Bird breeder's thoughts on whatever…

10-24-17 Blog? What Blog? — October 24, 2017

10-24-17 Blog? What Blog?

It has been way too long since I’ve written a blog.  Honestly I’d kind of forgotten all about it until about a month ago, but then this past month has been very busy for me and I just haven’t had time.

We had a bird show on the 14th of this month, but for the month or two before that I was busy making Welcome signs to bring.  I was also fortunate enough to have a fellow bird breeder request a total of twelve of the signs, sans the Welcome part.  He breeds quaker parrots and wanted a variety of his favorite mutations painted.  I do them on basswood slices and, if I say so myself, they come out pretty good.  Anyway, I was busy making the Welcome signs – both in pet bird types as well as native birds – and interspersed with those were the custom signs for the breeder.

The show was last weekend.  I delivered all of the breeder’s signs and I’m happy to say he was pleased with them.  I sold a few of the others I had made as well as a few bird toys and swings.  I had brought very few birds and none of them sold.  So they came back home again and now I have to quarantine them, so that’s a pain.  Not long before the show I had also bought a yellow parrotlet hen so she’s under quarantine in the bedroom.  Three very young gouldian finches also came home from the show with me, as I really need some more females.  These were uncolored and sex was unknown.  One looked like the little bit of belly coloring was rather light so I thought that one was a hen.  The other two didn’t show any signs of being males yet, so I figured I’d just take a chance.  I don’t like buying gouldians that are not colored in (nor will I sell them at that stage) because I feel they may be a bit more fragile then, but on a positive note you are SURE they are young.  So those three are also part of the quarantined crew.

A few days ago Scott and I were sitting at the table in the dining room and I was watching these three new gouldians.  One began doing the hopping bit that the males do.  Rats!  I had put different colored plastic bands on their left legs when I got them home initially, so if I did see any signs of one being a male I could tell which one it was and make note of it.  So Purple Band is a male.  Next day, another was hopping!  So two of the three are for sure males.  Bummer.  I only have a couple hens left of my own, but plenty of males, so now it’s crucial that I breed mine and then pair the kids up with these kids.

Once the show was behind us, I had to add all the new product I’d made to my etsy shop.  That necessity gave me the push I needed to redo my old pictures as well, because I wanted to have plain, light backgrounds.  It took me all of last week to get this done.  I finished on Saturday night about 7 PM.  Everything seems to take longer than what you assume!  The backgrounds could still be better, but they are a LOT better than what I had.

Next up was to figure out what the trick to getting noticed on etsy entailed.  Luckily there are a couple ladies, gurus of the homemade world, that do seminars online.  I have taken advantage of a couple of these free seminars before, and they just offered one on SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization.  I’ve learned a lot these past few days, and was up till after midnight last night redoing my titles, keywords, and tags on my etsy products.  Re-tweaked them again today and I’m comfortable enough with it now to let it go for a bit and see what happens.  Check out my etsy shop to see the new stuff and updated look.

I signed up to do a local craft show in December.  It’s in the next town over, so even if I’m handfeeding some kids at the time I will be able to have Scott come down and take my place while I rush home and feed the kids.  So now I have a bit MORE product to make, because I want to try something new.  Never-ending, but I do enjoy creating things and feel like someday something I make will be THE thing that clicks and works.

My son and his fiance came up this past Sunday and we carved pumpkins.  That’s something Alex and I have done together almost every year since he was a little kid.  I think we may have missed one or two years only, and he’s 31 so that’s pretty cool.  I did two big pumpkins and Alex and Kristy each did one.  They came out great and it was a really nice day.  Spotticus is still behaving very well with Kristy.  It’s amazing!  She’s the only person he’s ever accepted other than his little family unit.  It will make the holidays much nicer without having to worry about that!

So that pretty much catches us up to date.  I will do better with blogging.  OK, I will try.  🙂


Nita’s Nest


08-07-17: I’ve Got Those Doggy Black and Blues — August 7, 2017

08-07-17: I’ve Got Those Doggy Black and Blues

I know my way around birds pretty well, having kept and bred them for over forty years.  I’ve never claimed to know much about dogs, however, especially when it comes to training them.  This was never more apparent than yesterday, and today I have the bruises to prove it.

Spotticus is pretty much the best dog I’ve ever had, though he certainly has his issues.  For one thing, he hates everyone but his immediate pack.  That would be me, hubby, and son.  Recently he surprised us by allowing our son’s fiance to buy her way into that elite club by way of many, many treats.  If you’re thinking well of course, any dog can’t be bought with treats, you’d be wrong.  Many have tried with Spot, and many have failed.  So it’s a very small circle of humans that Spot will accept.  Let him catch a glimpse of the neighbors across the street or a UPS truck entering the driveway, and all hell breaks loose.

Another little issue we have with Spot is that he really does NOT mind us.  OK, sure, all you people that know how to train your dogs are thinking that’s not HIS fault, it’s ours.  I agree.  100%.   As I said when I started this, I don’t claim to know how to train dogs.  I’ve read several books.  Didn’t help me.  Normally life is pretty much a routine, and it’s not really an issue.  Normally.

So this is what happened yesterday.  Scott and I and Spot were on the back porch.  Scott and I were going outside for a minute.  We don’t let Spot out there without a leash because he will not come on command.  He has designated yards outside that are fenced and secure, but the backyard as a whole is off limits to him.  So I step out and Scott is following behind me.  Spot suddenly decides he is fast enough to just weasel out past Scott’s legs.  And he’s FREE!

A chihuahua may be small, but they can run like the wind when they want to.  He no sooner got off the steps and he was off and running.  My immediate thought is of course that he’ll run into the road and get hit by a car or he’ll run into the woods and never be seen again.  Panic!

We scream at him to come back.  He ignores us and runs like a maniac.  We run after him and try to head him off.  He was doubling back and headed my way.  I bent over ready to grab him and he changed course at the last minute.  I lunged and missed and fell on the grass.

When you’re a kid and you fall, no big deal.  When you’re 30 and fall, still not such a big deal.  When you’re 61 and out of shape and fall, it hurts.  And when you try to get right back up, you may find your equilibrium is now off kilter so YOU FALL AGAIN!

Then when you get up you find you are a bit shaky and your leg is bleeding from the not-so-soft grass that is actually full of little sticks and things, and parts of you hurt that you aren’t even sure you hit.  And then you look over at the door and find the little monster is calmly standing there, looking around like innocence personified.  Not being up to another go-round, it was then that the lies and sweet-talking came out.

“Spot, you want a biscuit?  Come on, let’s go in and get a biscuit.”   He followed me in, where I promptly shut the door behind him.   Then the swearing began.

