Jenks Herb Festival & Tulsa Oklahoma Trip

Azaleas

One of my favorite activities of the year, is the herb festival and strolling around in Tulsa. We took a day trip up to Jenks Oklahoma for the festival via the old Route 66 Saturday. It was a two and a half hour drive through small towns, and past large ranches, pastures and woodland. I love the back roads, I would take them over major highways any day.

Route 66

We were able to bring one of our pooches Snuggle. We enjoy pet friendly places, including the Jenks Herb Festival and Woodward Park. Sand Springs, in a nearby town has a larger herb festival the week before but not only is it too crowded, they are not pet friendly. Jenks had a shop giving out samples of their homemade doggie biscuits during the festival, a very friendly environment.

Bruce & Snuggle Jenks Herb Festival

The Herb Festival is sensory overload for plant and herb lovers. So many herbs of every type from over a hundred vendors. It is helpful to have a small cart to put your items in because it is blocks of walking. One of my favorite vendors Wild Things Nursery was there. If you love butterflies, and are near Oklahoma, they are the people to get plants from. They have tons of helpful info about host plants and butterflies on their website too.

Arkansas River

After a few hours at the herb festival,  we ventured on into Tulsa to visit my favorite park and view the Arkansas River. The levels of the river have come up since the drought of the past few years.

Landscaping at Woodward Park

Woodward Park off Peoria Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma is 40 acres of beautiful landscaping, wildlife and natural beauty.

DogWood Trees nestled below  taller oaks

The park has about 15,000 azalea bushes, plus dogwood trees, flower and herb gardens, ponds, waterfalls, interesting bridges, all set among huge old oak trees and rolling hills.

Kesha & Snuggle Bridge

It is a dream for photographers and nature lovers. There were birds and wildlife all around and I even had a couple of squirrels that came and took a snack from my hand.

Squirrel coming up to me

I am a country girl at heart and an animal lover, so I enjoy interaction with all of God’s amazing creatures.

Squirrel enjoying a snack

My husband was the one who began offering a few tidbits to the squirrels. They were wild and they did not stay around long.

My husband feeding a squirrel

I took hundreds of pictures in the park, Tulsa, and also in the atrium of the Tulsa Garden Center. They have gorgeous orchids and many other flowers.

Kesha & Snuggle Azalea Bushes

It is hard to find time to get away for even a day trip but this is well worth the trip!

For the Birds: Easy to Make Scrumptious Suet Recipe

I have been making suet for the birds for years. It is very easy to make and the birds absolutely love it. I tested my handmade suet against store bought brands and the birds ate all of mine and hardly touched the store bought, so it has won the taste test!!

You can easily adjust the recipe to fit your own ingredients and supplies you have at home.  Feel free to substitute and use up extra ingredients you have. It was hard for me to measure and figure out amounts of ingredients I use because I add by sight and feel!!

This makes a full cake pan, which I cut into 6 large blocks. Ingredient measurements do not have to be exact. It is a forgiving recipe.

Easy to Make Scrumptious Suet

2 lbs Lard ( I buy the 4 lb buckets and use half in a batch)

1/2 cup Oats ( optional) I use regular oats, minute is fine

1 cup+ Cornmeal

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy)

1 1/2 Cups+ Wild Bird Seed ( or scratch) ( I put seed in Christmas Tins for easy measuring)

1 1/2 Cups+ Sunflower Seeds ( Black oil is best, in shell is fine or sunflower nuts)

1 – 2 cups Dried Fruit, Trail Mix or Nuts 1 – 7 oz pkg is approximately 2 cups ( I use up slightly older (but still fresh) and extra items that we aren’t eating, but I have bought just for suet. Dollar Stores and Dollar Tree have reasonably priced dried fruit and nuts)

1. In a large pan, melt lard and peanut butter in pan over low heat, stirring occasionally. While lard is melting gather and prepare a cake pan lined with waxed paper or tin foil. ( I recycle the wax insert bags that dry cereal like cornflakes come in. Rinse them off, air dry and store. They work perfectly in the cake pans, and they are much stronger than regular wax paper)

2. Add cornmeal to melted suet and peanut butter mixture. Stir until cornmeal is absorbed.

3. Turn off heat. Add oats.

4. Add wild bird seed and sunflower seeds/nuts to mixture. Stir to feel texture. You may add more seed and sunflowers if needed. You want it fairly thick.

5. Add fruit and nuts. Stir

6. Carefully pour suet into lined cake pan. Use a large spoon to gently distribute the ingredients evenly. Sunflowers in hulls tend to sit on top. This is okay.

7. Wait for suet to cool and set up. We love setting ours outside in the cold on the back deck and covering with an old screen and weighting with a few rocks to keep critters out. If you have room, you can pop it in your freezer for a bit.

8. Once it has set up, I usually wait a few hours, then cut into squares. I use a butter knife to carefully cut through the suet. It is easy to cut if it isn’t frozen solid!!

9. Remove suet from pan and store in fridge or freezer or a very cool location like a garage or cellar, or secured place outdoors. I put 3-4 squares in a gallon size Ziploc freezer baggie for storage and lay flat. I use disposable latex gloves to handle the suet, your hands will get very greasy and slippery if you do not use gloves!!

It is easy to remove the suet squares, pull up on the corners of the wax paper and it lifts up so you can get your fingers under the corner square and carefully pull out of pan.

We have small wire cages we hang with suet and we have several different suet feeders that I made from small logs we cut from tree limbs. I will give instructions in another post. I like to stuff the extra pieces of suet into the logs, woodpeckers especially love eating from these.

We like to use this suet recipe in spring, fall and winter but not in summer. Suet will melt down in heat. This is nutritious for the birds and keeps them alive during brutal winter days. We really enjoy watching the woodpeckers, titmouse, chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, and others who come to feast at the feeders.