For the first time, I had to remind Aleks to open his envelope as he didn't jump out of bed and immediately begin ripping it open. I think it was a couple of hours before I said anything. I kept waiting for him to say something until finally I reminded him of the envelope. Very strange. See, this is how you deal with all the Christmas catalogs you won't ever order from. Christmas pears!
Which is fitting for this culinary endeavor:
I bought pine cones at the thrift store when I couldn't manage the time to find good pine trees with appropriately sized cones and didn't want to sacrifice the ones that have been in the nature tray for three years. I like those quite nicely. One of the cones in the bag was GIANT! Must be from a Sequoia or something. I thought maybe it was fake at first, but upon closer inspection found it to be quite real with all sorts of organic fibrous connections holding the whole together. Looking at pinecones.com (oh the limitless variety of the interwebs!), I can't be sure which variety of cone it is. Perhaps the Jeffrey Pine.
First, I tied yarn around the cones in order to hang them outside.
Then the boys started spreading peanut butter on.
Bastian loves peanut butter. Yes, I really did use organic peanut butter for this project.
Then we rolled the cones in bird seed on a cookie sheet lines with wax paper. I, of course, did not have this all set up ahead of time and was running around sticky with peanut butter collecting things. The boys also lost interest and I finished up the cones. We only made three, which, with the ginormous cone, I think is just fine for our neighborhood birds and squirrels.
Aleks refused to come outside to help hang the cones as it was really quite chilly. Bastian came out briefly, wearing two different rainboots and a coat I bought at the thrift store only to realize we had hand-me-downs from Aleks, but then his hands were too cold and he retreated to the indoors before I could get a proper photo of him supervising me.
At last, with quite chilled fingers, I got them strung around the branches of our tiny tree in the tree lawn. Interestingly, we've hung suet before, which these resemble, and had no luck attracting birds that actually eat suet, but I figure the squirrels can get to them.
I was right about the squirrels - I think. By the next morning, there were no cones in the tree. Our giant cone was in the gutter and the others were gone completely. Our theory is that the squirrels knocked them down and ran off with what they could carry, abandoning what they could not (as the Jeffery cone is bigger and heavier than a squirrel, I bet). I placed the giant one on top of the dying zapotec tomato vine in our small garden patch expecting that by spring it will be picked clean and can go in the holiday box for safekeeping until next year.