Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Working Mom

It has been about two months since I started my new job. The three months of being jobless were nice, mostly because I got to spend so much (maybe too much, if that is even possible) time with the birds at home! It was wonderful being able to relax with them throughout the day, make toys for them, cook meals for them, without being rushed or anxious. But now that I've been back in the working world, I am beginning to feel guilty again because I don't get home until after dinner time from Monday to Friday. Also, with wedding planning being quite crazy, the weekends have been flying by and sadly, time with the birds have been flying by as well. How do I compensate for this? Well, I guess I try my best to squeeze as much time as possible with them that I can without feeling like I might fall over throughout the day. I wake up while it is still dark outside so they can come out of their cages and stretch, play, and shower with me. It's such a joy beginning my mornings extra early with my caiques head-bobbing with happiness and Daphne trying to start multiple conversations with me as I'm drying my hair and putting on my work clothes.

Another unhealthy way that I've been "compensating" is spending large sums of money on the birds, whether it's buying tons of food/treats, toys, perches, you name it! Being stuck in front of a computer all day at work does not help this issue at all because I go onto websites and buy whatever I think the birds would love. Don't get me wrong, I am fully aware that nothing can compare to spending quality time with the birds. Toys and treats could never replace my physical presence within our flock, even if I'm not giving them direct attention. I know they are much happier when I am in the room or within sight, especially for Daphne, who keeps an eye on me no matter what she is doing. I am, after all, her flock member and best friend! So now, we have an overflowing amount of toys and perches, containers filled with multiple treats and toy parts, that I don't know how long it will be before the birds will have a chance to go through all of their new goodies. I suppose it's sort of a win/win for myself AND the birds, since we both benefit directly and indirectly. The main reason I do this is because I figure that if I am not at home to play/pay attention to my birds, their foraging toys, shreddable toys, and treats will keep them busy enough for a couple hours until I return home. I love it when I walk through the door and they stop mid-play to greet me while holding a piece of wood or leather in their beak from their prior play activities!

This is just a glimpse into our new lifestyle and schedule. I guess we are all still getting adjusted to the changes and hopefully we will find a balance. Thankfully, the birds have already adjusted to my new schedule very nicely. I think I'm the one having more difficulties with it than they are. Typical! =)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Next Chapters..

It has been so long since I've updated this blog that I almost forgot it existed! Thankfully, with a few gentle reminders I rediscovered this and am ready to get back into my updates. A whole lot has changed since 2011 began and my flock and I have been adapting to all the exciting and chaotic events that have taken over as of late.
The boys being goofy as usual!
My current flock of three have been stable and doing well with all the occuring changes. I decided that I had to let go of my past, as hard as it was, and have proceeded to delete all my posts about my past parrots, who have all gone to wonderful new homes. I miss them dearly and the one comfort I have is knowing they are thriving, loved, and happier with their new families. I guess as much as I am beginning many new chapters in my life, my birds are doing the same. I feel lucky because I get updates on how they are doing from time to time. It's always hard reading about them doing well though, because it makes me wish I could be the one witnessing their first words, their first successful flight landings, becoming more vocal in the spring (yes, I know I am crazy for wanting that), and all of their quirks and personality traits I fell in love with. Lately, with all of these nostalgic feelings, I wondered how I could ever keep it together if/when I breed birds someday and my babies go off to new homes. I know my birds have gone to the best homes possible and even still I worry and can't sleep easy some nights! I suppose this will make it easier for me to be EXTRA picky when it comes to finding new homes for my future babies. That should be interesting!

Our newest addition is a Congo African Grey, who we named "Daphne". She is about 5 months old now and is a wonderful, sassy, and joyful little lady! Living with a Grey has been life-changing and I can't remember life before Daphne. I can sense how intelligent and sensitive she is to everything going on around her. She is very particular about the way I'm "allowed" to rub her head and neck, loves playing with foot toys, flings mangoes with so much force that my ceiling is nicely decorated with dry fruit pieces, and has already learned a few words! I am a very proud mama!
Little Miss Daphne!

There are many more exciting things brewing in the pot and I am excited to update about everything in the coming weeks! Thank you to everyone who have kept their interest in my flock!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Flock Approved Gourmet Salad

As I mentioned briefly in an earlier post, I prepare a "7-Layer Salad" about once a month for my parrots. I follow this recipe as a general guideline and I try to be creative with each creation. There are a lot of wonderful benefits to feeding this salad, the two most important ones being that it can be stored for a longer period of time than most other perishable food items and it provides a great variety for the birds! It also provides me an opportunity to sneak in healthy foods they would normally refuse to eat, but since it is well mixed with everything else, they cannot be as picky. I make enough to feed my four parrots for about a week and a half to two weeks, since I offer large quantities in their bowls so they get to taste a little bit of everything (and because they usually fling or drop half their bowls' contents onto the walls and floors)!

