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Thread: I hope the birds appreciate it. I think they will.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
    Posts
    940

    I hope the birds appreciate it. I think they will.

    Darren's Dutch Oven thread from a few days ago has inspired me. I went right downstairs and modified my D.O. to work on my stove and in my oven. I've already made an awesome loaf of bread and a batch of Beef Burgundy which was delicious.

    I decided to scrub and re-season the D.O. before using it so I needed some lard. Unfortunately, I couldn't get just a pound at my local grocery store. All they had at the time was a 2-1/2 lb. tub. Even though I only needed two or three ounces I bought the tub. After I was done, I didn't know what I was going to do with the rest of the lard. I don't cook with it much because of the fat/cholesterol content. This afternoon I was just about to pitch it but that just seemed too wasteful. Sitting on my couch watching the birds outside sparked an idea. How about making some suet cakes? I picked up a small bag of bird seed and a suet cage and got to work. It was very easy and I think it's going to be a big hit. Here's what I did...

    I just put a bunch of lard into a medium sauce pan and turned the heat to medium low. As it melted I just stirred it occasionally. When it was completely melted, I added equal parts of peanut butter and flour (to help firm it up when cooled). Probably about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of each. I just stirred the peanut butter in with a large spoon until melted. Then I used a whisk to incorporate the flour. When it was smooth, I removed it from the heat and set it on the garage floor. That way it would cool much faster than sitting inside. I used the whisk and kept stirring it occasionally because it's pretty cool in the garage and the outer portions were firming up and the middle was still warm liquid. I wanted it to be thickened up a bit so that when I added the seed it would stay suspended and not sink to the bottom of the pan. It worked very well, in a little more than an hour the consistency seemed perfect to add the seed. I brought it inside and gradually added the seed and stirred to incorporate. When I had the right amount, I put it into two bread pans and set it outside to firm up. It's only been about 90 minutes and it's very firm already. When it comes time to slice, I think I'll just dip the pan in some hot water to release it and I can turn it out onto a plate and slice off pieces to put in the suet holder I have. Here are some pics of the process.

    The beginning:


    As it's melting:


    After the peanut butter and flour are incorporated:


    This is the consistency before the seed was added:


    Seeds in and ready for the forms:


    It's all done and ready to firm up:


    Ready to slice:


    This was kind of a fun thing to do. We'll see how well the critters like it.

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
    Posts
    3,220
    What a great idea. Let us know how the birds like it. I'm sure they will....
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Indianapolis area
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    1,697
    Very nice thing to do John. I'll bet they love it!
    ________

    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
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    10,604
    Great idea. I wouldn't want to be the one to wash the pan though
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Rochester Hills, MI
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    It wasn't bad at all. Actually the pan was practically clean when I was done because I used a stiff rubber spatula to get the suet out of the pan and into the molds. It smelled great in here too! I guess adding the peanut butter really helped.

    John
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Oliver Springs, TN
    Posts
    1,726
    I don't know about the birds, but I can say for sure that a 95 lbs boxer would love it.... Last I put up I hung to low and it was gone in a day. I was worried that it might make him sick, but he was fine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
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    12,260
    John that is a wonderful idea and something i have wanted to do for the longest time. I need some guidance. What type of birdseed did you choose? I can see the mix but is it specifically for wild bird or budgie or parrot.

    What are you using for a suet cage, can a piece of chicken cage wire do?

    Anyone have an idea of what is around that will eat this in winter in our parts. Should be the same as Mi i would presume. I would like to hang this near my workshop windows. Seems strange to me the birds i have observed here in summer seem to be bug and fruit eaters more than seed type.
    cheers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,361
    Sharon puts out seed and suet cakes in front of our house. We have a bunch of different types out there attacking the feeders. I'll have to pay more attention to the suet cakes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
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    30,020
    Bird food? Heck, to some of us, that's a healthy breakfast with extra fiber.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Santa Claus, In
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    4,779
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Bird food? Heck, to some of us, that's a healthy breakfast with extra fiber.
    I wouldn't doubt it.
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

    Rule of thumb is if you donít know what tool to buy next, then you probably donít need it yet.

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