Every Day, A Gift

     To say I space my posts out is sort of an understatement. And this is more of a post to just say I haven’t abandoned this blog entirely despite evidence to the contrary. My latest project has been creating a backyard sanctuary, both for myself and the little denizens of the suburbs: toads, treefrogs, birds, squirrels, rabbits, ducks, geese, and the like. I will be posting photos of my progress soon. Continue reading

Love Me, Love My Bird

      For many of us the significant people in our lives, whether that is a partner, family, or close friends, don’t quite get our love of parrots. And as someone involved in rescue, I don’t even particularly think they should be in homes. But here they are, part of the pet trade industry, and captive bred birds can not easily have either their bond to humans broken or be taught how to survive in the wild. Recently I posted a bird shaming video’ on my Facebook page. Of course it is meant to be funny but it is the reality of having a parrot in your home. In fact, it doesn’t even fully portray the destructive nature of birds, or touch on other behaviors such as biting and screaming that may also be part of keeping essentially a wild animal in your home.

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Make homemade focaccia with my gourmet mix

     I am always thinking about fun and creative ways to support the rescue, as well as make amends for bringing birds into our home. I decided to put together a gourmet pasta basket so my fellow bird lovers can prepare an easy meal for their friends or family. It features my gourmet pasta sauce, and also includes a focaccia/ breadstick mix (you can make either with it), and a dessert mix as well as a few other goodies. Everything is easy to make, although you do need to allow enough time for the bread to rise and the cookies to bake, and you need some basic kitchen appliances and supplies. I design my mixes for the novice cook, although experienced foodies will enjoy them too. I am only making a limited number of baskets, and you can place an order for one here. They will be ready for pick up on March 26th at our social which will be from 11 am to 2 pm at 960 Mahtomedi Ave. in Mahtomedi, MN. I will also have individual jars of homemade pasta sauce for sale as well as my focaccia mix and more soup! Come and sample my pasta sauce with either organic pasta or a gluten free substitute!

     Our first social for the rescue was a big success so we decided it would be fun to try and host one a month. I will be featuring different food products and offering items for sale, with proceeds supporting Parrot Rescue Services.  It is  also a great time to meet other parrot lovers and talk to people who have dedicated their lives to caring for parrots who are looking for a place to call home.

A Grain of Sand

     The problem with getting behind on your blog is that the more time that goes by the harder it is to update. Not because there is nothing to write about, but because there is so much to write about. Like just about everyone else, I have a lot of opinions about the election, and a lot of thoughts about the future of this country. But this is not a political one, so that is about the extent of my commentary on that. I am also a firm believer in living in the moment, which doesn’t mean I don’t think about the past or worry about the future, just that I am most concerned about today, and what I can do to make the most out of this very precious day. And most days there is so much to do  that once I fall out of the habit of writing it is hard to find the time again. Suddenly things that seemed so pressing to write about no longer seem all that relevant to the present moment. Continue reading

Challenges

     Yesterday was a big day for nonprofits across Minnesota; it was Give to the Max Day. This is the annual fundraising day many nonprofits and schools across Minnesota use to raise money. Right from the start the website, which always seems to have some issues, had major issues and crashed. It was down for hours, leaving nonprofits scrambling to keep their supporters updated. I personally had people emailing or texting me wanting to know if their donation went through. Unfortunately, I couldn’t immediately confirm that, because I couldn’t see our page either or access our donation report. Eventually the problem was fixed and the page functioned fairly well for the rest of the day, but not before many nonprofits lost valuable hours for fundraising. People really want to support the causes they believe in; most of the nonprofits on the site are smaller ones that really rely on this day, including mine. Continue reading

Groundhog Day

     I tend to wake up at the same time every morning without ever setting an alarm. I have always been an early riser, but I think I tend to wake up because I have so much creative energy and often I have an idea I want to work on. Making things keeps me sane, and helps balance out the inevitable chaos from caring for over 50 birds every day. Frequently I think of the movie Groundhog Day, as I feel I am reliving the same day over and over.  This is not so much because I am trying to get it right, but because it takes less than 24 hours for all my work to get undone. Without making things, it is easy for me to spend the day feeling I haven’t actually accomplished much, since in little time what I spend hours cleaning is quickly undone. Having young children can be equally exhausting, and I remember hearing the advice when my son was young to every day do something that can’t be undone. I loved that advice then, and I think it holds true for me now. Whether or not you are a parent of young children, there are so many times in life when it may feel that you are simply existing only to get up the next day and do the same mundane tasks.   Continue reading

The Work/Life Balance

     The work/life balance is something I struggle with all the time. I have always been incredibly hard working, and my life’s work will only end when I become too old and frail to manage the rescue. But that isn’t my whole life. I have my studio work, where I create art just for myself. After years of selling work I discovered I mostly enjoy creating when I don’t have to think about selling it. I also try to create pieces to sell. These are few and far in between as is any work I complete for myself.  It is a necessary part of my day; creating is something I need. But the most important aspect of my life is being a parent. While creating and creativity are a necessary part of my existence, it is just part of who I am, being a parent is the greatest joy I know. Continue reading

Meet Coconut!

     dsc00999      I write a lot of blog posts in my head, but thus far I haven’t found a way of making them public without actually writing them. My goal is to update this blog once a week and I am happy with twice a month. But even that is hard for me. There is never a shortage of work during the day and right now I am also busy getting ready for our holiday boutique on November 26th, so sometimes it is hard to meet my goal of regular updates. While even for me Christmas and the boutique itself, which is a month before Christmas, seem very far away, it really isn’t if your focus is on completing work to sell. I hope to have a wide variety of food gifts, handmade soap, and handmade art for sale. But I will save that for another post. Continue reading

New Beginnings

Mario needs to adjust to a new daily routine, now that school has started
My son’s bird Mario needs to adjust to a new daily routine, now that school has started

     My life is full of  milestones, of new beginnings, both in my personal life and in the rescue. This year my son made the big change from elementary school to middle school. It was a change I have been dreading, not really being sure how he would do. We spent time over the summer talking about it and how he should manage his day, and of course the teachers spend a lot of the first week helping the sixth graders adjust to new expectations. I am lucky that he likes routines and schedules, and as soon as he understands what is expected of him, thrives in new situations. I can also communicate with him (at least until he hits his teen years) and he can tell me of his worries and fears. But when a new bird comes into the shelter, how do I begin to help them adjust to the sudden world of change in which they are placed? Continue reading

An Elvis Update

     A lot of my time and energy at the rescue goes toward helping birds adjust to a new life. Some do better than others; just like with people birds all handle stress differently. When a bird has been traumatized there is no way of really knowing how they will do in a home. It takes time and patience, and often what we see at the shelter is not the same behavior that one sees in a home. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Tiels

     Recently, two of our cockatiels have found their way back into a home. One is living as a single bird but is bonding really well with his human caretakers; the other cockatiel was chosen as a possible companion for a cockatiel already in the home. Both are doing very well, and in the very near future I will be posting updates with photos and these birds and other recent adoptions. Care must be taken when introducing a second bird; never assume that just because two birds are of the same species that they will get along. But it can work out, and I was reminded of two birds that I cared for a number of years ago. I originally wrote the following story back in 2010. It is about two birds that through a twist of fate met and became inseparable, and showed me once again how deeply birds connect. Continue reading