Broad Insight: From Orioles to Axes

Information ranging from feeding orioles, to making better broadaxes.

| June/July 2005

  • Orioles
    Grapefruits can be converted into jelly feeders to attract birds such as orioles.
    Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS
  • Broadaxe
    Tempering a broadaxe will greatly increase its strength when you use the right metals.
    Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS
  • 210-014-01i2.jpg

  • Orioles
  • Broadaxe
  • 210-014-01i2.jpg

Feed Jelly to Your Orioles

In northwest Ohio, spring means the arrival of the orioles. We have orchard orioles and Baltimore orioles, and both love to eat grapefruit, oranges and, especially, grape jelly. At first, we spooned the jelly into the cut-off bottoms of plastic water bottles that we tacked to a post. The problem with this was these makeshift jelly feeders attracted flies, ants and dirt. We found a better way to feed the jelly that was not only cleaner and easier, but also involved a little recycling. After the birds picked the orange or grapefruit halves clean, we would just spoon the jelly into the empty fruit skin. This could then be stuck on a small nail or simply wedged into one of the links in a chain-link fence. After a day or two, we’d pitch the older ones into a compost pile and use another “empty.”

 — Gena Husman and Robin M. Arnold, Port Clinton, Ohio

Grateful for a Generator

During the closing on our summer home in Maine, our sellers, an older Maine couple, elaborately espoused the benefits of the generator, with the Briggs & Stratton motor, they were leaving behind. My husband and I listened politely, but we had no clue about the significance of their advice.

The generator sat like a beached whale in the oversized garage that had once been a barn. Because there was little likelihood we would overwinter anytime soon, we seldom gave as much as a glance at the operating directions for the next four years. “No need to know that” registered in our subconscious. Little did we imagine that the moment of reckoning would come so unexpectedly and with such urgency.

A nor’easter off of Flanders Bay and the great Northern Atlantic whipped the sea into a frenzy, sent the loons into hiding and scattered the chickadees. The winds whipped up at 75 mph, and the rain pelted the house, barn and earth in torrents. I knew the basement would fill up, as the property was “wet.” What I hadn’t counted on was an electrical blowout on the entire Maine coast, knocking out precious sump pumps, all manner of sanitary facilities, microwaves and (oh, my goodness) all food appliances. All this happened without a hint as to how long the blackout would continue. And my husband was out of town; I was home alone.

The basement kept filling and then it hit me — the generator. “I must get it going, and I can do it,” I told myself, really believing it — that is, until I started to read the instructions. Wow, what folly it had been to ignore this. I started following the directions, struggling to walk from the barn to the now partially flooded basement where the major electrical box with the 220-volt power lines hung on the wall.

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