Finches and Woodpeckers

IMG_6471I hadn’t seen any birds at our feeder for a few days, and I wondered if they might already be leaving for the winter, which was a glum thought. And, yesterday, I had  installed a new feeder. Birds are cautious creatures, and perhaps the activity had scared them off.  I needn’t have worried, though. Today, finches, nuthatches, chickadees and a woodpecker all appeared. I especially never tire of seeing the goldfinches! Actually, I like seeing them all.

IMG_6454These two were at the feeder for quite awhile.

IMG_6456Sharing.

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IMG_6463I even love seeing the beautiful display of their wings from the back, so neatly folded.

IMG_6468Then, a downy woodpecker appeared.

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IMG_6467Closeup

IMG_6474Then the woodpecker flew over to investigate the menu at the feeder. Suet and corn muffins. Mmm. I’ve rarely seen a woodpecker from the front before.

And a finch sat on the new feeder, also investigating. I’ve found that it takes a while before birds will eat at a new feeder.

IMG_6475IMG_6450Another beautiful finch.

Meanwhile, I decided to try out a recipe called Giant Spice Cookies that I had found in a Taste of Home magazine. They are made with a spice cake mix, and turned out great–spicy, chewy, and crispy.

Giant Spice Cookies

Ready for baking.
Ready for baking.

1 package (18-1/4 oz.) spice cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup molasses
6 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine the cake mix, ginger and baking soda in a bowl. Stir in water, molasses and vanilla; mix well. Scoop up with a 1/4-cup ice cream scooper. Or, roll into 10 balls.

Bake at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until surfaces crack and cookies are firm. Yield: 10 cookies

Note: Be sure to use an 18-1/4 ounce cake mix, like Duncan Hines. Some mixes look the same size, but are only 15 ounces. Also, better to undertake than over bake.

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As I mentioned, these were easy, crackly, chewy and spicy, and were large enough to use as a little gift at Christmas. But I had a further thought on these. Somehow, by my lights, they cried out for chocolate. So I melted about 3 ounces of dark chocolate, and spread it over the bottom of each cookie. Suddenly, they went from being nice, good cookies, to woo-hoo-hoo! If you’ve ever had a chocolate covered lebkuchen–that’s what they taste like, but are much easier.

(I asked Jim how he liked the cookies. He said that he had just eaten two of them–guess they’re okay!)

Hope your week is a good one. Namaste. Fran

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