Coconut Bird Feeder

img_0103One day my Mom asked me to crack open a coconut she had gotten. I first drilled holes to pour the coconut water out, then used my hatchet to chop off the top. I scrapped all the fruit out of the the shell, then had the idea to make it into a bird feeder.

I drilled more holes in it about an inch apart, and then put a string through the bottom (similar to the way I did the Oriole Feeder) with a couple twigs attached. I filled the coconut up with suet, and hung it with our other bird feeders.

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img_0106Not long afterwards birds started showing up and eating the suet through the holes while perching on the twigs tied below.

I realized later that this would be a good feeder especially for when it is warm and you have melty suet – like mine is sometimes 🙂 – because the suet will melt down into the holes. I also recommend not including any seeds or bugs or anything bulky in the suet you use for this feeder, because it could clog up the holes.

This is a great way to make use of your coconut shells after you have eaten the fruit inside.

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Moose Hide

IMG_0041.JPGI went to visit some friends who live in an area where a lot of Mennonite families live. While there, some of us went for a bike/unicycle ride. We stopped at the neighbours, who have a meat and animal processing shop, where hunters can bring deer or other animals to be made into summer sausage, hamburger, or – best of all – pepperettes!

DCIM100GOPROGOPR7451.When we walked in the door we saw a moose!

Later we came back to watch them skin it. They threw the legs (from the knee down) on the floor, and when I asked what they did with them, they said they throw them out because there’s not really much meat to salvage off them. I asked if I could have them and they said sure. One of my friends (whose name is Elijah) took two legs, and I took the other two. My other friend (whose name is Scout) asked if he could have the whole hide (which they where also going to get rid of because it was not in great condition) but his mom only let him have a couple pieces.

Back at my friends’ house I skinned the two legs and put the skins in a plastic bag to take home. When I went home I looked up how to tan hides and found this video which was very helpful. I then worked on tanning them. Once I finished I called my friends to ask how their moose hides had gone. Elijah, who had gotten the other two legs had only ended up skinning one of them but the one he had skinned worked out fine. My friend Scout (who had gotten a large piece of the hide) left his Moose hide out in the sun, and sadly a sudden ice storm swept through and ruined it.

Fortunately the tanning of my Moose skins went well, and I look forward to trying to make something out of them.IMG_0038.JPG

Suet

a54dfe19-6b07-41d0-9502-f7369b4f78ca_zpsudjli1ckSuet is a great thing to have on your backyard bird feeder, and may attract other birds like woodpeckers that might not come for normal birdseed.  Suet is also really good for birds (especially during winter) because it contains necessary fat and protein that help keep them warm.075be846-92a4-420b-af1b-35eb77f18303_zps4mfzgpxu

You can buy bird feeders with a cage for suet at your local hardware or farm store.  For suet itself, you can buy it, or you can make it yourself, which is more fun.  Here’s how I made mine:

I scraped bacon grease (lard is also good) out of a pan and added about half that amount of peanut butter (any kind is good, crunchy or smooth).  I then added enough birdseed to make it pretty thick.

I then spread it about an inch or two thick in a plastic container with saran wrap and placed in the freezer.  2c5de620-1442-4c2a-b7d6-e751cac8cf32_zps7vr2lsgoOnce frozen, I chopped into chunks that would fit in my bird feeder.d26b409f-b322-4f71-a344-ee7a081a991c_zpsluluv5ti

I put a couple pieces out on the feeder and put the rest back in the freezer for later.

I found that my suet seemed to melt when in warm weather so I only put it out when it gets cold.  I did find this website with a recipe for “no-melt suet,” which I tried, but the suet has a different texture than what I usually make.  Feel free to experiment around.  There is definitely no right-or-wrong way to do it.

It’s fun to see what different kinds of birds will show up for different types of food.  Now it’s time to sit back with your binoculars and watch!

Baltimore Oriole

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The Baltimore Oriole is a very interesting bird.  It is identifiable by its distinctive orange belly and dark back and head.  As with many birds, the female Orioles are generally lighter coloured.  They are brown where the male is black, and lighter yellow where the males are orange.  Their song is similar to a Robin’s, but an observant listener can tell the difference.

If you want to see an Oriole come to your area, a good way to attract them is to set up a feeder.  Here is an easy way to make your own feeder:  Cut an orange in half, and poke a piece of twine through the peel.  Tie one end of the twine to a twig, and tie another twig just above the orange half.  Hang it in a tree or wherever you have other bird feeders.  They’re so easy to make, so it can be fun to make a whole bunch and put them up all over your yard.  If there are orioles in your area, there’s a good chance they will start to come to your feeders.  Just remember to replace them once all the juicy orange is gone.

