Chippies on the Front Bed

Chippies was what my wife’s grandmother called any little brown or grey bird that came to her feeder. Chickadees, sparrows, and house finches were all chippies. They have been gathering regularly on my front strawberry beds. The attraction is likely the spent grains of my last batch of home brew.

Brewing extracts sugars and carbs from malted barley by steeping the grain. Protein remains in the grain after the steeping process and brewers can’t ferment protein so they are finished with the grains after steeping. But protein has value. The chippies like it. Soil microbes convert protein from the grain into nitrogen. What the birds don’t consume will nourish my strawberries. The birds deposit a bit of nitrogen fertilizer while they are taking away some. I haven’t tried to run any numbers on net gains and losses. It seems like a shared round of goodness.

I get to enjoy some home brew. Chippies get a few free meals. Strawberries get some nutrients, and then I get to enjoy strawberries. With two rounds of enjoyment for me, I like the way it works out.

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