So with the crappy and cold finally settling in... I put out a little dish of cat food and a box lined with a snuggly towel in the garage. We have a feral cat or two running around, and even though I put stuff out kind of late in the cold snap, there is still signs of it being used now. Along with some nice paw prints in the snow. And yes, I would for sure rather have feral cats in my garage than anywhere else- this encourages them to help keep my yard clean of rodents, lol.
And I made up some suet cakes and put out a couple along with a feeder full of black oil sunflower seed... Well, the first afternoon, no one showed up. The second I saw a few birds. Then the word got out, dinner up at our house! Now every bird in the neighborhood is stopping by for a snack.
So far I've seen some seriously fat bluejays, cardinals, black capped chickadees, dark eyed juncos, rose breasted grosbeaks, titmouses, goldfinches, Downy woodpeckers and red bellied woodpeckers, and the usual assortment of sparrows and wrens. It's kind of nice because all of their birdcalls make it sound like it's spring outside.
Making suet cakes is easy, and I have found that mushroom tubs are the perfect size for cakes. I started using them last year. And honestly, mushroom tubs are one of the most used items I recycle between projects and gardening needs. I finally used up the big bucket of veggie shortening, so now I will get a block of lard next time I make cakes, that's what I should have been using all along, lol.
And dinner.... I've started this years preserving tally, kicking it off with 46 jars of pickled mushrooms and a half dozen jars of spicy pickled edamame. This is my first time pickling edamame, but the raw form tasted pretty good, so I'm hopeful the canned form will be even better. But I couldn't resist when I saw them at Hardings on clearance for 99 cents instead of four bucks. I picked up five 10 oz boxes, and used three to pickle, though I could have used two and that would have been fine for a smaller batch too. But hey, now we know, right? I tinkered the recipe a smidge, leaving out the oil, but I kept the vinegar/water proportions right, and the salt good.
I'm a wee bit bummed that I seem to never find brussels sprouts on sale anymore now that I discovered how damn tasty pickling them is. So I guess a large part of the brassica patch this year will be brussels, yay!
It's been difficult to stave off the depression and hopelessness I've been experiencing for several months, like fighting against a monsoon. But I keep forcing myself to keep trying.. and keep focusing on the zen and happiness in the good things I know I enjoy. It's helping a lot. The plants are really having a lot of impact, taking care of them and knowing that they will do the family good soon. I now have three of the greenhouse stands in the kitchen in front of the windows, and several pots and starts are already there.
I seriously need to spend time in the solarium and really clean. Everything is stacking up in the cold, and too chilly to really spend much time out there doing anything. But it has been staying above freezing for the most part, and hitting above 40 a lot. That is wonderful. Still really chilly for working in though, lamo.
But right now I need to pop off and clean up a turkey carcass.