Thursday, December 9, 2010

Cooking for the birds.... not something I plan to make a habit. Not really cost effective, when you can get those suet things for next to nothing at Job Lot. BUT, Sparky gave me this recipe last year that I just got around to making and it seems to be working pretty well. I would never have bothered if I didn't already have some cornmeal in my freezer that was past its prime, so I just picked up some cheap (cheep) peanut butter at the dollar store and tried it out. It's worth doing only if you have some expired peanut butter or some stale cornmeal, but the recipe only makes three cakes so really, you can buy suet things for like a dollar apiece.

Last year, because of the weather I guess, we had next to no birds at our feeders. Sparky was despondent, and I wasn't far behind. This year, however, they've returned with a vengeance and boy, are they hungry. And they brought friends; we've got birds I've never seen before at my feeder, pine warblers and actual woodpeckers (the big fat ones, not the little black and white ones). There's also something only Preston has seen, he described it to me and it didn't sound familiar so I'm on watch for that. I wish I had a bigger window in the side of my house!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas is coming....

...or IS IT???

Can't believe I haven't posted anything since July. But things have been busy here at the Compound, and more than a little stressful, as many of you are aware. Anyway, there are two things that work for me to relieve stress at least somewhat; baking, which I have been doing as evidenced by the fact that my jeans are getting a little snug, and creating stuff. Even though I have things I SHOULD be making/sewing, I find myself seized by the irresistable urge to do other things, like the papier mache' trees I started. I say "started" because they've hit a speed bump and now I must wait to finish them. I hate to wait.
What happened was that I saw something in Martha Stewart or Victoria or one of those pretty magazines, and it flipped a switch in my head. The ones I saw were not made out of papier mache, but something about their nontraditional color or the way they were decorated just grabbed me. I could go back and look again, but I won't because my trees will now go in some completely other direction and that's ok. Anyway, I had a bag of papier mache' mix so I made cones out of cardboard for a base, and plastered them with the goop. That's when I hit the speed bump. They are taking FOR-FREAKING-EVER to dry, and I swear it's been like a week. They were in my kitchen, but then I moved them over to the table near the woodstove but I can still push the sides in a little with my finger. I found this site (check it out, it's really amazing!) where I read that if your project isn't absolutely 100% dry before you paint it, it will ROT FROM THE INSIDE OUT!!!! wow, scary. So I wait. I am not really thrilled with this mix, either, so next time I think I'll just make my own since the recipes are on the website. The mix is quite lumpy, which as it turns out was just fine for what I was doing, but I may want to do other things that I want to be smooth. Plus, it was pretty expensive for what it is, and if I can do the same thing with some toilet paper, joint compound and glycerin, so much the better.