Home and Garden

Cheryl’s Party for the Birds


Today we visit Cheryl Joslin, who tells how she survived the long New England winter.

Our growing season here in central Vermont (Zone 4) is very short. We have an 8 × 14 greenhouse to extend our season, but we don’t heat it over the winter. From the end of October to the beginning of December I convert my greenhouse into a workshop for wreaths, garlands and winter arrangements. Once that’s done I turn the greenhouse over to make birdseed ornaments to be given out to the birds. I use the Christmas tree and everything I can find to bring color back to my winter gardens. This January, COVID gave me more time to be creative because quarantines are mandatory and I can’t watch my daughter play ice hockey. Spring is just around the corner and that will keep me busy until I start planting seeds and making my gardens colorful again. In the meantime, the pretty things I do keep it colorful here.

A wonderful homemade wreath

Berry-covered branches sit on a greenhouse benchIn winter, the greenhouse is turned into a workshop, where many cut branches are loaded with berries that can be added to wreaths.

A small greenhouseThe greenhouse / workshop from the outside, with cut branches to fill the planters outside.

Ornaments from birdseedThese beautiful bird seed ornaments are just as tasty as they are attractive to birds. Here’s the recipe Cheryl uses to make them:

3 cups of birdseed

1/2 cup of hot water

1 packet of Knox gelatine

1/2 cup of flour

3 TBSP. Corn syrup

Spray on cookie cutters, a cupcake pan, or whatever you’re using with cooking spray. Place on a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Put the seeds in the bowl. Dissolve the gelatin in a separate container, then add the corn syrup and then the flour. Stir everything together and add to the seeds.

The mixture takes about 30 minutes before it becomes stiff.

A bird house covered with bird seedCheryl uses the same mixture as “glue” to glue birdseed and other goodies for the birds onto simple wooden birdhouses.

Treats for birds in the form of cupcakesTo make these birdseed cupcakes Cheryl used a mixture of seeds on the bottom, added a layer of peanut butter, then put raw sunflower seeds on top. Each one is garnished with a crab apple from the garden.

A table set in the snow with various delicacies for birdsSince she’s not allowed to take people in for a meeting at this time, Cheryl has decided to throw a party for the birds!

A closer look at a table set in the snow with various treats for birdsHere’s a close-up of the various offerings that the birds can collect and enjoy!

Seeds, fruits and other birdseed hang on the branches of a treeAnd one last creative and colorful way to feed the birds and make the winter garden more interesting.

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