Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Feed the birds scraps!

The pros and cons of feeding the birds!

It’s always a soothing experience to watch a little blue-tit slip between the bars of the ‘ball feeder’ without so much as a shiver of a wing! He doesn’t stay for long, does a circuit on the floor of the feeder and although he’s quite safe, exits the open ‘windows’ as smoothly as he entered!

Blue-tits, Great-tits, Chaffinches, one or two Goldfinches and Robins have dined at our everyday-nothing-special-but-food-anyway ‘featherstaurant’!

The cons are when the Pigeons, Blackbirds and even the lovely Song Thrush come to dine, but find they’re like giants in Lilliput and have to make do with the crumbs under the table. The Pigeons are the biggest culprits in protesting strongly by fouling the patio beneath the feeders! Yuch!

So it was time to give them their own-sized featherstaurant out of the way of the patio and the BBQ!

Scrap wood was easily hammered together (thanks to a kind non-DIY hubby!), given an edge and chained ready to hang …. somewhere!!  The only suitable place, for now, until we’ve cleared a bit more of the jungle, was from the old rusty swing frame which had formed a secret entrance to the deep dark jungle!  It hangs a little low, but with nice sunny weather and clear days, the bundu-bashing and jungle clearing will continue and hopefully reveal the ideal tree branch.

Of course, Murphy’s law – I’ve run out of birdseed!!

The Song Thrush was the first – and only – to try out the breadcrumbs and only stayed a couple of seconds. So I did some research to see what other kitchen scraps can be fed to birds – a surprising variety it appears!

Pastry, cooked and uncooked!
Citrus fruit! (Fished the half mouldy Clementine out of the bin!)
Grapes, Melon rind, Apples, Pears, Banana
Peanut Butter
Raisins, Sultanas etc soaked in water.
Baked and Mashed Potato! (not that there’s any left on our plates!)
Unsalted meat!
Cheese grated
Uncooked Porridge Oats!

Yes, I had some left over uncooked pastry! So bits of that went into an Aunt-Bessie-Yorkshire-Pudding-foil-container and was thumb-tacked to the table.

Yes, I have some raisins and sultanas. Soaked them in water and they went into a Peanut Butter jar lid thumb-tacked to the table.
Birds-eye view!

And yes, the other half of the mouldy Clementine fished out of the bin cut into tiny pieces and put in the lid of a Smash (instant mashed potato) tin and thumb-tacked to the table.

And yes, there’s always peanut butter in the cupboard, so some smeared to the side of the bird-table should do the trick.

The Open sign is up…….

...... well either they have a bird-watch and disappear as soon as I look outside, or I just simply miss them, but when I went out to photograph some extras, I took the crust of bread to top up and found ...... 
.... the raisins & sultanas all gone!!

And the Song Thrush was watching
Not a clear pic at all but the Song Thrush is on a branch in the top left quadrant, just her head and shoulders!

Give them time and tomorrow, maybe a little cheeeeese!!

Thursday update!
Soaked raisins are obviously the favourite! In less than an hour the lid was empty this morning!  During the night the Clementine fruit pieces and the uncooked pastry were eaten - by what, I don't know! I think the Starlings have cottoned on to more free food as three or four of them were being smartly marched away from the table on the shed roof by a strident Blackbird this morning!

This morning's menu is grated cheese, soaked wholewheat bread, and soaked raisins - which are gone already! Glad the featherstaurant is being utilised!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Shopping in Felixstowe

     So after we’ve been in the south Suffolk area for about 18 months, we eventually walked the high street of Felixstowe!!  Don’t get me wrong, we’ve enjoyed the beachfront at Felixstowe, had an ice-cream on the promenade and walked the dog at Landguard Fort, but somehow never actually strolled the high street!

(On the beach at Landguard Fort)

(Sunset at Landguard Fort)

   I like Felixstowe town centre!!

     First of all, and always most important, parking was £2.00 for 4 hours! Compare that with Ipswich’s  average of £1.80 per hour (centre of town prices).

