Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Food Preparation Is For The Birds - Literally!

Being a good steward of all that I have been given is an important part of the gratitude I express for Thanksgiving. Simple acts like making sure all the peels and trimmings from fruit and vegetables find their way to the compost have been a part of the day for as long as I can remember. This year I am going to make sure that Thanksgiving is truly for the birds!

Not A Creature Was StirringThanksgiving is a great time to think about the birds and wildlife in our gardens. Filling the bird feeder in the colder months is a common practice, but many don't realize their Thanksgiving dinner is a bounty for the birds.

For several months now I have kept a lidded cat litter container on the enclosed porch into which the "special seeds" have gone once they were dry. Papaya, watermelon, even apple seeds have made their way there. But Thanksgiving is the motherload of bird buffet bounty.

Seeds from the butternut squash and pumpkin are scattered on a baking sheet and allowed to dry. If some of the dried flesh is there its no big deal, but most of the fibrous pulp should be removed. Egg shells from pies are allowed to dry on the sheet as well. They'll be smashed up and mixed in with the seeds. Egg shells provide necessary grit to help birds digest their food, plus the calcium is a neccessary nutrient that helps with shell formation later in spring. I collect seeds and shells from the kitchen year round and them mix them with store-bought seed blends. Usually I keep the kitchen seeds separate from the others, saving the "special" seeds for Christmas or days of extreme cold or heavy snow. The birds may not realize how special those seeds are, but going the extra mile for creation helps keep me focused on how much I have encroached on the space they was given to them

For Thanksgiving day itself a buffet is put out on a flat feeding platform that consists of some of those less than perfect cranberries, bruised berries, apple cores, and bread trimmings. At the end of the day anything that wasn't eaten from the platform gets dumped into the compost where it will break down and form that black gold that will enrich the garden next spring.