Thursday, January 26, 2006

Double or nothing

Murphy, Harley, and Buffet on the back of dh's chair --waiting for a snack, snack, mommie!
Double or nothing?

Having birds is like having a bunch of kids….some days, I feel like I run birdie day care. We have three adorable macaws: Murphy, the B&G, Buffet, the Greenwing, and Harley, the Harlequin. Today’s tale belongs to Buffet.

One of my bird clients was visiting her baby sun conure. She enjoys my macaws so they were all out to visit in the den that afternoon. They had a popcorn and peanut butter sandwich party, so all three macaws were excited and happy. Buffet has such a sweet personality. He loves everyone and everyone loves him! He just melts before your very eyes when someone wants to pet him. He’ll roll over and raise his left wing for a good scratching. Well, Karin knew this and went to visit Buffet. She rubbed his head and under his wing. Did I mention that Buffet is a jewelry nut? He grabbed her engagement ring with that mighty beak and gave one good twist. Karen had the most startled look on her face! “He got my diamond!” Buffet just looked at me with those big eyes and said, “Ark!” Immediately I tried to look in Buffet’s mouth, nothing. Karin, her son, and I dropped to our knees and proceeded to crawl around the floor looking for her diamond. Nothing…. Did I mention I had not swept or vacuumed after the popcorn party? Yikes!

As soon as Karin left, I got on the phone calling our local vet. No, he is not an avian vet but he has an x-ray machine. I wanted an x-ray to see if Buffet had indeed swallowed that diamond! Dr. Curtis Crawford told me to hang on; he would do some calling and see how urgent an emergency this was. Of course, this is after 5 pm on a Friday! How fast could a diamond go from a bird’s crop to his gizzard and then into the intestines? Could Buffet pass this ½ ct. round diamond?

Dr. Crawford called me back about an hour later. He had spoken to a couple of avian professionals and the consensus was that a greenwing macaw could and prolly would pass a ½ carat diamond with no problem. I called Karin and assured her that all was well. I went through the poopy papers for a couple of days without finding the diamond. Either Buffet passed it and I missed it in the paper; he didn’t pass it and is still carrying it around, or he never ate it to begin with.

Buffet is not officially for sale but my husband says that everything has a price tag or you will lose it. We figure that the diamond retails around the same thing a Greenwing macaw would sell for…. Hmmmm…buy the bird, get a chance at a diamond….almost as good as double or nothing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Queen of Hysteria?Hysterical? I don’t think so! My DH (dear husband today) has dubbed me the Queen of Hysteria! Don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted to wear a crown, not a tiara, a full fledge crown. I’m the queen of my home. My husband says I rule. I think I would rather rock but will take what I can get. If he thinks I rule then ok, I’ll rule. My scepter is a broom, my robe an unfinished quilt in progress, my lady in waiting will have to be Bailey the cocker spaniel. Wait can a male cocker, no matter how cute, be lady in waiting?, what crown? Where in the world did that crown go?

I can think of any number of kingdoms that I should rule but I’m not sure hysteria is the one. The Queen of Procrastination….The Queen of Stress…. The Queen of Dust Bunnies, but Queen of hysteria? I admit I get a little excited about certain things… company coming when the house has been hit by hurricane Haygood, deadlines that have crept in without giving me ample notice; you get the idea, but to call me hysterical? I really think that is going a little far!

Listen to the pitch of my voice? Of course it goes up a couple of octaves but I’m excited and you have that music so high I can’t hear myself think much less hear myself!

The voice of reason? What in heavens’ name does the voice of reason sound like when 10 dust bunnies have run across that den after I just vacuumed the floor? Those dust bunnies don’t even have names yet and company is due to walk in the door in 15 minutes! Goodness Gracious! Breathe!You want that quilt when? Today? What? You ordered six months ago? Really? Time flies! OH, my, I have about 10 feet of binding left to stitch down on this quilt and company is coming in 10 minutes….. Queen of Hysteria? Where is my crown? I think I will accept my title and wear the crown with pride, just as soon as I make the darn thing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Water water EVERYWHE

Water, water, EVERYWHERE!

I don’t believe in the typical resolutions for a new year, but I do try to set goals and form new habits each year.  This gives me an opportunity to evaluate what I accomplished the year before and what I need to try to change, both personally and professionally.  

My goals this year was to treat my designing as a real job.  I worked for two weeks on setting up my daily routines so that I had studio and bird barn time scheduled during the week.  I don’t mean the everyday stuff, such as email, basic bird care, etc.  

Well, this past week was the first week to implement my new daily routines.  Last week, I kind of just slipped into the new schedule.  This week I got up with a mission set to stick to the routine…. Well, you know the saying, “the best laid plans of men and mice…”  I was rocking along until about 4:00 pm yesterday.  Steve (my DH) had been in and out all day so I wasn’t sure if he was home or not throughout the day.  I had finished cleaning upstairs and was sitting down to spend some time on a new design.  I was actually going to have a couple of hours to sew before supper!  WOW!  Unexpected pleasure!  

