In this week's By Thistle By Thimble story, “Lady Jovial”, an old woman known only as “the pigeon lady” spends nearly every day feeding birds and tending the downtown green of a fine old town on the river. No one knows her real name or where she came from; they only know they always feel better after talking with her and seeing her smiling face.
Then one day, she does not come to the green and people wonder what has become of her. A young girl named Olive accidentally finds out who the pigeon lady truly is, and this discovery changes her life.
I think people who like to feed the birds are always the best sort of people. There's something about taking interest in those colorful, winsome creatures that always seems to betoken a generosity of spirit and a delightful curiosity about the natural world. And, as Olive found out in our story, that care and love of beauty often translates to taking good care of fellow humans, as well.
Inspired by Lady Jovial's love of birds, this week's craft project—a recycled bird feeder—attempts to capture a bit of her lovely, old-fashioned sensibilities, too.
I inherited about a half-dozen old bundt pans from my grandmother. While I seldom use them for baking, they are the perfect shape and size for a pretty bird feeder. A tennis ball stuck in the bottom makes hanging the bird feeder nice and easy, and—while it's not strictly necessary—an old baking sheet finishes the project out with a roof to help keep the birdseed dry.
If you don't have a bundt pan trove of your own, keep an eye out for one at thrift stores or church rummage sales this spring. Like the heroine of this story, I bet one will be there right as you need it.
Recycled Pots and Pans Bird Feeder
Old bundt pan
Old baking sheet
Twine or thin rope
Yarn needle (optional)
Cut two lengths of twine, each about 6 feet long. Holding them together, find the middle point of the twine and wrap it around a tennis ball a few times. Tie a knot to keep the twine in place.
Then, turn the bundt pan upside down. Put the tennis ball in the center space of the bundt pan, feeding the twine up through the center hole.
Adjust the tennis ball until the bundt pan will hang level.
While you could just hang your bird feeder up like this, it's nice to make a little roof to help keep the bird seed dry. To do so, draw or visualize about a 6-inch square in the center of the baking sheet. Then, carefully drill 4 holes, one at each corner of the square.
Next, tie one knot in each of the 4 cords coming out of the center of the bundt pan. The knots should be 12-18 inches above the bundt pan, but that distance isn't critical—what's more important is that the knots are all the same distance from the bundt pan.
With the baking sheet face down, thread the cord through the holes in the baking sheet, so that the baking sheet rests on the knots. It may be helpful to use a yarn needle if you're having trouble getting the cord to thread through the holes.
Tie all four cords together on top of the baking sheet, and use the remaining excess twine to hang your new bird feeder from a tree or pole. Happy bird feeding!
--- If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.
When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.