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Merry Christmas Eve! — December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Eve!

It’s been too long since I’ve written.  Every time I do a blog post I have good intentions of continuing on a timely basis, but for one reason or another my resolve goes by the wayside.  Life gets in the way sometimes.

Today is Christmas Eve.  Hubby is taking the day off, so he’s puttering and catching up on his stuff.  The workshop is practically sparkling.  Perhaps I exaggerate.  Suffice to say it is no longer sixty feet of clutter and sawdust and metal shavings.  As I said, practically sparkling.  🙂

I cleaned the birds today because Friday is my usual day and it’s NOT happening on Christmas day!  There was a time when I cleaned cages daily and Christmas day was the only day of the year when it didn’t happen.  A day off for the Mama.  In the last few years my cleaning has changed due to reading that a “too-clean” cage could actually be detrimental to the birds and they could have less resistance to bacteria.  In view of what they say now about kids being better off getting dirty rather than living pristine childhoods, it makes sense to me.  I now do cage cleaning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and take the weekend off.  Daily food and water chores still take about an hour if I hurry, but that isn’t that bad.

So the birds have been cleaned and tomorrow morning I will just have to do the food and water.  I think I will put together some sort of breakfast casserole tonight that will sit in the fridge overnight and get tossed in the oven in the morning, and while it’s cooking I can work on the bird chores.

The house has been vacuumed and laundry is in the washer.  Today is a busy day so that the big day tomorrow can be as easy as possible.  I made two kinds of meatballs last week: Italian and Swedish.  They were put into the freezer and taken out last night and put in the fridge.  Tomorrow morning I will be putting them into two crockpots where they will simmer away until we want to eat.  Easy peasy.

We rearranged some things the other night – moving furbys out of a furby cabinet (doesn’t everyone have one???) so I could put some of my kitchen things in their place.  I think most cooks would agree that if it’s not handy, you won’t use it.  At least, that’s how it’s always been for me.  When I got my electric pressure cookers, I sacrificed my big breadmaker  because even though my kitchen has a decent amount of counter space, there is never enough.  We were also going to do low carb for a while, so it wasn’t much of a sacrifice at the time.  The breadmaker lived on top of my freezer for the last several years.  Now that my pressure cookers have a new home in the former furby cabinet, my breadmaker has come back to it’s spot on the counter.  And as I write, the first loaf of homemade bread in several years has begun it’s magical birth.  In about four hours this place is going to smell divine!  I suspect Santa will come here before the other houses in the neighborhood, simply because he won’t be able to resist the smell.  😉

I have four cups of our own blueberries (picked and frozen in August) cooling on the stove after being cooked down with a bit of sugar into a nice jam-like consistency.  As soon as it cools a tad more, I’ll be making thumbprint cookies using the blueberry jam.  Yum!

Up here on the hill it’s foggy and 46 degrees.  Such a difference from Christmases past. I remember one year – I think it may have been the first year we were up here because I don’t recall Alex being born yet – when we lost power on Christmas morning.  What I remember most is Scott and I making toast over the gas burner of the stove top.  It was an adventure.

Another Christmas I remember was the year we used a tree from the land here for our Christmas tree.  This was in the first few years of living here, when the place was all trees save for the tiny little yard out to the side.  Picture thick forest where a tiny area had been cleared just enough to accommodate  a mobile home.  That’s what this place was like when we bought it.  And we had this insane mindset to preserve all the trees.  Insane because living in darkness is no fun.  Humans need LIGHT!  So this one year when we were still crazy, we purposely picked a very sparse, Charlie Brown-like tree because we didn’t want to cut a “good” one!   We had zillions of trees!  LOL!  Of course it was still a great Christmas, despite the tree.  We’ve since cut down tons of trees to give this place tons of light, and a view, too, though we have lost much of that in recent years since trees that are growing up are not ours to cut or trim.  But it’s the light that we most love.

I remember some pretty lean Christmases as well, when money was tight.  Alex was just a little kid, and I remember spending many hours over many days, while he was napping, making little Play-Doh dinosaurs and a little dinosaur land on the top of a Cool Whip lid, like a little diorama. It was all self-contained when you put the bowl of the container down on top of the lid.  You don’t really need a lot of money to make something for someone, just the will to do it.  A nice Christmas really is not about what you have under the tree.

