Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter (pardon the pun) already know that besides my passion for cooking, I'm also a fool for birds. Yes, a birdwatcher. Complete with field guides, a nerdy stalking vest, binoculars, spotting scope--and the Audubon Bird app on my iPhone. Yup, prone to squealing with joy at feathered sightings and often found with bincoular dents around my eyes. I tote huge sacks of birdseed home from Costco and Walmart. But there is one species of birds that draws me to the kitchen: Our hummingbirds.
Like most people, I initially forked over cash for "hummingbird mix"--that stuff that looks like it came out of a Jello box and turns the water in the feeders red.
Then I found out three things:
Hummingbirds don't need the liquid to be red to attract them
The red dyes aren't healthful for these birds (or humans either)
AND it's super-easy and cheap to make your own hummingbird syrup
So today at Authors' Galley I'm combining my love of cooking with my love of birds. Voila:
Cheap and Simple Hummingbird Bird Syrup
Water and Sugar in a 4:1 ratio
2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of sugar will make 2 cups of syrup
Fill measuring cup with 1 cup of near-boiling water. I used to microwave it, but our new house has this amazing gadget, a hot water dispenser--love it, love it (perfect for tea, pasta water, cleanup).
Stir 1/2 cup of sugar into the hot water:
Pour into your feeder:
Wait for the happy applause . . . um, grateful hums:
If you're thinking that I can't come up with an excerpt from one of my books that mentions hummingbirds, think again.
In Trauma Plan, readers meet secondary character Vesta Calder, a diabetic recluse (with a pivotal secret!) who has a passion for birds:
Vesta lowered the binoculars and set them on the windowsill beside a tulip-shaped sherry glass. She scanned the view unaided, willing its familiar peace to wash over her. It was only a modest one-third acre, tucked between her cozy guest cottage and the owners’ much-larger home, but it held a treasure trove of foliage. Cedars, live oaks, mesquite, several crepe myrtle, a young redbud, an old hollowed-out black walnut stump—destined for destruction by the eager ladder-back and golden-fronted woodpeckers. As well as an array of wispy Texas grasses and flowering sage and salvia, jewel-bright splashes of color irresistible to the native black-chinned hummingbirds and several other species that migrated through South Texas on their way to Mexico.
The Bluffs cottage was a balm for Vesta’s soul in every season. A peaceful, private haven. And her fourth lease in the fifteen years since she’d sold her own home . . . and begun to hide.
I’m safe here. Even though . . .
She picked up the binoculars again, adjusted the focus, and strained to see the slice of San Antonio Street visible beyond the trees. A few cars. None of them police or fire vehicles, though they could have used the Crockett Street route; construction for The Bluffs’ security gates had a good section of the road in upheaval. The evening news assured viewers that the routine investigation was winding down. But was it routine? Or was it . . . arson?
So, how about YOU, is there a soft spot in your heart for birds? A hummingbird feeder in your yard?