All of a sudden I heard water running, you know, like Steve might be in the shower.  I went to investigate after hearing it for a few minutes, thinking that it was really odd for him to be in the shower that time of day unless he had an appointment or meeting.  I went to our bathroom first, no Steve.  Then down the hall, that bathroom door was closed.  Kind of strange that he would shower there, but ok.  I knocked and poked my head in the door.  No Steve but water shooting out horizontally from under the vanity!  The floor was flooded!  When I opened the door, the water just flowed out into the hall!  I tried to turn the water off under the sink.  The knobs were too tight to turn!  I only accomplished being soaked.  When I ran down the stairs to call Steve, I couldn’t believe my eyes!

The ceiling fan in the den looked like an upside down water fountain.  The den floor had at least an inch of water standing and the water was just pouring from the ceiling!  I got the shop number dialed and screamed in the phone – “COME HOME NOW!”  I did manage to get out to him that water was spewing everywhere.

Thankfully, I married a man who is mechanical and pretty handy.  He turned the water off at the street and came inside to help me get buckets, and pots out to try to catch the massive amount of water coming from the ceiling.  We got the water up and the floors dried in about 3 hours.  Steve made a run to Home Depot for new pipes and got busy on replacing the broken one last night.  By bedtime, we had water turned back on in the house, no hot water in the bathroom sink, but at least the shower had water.  

This morning, the ceiling looks even worse than it did last night but at least the room has been dried and put back in order…. So much for my new daily routines!  They got thrown out with the dishwater yesterday afternoon…. Back to work on forming my new habits today….

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hershey the Cockatiel!

I would like to introduce you to our newest member of our flock! Hershey is a cinnamon split to pied cockatiel. I’m so pleased with her coloring. It is a dark cinnamon that has a hue of chocolate in it. Not only is she a beautiful baby but she is so sweet! Hershey had a rocky start and some bumps the last couple of days in the journey of growing up to be a Patchwork Parrot bird.

On December 7, she was hatched to Babe and Sunny in our aviary. The first 11 days of her life, things went very well. Then on the morning of December 19, I found her and a sibling very cold in their nestbox. Sunny & Babe had decided they didn’t want to do this parent thing anymore. Grabbing the babies up in my hands, I went running into the house yelling for Steve to come help me. Imagine the look on his face when I pushed this very cold, naked baby cockatiel into his hands and screamed, “Blow!” It took a few seconds for it to sink in that I wanted him to cup his hands around the baby and blow warm air over it to start bringing up its body temperature, but he did a great job!

Later that day, we lost Hershey’s sibling but Hershey persevered. Christmas went off without a hitch even with a naked dinosaur looking baby on top of my refrigerator. No one even seemed to notice she was up there snug and warm on that heating pad.

This past weekend, Hershey gave me a little scare. Her crop filled with air to the point she looked like she had been inflated. I’ve raised birds for 13 years and never had one look like this! I got on the internet and started posting questions and pictures about this condition. I got tons of great advice, lots of caring notes, and support while I did everything I knew to do to help Hershey through this. Was it yeast? No typical symptoms of that. Ruptured air sac? No, not the typical look for that either. What was wrong with Hershey?

After receiving a very supportive and encouraging email from Bridget Aylward of Upsan Downs Aviary in CA, I followed her wonderful instructions on flushing and emptying Hershey’s crop. I was so nervous! I had done similar procedures on humans during my nursing career, but this wasn’t that large a creature! This tiny little bird was depending on me and I wasn’t sure I trusted my abilities. With a lump in my throat, and a prayer (literally) on my lips. I gave Hershey the baking soda/water solution then flipped her upside down and proceeded to push the fluid from her crop. The whole process took a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity. The danger here is to clear the baby’s mouth so no liquid gets sucked into her lungs. Aspiration in cockatiels is deadly! Afterwards, I cleaned Hershey up and gave her some Maalox and pedialyte and tucked her into her warm brooder.

By 5 am this morning, I was through tossing and turning, I wanted to see how Hershey had done through the night. There she was… snuggled up to her whompie, warm and cozy. (image placeholder)What a day! I wouldn’t trade raising birds for all the tea in China!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Creativity overflow!

My goodness! It is the New Year and with it has come an overflow of creativity and inspiration!

I made a birthday cake, chocolate/vanilla swirl with white icing, for our pastor today. Brother Mike is an avid fisherman so I put a fisherman and a clever fish on his cake.

This weekend is the 2nd annual mystery quilt online retreat, sponsored by my studio. This quilt pattern is an original design that I will have published in a pattern later this year. I started doing this mystery quilt retreat last year for my yahoo group members.

Click here to join patchworkparrot
Click to join patchworkparrot

I’ve noticed through the years that whenever my creativity starts flowing after a stagnant period that I seem to also be busier in other areas of my life. It leads me to think there is a definite link between the creative flow, or lack of thereof, and depression. This year, I plan to be more creative, more content with my life, and to tend to the important things and ignore the rest.

Have a marvelous week!
hugs & smiles,
Leigh Anne

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Wishing you a rainbowFor sunlight after showers
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!
(an old Irish blessing. author unknown)
hugs & smiles,
Leigh Anne