Christmas brings out the memories, for sure.  Some good, some not so good.  There is a song that Luke Bryan sings, and part of it goes like this,

“When you look back over your shoulder, at everything you’ve done,      put the good times in your pocket, let the bad ones make you strong.   Keep chuggin’ along.”

Christmas and the end of the year is a good time to remember that.  We can’t go back, only forward.  Make the best of the holiday, and make the best of every day.  Merry Christmas to all, and if you don’t celebrate this holiday, don’t let the PC crap take hold – just know that when someone wishes you a happy *anything* you should take it in the spirit in which it is given.





12-2-15: This and That — December 2, 2015

12-2-15: This and That

It’s 36 degrees and rainy, and since it’s after 4:30 PM it’s also pitch black out.  The worst part of winter is not the snow and cold, it’s the early darkness.  However, the darkness outside is broken up nicely by all the Christmas lights we have.  Bright, LED lights, that are so pretty it’s practically impossible to feel depressed in their presence.  The big blow-up Polar bear is also way too cheery to allow a frown so, despite anything that is wrong in my life or in the world, life is good.

My baby timneh is now closing in on eight weeks old, and really looks more like an adult than a baby at this point.  He’s about at the peak of his baby weight, too, weighing in this morning at 348 grams. This, despite having dropped a feeding yesterday and being on three feedings a day now.  If he levels off when weaned at 330 grams I will be quite pleased.

Of course this also means a lot of work is going on now.  He may have only three formula handfeedings, but I have to spend time between feedings offering him things like the Beans/Rice/Veggie mix, or warm, soaked weaning pellets.  In the picture below, I was giving him some of the B/R/V mix before giving him the formula.


He needs to get used to eating other things.  Being a single baby, it is much tougher to accomplish this.  When there are at least two kids, they really egg each other on.  Monkey see, monkey do.  In this case, I’M the other monkey!  So far, though, he’s doing great.  He has been nibbling on the millet spray, Cheerios, and Zupreem Fruit Flavored pellets, as well as showing some interest in the B/R/V mix.  He also needs to be handled a lot now, too.  He needs to associate good things with hands and humans, and when he gets a bit older he’ll need to learn how to Step Up, too.

I’m still waiting for his parents, Ziggy and Paco, to start another clutch.  If they had hatched more than just one baby I probably would have held them off till next fall, but they didn’t have to work too hard hatching just one – especially one that was pulled so soon.  In the end, though, it is always up to them whether they go to nest or not.  You can give a pair everything they need and they never have kids, while another pair may not have even the basics and yet their desire to nest is so strong that they will be successful anyway.  My congo pair prove that fact.  They have everything they need, and yet I have had only infertile eggs from them.  Maybe someday…

In the meantime, I have parrotlet pairs dropping eggs left and right, but since I still have a few kids to sell I will not allow more to be born.  I have a finite amount of space, and I will never allow myself to lose sight of that.  It’s a delicate balance, but it’s important not to lose sight of it.

Did I mention that we have a lovely Christmas tree this year?  I bought it in the summer.  Yes, it is fake, but it is the most real-looking fake I’ve ever seen.  It even feels real – like a spruce.  I remember years ago when I refused to have a fake tree.  How foolish I was!  You get all the beauty and advantages and none of the drawbacks with a fake tree.  No need to water, no needles falling off, no bare spots, and in the case of pre-lit trees, no need to mess with putting the lights on.  It means I can put my tree up early without worrying about it, too.  I like my tree up by Thanksgiving, so after the feast we can watch holiday movies by the light of the tree.  It really puts me in the holiday mood to have the tree on every night.


My tree ornaments are a mix of home-made things… and birds.  Lots of birds.  🙂  Birds with feathers, birds with glitter, and even some home-made birds of felt.  Lots of other home-made stuff, too,  going all the way back to the baked salt dough ornaments Alex and I made when he was a little boy, probably 25 years ago.    Good memories.  🙂