Winter fuel for the birds …

04/02/2015 § 8 Comments

Here’s the ‘back story’ – as Kristin Nicholas of Getting-Stitched-on-the-Farm blogspot calls them …

Do you recognise this old fellow?

johnny morris

It’s Johnny Morris who presented Animal Magic for many years, on children’s’ television.  I absolutely loved this programme when I was 8 or 9 – maybe younger.  Johnny would imitate the animals and have conversations with them – doing his voice and the animals.  It was magical and something I still do quite unconsciously – imagine what the animal are saying.

I’ll always remember one programme where he made ‘Dabble Grish’ – a silly name for a mixture of just about anything that’s good for garden birds in winter.  I made some a few weeks ago and today decided to top up the flowerpots.  Curious?  Here’s how to make a hanging bird feeder from store cupboard ingredients and create your own Dabble Grish …

ingredients and supplies

a collection of ingredients and supplies

I used some just out-of-date nuts and dried fruits to add to the wild bird seed, dripping (have no idea what that was doing in the fridge), a handful of oats, a few flowerpots, some twigs and string.  I roughly chopped the whole nuts before adding them.





snip some twigs to fit across the bottom of the flowerpots and tie a loop of string …


thread through the hole in the flowerpot and place a bit of fat over the hole to stop the filling coming out.  I put my flowerpots into cake cases to catch any melted fat.


Then put the ‘ingredients’ into a bowl and add the melted fat.  I add as many porridge oats as it takes to soak up the wet mixture.


Mix it all up so all the mixture is coated in fat and will stick together as it solidifies,  then spoon into the flowerpots, pressing down firmly.



Push a twig into each pot and firm around it.  This will help the blue tits to perch close to the food while they’re pecking at it. Then hang them up around the garden, where you can see them from a window – and wait for your garden visitors.

Dabble Grish for garden birds!



There’s a useful list here of what you can feed garden birds.

I love to see the birds and always have a huge container of wild bird seed in the corner of the kitchen, from which I top up the bird feeders every morning.  My favourite bird feeders (apart from my flowerpots) are these …


Such a brilliant design with suction pads that stick to the window and a little roof to keep the seed dry. You can see the birds clearly through the cut-out window in the back and the feeding tray unclips easily for cleaning.  There’s a little section for water too.  I bought two last year and the birds have loved visiting them – and I’ve enjoyed watching them feeding.

After all that ‘cooking’ I needed my own winter fuel this morning …

Porridge, with added oatmeal and a high fibre sprinkle - with a spoonful of homemade jelly!

Porridge, with added oatmeal and a high fibre fruity sprinkle – with a spoonful of homemade jelly!

It’s still really cold here, although yesterday’s dusting of snow quickly melted.  I’m just off for a good walk around the farm, with the collies.  Flora’s in the pond enjoying a splash, so I’ve reclaimed my blog for today!

My next post will be my 400th and I think I may revisit some of the most popular topics from the past 4 years.  Thank you so much to everyone who left a comment on my last post – it’s so lovely to hear from you.  Sometimes it feels a bit lonely, so do join in and have a chat.

Do you feed the garden birds?  What’s your favourite winter fuel breakfast/lunch/dinner?

Keep warm and snug …

Adaliza x

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§ 8 Responses to Winter fuel for the birds …

  • Linda says:

    I’m sure the birdies in your garden appreciate you cooking them up something really special. I love my friendly robins, one will come and take a little suet pellet from my hand most mornings and has done since last March, amazing feeling, I feel privileged that he trusts me. Then I reward him and his mate who comes to watch nearby with a table full of his favourite pellets and seeds. Love your blog and Flora’s too of course.


  • adaliza says:

    My Mum had a pet robin and he fed from my hand, years ago. It was magical – you’re so lucky.


  • knotrune says:

    I remember Johnny Morris! He was my favourite when I was about 7 🙂
    Nothing beats a good porridge for breakfast in winter, but I don’t always feel up to making it when I need it most. I like to put nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger in mine, with dried fruit like chopped dates or apricots, it’s lovely.


  • adaliza says:

    It’s so easy to dress up porridge. I have mine mid-morning these days and it keeps me going till tea-time!


  • downbytheseadorset.blogspot,co,uk says:

    I loved watching Johnny Morris on Animal magic, Your garden feeders are just what the birds need at the moment. Unfortunately we have had to take the bird feeders away as we are trying to discourage the rats coming in from the fields! Sarah x


  • adaliza says:

    It’s always a problem when living in the country – or next to it.


  • Hilary says:

    I have just started feeding the birds again as I now have only one elderly moggy and have remembered what joy it gives to see the birds back in the garden. I mentioned this to my sister and she immediately said are you making Dabble Grish. We loved Johnny Morris and after that programme regularly made this with Mum. We used to use old coconut shells as containers. Good memories


  • adaliza says:

    They just LOVE Dabble Grish here!


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