On a rare and welcome frosty morning recently, our thoughts turned to the birds in LittleLife HQ's garden. It has been so mild that we hadn’t been worrying about feeding the birds, but with the water in the mud kitchen frozen over, we thought it was time. After a lot of experimentation we discovered a foolproof way to make a bird feeder. (The truth is that we tried to make a few different kinds of bird feeders but without much success. We failed wholeheartedly at making a cake of bird seed and gelatine, pressed into a cookie cutter. The mix just kept crumbling and wouldn’t set, much to our disappointment!). Eventually we got the recipe right- here’s how we did it!
Our Easy-Peasy-Orange-Squeezy bird feeders have a simple and fun design which even the Littlest Explorers and frazzled parents and carers will manage with ease.
You will need:-
- Gelatine (we used veggie gelatine)
- A tablespoon of flour (optional)
Firstly, we cut the oranges in half and enjoyed a fragrant and sticky time scooping the juicy flesh from inside the oranges (pop the pulp in a bowl to the side- there’s a delicious recipe for your Expert Explorers later, so nothing goes to waste!)
Once the inners are scooped out and you are left with the peel, we need to add the twine or string. Here’s an easy way to thread the orange hull so it hangs like a swing for any birds who land on top; Pierce two pairs of holes on opposite sides of the circle and thread garden twine through then tie it to make two loops (pictured).
We mixed 350g birdseed with one packet of gelatine and a tablespoon of flour to make a relatively stodgy mixture. It was a great opportunity for the little explorers to practice using the scales and measuring spoons.
We scooped this birdy feast into the hulls- et voila! Easy peasy, orange squeezy! The finished product is all biodegradable of course, and we hope the birds will one day use the twine to build a nest.
We hung a few on the trees in the LittleLife HQ garden, and took a few more to our local woods. They also make great presents for family and friends.
Expert Explorers: If you’ve been helping your younger siblings with this activity we think you deserve a treat! Here’s a delicious orange cake you can bake with the left over orange flesh.
Easy-Peasy Orange Cake
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g margarine
- 100g self raising flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 1 teacup caster sugar
Butter a 20cm cake tin. Cream together the eggs and sugar. Beat the eggs, and add them and the flour to the creamed egg and sugar mix. Bake for 20 minutes at 190c, 375F or Gas Mark 5. Make the sauce while the cake is baking. Squeeze the juice of the oranges and lemon. Add the sugar and boil until nearly syrupy. Leave the baked cake in the tin and pour the sauce over it. If you can resist, leave for a few days before eating – the taste is worth the wait!