Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hummer Feeding Refinement...

Longtime readers know that we feed lots of hummingbirds out here in the chaparral.  During the height of the season (July through September), we'll go through as much as 3 to 4 gallons of hummer juice (a 4::1 water::sugar mixture by volume) every day.  For several years now I've been making the hummer juice in 5 gallon batches, storing it inside a potable water container designed for camping.  This has worked great, especially for me – but for Debbie, lifting close to 50 lbs of hummer juice plus container is more of a challenge.

I had another idea, which we've just proved out.  It's superior in several ways to the 5 gallon batch approach.  The basic idea is to make a gallon of “hummer juice concentrate”, and mix that as needed.  Here's what I did:
  1. Found a nice, sturdy, tightly-closing gallon pitcher, rectangular in cross-section for efficient storage in the refrigerator.
  2. Filled the pitcher to the brim with sugar.
  3. Put in food coloring (orange to attract the orioles), the same amount as for a five gallon batch of hummer juice.
  4. Fill the pitcher with hot water, stirring.  The sugar will all dissolve nicely; you'll be surprised how much water you have to add.
  5. Refrigerate.
To use, I measure out 13 ounces of concentrate into a two-quart pitcher, then fill the pitcher with water and stir briefly (the concentrate mixes almost instantly).  Voila!  For a small investment of work on the gallon of concentrate, we've got five gallons of hummer juice, slightly compressed, stored in the refrigerator.  The cold slows down the inevitable mold and fungus.  The pitcher when completely full weighs less than 10 pounds.  Filling the hummer feeders is a snap.  Win win!

I'm going to try one more thing: measuring the concentrate directly into the feeders and simply filling them with hot water.  That just might be even easier...

1 comment:

  1. I smell a commercial opportunity...

    Smilin Tom's Down home Hummer Juice..