Growing up in Georgia, there are pine trees. Literally everywhere. Can’t get away from them, or their sap. Ugh.
In fact, pines are probably one of my least favorite tree. The needles are, like the trees, everywhere. The sap in the summer is a bother if you happen to get it on you. And it’s been my experience that ticks and other creepy crawlies seem to enjoy the needle beds, so no.
Not a fan.
But. I do like the many arts and crafts available to those who have another pine tree commodity.
Pine Cone Crafts
The cones are awesome when used for art. I remember looking for “perfect” ones when I was younger and using them for decoration. Looking for ones that hadn’t been crushed under foot. That still had all their little seeds in tact.
The ideas are endless, really.
You can spray paint them with glitter in red, white, and green for Christmas.
You can scent them with cinnamon sticks and sprinkled spices like I did here, though I used essential oils.
Put them in a basket with ornaments and set them by the fire place. Cinnamon bark would smell nice, but I used peppermint when I made my scented pine cones.
The list goes on.
But in our many moves across the U.S. I’ve noticed that pine trees aren’t native to many places outside the South. At least, not in sheer numbers by any means.
And even in as far South as Tennessee, they aren’t on every corner.
Where Did All The Pine Cones Go?
So this past weekend when I called my kids around the table to make bird seed bird feeders, and told them I was going to run out to the yard to grab some cones for said project, I was floored in finding that we had ZERO pine trees in our yard. I hadn’t really noticed before, but no. Not a one.
Nowhere nearby either, despite the acres and acres of forests surrounding us on all sides.
As I’m not one to let a hiccup like lack of planned supplies bring me down, I looked for alternatives. Something that perhaps the birds could eat that would leave no trace (unlike the pine cones which would have sat naked out on the feeder for months after the squirrels got to them).
As an alternative, I settled on guavas.
Not my first choice, but they were going bad, and honestly, no one in our family was crazy about them- though we didn’t know that prior to purchasing them. Live and learn.
In going back to the table, we pulled out strips of our trusty waxed paper. One for each person.
And I brought out more plastic spoons, which I then scooped peanut butter onto. Hey, it’s not like the birds were going to complain, right?
And after everyone covered their “cone”/guava with peanut butter, we then rolled them in a bag of birdseed.
It was awesome.
The birdseed felt awesome (sensory activity for the win- yay!).
The peanut butter was an easy clean up as we just had to roll the excess in the seeds and even without something as a base, like the guava and cones, the balls of peanut butter were fine to stand alone covered in just birdseed.
It was good.
The kids enjoyed it. I enjoyed it.
And after everyone was done, I took the feeders outside and laid the balls of seed on the feeders, so it was a win-win for the black birds as well.
Honestly, if given the choice, I’d do pine cones, though.
And just to recap. To make these awesome bird seed bird feeders the Southern way, you’ll need:
Pine cones, several (at least one per person)
Small bag of bird seed (any kind will do, although the smaller the pieces, the more fun the sensory part of this- especially for younger kids)
Peanut butter, preferably creamy (and I’d go with a cheap brand- no sense wasting organic p.b. on wildlife)
Wax paper (to help with clean up)
Has anyone else done these bird seed bird feeders, or is it a strictly Southern craft?