You may remember a few weeks back we gathered some items from the autumn landscape with the promise that we would have a project for you.  Well, here it is, our Gather Fall Bounty project, Suet Cakes to feed our fine feathered friends out in this crazy winter we’ve been having.

Here’s what we collected…

 

Here’s what we bought…

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And…

Along with an empty milk carton here’s what we found around the house…

For our ‘recipe’ we adapted THIS recipe from the Farmer’s Almanac online.

First we had the kids pick the berries from the items we had found.  Little Chef was so excited to finally get to pick the ‘bird berries’ (Rose Hips)  from the decorations around the house.

And we set the oldest helper to work cutting our milk carton to use as moulds for the cakes.

Set these on a cookie sheet for filling.  This size should fit well into a store bought suet cake holder.  You could free form this step if you wanted, just check your holder’s measurements to make sure whatever shape you end up with fits well.

We put the suet and peanut butter in a sauce pan and melted until smooth.

Then we added the rose hips, cornmeal and birdseed and stirred until the ingredients were evenly distributed through out.  The mixture will seem soupy and that’s okay.

Because we are impatient we put the whole pot in an ice bath in the sink to help it cool down enough to handle it.  The mixture will also start to solidify again.  While the mixture cools take some time to cut some lengths of twine about 18″ long to form your hanging cakes around.

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While the mixture is warm but solid enough to handle scoop out a handful and pack it around the string.  Double up the string before packing the suet mixture to create a loop for hanging.

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Pack the mixture into your moulds adding some extra dried cranberries to the outside.  This is a great job for the smaller kids that may be helping you as it requires less coordination.

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When the hanging cakes have solidified enough to pick up tie a piece of yarn or additional string to the top of the cake.  This gives the birds something to hold onto while enjoying their little treat.

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We had some bits that didn’t adhere to our finished product so, while the rest of the cakes finished solidifying, we let the birds help us clean up by putting the crumbs on plates and setting them outside for the birds to enjoy right away.

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The next morning we had quite a few visitors to watch from the window.

We made more cakes than we needed to use right away so the extras will store in the fridge or freezer until we need them.

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