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