This is the same dog that when I have to go out on the weekend, Scott and Alex have both told me that Spot is clearly distressed the whole time I’m gone.  He whines and will not relax.  And once he hears my car when I return, he howls and carries on like a loon.  He loves his Mama to pieces, except for coming when she calls!

So I guess I should consider myself lucky that I managed to housebreak him and he’s never had an accident.  Of course I also had four poms and NONE of those were properly housebroken, so maybe it’s less about my skills and more about the dog.  I know my limitations, and I also know my black and blues.  I have plenty of both.



06-25-17: Foot Toys — June 25, 2017

06-25-17: Foot Toys

Foot toys can be a very important part of a pet bird’s life.  If you are unfamiliar with what a foot toy is, it can be any small toy that can typically be grasped in a bird’s foot.  It might be as simple as one wooden block or ball with a piece of rawhide through the middle and knotted on either side.

The foot toy should be sized appropriately for the bird.  I use smaller beads for smaller birds, as well as thinner material going through the middle.  Thin rawhide, twine, paper rope,  and “Paulie” cord are all suitable materials for the smaller birds.   For the larger bird, you can use a larger block or bead as well as the thicker rawhide or Paulie cord.  I often add some smaller plastic beads on either side of the main bead as well.

Some birds really enjoy chewing on wood, and there is nothing more satisfying to those birds than a block of wood that can be reduced to splinters.  For that reason, some birds should be given pine or other soft wood that they can destroy.  Some birds are more drawn to chewing on the cord that goes through the middle.  Rawhide (only vegetable-tanned, please) is usually perfect for those birds as they can get a lot of chewing enjoyment out of it.  A plastic bead or other shape with rawhide passing through and knotted on either side will be a long-lasting foot toy for those birds.  Although all birds may have their preferences, probably a variety of different foot toys is best.  It’s important to avoid boredom in your pet bird.

In addition to having foot toys for the bird’s enjoyment when playing alone, they are invaluable as diversions for a bird that is apt to bite.  Many young birds will go through a period where they get a bit “bitey” and seem to be testing the limits.  I always tell people that it’s much better to use diversion as a way to avoid a bite than to try to correct it after the fact.  You don’t want to spend all your time earthquaking your bird, or doing whatever method you use to deal with bites.  It’s not fun for you OR your bird.  Instead, keep an appropriate foot toy at the ready – next to you or in your pocket – at all times that your bird may be interacting with you.

Often we can see a bird begin to get antsy and that often will precede a bite.  Time to bring out that foot toy and bring it up to your bird for him to check out.  I should also mention here that if you are going to give it to the bird, rather than holding on to one end of it, you’d better have two or more toys at the ready because chances are that first one may get tossed or dropped.  However, if you see the bird is grabbing the foot toy and tossing it immediately and ready to grab another, it’s probably not a good time to be interacting with the bird anyway.  You’ve got to learn to read their moods.  It’s a rare bird that is always in a good mood and never cranky.

With the little birds, like parrotlets, they can go from sweet to cranky rather quickly.  I keep a foot toy handy when dealing with them.  Usually they are fine on my hand for a period of time, but I can see when they are starting to get antsy and may nip.  That is the time to offer them the foot toy.  I like the ones with twine going through them for these little guys.  Parrotlets can rarely resist chewing on the twine  when you present that end to them.  Diversion accomplished!

Birds alone in their cage will often enjoy playing with foot toys, too.  One of our timneh greys would lay on her back on the cage grate and kick a foot toy up in the air repeatedly.  It was the cutest thing to watch.

So don’t overlook the value of foot toys.  If you’re making them, just be sure to use safe materials.  I am now offering small as well as medium-large foot toy 5-packs on my Etsy shop.  Check them out!


Nita’s Nest

Etsy Shop

06-07-17 The Gardening Blues — June 7, 2017

06-07-17 The Gardening Blues

I know there are actually people who enjoy gardening and becoming one with the dirt and plants.   I’m not one of them.

This had been a tough “spring” – and I use that term lightly.  There haven’t been more than four days in a row that we haven’t had to fire up the woodstove.  I know, this is New England.  Wait a minute and blah blah blah.  That’s no excuse.  We had more snow fall at the beginning of what should have felt like spring than we did all winter, culminating in a few inches on Mother’s Day.  Mother’s Day!!!   Then less than a week later, or maybe it was before – it all blurs together at this point – we had a day of 96° heat!  That’s insane even for New Hampshire.  After that came the rains.  It was all fine and dandy when we were still in a drought.  Then, hallelujah, the drought was over.  We were even again.  But did the rain stop?  Of course not.  It’s supposed to be April showers bringing May flowers, not May and June torrential downpours.  Not balmy downpours, either.  Let’s not forget that 40-something-degree  chill-you-to-the-bone crap.  The rain stopped last night and now they are predicting more of the 90 degree stuff in a few short days.

We have a modest garden every year.  As we get older, we are both less thrilled about it.  This year, with the impossible weather, we managed to find ourselves a full week into June with nothing yet planted.  It’s already a short season here at the southernmost tip of the White Mountain National Forest area, which is pretty much a stones throw away.   Hubby normally does the tilling and puts down the weed barrier, and I plant and pick the goodies later.   I’d like to say I also do any weeding, but last year I did none of that at all.  No elves came in the night to do it either, so even with the weed barrier the garden areas looked like jungle.  The only thing worse than gardening, is reaching into a garden rich with weeds – where snakes and God knows what else may be lurking.

Did I mention that last year’s garden was the most disappointing ever?

So as I was saying, the rain stopped last night.  I was determined to plant the garden today.  Scott had put down weed barrier on the 8 raised beds that measure 3′ x 3′, but the long row on the hill where I intended to plant bush beans needed weed barrier laid down, as did the old asparagus bed that has now become our tomato area.  We had no more of the good stuff, so I was going to double-up the crappy stuff we had.  It was 10:30 by the time I got the birds finished and was ready to gather up all the stuff and go plant.

Let me also say here that bugs, they love me.  I must have skin that screams out tenderness or something, because if there is one bug out there, it will find me and create massive bumps and itchiness galore.  It was already in the low 60’s but despite how I hate the heat I decided I’d wear socks, pants, and spray bug spray on my lower half.  I did wear short sleeves, but I even sprayed the Deep Woods stuff all over my arms.  Then to top off my protection, I found a baseball hat, sprayed it with Off, and put a mosquito net over that!  I was ready to rock and roll!