     Secondly, I didn’t see a lot of so called ‘High Street’ shops. They’re probably there somewhere, but there seemed to be more independent or small chain shops, which is really great. But I do enjoy popping in to the Charity shops! I generally head for the bric-a-brac first and then move on to the children’s books, toys, then adult books. I did have a list of things to look for, but as usual got totally distracted! The list had things like a tea-pot, maps, and milk jug, but none of those found their way into the shopping bag!

First stop was St Elizabeth Hospice shop and right at the door was a basket of baby clothes. Now this is a new experience for me – wanting to buy baby clothes for an unborn grandchild! But what fun! At 50p an item and some even 30p, it was an opportunity not to be missed. I came away with three very cute babygros in varying sizes - they'll be useful over a few months!!   I got so excited about getting three babygros for £1.50 that I went straight to the counter and paid for them and then realised I hadn’t even looked at the rest of the shop!

    Next door was the RSPCA, and here I picked up some orangey beads which I’m sure will come in useful for some craft other! At 50p, just can’t go wrong! Or they might just get sent along with the babygros to First Love Creations!

Right next door was the SENSE shop (deafblind charity). Again bric-a-brac first, then the curtains/bedding looking for fabric I could cut up for patchwork quilts.   

I did find this very cute Dutch tea-towel, with very nicely blocked classic Dutch pictures – for 99p. While I was also looking out for maps for our next Sweet Monday meeting – those ‘old’ ones with a million folds that tend to obstruct the driver when the passenger is trying to navigate – my husband found an Atlas (more compact but not what I was looking for). This was his purchase and he spent a pleasant half hour paging through it at home suddenly discovering continent sizes, ice-caps and unpronounceable tiny countries and islands!

      I like to think I collect salt and pepper sets. Many years ago in South Africa we had a meal with friends and each guest had a different salt and pepper set in front of them. I thought that was so nice I started my own collection of salt & pepper pots and family and friends helped. So today I added to that collection with a nice cottagey light wood salt and pepper mill.  Together with the Malta buses (thanks Claire!), the Japanese Geishas (thanks Judi!), the wooden Zimbabwe pots (thanks Sean!), the ‘Karkloof’ butterfly (thanks Nicole, and despite the fact that 'my' butterflies look nothing like the Karkloof Blue! It's just a reminder of 'home'!), the blue and white stripe lighthouses (thanks Meg!), and others, the collection now stands at 12. I left some behind in South Africa, like the crocodiles, and I think I've packed away the quirky tap salt and pepper set, they were quirky but really ugly! One of our friends was recently quite disappointed when she sat down at the table with us and I'd only put one set out for three of us!!

The Huggies against the backdrop of the Alice in Wonderland biscuit tin!

Against the backdrop of the Alice in Wonderland biscuit tin!

Against the backdrop of Grandad Ash's still life fruit painting.
The latest addition!

There were other Charity shops we went into: Barnardos, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation, but didn’t go into Oxfam because the search was then quite desperate for coffee, which Greggs provided, together with a custard doughnut!

Of course we had to go into the Thing-me-Bobs Shop although it was a tad disappointing; I thought there might be more 'indescribably thing-me-bobs'! And with the North Sea calling us from the bottom of the road - some people just have to see the sea if it's in the vicinity! - I first got to make a diversion into Fabric8 and rummage in their 30p a piece (or 5 pieces for £1) scraps box for more patchwork bits. I found 6 pieces and she wouldn’t give them to me for £1 :(  They’re only small pieces!! Amazingly it was my very patient husband who praised this shop very highly, taking great delight in the plain white shirt buttons available in tubes, never mind about the gorgeous heart-shaped, pretty polka-dot and teddy bear buttons!

Lastly as we crossed the road on the way to find the car and make our way home, there was Treasure Chest Books! While he got stuck at the counter paging through a Naval book on Flower Class Corvettes etc, I discovered this shop goes on and on and on and further and further back, with old books on every single imaginable subject. Sadly not enough time to browse properly as Bella would need her walk very soon, not to mention not enough spare cash in the purse! Sigh! Definitely another visit to Felixstowe soon!