IMG_7493 Take a look at the picture for an idea of what the feeders look like.  It’s a little blurry, but you get the idea.

If you live in the city, you may see more Orioles in a local park or forest.  They like to nest high in the branches of deciduous trees.  They breed in Eastern Canada and USA during the summer, and spend the winter in Mexico and some of Northern South America and the Caribbean.

Orioles are very neat to watch because of their almost-fluorescent colour!

Law #2 A Scout Is Loyal: Loyalty Demonstrated By The Canada Goose

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Canada Geese demonstrate loyalty in many ways.  For example, Canada Geese mate for life, meaning that rather than finding a new partner each year, they stay with their first mate.  They stay with each other until one mate dies.

Canada Geese live in North America, heading south in the winter and heading back up North in the spring.  I often look up in the spring and fall to see large flocks of geese flying in V formation.  They rotate the position at the tip of the V, because the lead goose must cut through the most air resistance, just like the tip of a knife cutting through butter.

When a pair of geese arrives at its nesting grounds, they find a safe spot to lay the eggs, such as a small island or a beaver dam.

When the nest is ready, the female goose lays the eggs and sits on them until they hatch to keep them warm.

If a predator where to attack, both the father and mother goose would do anything to protect their young, even if it meant dying.  Geese have been known to sit on infertile eggs for months after they should have hatched, because they did not want to abandon goslings they thought where still going to hatch.  I have heard of Geese who, when an unexpected spring snow storm arose, did not leave their nests to take cover, but instead lay over their eggs to keep them warm.  In so doing they where suffocated.  They where willing to give their lives for their family.

Canada Geese are a spectacular example to humans of loyalty; loyal to your leaders, but even more importantly to God and your family.  We can learn a lot from these amazing creatures about being willing to do anything for God and your family.  Next time you look up at a Canada Goose, think about all the great things you can learn from them.

 

Rascal

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Written in 1963, the book Rascal, by Sterling North, is set in 1918, during the First World War (also called the Great War).  It is one of Sterling North’s autobiographies.  The first time I read it, it instantly moved up near the top of my favorite books “list”.

It is about an eleven year old boy (Sterling) who does all the things every kid might wish to do, that aren’t possible in most cases.  He starts building a canoe in the living room, keeps pets of all different kinds, and can do pretty much whatever he wants during the day.

Rascal, his pet raccoon (the one the book is named after) is always getting himself into trouble of one kind or another.  Somehow though, Sterling usually finds a way to evade the threats from angry or startled neighbors.

This book is a great read for anyone, young or old.  I highly recommend it to all you scouters!

Here is the first paragraph of the book:

“It was May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality, and a ring-tailed wonder.  He weighed less than one pound when I discovered him, a furry ball of utter dependence, and awakening curiosity, unweaned and defenseless.  Wowser and I where immediately protective.  We would have fought any boy or dog in town who sought to harm him.”

Out of five stars I would give it five.

Chipmunk

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You are likely to spot a chipmunk at some period of time, probably during the summer when they are out and about, gathering supplies for the winter.  You probably won’t be able to watch it for long though, because they are always on the move, and will likely notice you before you notice them!

During the summer, a chipmunk spends a lot of its time gathering nuts and seeds, and storing them up for the winter.  If a chipmunk discovers a corn cob, a pile of seeds, or some other source of food, it has enough room in the pouches of its cheeks that it could probably cram in ten or twelve corn kernels.  But rather than just trying to stuff in as many as it could, the chipmunk is so orderly and neat, that it carefully organizes and places each kernel.  In so doing, it is able to carry about thirty corn kernels in each trip!  It is important for chipmunks to carry as much as possible in each trip, so as to minimize the amount of times it enters and exits its home.  Otherwise, watchful predators could be able to find the chipmunk’s home and then lay in wait to catch it.

Chipmunks are very tidy and orderly.  If some of their food starts to rot or get moldy, they immediately take it out and dispose of it.  They keep a separate room as their bathroom, and change the grass or straw bedding as soon as it is soiled.  That way they avoid a foul smell which could also inform hungry predators as to the whereabouts of the chipmunk’s home.

I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from a chipmunk about keeping our rooms (and houses!) clean and tidy.  The chipmunk has to be clean and orderly to survive.  We don’t have to in order to survive, but it does feel much nicer when you walk into a tidy bedroom, doesn’t it?