Tweet Tree Treats (upcycled Christmas tree)
Give your Christmas tree new life as an al fresco bird buffet. Simply haul your tree outdoors and adorn with edible ornaments that provide fab fodder for hungry feathered friends that like to dine and dash.
Birds love grasses, seed pods and frond seeds. Tuck bundles of dried seed heads, flowers, grasses, millet sprigs, oats sheaths, wheat, corn or sunflower heads among branches with raffia.
Be sure to forgo dead-heading in the garden next fall to collect your own pods for ornaments.
Thread a tapestry needle with string or dental floss to join berries, nuts, apples, banana chips, pineapple slices, or stale popcorn (strings most easily) into a long garland to drape. Remove all seeds on fruit - these are harmful to birds if swallowed.
Set the oven to lowest temperature. Grease baking sheet with cooking spray or line with silicone mat. Slice fruit as thinly as possible, preferably with a mandoline. Dip sliced fruit in lemon-lime soda (or ascorbic acid) to prevent discoloring. Punch small hole near the top edge of each slice and lay fruit slices in single layer on prepared pan. Bake 4 to 6 hrs. Slip hanger through and suspend in tree.
Add a hanger to pine cones and slather in peanut butter or chilled meat renderings and roll in seeds and grains. Melt bacon fat or suet, mix it with birdseed, nut butter, cornmeal, unshelled sunflower seeds, nut pieces and/or raisins, then let it re-harden. Make molds out of cookie cutters and foil or shape it into balls. Freeze on a flat surface. Skewer a hole at top of ornament and thread with twine.