Three trips later I had all the stuff I needed and started on the hillside row.  Within five minutes a huge horsefly was biting my arm.  “Owww!”  and I slapped it with my dirt-covered hand.  Yuck.  Dirt all over my arm now, and the welt was already rising.  I did kill him, though, which pleased me immensely. I won’t repeat what I said aloud, but suffice it to say it was a warning of sorts to the other winged demons in the vicinity.

Half hour later and the beans were planted.  On to the old asparagus bed.  Apparently Scott didn’t have time or the inclination to rototill this raised bed.  I went back and got my long-handled  three or four pronged digger.  Swung that like an axe and quickly found that it just wasn’t going to work.  Now I’m sweating and my baseball cap is no longer sitting where it was supposed to, but instead sliding down my sweaty forehead.  I reached up under the netting and pulled it off and turned it backwards, realizing my hands were covered in dirt which was now on my forehead as well.  Plus without the bill of the hat in the front, the netting was now ON my face.  Wonderful.  And here come the black flies.

Deep Woods Off is supposed to be great stuff. I hate bug spray.  I hate the way it feels and smells and feel the need to take a shower the whole time it’s on.  But I used it, and still they were on my arms and biting.  And another horsefly, for good measure.  Now I’d had my share of this little nature excursion and just wanted to be DONE.  Since I couldn’t till up this entire bed, I settled for digging six holes for the tomatoes.  Putting down the weed barrier I found it was not really quite wide enough.  Close enough!  Doubled it over and held it down with the U-shaped wires.  Cut through to the holes I’d made and planted the tomatoes.

I didn’t mention this before, but it really completes the picture of my gardening foray.  We had a bear out here two nights ago.  A good-sized one.  It triggered the driveway alarm and we saw it leaving the driveway on the driveway cam.  So the whole time I’m down in the garden area I’m thinking the bear could make an appearance.  A few years ago, hubby and I had thought that bringing down an air horn in case the bear appeared would be a good thing to do.  Well the bear made an appearance then, about 75 feet from me, and I blasted the air horn.  It damn near gave me a heart attack and I knew it was coming!  The bear never flinched.  And didn’t leave.  Since then, I’ve been cautious going out in the yard.  So I make noise.  Bears are supposed to give you a wide berth if they see and hear humans.  Supposed to.  Hoping it’s usually true, I make noise.  This means singing or talking to myself, like an idiot, punctuated with the occasional HEY or off-key whistle.  And I look over the fence frequently.  The fence would not keep a bear or anything else out if it wanted to come in – and they have – but it will often be enough of a barrier that animals will follow along the outside of it.  I always just hope it would give enough of a barrier to slow something down a bit.

So I’m singing Heartbreak Hotel (it was the first thing that came to mind down there) and trying to hurry.  Tomatoes done.  Now on to the eight small raised beds.  I planted five with pumpkin seeds and three with Magda squash.  The latter can be used in place of eggplant, either in slicing and frying to eat that way or if you go further, to be made into “Eggplant” Parmesan.  Done.

I was now a sweaty, hot mess.  I know there is dirt all over me.  Bug bites welting up all over my arms.  I turned on the hose and tried to wash the dirt off.  Filled the chickens’ water dish and came inside.  12:30.  Two hellish hours.  The shower never felt so good!

Why anyone would enjoy that is really beyond me.  Just getting the dirt under my nails (ick! ick!) is gross, never mind the bug spray and the bug bites.  Yuck.  I do enjoy actually harvesting things from the garden, but clearly I was meant to have a gardener, not to be one.


Nita’s Nest

04-06-17: Ramblings — April 6, 2017

04-06-17: Ramblings

For the past week I’ve been meaning to write a blog entry.  I have good intentions and then after I get the birds done there are other things to do and next thing I know it’s time to start supper and still no blog.  This morning while I was doing the birds I thought “today is the day for a blog!”

Funny story just popped into my mind because of that first paragraph.  When my son, Alex, was in high school, he used to feed and water the chickens for us.  One day a friend called for him and he was outside tending the chickens.  I told his friend, ” he’s out doing the chickens.”    Alex talked to him later and after the phone call said, “Mum, when my friends call, don’t tell them I’m out “doing” the chickens.”    Ah yes, it had a whole different meaning!   However, I still think in terms of doing the birds every day.  🙂

So back to the subject at hand.  The blog.  The ever elusive blog.  The well-intentioned but rarely-materializing blog.  Usually when I do manage to write one, it’s because I had thought about something while doing the birds, so later it just kind of flowed.  I’m big on stream of thought, as if that is a surprise to you if you’ve read this far!   But I do like to have some idea of what I’m going to try to write about.  Not so today, because in the birdroom today my thoughts were occupied with babies.  Babies in the nest and soon to be pulled for handfeeding, as well as babies yet to hatch.

The drawback to this stream of thought writing is that many sentences end up being incomplete sentences.  Mrs. Tilton would not have stood for that, back in high school, and it bugs me enough even now that I often notice after I’ve done it.  But I’m a fast typist, and what I think ends up on the screen so there you go.

Babies.  Lots of babies.  Two clutches of five each for the parrotlets.  One clutch could have been pulled at the beginning of the week, but I’m putting them off for a few days to help preserve what sanity I have left.  The other clutch should be pulled next week.  Then there are the eggs in the budgie box of Cinnamon and Sprite.  SEVEN of them.  IF they are fertile and IF they all hatch, there will be seven crazy budgies to feed.

Budgies are insane.  Budgies are what the pet shops call parakeets, to those of you that are not really “bird people”.  Every budgie is a parakeet, but not every parakeet is a budgie.  A budgie is a budgerigar, shortened to budgie.  Which reminds me of an old Monty Python skit.  Forgive the paraphrasing, but it’s been more than 30 years since I’ve heard this.  Two women, one says to the other, “I had to put me budgie down.”   The other asks, “why, was he sick?”   The response, ” no, we just didn’t like him very much.”

Handfeeding budgies is like handfeeding very small sharks.  Crazy sharks.  Even when they are in a brooder, when you reach in to pick one up, it’s not uncommon to remove your hand with two or three of them attached to your flesh by their beaks.  It’s surprising how strong those tiny beaks can be, even at such an early age.  They don’t break the skin, but it’s a very strong pinch.  Even when I know it’s bound to come, it still freaks me out a bit.  Lovebirds are the only other birds I’ve handfed that are very similar.

There is a bird show coming up in about a month.  Bird “mart” is the more appropriate term, I guess.  Vendors have tables and sell bird-related items as well as birds.  Alex will dog-sit for us that day, since it’s not fair to leave Spotty alone all day.  Any of the current budgies and parrotlets that are almost weaned and remain unsold will be going with us to the mart.  I’ll also bring some of the toys I make and the wooden stuff we make, such as clocks and keyracks.  It will be a long day as I have to get up about 4 or 4:30 in order to have time to do the birds and then make the drive to Manchester.