Preparation consists of getting all the vegetabls and fruits washed, the storage containers emptied and cleaned, and cutting utensils laid out nicely. This time around, we let the parrots join in on the salad making fun!

All ready to go!

Our official taste testers for the evening

Gotta love variety!

Preparation goes a long way!

Caiques love making messes
We begin by getting the leafy greens (kale, mustard greens, dandelion greens, etc) chopped up into fine pieces and place them on the bottom. Then the vegetables (cucumbers, sugar snap peas, squash, peppers) get chopped up into small cubes, followed by shredded broccoli and carrots!

The middle of the salad is a cooked bean mix. I use a variety of beans (some favorites include lentil, mung beans, chick peas) and soak them for about 8 hours. Then I rinse and cook them for about 20 to 30 minutes and add them to the salad. Below the beans we place a thin layer of dried, uncooked, whole wheat pasta, which will soften as it aborbs the moisture from this bean mix.

This salad would not be complete without some yummy fruits! An important fruit for this layered salad is orange because the citrus juice helps keep the rest of the salad fresh. Therefore, the cut up orange pieces (mixed with apple pieces) go on top of all the greens, veggies, and beans.

Then the final layer on top are frozen vegetables. The heat from the cooked beans will rise while the chill from the frozen veggies spread down towards  the bottom. This meeting of opposite temperatures keep the vegetables fresh longer (along with the citrus juice from the fruits).

Adding the final layer of frozen goodness

When the layering is complete, the containers are sealed and put away, all ready to be served the very next morning!

Mission accomplished.

I personally love making this for my birds because it is a lot of fun and my boyfriend has started helping me (saves me half the time!) and the birds have such a great time even though they make a huge mess. Then the next morning, the real fun begins -- breakfast time!


Prepared with love
This salad calls for endless possibilities and creativity. I change up the greens, vegetables, pasta shapes, and bean mix each time so the birds do not get bored. I will also throw in a few nuts or extra in-season fruits just before serving in the morning (melons, blueberries, watermelon, etc). These can stay in the cages for around 4 hours and the birds have a great time foraging around the mix. It is both pleasing to the eye and nose, for both avians and humans alike!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tis the Season to Spend, Spend, and Spend

The holidays are usually the only time of the year I do mass amounts of shopping, and the shopping is not even for myself. Each year that passes seem to become more and more stressful but I do have a good time browsing  through the current styles that I've been missing out on for the whole year..and getting tempted to buy a bunch of things for myself! It's so easy to get sucked into current trends and material things. BUT instead of splurging on these types of things, I know where my money will ultimately go! After the gift-buying fiasco ends, I will be going back to spoiling my flock. I have to say that I genuinely love buying things for them because I hate the idea that they are bored or restless, especially the Caiques who get especially antsy and have so much energy that I find it hard to keep up with them. The solution is to stock up their cages with tons of new toys and experiment with LOTS of new food items! I've created a "wish list" of things that my parrots will be receiving in 2011:

-The "Atom" from Mother Pluckin Bird Toys (Such a creative name for a bird store!)
This can be hung from the ceiling and will provide great exercise for the birds to climb, swing, and play on. It is pricey but I've been told that it is a "must-have" for any parrot (and parrot owner, hehe).

-A Java Tree Playstand made of Java Wood. These would look great in my future bird room and can provide an extra place of fun for the parrots to hang out on!

-A metal playstand for more general playing and hanging out on. Seriously, a bird cannot have enough places to play on! Trust me. I particularly like this playstand because it has a lot of rings for hanging various toys onto!

-The "Wingdow Seat" -- a very nice and sturdy perch that goes up on any window and allows parrots to watch outdoor activities from a safe place. Also pricey, but I know how much my parrots love sitting at the window and staring at the sky and trees, so this will give them the perfect place to do this without getting too cold from any drafts. They sit at the window now and when I go to pick them up, their little feet are ice cold! Poor babies, this will have to be fixed =)

There are many more things on my list but these are the "major" investments. One reason I do not want to buy too many things right away, especially the really big things, is because I am running out of space! All of my parrots are sharing a small bedroom with me and they have already taken up so much space. The only space I have left to myself are my twin bed and closet! My boyfriend and I hope to have a place someday with an extra room just for the birds, which will become the aviary/bird room. We talk about plans on how it will look like and I always get super excited! For now, though, we have to work with the limited space we have and try to keep our birds as happy as possible with the smaller things.

Caiques' cage

Caiques' play area