Twig or Tweet

A motley crew of 23 costumed characters descended on my house this beautiful afternoon. Ghosts, goblins, princesses and pirates from around the neighborhood gathered to celebrate a belated Halloween, many accompanied by their good-natured, but a little-bit-embarrassed, big-uns.

Wearing a blue gingham pinafore, braids and ruby slippers, I, Nana Dorothy for the day, led the Munchkins down the brick road toward Saturday’s outdoor gathering of the Kids Kraft Klub. (Okay, the “slippers” were actually flip-flops and the “road” a mere 50-foot path paved with rust-colored bricks, but imagination goes a long with with the creative spirit of this Klub!) Once we quit chasing puppy Papi around the yard and accepted that there was no way he’d willingly remain in a basket as Toto, we settled down to chat about what was going on in our individual lives, the books we’ve been reading, new things happening in school and concerns that all of us share, especially the recent acts of violence headlining the news this week. It seemed as if the adults particularly benefited from this opportunity to speak calmly, lovingly with the children, reassuring them that Mom and Dad understood their tearful fears, firmly stressing that they’d always do their best to protect them.

In this peaceful environment, surrounded by glorious autumn foliage, entertained by plump, nut-scavenging squirrels scrambling across the lawn, we noticed multiple bird flocks migrating southward in advance of the forthcoming frigid months. But because Middle Tennessee is relatively temperate in comparison to the northern United States, we are never entirely avian-free, although their usual natural food supply is sorely depleted by cold weather. For this reason, the Klub decided to make simple feeders today that will not only provide snacks for swift and stealthy squirrels, but are also eco-friendly because once the nuts and seeds are eaten, the holders will likely fall to the ground where they will biodegrade during winter, thus enriching the soil below.

Piled atop some tables were the supplies we needed: cardboard tubes from empty bathroom tissue rolls (we also used paper towel tubes cut in thirds); yarn, cotton cord and string leftover from old packages; scissors; very inexpensive peanut butter*; wild bird seed mix (don’t forget that dollar stores can be a penny-pincher’s BFF!); shallow baking pans; pie tins; a big spoon to scoop out the peanut butter* and; plenty of soapy, washable rags, plus buckets of rinse water. (Please note that the quantity of craft materials depends entirely on the number of feeders desired.)

Were you here, you’d have been politely asked to:

1) Pour two orthree inches of seed mix into each pan;
2) Scoop out several globs of peanut butter* and plop them onto the tins;
3) Cut the cord, string or yarn into lengths about 30 inches long and thread them through the tubes, tying the ends into strong knots;
4) Using bare hands, slather each tube completely with peanut butter*;
5) Roll the tube in the bird seed, pressing down just enoughuntil you can’t see any cardboard or peanut butter*;
6) Do it over and over again ’til you run out of supplies and everyone is giggling, covered in peanut butter and bird seed, and a few folksare sneakinglicks at their icky, sticky fingers! (Don’t freak out if they manage to eat a little seed; it isn’t very tasty.)

Then, as the littlest Klubster likes to say, came the “most funnest” part: Once the work space was tidied, ourselves made presentable and fruit juice-fortified, we set off to spread the wealth. It took almost three hours, but every family on the block was given at least one official Kids Krafts Klub Bird Buffet. Because a few of the residences along the way are apartments, we brought along some twigs and short branches that had fallen from the maples and magnolias in my yard; these we gave to thepeople who didn’t have their own trees upon which to hang the feeders.

There’s no doubt that the sight of an oddly garbed group of big and little-uns parading down the street raised many a curious eyebrow this afternoon, but everyone we visited enthusiastically accepted our gifts and immediately installed them, including the apartment dwellers who propped the branches into their windows and door frames. Every person in the neighborhood sent us on our way with happy grins, heartfelt hugs, enthusiastic expressions of encouragement and loads of leftover Halloween candy.

To once again quote the tiniest Klubster: “It was the bestest ‘twig or tweeting’ ever!”

* AN IMPORTANT NOTE TO FOLKS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES: Please DO NOT ingest or come in contact with peanut butter when crafting this project. Use a vegetable-based solid shortening instead. The birds and squirrels won’t care; however, you will, especially if you experience a serious or severe allergic reaction to peanut butter!


Annie Flanders
annie Flanders4 years ago

blessings to all who keep janet's stories alive

janet passed 4 years ago 12/31/2009 -- it is such a joy to see her stories still here

for those who hold negative thoughts about dead writers works still being in print -- hate to tell you this -- but thousands of people each day read works by authors who have been dead for hundreds of years [shakespeare comes to mind]

Michael H.
Mike H4 years ago


Annie Flanders
annie Flanders5 years ago

i think it is WONDERFUL that janet's stories are still here on Care -- she was a wonderful writer and though she may have passes 3 years ago -- her spirit still lives on in these stories.

personally, i think it would be horrible if they ever disappeared from this site.

blessings to all who respond to janet's stories!!!

Anne Byam
Anne Byam5 years ago

... further to my previous comments - Janet Garey actually passed away in December 2009 - 3 years ago now. For some reason I thought it was only 2 years. AND she had been an editorial contributor to Care2. How they can leave her writings up here - as though she is still with us .... I frankly, will never understand this - from a site that is supposed to .... CARE.

Anne Byam
Anne Byam5 years ago

Hello Debbie. Sent you a message to introduce myself, as I had an email comment ( from you ) in my Gmail account - which is linked [ by my choice ] to Care2 comments, but ran out of characters to be able to use in an introduction message of myself to you ( 250 characters permitted ). I have to advise very sadly that Janet passed away about 2 years ago, and I have not found a way to be able to ask Care2 to have the decency and courtesy to stop sending comments on her page .... as she is no longer with us. This sad event was REPORTED BY Care 2 itself at the time - as Janet had been a regular contributor ( as I understood it ) to Care2. They wrote a special editorial, praising her efforts and her writing at the time, themselves.

THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT Debbie ... please don't think I am berating you for anything whatsoever. You came across an outdated post, and commented - as anyone would be inclined to if they like the post. I am very angry at Care2 that they have not done anything about this. I knew Janet well - we corresponded privately by email - and it was a terrible shock to me to hear of her untimely demise even though I did know of the health problems she had. I have had other messages from people over the 2 years, responding to the late Janet Garey - and it's always given me a jolt / shock - to read comments posted as though she is still here. I do hope sincerely I am making myself understood properly here. While it might be nice to hon

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

Janet, thank you for these articles on the Kids Kraft Klub. It sounds like you guys have a lot of fun!!

Catherine Turley
Catherine Turley7 years ago

you got me curious elizabeth, so i did a quick check. i have never seen organic wild bird seed, but found this online site:
they have both pet and wild bird seed. and i saw an ad for ecotrition organic pet bird seed, which you can find in petco and petsmart.

Elizabeth P.
Elizabeth P7 years ago

This might sound silly, but is bird food good, made with out chemicals? I wont to make sure that what im feeding them is okay. Four years ago i got this letter from Pedigre Dog food that had selmeinilla in it, the code number was a match they gave me. The dog food i was feeding my dog was poison, She died the day before i got the letter. So is there GOOD bird food out there?

Heather B.
Past Member 8 years ago

Thanks for a great article, Janet! :)

Jesse C.
Jesse C8 years ago