Living in the “sticks” is probably the most peaceful thing you can do, but it also has the effect – at least on some of us – of making the excursions into public more stressful.  Too much traffic.  Too many people.  People are not as nice as they used to be.  I don’t think it’s just my perception; I think it’s really true.

I remember as a kid walking “up-street” with my mother and saying “hi” to everyone and being met with a smile and a hello in return.  That habit of smiling at strangers you meet and perhaps a nod or hello seems to be a lost art.  I was in a Hannaford market yesterday and the lady in the checkout line in front of me became rather upset with the eventual total, and called it into question.  The cashier read off each item on the screen as she glared at it.  At the end of the list, she wrote out a check, still with the glare, and kind of stomped out.  So I started watching people around me, and most of the shoppers had similar sour-pusses.  I’m sure I’m guilty of this at times, too, sometimes probably just because I am not thrilled to be there with all the people.  I’m going to try to make an effort to keep a smile on my face and see if I can’t get a few in return.  Life is too short.

I’m very long-winded when it comes to writing, aren’t I?  It’s getting a bit tougher since I’ve been having some real problems with a few fingers on my right hand.  Arthritis, I’m sure.  They used to just be sore and achy, but in the past few weeks a new wrinkle has been added, where I get a sudden sharp pain in the underside of my middle finger and it takes a while to subside. I don’t do doctors and I don’t like to do meds, either, but getting older apparently means I may have to suck it up and take an ibuprofen or something.  Of course now they say how dangerous they are, even if taken only rarely.  Sometimes you just can’t win.  Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

OK, I think that’s enough rambling, even for me.  I have a feeling anyone reading this may be finding their eyes glazing over and their heads nodding.  So, until next time, have a great day and smile at strangers, like in the old days.  🙂


Nita’s Nest

03-10-17: This and That — March 10, 2017

03-10-17: This and That

Can I ever think of “this and that” without my mind thinking “dese and dose”?  What is that from?  A movie?  A TV show?  This old mind can’t recall, but somewhere in my memory is someone with a heavy accent saying “these and those” and having it sound like “dese and dose”.

But I digress.  Which, actually, is pretty much all I do in these blogs.  The mind wanders, and the fingers follow.  It’s a good thing I’m a fast typist or I’d never keep up.

The pungent smell of sauerbraten is in the air.  Yum.  Many of my best childhood memories revolve around food.  My mother loved to cook, and being Hungarian/Austrian, along with time spent in Germany, a lot of the foods of my childhood were of the more exotic variety.  Not to us, of course.  Chicken hearts and gizzards… cabbage and noodles… sauerbraten with the delightful potato dumplings and a gravy to die for … goulash … paprikash … all good stuff but at least one of my childhood best friends thought we ate some weird stuff.

Food was a comfort and a reward when I was a kid.  I believe to my mother it was a way to show she loved us.  Of course there was the time she made me a walnut torte as a birthday cake, even though I have always hated walnuts and was 17 or 18 at the time.  Hmm.

Baby birds currently being handfed are parrotlets and budgies, with more to follow.  There are two parrotlet sisters, now fully feathered and just beginning to pick at millet.  They had a sibling hatch ten days later – very odd, that – and he is growing very slowly.  When I finally was able to pull the three oldest budgies and they joined him in the brooder, he was so happy to have some similarly-sized bodies to snuggle up to!  031017BudgieCompilationPic

The pic on the left shows the three older budgies along with the young parrotlet.  The latter is the one with the eyes wide open and whose head is just above my fingertips.  He is similarly-sized despite the fact that the budgies are 8 to 11 days old and he is 20 days old!  In the pic on the right is English budgie mom, Smokey, with the last two kids.  As soon as they are both banded I will remove those as well, and they will join the others.

The parrotlet parents of the current three kids are laying another clutch, and already have 3 eggs.  There is another pair that have 6 eggs and are sitting and due to hatch them before the month is over.

We are ten days into the month of March and yet it is snowing like crazy right now.  I’m sure the weatherman will say it’s a squall, but yesterday’s squall left a quick 2″ on the ground.  Last weekend was bitterly cold with a wind that wouldn’t quit, and we have the same in store for tomorrow.  A good weekend to stay inside.  I look forward to spring weather and mud season.  There should be at least a week of it before the bugs ruin it.  That is what screened porches are for!

Spring is also the time for Spot to go to the vet.  He’ll need a shot this year and testing for Heartworm, as usual, along with the preventative meds.  This kid does NOT travel well.  The minute he gets put into the car (in his crate) he begins to whine.  To hear him you’d think someone must be removing his nails one by one or perhaps slowly removing an ear.  I’ve tried singing to him, talking to him about everything under the sun, being stern with him (“Spot, you are FINE, now cut it out.”) – nothing works.  When we get there and I carry him in, he shakes like a leaf the entire time.  I give my usual warning about how he may bite out of fear and to please be aware and wary, and then it’s all quickly over and we head home.  At that point I have enough of his hair on me that I could easily build him a brother.  You know the old wives’ tale of porcupines shooting needles out?  That is how I envision a nervous Spot – with projectile hairs just shooting out in every direction.  It sure seems that way.  Once in the car on the ride home, he seems to know it’s over and there is usually no more carrying on.  I’m very glad that Spot has been so healthy and we only have to deal with this once a year.

Years ago we had cats.  At one time there were three of them.  Maxwell Pussyboots Golden was the first.  A birthday gift for my son, Alex.  I’m not a cat person, but he wanted one.  Growing up longing for pets, I wanted him to have any pet he wanted, so Max was found in time for Alex’s 7th birthday.  As he got older he developed a bit of an attitude.  Max, I mean, though the same could be said of Alex at times.  He also grew to hate going to the vet.  One time I was bringing him (crated, of course) and it was clear he had peed in the crate.  I just knew it meant he had also peed all over his long fur, and this was proven to be true when we got to the vet’s and he was brought out for his check-up.

Talk about stink!  Oh my word.  The vet gave him his shots and stuffed him back in the crate, and wished me good luck in cleaning him up.  When we got home, I got the biggest bucket I could find, filled it with nice warm water in the tub, and brought the crated Maxwell into the bathroom.  He knew something was up, and he knew he did not want to be a participant.  I grabbed him by the scruff, dragged him out of the crate, and dunked him in the bucket, right to the top of his head.  Just once.  There was no way on earth there could be a twice, because he became a whirling dervish and was out of that bathroom faster than you’d think possible.  A streak of soaking orange fur.  I’m not sure where he even went.  He made sure there was no finding him, until hours later when he cautiously sauntered out, hugging the walls.

