Happy Valentine’s Day Sunday Letter friends,
I seem to be marking time from one holiday to another these days. My Nana was born on Valentine’s Day, so I always look at this day as her birthday more than any other way. People born on Valentine’s Day are extra sweet.
We are having a cold, cold week, (I think the whole country is!) with a glaze of ice and a little powdery snow on the ground since Tuesday. Ice is totally unnecessary in my opinion, although I suppose as it melts it does provide a good soaking to the ground. As I write, the temperature here in Fayetteville is 8˚. The snow in Oklahoma is knocking on our door.
I’ll just go on and say it—if I’m not talking about snow cream in my next Sunday Letter, I will be highly disappointed.
I’ve really been into bird watching this winter. Since we squirrel-proofed our feeders two years ago, the whole birding ballgame has changed for us. Yes, I’m a bird nerd, so much so that I’ve been reporting my bird sightings to Cornell Lab of Ornithology via the eBird platform and iNaturalist.
The Great Backyard Bird Count is happening right now (from Feb 12-15). This worldwide science project promotes bird education and understanding by asking regular people to count bird populations real-time and report their findings on the website. There’s still time to get in on the fun!
We did counts Friday and Saturday. So far we have documented sixteen species of birds.
A few of our feathered friends…
Credit to John for these awesome photos! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Is that little chickadee not the cutest thing??? It’s like he’s praying for warmer weather, or beating his head against the top of the pole, please, spring, hurry!
Last week brought two big milestones in the life of Gracie—she learned to go down the stairs, and she can now jump on the couch. With these news skills, our lives have gotten easier (Annabelle may not agree). No more getting stuck upstairs.
Such a big girl.
Yesterday, she jumped on the bed—Annabelle’s only remaining safe space. I’m not sure she realized how she did it, but it’s only a matter of time.
Bee Healthy Cookies
These cookies are so yummy, y’all! I’ve been making half a batch at a time (because the recipe makes 6 dozen!), and we keep them on hand for a pick-me-up any time of the day. They aren’t super sweet, and they are filled with yummy ingredients like oatmeal and honey. Yes, sometimes you can use the words healthy and cookie in the same sentence.
I’ve had this recipe for decades. If I had to guess, I would say I cut it from the Dallas Morning News.
You can see in the bottom right hand corner, the recipe was provided by Burleson’s Honey. I couldn’t find the recipe on the company website, but I found lots others that sound marvelous, so give the page a look HERE.
I make these cookies using both dried cherries and raisins. I also tossed in a third cup of shredded coconut simply because I had it on hand.
Birds are trying to maximize calories during the coldest part of winter. Being the bird nerd that I am, I’m doing my part to help them. Not only am I keeping all our feeders filled with a variety of seed, suet, and mealworms, but I’ve been adding special treats to their diet.
Add equal parts plain Cheerios, Corn Flakes, and Rice Cereal to a plastic bag and roll it with a rolling pin to crumble. You can also add bits of dried nuts and fruit (unsalted / unsugared) and plain, old-fashioned oatmeal. Scatter a little at a time on the ground for birds that forage.
This treat couldn’t be any simpler. Spread a little peanut butter on branches where birds like to sit. They will think it’s yummy. (So will the squirrels).
With all their normal drinking holes frozen, it’s important to provide water to birds in winter. (Eating snow causes birds to squander the energy they are desperately trying to gain in winter). I place a saucer of water near the feeder and watch them flock. Yes, I have to break up the ice when it begins to freeze, but I feel like I’m doing a small thing to help wildlife. Heated bowls can be purchased, and there are ways to add heating elements to existing birdbaths, but I’m good with this manual method.
Things Momma Said:
Momma: My uVerse and internet are out.
Me: We may have to call the AT&T man.
Momma: I’d rather shoot myself in the head.
Stay warm, Sunday Letter friends. Feed the birds, BRING OUTSIDE PETS INSIDE, make cookies, read a book, drink hot chocolate, rearrange your furniture, order seeds, design your garden, imagine a trip to someplace warm.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.