Holiday Gift Ideas for Gardeners

gardener gift ideas, holiday gifts, gardener gift ideas

 

I’m into gift baskets this season.  I’ve found that my most memorable gifts have been homemade items and gift baskets that I’ve put together for my family and friends I’m an advent gardener and bird watcher.  If you have one on your list, a gift basket would be perfect for them too.  We have put together a list of holiday gift ideas for gardeners. Check  it out:
[Read more…]

Birdseed Peanut Butter Pine Cones

feeding backyard birds

 

Our feathered friends need our help finding food during the cold months.  Insects are scarce and most berries are gone.  One way that I feed the birds is to make birdseed peanut butter pine cones.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds before you leave.

 

peanut butter pine cones for birds

 

This is an activity that is fun to make with your children or grandchildren.  You will need the following ingredients:

  • Medium – large pine cone(s) with a strong top  (Take a walk with your children and let them pick the pine cones)
  • Peanut Butter (Store Brand or whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 birdseed
  • string/twine
  • newspaper
  • Paper Plate or cutting board
  • Freezer bags

Step 1 – Spread newspaper to work on if children are assisting.

how to attract backyard birds

Step 2 – Wrap a piece of string or twine around the top of the pine cone.  You will be using the string to tie around a tree branch, so make sure the ends are long enough to tie around the branch.

 

feeding wild birds

 

Step 3 – Use a plastic knife to spread the peanut butter over the pine cone.  Normally, I use store brand peanut butter because it’s cheaper.  Unfortunately, I was out of the store brand. So I used my Jiff for this demonstration.   Spoon the peanut butter onto a paper plate.  Take this step to avoid dipping the knife that is being used on the pine cone back into the peanut butter.

Step 4 – Spread the peanut butter over the pine cone.   (Do not put peanut butter at the top of the pine cone near the string).   You don’t want the birds peaking at the string. 

 

 

wild bird feeder

 

Step 5 – Cover the peanut butter with the bird and/or sunflower seeds by spreading the seed on paper plate.  Spread it evenly on the paper plate and roll the pine cone until covered.  You can also use a plastic spoon to help fill in the gaps by spooning the seed over the pine cone.  Use your fingers to push the seeds into the peanut butter if needed.  (This can get messy with children, beware).

Step 5 – Next, place the pine cone(s) in a freezer bag for 1 hour before hanging outside.  If you’ve made more than 1 pine cone, leave the additional pine cones in the freezer until ready to use.

Step 6 – Last, hang the birdseed peanut butter pine cones in a place where you can watch the birds enjoy the treat.

Finally, keep plenty of birdseed peanut butter pinecones on hand.  They will devour the treat in a few days.

 

 

Holiday Gift Ideas for Bird Lovers

 

gift ideas for bird lovers

First, this post contains affiliate links.  If a purchase is made, I may be compensated.  All funds will be used to maintain Mother 2 Mother Blog.  Check out my other posts on attracting backyard birds.

Second, the holidays are around the corner.  Have you started your holiday shopping?  If you have a bird watcher on your list, check out our gifts for bird lovers.  Next, gift baskets don’t have to be full of toiletries, candles, and food.  Here’s a few ideas that you can place in a gift basket for a bird lover:

 

 

gift ideas for bird lovers

 

 

  • Binoculars – Consequently, every bird watcher needs a pair of binoculars.  I purchased a pair of Bushnell Falcon’s binoculars from Amazon. I had a wonder time watching the American Gold Finch eat my sunflower seeds in the garden. They devoured every seed.  These binoculars are great for beginners.  Yet, they are getting good reviews from advanced watchers too.
  • A subscription to Birds and Blooms magazine – This is one of my favorite magazines. Each magazine contains articles filled with beautiful photos of birds, butterflies and flowers.  What bird lover wouldn’t want to curl under a cozy blanket this winter browsing the magazine for gardening and bird attracting ideas for the spring and summer.  Click on the link above, they’re offering a 2 year subscription for $15.00.
  • Birdhouses –  For this particular gift, I would suggest that you do a search to determine the backyard birds in the gift recipient’s area.  Make a selection based on your finding, different birds like different types of houses.  No need to purchase a bird house for a bird that doesn’t habitat in the recipient’s backyard.
  • Bird Feeders  – Another idea, check out your local Lowes, Tractor Supply or Home Depot for feeders.  Also, different birds like different feeders.  Buy according to the birds in the gift recipient’s area.
  • Gift Certificate – Great for purchasing seed, suet, a bird book or magazine subscription.
  • CD with bird calls – Bird calls are fun to listen to when gardening or working in the yard.  Great gift for beginners who are just learning the calls.
  • Book to identify backyard birds – Mine sure has come in handy.  I enjoy studying their habits and becoming familiar with the color and markings.  I bird watch from my bedroom window during the colder months while I’m watching TV or blogging.  It’s nice to flip through a book or Google to identify the birds.
  • Packs of sunflowers – Birds love them, they’re easy to grow, and they’re so pretty in a garden.
  • Coffee Mug  – Fill a coffee mug with the recipient’s state bird with a package of coffee or tea bags.
  • A Hummingbird Feeder and Nectar – Also, I would suggest a feeder with an ant guard they love the nectar too.  It may be difficult to find  a feeder this time of year in colder regions.  Try on-line if unsuccessful locally.