I prefer dogs.  🙂

Don’t forget to move those clocks ahead this weekend!  Spring ahead and enjoy that extra daylight!


Nita’s Nest

02-06-17: Catch up — February 6, 2017

02-06-17: Catch up

I see it’s been a month since my last blog, so I guess I’m holding true to form in being slack with the postings.  Oh well.  What can I say?  I’ve been pretty busy with the Timneh Grey kids lately.  One might think I have all kinds of spare time, and yet it doesn’t feel that way at all.  Again I marvel at how anyone can say they are bored to be home, or would be bored without an outside job.

So we made it through January, and I must say this has been one of the easiest Januarys ever.  The whole winter so far has been pretty kind to us.  We have very little snow on the ground – probably less than a foot in the open areas – but we are due for 5 to 8 inches in the next couple days.  I hope we don’t see the mixed precip up here and that it stays mainly snow.  But regardless, February will fly by and we’ll be into March.  Once March is here, even if we have blizzards, the feel of things is different and you can tell spring is on the way.

Spring is the greatest time of the year, especially before the bugs come.  Those of us in the land of ice and snow should feel sorry for the Florida winter-dwellers, for they never get that cheap thrill of spring coming after a long, cold winter.  One of my best memories from childhood is riding my bike down the hill by our house and seeing the water running down the hill from the melting snowbanks.  How great was that feeling!   Here it’s more like winter and then mud season.  Not quite the same exhilaration from melting snowbanks, but a thrill nonetheless.  It’ll be here soon.

The timneh kids are still on two formula handfeedings per day, though the first one is now stretching out to early afternoon as they are able to eat more on their own.  This morning, for example, they got a big dish of warmed Beans/Rice/Veggie mix put into their cage at around 7:15.  It’s not easy doing that, because when the door opens they think it’s time to come out and play.  Mitzi is especially pushy in that respect, and gets rather irked with me when I shut the door practically in her face.  Within a few minutes she settles down and goes to eat, though.

Around 10 or 11 AM, the kids get to come out and have something else.  This morning it was warmed, soaked weaning pellets.  I put a dish of them on the counter and let the kids help themselves at first, then I feed more of them to the kids from my fingers.  They get to play for a bit then it’s time to go back into the cage to amuse themselves.  It’s after 1 PM now and time to give them the first formula feeding.  I will weigh them first, then feed them, then let them play some more.  Having their heads rubbed and scratched is high on their list of priorities right now, along with clip-clopping around on the counter seeing what they can chew or toss over the edge.  Sometimes they also turn their attention to climbing me.  It would seem the top of my head is their goal, while MY goal is to keep them OFF my head.

Later in the afternoon I will give them something else that they can feed themselves, and then in the evening they get to come out and have another formula handfeeding and a big playtime outing, with both Mom and Dad.  Then they have two of us to try to climb!

Stepping up is coming along really well now.  It’s as if they are totally clueless and uncooperative, then suddenly they get it.  It still may take a few more days for their motor skills to catch up, but they do.  Right now, even Frankie is doing a fair job, whereas a week ago he had no clue.  Mitzi has been stepping up like a pro for ages, wonky toe and all.

These are the sweetest kids I have raised.  Normally I see a bit of the biting, obnoxious behavior around 70 days old – or at least that used to be the norm – and that’s when we’d start showing them the “earthquake” move and get them back in line.  But the oldest, Gizmo (formerly known as Mr. Honks, Sir Honks-a-lot, Honky, etc.) is 85 days old today and still extremely sweet.  I have been holding them more than usual and spending much of that time rubbing their heads, and I started doing so at a very young age with this crew.  It seems to have made them much nicer birds.  So this is the new norm.  Mitzi is the most unruly of the three, but still much better than some have been in the past.

I believe they should be ready to go before the end of the month, but you never know.  I can’t rush them.  Some wean quickly and others more slowly.  This clutch seems slower than usual.  They will be worth the wait, though.

We have a pair of parrotlets nesting now.  The female is so feisty, too!  She will come charging out of the box when I tend their cage to give me what for!  LOL.  Also a pair of budgies is  going to nest.  This is an English hen with a nice-sized American male.  Should add a bit of size and be some nice kids, hopefully.  Right now she is busy attempting to remove every single piece of shavings from the box.

Last night was the Super Bowl.  Now, I’ve never liked football and never watched.  However, Luke Bryan was going to be singing the anthem, so I did turn it on to see that.  I thought he did a great job, too.  Then it was back to DVR heaven – Bigfoot and Mountain Monsters, my kind of entertainment!   Later in the night I was curious to see how the Patriots were doing.  I may not like football, but it would be hard to escape the Patriots fever in the northeast during football season.  From what I’d heard, I assumed they’d be winning.  So I found it online, and had to tune in to the Spanish broadcast because the English one was overloaded with viewers I guess, and never did load.  Numbers are numbers, so it didn’t matter.  I believe it was 12 to 28, with the Patriots losing.  I was surprised.  And it was early in the 4th quarter I think, so it seemed they might actually lose.  Despite not liking football, hubby and I actually got caught up in the game and watched.  I even tuned them in on the TV and left the Spanish internet broadcast behind.

I must say, it got exciting and eventually went into OT, which apparently was a first.  I’m sure everyone knows by now that the Patriots came from way behind to win.  Impressive.  I’m still not a football fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I was surprised at how much I knew about the game without knowing how I knew.  It seems like watching the Super Bowl is like watching the World Series, which I only do IF the Red Sox are in it.  However, baseball players are much more interesting to watch.  I like the cut of their jib, if you get my drift.  🙂

I’d like to say I’ll write again soon, but let’s face it – it will probably be another month.  Till then, check out the website and go check out the timnehs’ diary.  Maybe check out my etsy shop while you’re at it.  And remember, spring is just around the corner!



01-05-17 — January 5, 2017


Happy New Year!

My hopes for the new year are pretty simple and basic.  Winning the lottery would be nice, but I’ll be happy to just muddle on as usual.  A roof over our heads, food in the cupboards, no bill collectors at the door, and a maintenance of the current level of health will be sufficient.  World peace would be nice, but let’s not go nuts.  Our own country is divided in two and if we all can’t get along then I don’t see how we can possibly hope for the entire world to achieve peace.

