Sunday, January 6, 2013

Wildlife Tree

Who doesn't love a good recycling project, and one of my favorites is turning my indoor Christmas tree into an outdoor tree for the birds and the squirrels to feast on. Bonus points because it is entertaining to my indoor-only cats.

I used this list from the Fish and Wildlife Service for ideas on what to put on my tree, and picked up a pack of cranberries on sale at Aldi's for .99 and a box of their version of Cheerios.

Stringing them was easy, but took me two tries to figure out the best way. My initial plan was to tape the twine to a wooden skewer and just thread with that, like a big needle, as you can see in the photo. But the tape and twine were too thick to go through. So I separated the twine (it was 2-ply) into two individual single-ply threads by untwisting it, and made a loop and knot in one end. I used the skewer to pierce the cranberries, then I just pushed the twine through. I keep twisting the end of the twine to keep it "sharp" so it would go through. I tried wrapping clear packing tape around it so it would be hard (like the end of a shoelace) and that worked OK, but really it was better to just keep retwisting the end. A few times, if I couldn't get it through, I just pushed it through with the skewer, but mostly it was pretty easy. When I was down to the last few inches, I made another loop and knotted it, and those loops were easy to just hook over the branches of the tree.

I also pulled an egg carton from my recycling and cut apart the individual cups, rounding them off at the top so they'd look a little neater. I put cracked corn in these and just sat them in the dense branches of the tree - I could have also hole punched them and make little twine handles.

As you can see, the kitties enjoyed the entire process,

although we're still waiting for the wildlife to show up. We had a squirrel, but he got wind of his observer before he found the tree and when I looked this morning, the snow on the railing had been disturbed, and one of the garlands looked like it had been tugged on, so word should be spreading.

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