1/3 cup lard (available in bulk in most grocery stores)
1 cup white flour
1/3 cup sugar
MELT and blend the lard and peanut butter in a large pan over low heat, and then stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour into a flat container about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place in the freezer about an hour, then cut blocks sized to fit your suet basket. Place a piece of wax paper between the blocks, then stack and store in the freezer. It keeps for months.
For more suet, just double or triple the recipe. And to make the recipe even more irresistible, add a handful of sunflower chips, peanuts and/or raisins.
Plastic-covered wire suet baskets are inexpensive and easy to fill when the suet is gone. You might also get some large pine cones at a craft shop, and while the suet mix is still warm, roll the cones in the mix. Sprinkle some sunflower seeds on the still warm cones and hang them from a tree branch with monofilament fishing line.
A small log also can be transformed into a suet feeder. Take an 18- to 24-inch log and drill a series of inch-and-a-half holes about an inch deep. Then pack these holes with suet and hang from a screw eye. Attach a swivel so the log can spin and prevent birds from hiding on the back side. Woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches have strong clinging feet, so perches are unnecessary.
A more sophisticated suet feeder is a suet tree. It's simply an untreated, eight-foot 4x4 post. Sink it into a hole about 30 inches deep, or if the ground is too difficult to excavate, strap it to a tree with electrical wire. Starting at the top, drill a series of inch-and-a-half holes about an inch deep along two adjacent sides of the post. Leave about a foot between each hole. Position the post so the sides with suet holes can be seen from the house.
Then fill the holes with suet, sit back and enjoy the show.
Send questions and comments to Dr. Scott Shalaway, 2222 Fish Ridge Road, Cameron, WV 26033 or by email via my website, http://scottshalaway.googlepages.com.