How to recycle a small decorative pumpkin into a bird-feeder
You may have had a lot of these on-hand for the Thanksgiving/Halloween/Harvest Season: small, heavily waxed, decorative "peewee" pumpkins. After the holidays are over, what is there to do with them other than compost them or throw them away?
I tweaked this from a picture I saw in 'Birds and Blooms" magazine. They were serving seed in hollowed-out pumpkins nailed to branches, but around here it rains and the seed would get soggy in no time, so I made a roof and a way to hang the pumpkin. These aren't made to last forever, although they usually have a lot of wax on them and the outside will hold up well for a while.
- a thick upholstery needle with a wide eye
- a spool of narrow ("baby") ribbon, narrow enough to fit through the eye of the needle
- miniature pumpkins, blotted dry with paper towel
- a chef's knife or paring knife (whichever you're more confident with).
- a melon-baller or grapefruit spoon
- A teaspoon and some birdseed
1) Thread about a foot of ribbon onto the upholstery needle, double-thick. Knot the end.
2) On a cutting board or other nonslippery surface, cut the pumpkin into two pieces widthwise. Place the cut about 2/3 of the way up from the bottom so there will be a good bowl for seed.
3) Use a melon baller or grapefruit spoon to hollow out the top and bottom. Scrape out as much of the damp pulp as possible, and blot dry with paper towel.
4) Carefully thread the needle up through the bottom center of the pumpkin, with the knot at the bottom center. It will go through surprisingly easily, so get ready for it to come out the other side.
5) Place four toothpicks in the pumpkin sides as support for the roof. Make sure they're in firmly, but don't worry too much. They're not load-bearing, they just hold the "roof" up. The ribbon holds all the weight.
6) CAREFULLY put the upholstery needle through the top (just to one side of the stem...this will give a lot of resistance, so be careful). Pull the needle and ribbon through the top and drape it off to one side. Very, very gently (you don't want to jab yourself), press the top part onto the toothpicks. Again, they're not load-bearing, so you don't have to be too firm- just firm enough so they dig in.
7) Use the teaspoon to fill the cup with birdseed.
8) Cut the ribbon free of the needle and wrap the two sides back and forth around the stem a couple of times, then tie it. This should balance the pumpkin so the weight hangs from the middle, the stem, and not off to one side. Tie onto a shepherd's hook or branch and enjoy!
Total time per pumpkin- about 8 mins.