Last, place your gifts for the bird lover in a gift basket.  Furthermore, purchase a basket, filler, ribbon and holiday cellophane bags from the dollar store.  This material doesn’t have to be expensive, spend your money on the gifts.  Remember, put the larger items in the back and work forward with smaller items.  If you need to hold items in place, use clear packaging tape.  Finish off your gift with a twist tie to close the bag and a bow.  Now, you’re done and your bird lover will thank you for this great gift.

Finally, we hope you enjoyed our gift ideas for bird lovers.  You may also like:  5 Amazing Gifts From Your Garden.

 

How To Bring Backyard Birds To Your Feeder

backyard birds

                                                       

First, I’m a bird watcher!  Watching birds go by, my, my, my.  Since I’ve started gardening, I’ve starting noticing the birds more.  As a matter of fact, I’ve placed several feeders throughout the yard.  And I love watching the birds enjoy the feed.  My favorites are the Blue Jays and the American Gold Finch.  The Blue Jays love peanuts and the Gold Finch love sunflower seeds.  I find their colors striking.  However, the Gold Finch loses it brilliance and turns a dull yellow after summer.  I have other posts on attracting backyard birds.  Be sure to check them out.

Male American Gold Finch

 

                                                                      Carolina Chickadees

                                                                  Red-bellied Woodpecker

 

                                                                            House Finch

Next, I’m learning the identity of various birds as I go along.  This particular feeder is located outside my bedroom window.  So, this is where I blog and watch my favorite TV shows.  Sitting by the window makes it easy to get great shots while they’re feeding.  Placing a feeder in the yard is a great way to get your children off electronics and interested in the birds.  They can learn their calls, and watch them interact with each other.  Their habits are quite interesting too.

So, to draw backyard birds to my feeder, I fill it with combination of raw peanuts, wild birdseed, and black oil sunflower seeds.  I purchased the regular birdseed from the dollar store, the raw peanuts from Amazon and the sunflower seeds from Lowes.  Tractor Supply has great prices too.  Additionally, I grew sunflowers in the garden this year.  But, they didn’t stand a chance with the American Gold Finch.


Downy Woodpecker

 


Male Cardinal

                                                                                          Blue Jay

 

As a result of the feeder, the feasting starts around 7:00 am and doesn’t stop until sunset.  Because there were no sunflower seeds left to harvest.  Now, I fill the feeder every 2 – 3 days.  I will be adding a suet feeder to the feeding station during the winter.  The birds need the fat during the colder months to help keep them warm.

Finally, I hope that you found my post on backyard birds helpful.  Follow tips and you will have feathered friends in your backyard in no time.  Also, if you missed my post on making Birdseed Cookies, just click on this link.  It’s a fun activity for the kids this winter and they will be helping nature feed our feathered friends.  Do you have your children involved in nature?  What activities do they do?

10 Reasons Why I Garden

vegetable gardens

 

I started gardening several years ago.  Planting a vegetable garden was something that I always wanted to do, but never made the time.  I love fresh vegetables, especially tomatoes.  The taste and price of tomatoes sent me into high gear.  They were expensive, hard and tasted like cardboard.  My grandfather had a garden when I was growing up.  Picking weeds out of his garden was an expectation when I was visiting.  I also remember all of his children being supplied with fresh vegetables during the summer and the week-ends spent canning the harvest.  I have other gardening tips, so please check them out.  Fortunately, I decided to plant my veggie garden and I’m glad I did.  Here’s 10 reasons why:

  1. It’s so relaxing. And I’ve learned to appreciate the open country and the quiet that it brings. 
  2. I purchased an acre of open ground years ago, and it wasn’t being using to its full potential.  
  3. The price of store brought fruits and vegetables are expensive and lack taste.
  4. I love working with my hands, and making things grow. 
  5. Saving money on my grocery bill is a plus.    
  6. Connecting with others who grow fresh vegetables and learning different techniques is rewarding. 
  7. I love walking by the produce in the grocery store smiling because I know mine is better.   
  8. I’ve learned to grow my vegetables from seed.
  9. I love having fresh vegetables, homemade salsa and sauce during the winter.   
  10. I love sharing my harvest with family and friends.

 

Not only does it taste better, but it’s less expensive to grow your own especially if you grow your plants from seed.  Yes, it’s time consuming but rewarding.  When you involve your children, they get a sense of how food grows and will make better choices in food selection.  They will also learn how to sustain themselves, and save on the grocery bill.