I’d also love to see a bit more civility this year.  We all have thoughts that are less than pleasant or perhaps the polar opposite of civil, but can we at least return to days of yesteryear and keep them to ourselves?  I blame it on the internet and social media.  Far too easy for someone to just write the first nasty thought that enters their head.  When I was much younger I loved a good argument.  No more.  I bite my tongue a LOT now, because what good does it do to inform someone of their shortcomings?  We all know our own issues already and certainly don’t need to be told or reminded of them.  And if we don’t know, I can almost guarantee that most would prefer to remain in the dark.  So keep the nasty thoughts to yourself, folks, and make the world a little better.

Off my soapbox now and stepping into reality.  As Andy Rooney might have said, ” have you ever noticed how the things that should be simple, aren’t?”

We received a new dehumidifier yesterday to replace the defective unit that had been recalled.  One way the internet can be a very positive thing is that I learned of the ability of our old unit to burst into flames for no apparent reason by reading about it on facebook of all places.  Never mind that I had filled out the registration when we bought the unit and they certainly could have contacted me to let me know of this possible catastrophe waiting to happen had they wanted to.   Anyway, the new unit arrived yesterday and hubby checked it out and got it running and deposited the paperwork by my computer.  So as usual I checked out the registration information and found there was no “or register online” bit but instead there was the card to fill out and mail.  Maybe you trust the mail, but I don’t.  That’s a story that would fill several blogs.  So I find the company through a search and go to their site.  Click on support and find a page to register products. So far, so good.

I filled in the information, including the seven million digit serial number, and clicked submit.  ERROR.  FIRST NAME IS INCORRECT.      Huh????   Hmmm…. maybe the original unit was in hubby’s name (even though I am positive it was not) so I try that.  ERROR.  FIRST NAME IS INCORRECT.    Well, they are incorrect.  I do know my name and I’m pretty sure I spelled it right.

Aha, there is a link to the right where I can email customer service.  Great.  I click on that and find I need to fill out a bunch of crap there.  One of the lines asks for the item type.  Of course dehumidifier is not listed, so I go back to the original form to find out what they classify a dehumidifier as.  Air Conditioners.  OK.  Good to know, and of course it makes sense now that I see it.  Back to the email form.  Finish jumping through their hoops and get to the Message part.  “I’m unable to submit my registration form because it gives me an ‘ERROR: FIRST NAME IS INCORRECT.’  While I might have chosen another name if given the opportunity, I’m pretty sure I entered my correct first name and actually spelled it correctly.  Please advise.”

Chances are pretty good I’ll never be contacted by them.  Since the warranty is only for one year, it probably doesn’t really matter.  The point is, I wasted about twenty minutes on something that should have taken five.

I suspect I’m not alone in preferring to shop for as much as I can online.  Shopping in stores was never something I particularly enjoyed, and as I’ve gotten older it has become far less so.  If I could have the store to myself that might not be the case, but since I don’t see that happening, I like to shop online.  It also gives the ability to find the best deal and find things I probably could never find in a store.  Let’s face it, as much as I love crowds and shopping, if it isn’t at the Walmart fifteen minutes away, then I’m not finding it in real life.  Online shopping is usually pretty good, too.  You see what you want, find the best price, order it and wait for its arrival.  No muss, no fuss.  Shopping for anything you wear has its issues however.

Recently I was awake after midnight and flipping through the channels when I happened upon the Home Shopping Network and they were selling the Deal of the Day or Today’s Special Value – whatever they call it.  Boots.  Women’s winter boots.  Waterproof.  Fur-lined.  Looked good.  And they come in wide.  Hot damn!  No shipping and a special price!  What could be better?  However, being realistic and cheap, I thought, no, I won’t get out of bed and order this, I’ll wait till morning and think it over again.  So in the morning I go to their website and see they still have the blue ones I was eying, and in my size.  Double-check the style with a quick search and find that yes, the price elsewhere really is considerably more.  OK, I order them.

Boots arrived yesterday.  Look good.  I nod to nobody – yes, this was a good choice!   Try on the left boot.  Ahhh.  Nice, furry interior and comfy.  Try on the right boot.  What the hell?  Why is this one pinching my foot?  Why does it hurt to bend my foot – as in WALKING???  Now, I know I have a heck of a time finding comfortable shoes.  I have wide feet, need arch support, there is an ingrown toenail that acts up from time to time… but I know my right foot is not wider than my left!  Not unless it has suddenly ballooned up overnight!  I decide that maybe with wear the offending boot will stretch a bit and be ok.  I wore them inside for a few hours and reluctantly toyed with the idea of sending them back.

They had arrived with free shipping, however, to send them back is $7.95.  Kind of a rip-off, since if they had both been the same width I’d have happily kept them, but I don’t believe HSN really cares what the reason is – though you can be sure I wrote it on the return slip!  They do make it easy to return them, providing you don’t mind the cost.  They give you a return label sheet, with either UPS or USPS, whichever you prefer, and you simply box them back up and put the return label over the original label.  They will deduct the shipping cost from the refund amount.  It irks me to have lost $7.95 on the deal, but I’m trying to justify it as what it would have cost me in gas money had I gone all over searching for boots.  I did say TRY to justify it.

I guess these minor irritations are not going to change just because it’s a new year.

“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”

                                                 Luke Bryan


12-15-16: Baby, it’s cold outside — December 15, 2016

12-15-16: Baby, it’s cold outside

We’ve been pretty lucky so far this winter.  I know, technically winter hasn’t actually started yet according to the calendar but, let’s face it, it’s winter in NH.  We had about 7″ of snow a few days ago, so we are certainly looking like winter.  But we have been lucky thus far.  Temps had been in the high 20’s up here and to me, that’s nothing to complain about.  We are, however, in for a change.  It’s already started and only going to get worse tomorrow.  14 degrees right now and the wind is just howling!  The scanner is warning of white-out conditions and we are having our own out here every few minutes.

I went out to check on the chickens and the wind suddenly kicked up so I couldn’t even see the coop 20 feet ahead of me!  I also watched as the relentless wind blew over a pole that was stuck in the ground with a solar light on top.  When I finally made my way over to the chicken coop I found all of them inside except for the one “puffhead” that has been picked on lately.  She was out in their yard, in the area under the coop where we have plexiglass or wood over the fencing for a winter wind buffer.  I suspect it will not be too difficult to coax them all inside tonight.  Tomorrow is expected to be about 20 below zero with the wind-chill.  We don’t mind the snow and “normal” cold, but this bitter cold stuff is the pits.

