Yule is a time of giving, honoring life, and celebrating the birth of the Sun. I believe many people get so caught up in giving and receiving presents that they often forget to honor the Earth and all her creatures as well. I'm not trying to down play giving to other humans. Charitable gifts, volunteering, and loving our families is wonderful and in the spirit of the holiday. However, Mother Earth gives to us year around and her and her creatures deserve a thank you as well.
There is a gorgeous evergreen in our backyard. I'm not sure if it was planted as a live Yule tree by the previous owners or if birds brought the tree with them, but it is perfect for honoring Mother Earth and her creatures during Yule. I decided this year I would decorate it with edible ornaments and garland for the wildlife to enjoy. After all, they bring me and mine tremendous joy year around. This is also a great way to let Mother Earth know I appreciate her and all she is provided me with this year.
This is actually a very simple recipe that can be used year around to create all sorts of bird feeders. Make ornaments, suet feeder blocks, toilet roll feeders, and more!
4 cups Mixed Bird Seed
1/2 cup Water
3 tablespoons Corn Syrup
3/4 cup Flour
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Yule-themed Cookie Cutters
Twine or Ribbon
First combine the flour, water, gelatin, and corn syrup in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.
Add the birdseed slowly to the mixture and stir until it is well coated.
Place the Yule-themed cookie cutters on the waxed paper and spoon the birdseed mixture into them. Pack it down tightly. You can use a measuring cup or a cup (anything with a flat bottom) to pack the birdseed mixture down and make the surface flat.
Using the straw, poke a hole through the top of each birdseed ornament. Make sure it goes all the way through as this is where you will feed your twine or ribbon through to hang them.
Allow the molds to sit for 2-3 hours. Once they are dried and set, gently remove the straws and cookie cutters. Allow them to dry for at least 2-3 more hours, preferably overnight.
Once they have dried, cut your ribbon (roughly 4 inches) and carefully feed it through the hole. Hang them up outdoors and enjoy watching the wildlife!
This has to be one of my favorite things to make and I am not entirely sure why. For some reason I love stringing things together. You can use a variety of fruits, vegetables, and nuts to please a wide array of wildlife and add color to your outdoor Yule tree.
If you haven't already done so, pop the popcorn. I had use the stove because I don't own a microwave. Yeah...scandalous I know.
Thread the needle with the string or twine and begin stringing cranberries, oranges, popcorn, and peanuts in the shell. I decided to do roughly 6 feet of garland for my tree since I was adding other decorations for the wildlife as well.
If you want, layout a pattern before hand. Be careful with the popcorn; it has a habit of falling apart rather quickly.
If you are using popcorn, don't place outside if rain is expected over the next couple of days. The popcorn will disintegrate before the wildlife is even able to enjoy it!
Apple Birdseed Ornaments
These ornaments are much simpler to make and only require three ingredients. Birds and other wildlife LOVE apples and peanut butter! Be sure to hang these low enough for the deer to enjoy. Apples are one of their favorite treats!
Peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 Apple, sliced and cored.
Spoon or Knife
Spread you a sheet of waxed paper. Smear one side of the apple with peanut butter and dip in some birdseed. You want to make sure the peanut butter is completely coated with birdseed. Place on the waxed paper. Continue this process until all of slices are complete.
Cut some lengths of twine and tie through the cored apple slices. Hang on your tree and enjoy watching the wildlife! Be sure to hang these low enough for the deer to enjoy as well!
And there you have it! Three wonderfully simple projects to bring some joy and cheer to our animal friends and honor Mother Earth for all she provides for us. I also added some orange slices to brighten up the tree and be another little snack for all the animals that visit my yard. I think it turned out rather nicely!
Merry Yule everyone!