Thursday, December 18, 2008

Squirrel Feeding

It was very interesting to hear from some of you that you are having very different acorn related conditions this year. I was even tempted to request donations for our poor squirrels.

Keeping them in mind we have changed the way we look at food scraps. Instead of thinking first of the trash or compost we try to figure out a way to give them to the squirrels (and birds of course.)

A good recent example: we were negligent in our fire-keeping-going so our latest batch of dried apples ending up getting moldy.

It was quite disappointing, although it could have also been due partly to the type we used and not just our negligence. Instead of throwing them in the compost I decided to string them up all nicely for the squirrels.

The squirrels were so appreciative that they promptly ripped the string off the tree we had tied it to.

Dad rescued it from the soggy ground and I restrung them all onto wire. This worked much better and they stayed dry in the tree while the squirrels nibbled them off one by one.

Our next opportunity to recycle our leftovers was when dad trimmed the fat off pork while making posole. Instead of throwing the fat out it went into a cast iron skillet to be cooked over low heat. The yummy crunchy bits (a.k.a cracklings) went onto our posole in place of fried pork skins and the melted fat got mixed with birdseed and poured into plastic containers to make our own homemade suet. Although you could just save the plastic from commercial suet and use that as your mold dad took the easier route (note the sarcasm) and made his own metal suet cage to fit a more readily available size of plastic container.

The squirrels are so appreciative of this homemade suet that not only do they eat it all outside, they even found a way onto the porch to eat the extra we were saving!

More good news on the apple drying front: the recent arrival of an apple corer/peeler/slicer will make future batches much quicker.

It is amazing to see this thing in action, it is such an old invention but I couldn’t imagine anything that would work more efficiently. Unless maybe you attached one to a windmill so it did the turning for you. But I don’t think we have quite enough apples to warrant that quite yet.

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