I’m happy to say that my hubby is finally getting better!  He had the flu really bad in November and it knocked him out for about two weeks.  When we finally thought he was getting better it nailed him again about a week later.  A month of being incapacitated is too much, and scary as well, so although we don’t “do” doctors, he went this past Monday.  He was told that the flu will sometimes mutate to a different variant which will then hit you when the original bout is pretty much over.  Or the flu can lead to pneumonia or another bacterial infection.  He was given antibiotics and is now feeling much better, he just has to take it really easy to regain his strength.  Fingers are crossed, but I hope this is the end of it and he can enjoy life again.

The baby Timneh African Greys are doing really well.  I was so afraid I was going to lose that youngest one, in particular.  To think he was only 10 grams and cold and a bit stiff… and now he’s 27 days old and 138 grams!   I feel very fortunate.  Aren’t they adorable?121516compilation

I love having the Christmas tree up!   This one does a very subtle, gradual change, from a soft white to pastel colors and finally to bright colors.  I remember the old days of flashing lights and, while I loved those at the time, this gradual morphing is really nice.  My tree has mostly homemade decorations, but there are a few oldies from when I was a kid as well as a bunch of glitzy, glittery BIRDS.  Glitz and glitter are good at Christmas, and it makes for a nice mix on the tree.  The tree is usually up for about a month, and I remember when that seemed like a long time.  Now it seems as if that month flies by and I could easily leave it up for another month and not be sick of it.  However, I do love getting the space back as well.  I’ve always thought it would be really cool to win Megabucks and be so rich you could have a huge house with big rooms and have many trees at Christmas, all with different themes.  Maybe have a really stunning tree that had it’s own room where it could just stay up all year round and lift your spirits whenever you felt a bit down.  🙂

I’d like to wish a Merry Christmas to all who may be reading this.  Happy holidays, happy Quanza, Happy Hanukkah… whatever you may celebrate!  And you can wish me a happy “whatever” as well, because it’s the sentiment that counts, not the particular name.  Let’s all hope and pray for a wonderful new year as well.  If we could all try to be just a little bit nicer, think how much better the world could be.


11-29-16: Once in a Blue Moon — November 29, 2016

11-29-16: Once in a Blue Moon

Apparently that is how often I write a blog now.  Once in a blue moon.  What can I say?  I have good intentions but life seems to be way too busy most of the time.  The people that say “if I stayed home all day I’d be bored to death” are totally insane in my book.  I find myself wishing each day was twice as long.  However, I am here and determined to write.  I have given this no forethought, so we’ll just see where it takes us, shall we?

Last month we did the BOAF (Birds of a Feather) bird show in Manchester.  I had spent several weeks preparing our products  in terms of making new tags with a lot more info.  I also made more bird toys.  I have an etsy shop where all this stuff is offered, so making the tags and more toys was not strictly for the show.

The set-up for the show begins at 7:00 and the doors open at 9:00, so we plan to get there at 7:30.  I have everything else ready the night before, but some things have to be done in the morning.  It’s a good hour and a half drive, so I get up at 4:00 AM so I have time to feed and water the birds plus pull the birds we’ll be bringing to sell and put them in the small cages we include with each of them.  Scott gets to sleep an extra hour.  We have to be out of here by 6:00 AM.  It’s a long day.  Alex (our son) comes up to spend the day dog-sitting.

We did ok at the show.  I sold all the gouldians I brought, but not the 3 canaries, so those had to come back home and be quarantined.  I was also given an English budgie at the show, so that also had to be quarantined.  Quarantine is a necessary evil, but I really hate it.  It means odd cages in the house, wherever I can stick them, which means extra cleaning and more work as part of the daily bird maintenance.  I’ll be glad when it’s over!

The rest of October was uneventful.  November started out that way as well.  The weather has been nice – certainly nicer than years past when I recall Alex trick-or-treating in a winter coat and leaving footprints in the snow!  Whether it’s truly global warming or just the cyclical weather pattern, we’ve definitely had warmer – and longer – springs and falls than we used to, and I’m loving that.

So all was going along fine until November 11th, when Scott came home from work not feeling well.  He went to bed really early, and it soon became apparent that he had the flu. For years and years we had gotten flu shots and never gotten the flu, but in the past several years the paranoia from hearing all the tin hat conspiracy theories about the flu shots had convinced us not to get them anymore.  So of course, Scott gets the flu.  And boy did it hit him hard!  He spent almost the next two weeks in bed, miserable.  (Thanks to a friend that had told us his doctor said it was safe to take four when needed, since it was the only thing that finally gave Scott some relief from the pounding head that was keeping him from truly resting.) I went through almost two full cans of Lysol spray, constantly spraying down every surface where he’d been!  I have birds to take care of and just can’t afford to be sick like that.  For what it’s worth, the Lysol must have worked because I did NOT get sick!

I should mention here that while he was sick as a dog, my Timneh African Grey pair hatched out chicks on the 13th, 14th, and the 18th.  It’s unusual for them to hatch three, so this was great.  They appeared to be taking great care of the kids as well.  I planned to pull the kids around the end of the month, since I was hoping to get the youngest to about ten days old first.

By the beginning of the week of Thanksgiving, Scott finally started to come around.  He was able to spend some time upright, which was a nice change.  He’d lost twenty pounds over the course of this flu!   It was also during this recovery time that he had been sitting at the table, with a piece of toast in front of him and his four ibuprofen when disaster hit.  No need to gross you out, but let’s just say the ibuprofen didn’t go down well.  Or at all.  We’ll jump ahead to Scott in the shower, cleaning up, and a pile of clothes on the bathroom floor.  I gingerly picked those up to throw in the laundry, but first deposited them on the floor by the washer to check the pockets.  (I have washed many a paper towel in my life and frankly there are any number of things I’d rather do than pick off millions of pieces of paper towel from all the clean clothes.)   At this point, there was one shirt left on the floor.  Spotticus comes trotting in, grabs something from the shirt and CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH immediately eats it and leaves the room.  Oh no!  Spot no doubt has found the missing ibuprofen.

I run to boot up my PC to see if ibuprofen will hurt a dog, and of course find it is highly toxic.  This reminds me that I believe this happened on Sunday, because I knew the vet would not be open.  OK, so I now need to make Spot throw up to get this out of him before it destroys his kidneys.  More searching.  Hydrogen peroxide will make a dog throw up.  One teaspoon per ten pounds of dog weight.  Spot is 11 pounds.  I grab the hydrogen peroxide and grab Spot.  Easier said than done.  I’m panicking totally at this point and he senses something is up and is NOT cooperating at all.  But finally I grab him and dribble the stuff onto his lips and he is forced to ingest it.  Nothing happens, except for him giving me a look which killed me.  Like, Mama, why are you forcing something horrible into me?

