Making good on a not-so-recently delivered promise, here’s a fantastic, cheap recipe for homemade bird suet. I got it from a Master Gardeners website, where the person who submitted the recipe demonstrated that the suet cakes cost about $.66 each, versus $1-$3 and more per storebought cakes. Apparently the birds preferred the homemade over the storebought in a home experiment anyway. It is smart to use these in cooler weather so that they won’t go rancid; but then they could be wildly popular and gobbled up before that point. Also, my bird-watching friend says that if you have feeders out in the cooler seasons (from fall to spring migration), you’ll see birds you don’t usually see.

Melt 1 cup of lard (rendered beef or pork fat, not vegetable shortening) over low heat in a large sauce pan.

Take off heat and add 1 cup of peanut butter (smooth or chunky)

Add 2 cups of oatmeal (old fashioned), 2 cups of corn meal, 1 cup of flour, and 1/4 cup of sugar

Add 1 cup of raisins or peanuts

Mix well and pour/spoon into a 9×13 dish lined with aluminum foil

*Store in refrigerator until firm (at least 2 hours). When cold, dump the suet from the dish onto waxed paper or newspaper. Remove foil from the suet and cut into pieces. Store pieces in refrigerator in zip-lock bags until ready to use.