You don’t need land to garden to plant a vegetable garden.  Put a few planters on your deck or patio and decide which  veggies to grow.  You can grow tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, radishes and the list goes on in containers.  Do you currently garden?  If so, container or row garden?  Also, check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips before you leave.

 

Winter Sowing Vegetable Seeds

gardening tips
I have the winter blues!  I decided to start my vegetable seeds over the week-end.  Planning my garden takes the blues away and gives me a head start with strong, healthy veggie plants.  Last year I used heating mats and grow lights.  I had a 90% germination rate, but it takes lots of time and space to nurture the seedlings.  Check out my other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.

This year, I decided to try winter sowing.  I’ve been saving plastic liter, juice and milk bottles.  Anything that I can cut and punch holes in the bottom for drainage.  I started about 20 bottles over the week-end.  Tomatoes, dill, zucchini, squash, sunflowers and petunias.  Tomatoes, dill and petunias reseed and grow.  Research showed that the squash and zucchini will also do well.  l will continue winter sowing through-out February.  I’ll do a few tomatoes, cukes and green beans inside.  Just in case I don’t have a successful germination rate from the winter sowing; however, gardeners swear by this method.  I’m sold!

 

If you’re wondering how I create these miniature greenhouses, here it goes.  Wash your bottles in hot soapy water and rinse well.  I used a box cutter to cut around the bottles.  Leave an inch on the bottle for a hinge.  Add drainage holes in the bottom of your bottle.  To accomplish this, I use a glue gun on the milk bottles.  However, I was unsuccessful using the glue gun on the liter and juice bottles.  The gun wouldn’t penetrate.  I used the box cutter to make slits on the bottom.  If you have another method of punching holes, bring out your equipment and punch holes in the bottom of your bottles.

First, mix your seed starting mix as directed on the package.  I use warm water when mixing the soil Mix it thoroughly.  You want it wet; however, not soggy.  Next, add 2 – 3 inches of the mix to the bottom of each of the bottles or container.  I use Miracle Gro Seed Starting Mix, which I purchase from Tractor Supply.  It’s a little expensive, but I have a great germination rate each year with the mix.

Second, place your seed on top of the soil and cover lightly.  Wrap the bottle with duct tape.  I purchased my duct tape from the dollar store.  Mark the bottles with a permanent marker, which I also purchased from the dollar store.

You can discard the bottle tops.  I moved the bottles and containers to the deck to ensure they get rain. Let them go until spring.  At that time you should have sprouts that will need water.  As they grow, you will have to remove the top of the bottles.  These little babies will already be hardened off, which is a step you will have to take if you start seedlings indoors.

Stay tuned for additional posts on winter sowing.  Finally, if you are a gardener and use the winter sowing method, please share your experience.  You may also like My Winter Sow Seed List.

Easy Recipe – Fresh Salsa Recipe

recipes, party recipes, salsa recipe

First, I made 5 pints of fresh salsa this week-end and it was delicious.  Trying to get the salsa into the jars was quite an endeavor.  Simply because I kept eating it.  This recipe is great served fresh too.  I serve it with chips. When I decide to serve it fresh, I place the salsa in bowls.  The next step is to chill it for several hours. It is so delicious.  Fortunately, I have other great backyard vegetable gardening tips too.  Be sure to check them out before you leave.

Next, if you have tomatoes, fresh peppers and onions that you want to use, I urge you to try this recipe.  Be warned, it’s addictive. So, head to your local farmer’s market if you don’t have the ingredients.  It’s great if you’re having company or if your children are salsa lovers too.  I’ll let you in on a secret.  Ask for seconds at your local farmer’s market.  They sell them at discounts because of a blemish, discoloration,  or deformity.  Your recipe won’t know the difference.

For this batch I used:

  • 15 – 20 tomatoes, skin removed and chopped (I used a mix of yellow, purple and red tomatoes)
  • 2 large red onions finely diced
  • 15-20 chilies, remove the veins & seeds, finely chopped
  • 5 chilies with the seeds if you like spicy
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
 *NOTE:  I didn’t include the lime juice.  If you’re going to can it, please include all ingredients listed.  Also, see my tips on how to remove the skins from fresh tomatoes.
 salsa recipes, fresh salsa
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, stir together tomatoes, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Chill for one hour in the refrigerator before serving.

If you want a smaller batch, cut the recipe in half.  I recommend Roma or Amish Paste tomatoes for salsa and sauces.  However, whatever is available will work for this recipe.  I used a mixture of Roma and slicers this time.  As a result, the salsa was quite watery.  Fortunately, the problem can be solved by placing the salsa in a colander and allowing it to drain for about 30 minutes. You can gradually add the liquid back in until you reach the desire consistency.  When I’m serving salsa for a party, I like for it to be chunky and to have very little water.  I don’t want my guest having salsa dripping down their clothes.