Back to the PC.  The hydrogen peroxide may take 20 minutes to work. If it doesn’t you can dose them up to 3 times.  So 20 minutes go by and I grab him again.  This time the look he gave me was just horrible and made me feel so bad.  He’s my baby.  😦     But I do what has to be done and five minutes later I see the familiar signs of a dog ready to heave and let him outside where he promptly empties his stomach.

I spent the rest of the day and the next several days watching him like a hawk to make sure nothing was amiss.  Thankfully, I got him in time and he was OK.  I hate to think what could have happened if I hadn’t seen – or heard – him eating that pill.

By Tuesday Scott was able to eat a bit more.  He wanted cereal.  Rice Krispies.  Go figure.  But up till then he’d been eating mainly yogurt.  Again, go figure.  With me, anything with milk would be the last thing I’d want!  So I went to the store and got a variety of soups, more ginger ale, and cereal.  I had looked in at the timneh chicks and taken the daily picture and all was well.  Things were looking up!  Wednesday that changed.

When I check the babies, Ziggy (the mom) is generally covering them  and I can’t see anything.  If I talk softly to her and back up a bit, she will usually back up off of the kids and let me take a look (and a quick picture) and then go cover them again.  She moved off and I see the three kids have empty crops and are sitting on the bare wood floor of the box.  The shavings had been moved away in that area, probably by her or perhaps Paco, the dad.  Either way, the chicks now were in danger.  The little one, in particular, looked bad.   So I exited the birdroom but watched from outside the door.  Within minutes Ziggy exited the box.  I rushed in and grabbed the kids and left.

I hadn’t planned to pull them this soon, so the brooder was not warmed up.  I put the kids into a Cool Whip container with shavings and put them into the brooder and cranked up the temp.  The temperature was up to 86 degrees within a couple of hours, and once the kids were nice and toasty I took them out to weigh them and try to feed them.

A few numbers here…  oldest chick was 10 days old and weighed 46 grams; middle chick was 9 days old and 32 grams; and the little guy was only 5 days old and weighed a mere 10 grams.  I was really concerned about him.  His down was not fluffy at this point and he was kind of an ashen gray.  Also there was not a lot of movement from him.  The other two didn’t look that great either, but they had some size on their side.  I started out feeding every hour, and just trying to get a few drops into the bigger kids and even a single drop into the little guy.  Let’s just say it was really touch and go for several days and it would not have surprised me at any time to find the little one dead.

As I said, this was on Wednesday, so interspersed with these feedings every hour I was also making pie, homemade rolls, and parfaits for the holiday.  Scott was doing a lot better, though still sleeping most of the day.  At some point in the afternoon I had all the goodies made and had just fed the kids when I figured I had time to set up the Christmas tree.  I bought a really nice tree last year from QVC.  An Ellen DeGeneres tree that has LED lights that you can set to morph from  white to pastel to bright colors.  Love it!  Plus it’s in 3 sections that have a contact system inside the pole part so there is no plugging them together or any of that.  Once the next section is inserted it automatically lights.  It worked great last year.  It is also so full that we had said then that it would be gorgeous even without decorations.

So I get the bottom section in place and it’s beautiful.  Lights right up.  Can you see where this is going?  I put the middle section in and …. nothing.  OK, pry it back out, try it again.  Nope.  No lights.  Put the top section on and THAT lights.  Middles section, no lights on. I am not a happy camper.  Why can’t things just WORK like they are supposed to????

Of course I have the original paperwork, plus I go on my PC and find the original order info and print that out.  I find the number of the company that makes the tree and call them.  I am on hold for many, many minutes, listening to too-loud Christmas music while they periodically tell me how important I am.  Finally I get a human and explain the issue.  He had me try plugging the middle section into the plug at the base of the wall outlet plug, which showed us that the section DID work that way.  I must say, he was a nice guy.  He said he’d had one other customer with this same issue, but apparently it’s not that common.  He asked if I had the warranty card there.  I did.  I’m efficient that way.  🙂  I found it interesting that he had me read one of the lines from the card in order to verify I had the card and was entitled to the warranty.  Rather odd because I was able to register the tree online and not send in the card.  Good thing I’d kept it.  Anyway, a new middle section is on the way and in fact should be arriving today.  Better still, he was able to tell me that if I unscrewed the cap from the end of the light string at the top of the tree and could plug the middle section into that, it would all work till the new section came.  I had to unravel the lights on one branch in order to get the plug to reach, but as he pointed out, that section will be trashed anyway so who cares?   So it worked.  And we were right last year – the tree IS pretty enough even without any ornaments!  I didn’t want to decorate it because I want to be sure it works correctly with the new middle section when it arrives.  Then I can decorate it.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with Alex.  It was like the old days since Alex is single this year.   Had a great meal and then watched holiday movies, beginning with our classic favorite, Home for the Holidays.  If you haven’t seen this movie, find it and watch it.  We watch every single year and I swear I find some new little nuance every year.  That was followed by our other classic, Christmas Vacation.  It’s just not Thanksgiving without those two movies.  Of course every hour we had to pause while I fed the kids!

The kids finally began to improve to the point where I was cautiously optimistic, especially about the youngest one, on the 26th.  They began to gain weight and all three were fluffy and nice and pink.  Yesterday they were really doing well and I think we are out of the woods now.  The littlest one weighed 24 grams yesterday!  That was a total gain of 140% since I had pulled them five days earlier!   Today they are 16, 15, and 11 days old and weigh 72, 56, and 28 grams respectively.  They have a diary where you can watch their progress, too.

That pretty much brings us up to date here.  My my, I do love to talk, don’t I?  Amazing how carried away I can get.

Oh, one last thing.  Someone asked me last week if any of the angelfish I’d been trying to raise had actually made it or not.  We ended up with one survivor out of the first spawn, and when I say “first” I think it was actually the third spawn, but the first one where I kind of knew what I was supposed to be doing and where I finally was having some luck in raising the baby brine shrimp the fry needed to eat to survive.  From the next spawn we had eight survivors!  They got to be about nickel-sized before I moved them into the 29-gallon community tank and are doing great.  The angels spawned again (they are like rabbits!) at the beginning of November, and there are currently close to twenty fry still alive.  Bear in mind that I’m only using a five-gallon tank for the kids, when they would be doing so much better in a bigger tank.  I just don’t really have the space.  If there was a definite outlet for kids I might be inclined to try a bit harder, but I don’t really relish the idea of a half dozen aquariums crammed in here just for a return of maybe a dollar per fish!  However, the whole experience has been really cool and I’m so glad I kept at it till I got it right.

NOW I think we are caught up!  And a timer is telling me it’s again time to feed babies!