Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Einstein's Parrot Cookies for Santa's Reindeer

itemscope itemtype="" itemprop="name" itemprop="image" itemprop="name" While preparing for Santa's visit this year, I decided to make a batch of these cookies for his Reindeer! They are very tasty and healthy too! I hope the Reindeer will like them, I know I will!

Sweet Potato Almond Cookies  
(Use organic ingredients when possible)

Combine in a bowl and mix till smooth with an electric mixer.
1 cup roasted sweet potato, cooled (you can also use canned pumpkin)
1 mashed banana
1 egg
1/4 oil  (I used a combination of Red Palm Oil and coconut oil)

In another bowl combine:
2 cups of flour. (You can use all purpose flour, however, I used a mixture of Garbanzo bean flour, Spelt flour, Quinoa flour, and Kamut flour.)
1 cup of “Add-ins”
“Add-ins” can be anything you want to add. I used sunflower seed in the shell, millet, hemp seed, hemp hearts, chia seed, Quinoa flake, finely ground nuts, flax seed, sesame seed, shredded unsweetened coconut, ground pellets.
1 tsp. cinnamon (or make them spicy and use cayenne!)

Add the sweet potato mixture to the dry ingredients with  3/4 cup of water. Mix well. Batter will be stiff. Scoop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet using a # 40 scoop (or about 2 Tablespoons). The cookies will not spread out, so you can place them close together on the cookie sheet. Top with a whole almond and push the almond down into the batter covering the almond partially.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Let cool. Store in refrigerator or freeze.
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

I got my inspiration for these cookies from a post I saw on a Facebook page called The Parrot’s Pantry.  Lots of great ideas can be found there!

Merry Christmas! Merry Corn!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Einstein the Parrot Imitates Matthew McConaughey

"Alright, Alright, Alrriiiggghht!

I caused quite a commotion this week with my Matthew McConaughey impression! It all started on Thursday, November 13 when Marcia started receiving a bunch of emails from radio stations and TV networks. Everybody requesting permission to air my YouTube Video! 

As we watched the 2014 Academy Awards, Matthew McConaughey accepted his Best Actor Award for his performance in "Dallas Buyers Club." We were so proud and happy for our fellow Texan! In fact we were so happy that Jeff imitated his famous catchphrase "Alright, Alright, Alrriiiggghht!” as Marcia and Jeff laughed out loud! I liked that they were happy and they kept repeating it over and over.  The next day I started to say it just like they did.  I've always knew how to say "Alright" as in this video, but with a different inflection. However, with all the excitement and reinforcement, it didn't take long for me to learn it the way Mr. McConaughey says it. 

This video laid dormant for about 8 months with little more than 30,000 views. Then BAM! All of a sudden it rose to over 500,000 in a just a few days! The next morning I was on all the national TV morning shows. 

NBC Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda

ABC Good Morning America

CBS This Morning

FOX and Friends Saturday

The week was topped off with a radio interview with Carol Off of The CBC Radio Show, "As It Happens". You can listen to it here. (Click the "Listen" button under the picture of me perch on the red bowl.)

Mr. McConaughey, I think you're "Pretty Cool!" I just want you to know I am very proud you received your Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! 
"Alright, Alright, Alrriiiggghht!

On New Years Day 2015, Good Morning America announced the winner of the 2014 Pop News Animal of the Year Award. The competition was really stiff and very cute! Watch!

Continuation: The winner is announced in this clip.

Awwww! It wasn't me, but Congratulations to the Winner!

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Summer Vacation

Ahhhh! The last day of Summer! Cool fall weather is finally making it to Texas! It's time I tell you all what I did this summer!  My humans took 2 trips, one to Chicago and one to Southern California.  The main reason for the trips was to attend weddings, but they also took a few additional days to get some sight seeing done.

They are often asked, what do you do with Einstein when you leave?  I get to go on vacation too!  I get packed up just like a kid going to camp!  The cage gets loaded into the back of an SUV.  My PVC play perch gets broken down and pilled into the other family car along with toys, food, and other things that I need. I perch in my travel cage while Marcia and Jeff drive the vehicles to the home of the bird sitter!

BIRD SITTERS ARE AWESOME!!!  Anyone who allows me to invade their home for a weekend or a couple of weeks should get a medal of honor! My bird sitters are trained well in advance of my arrival.  This includes many visits to their home, and even a few "overnighters" before my humans ever leave town.  All their questions are answered and hours of instruction, and training is given. I am very grateful to all the bird sitters in my life both past, present, and future.

It is not easy to having a house guest like me. I'm messy, I talk a lot, and I need my SPACE.

and my STUFF!

Toys, Treats, and Food

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods
I'm not allowed drawer time at my sitter’s house, and I try not to fly off my perch, but sometimes it happens!  I also don't get many scratches or cuddles because it takes me a really long time to allow other humans to do that. That's OK, because I do get to perch on knees and that's just fine!

Now that I'm settled in, Marcia and Jeff can enjoy their vacation at last!  I won't bore you with all their pictures and activities. Here are the activities they did that I thought were exciting!

The San Diego Zoo!  

They where able to visit with the African Grey Parrot who lives there. It was fate that they got to see the parrot as there are many large aviaries. He could have been in any of them, and we are not easy to find!  Just as Marcia was looking up into the trees, there he was! Chatting up a storm! They raced to the side of the aviary so they could get as close as they could, and here is a short video of the San Diego African Grey! He's a very pretty bird!

Another fun thing they did was the Rio 4D Experience. It’s a short movie filmed in 3D, but as you watch you feel the wind in your face, and fluttering near your feet. There is also a moment when you are poked in the back!  This extra dimension this makes you feel as if you are a part of the movie! The movie is about Blu and Jewel (the last Macaws on earth) are captured and chased by an evil cockatoo named Nigel. Although Blu can’t fly, they work together to get free and help other birdies get free to. The movie is set in Rio de Janeiro, and it sends a strong message about preserving our rainforest and eliminating the parrot poaching that continues to be a problem around the world.

These 2 beautiful parrots were just outside the theater as you walked in to take your seat.

This Beautiful Toucan was just one of many beautiful birds Jeff photographed at the zoo.

Marcia and Jeff went to many lovely beaches along the west coast. When they went to Pacific Beach, Marcia saw pretty parrot having a cocktail. She had to buy one to put in the backyard for me.  I enjoy watching it spin as I perch in my screen porch. She bought it at a shop called Swings-n-Things. A man by the name of Pig helped her to find the last one in stock.  Thank You Pig!

Did I miss them?  YES I DID!  Did they miss me!  YES THEY DID!  
It's good for them to get away now and then. It's also good for me to get away and do something new and different too. I always know they will be back because they tell me, and I'm always happy to see them when they come home!

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Sorghum Summer

I'm a Sorghum Farmer!  Don't you just love this picture of me in a pair of overalls!

Actually, Marcia did most of the farming, but I'm enjoying the fruits of her labors!  I enjoy nibbling on Sorghum as a treat in my cage. I don't eat much of it, it's just there for me to have a snack now and then.

Marcia used to purchase it on the internet from various parrot sites. It is sometimes called Mega Millet or Milo.  My supply began to run low, and we could no longer find any! No one was selling it anymore! Marcia said, "We'll just have to grow our own!"  Sorghum is a grain that grows very well in most areas of the world.  Not only is sorghum the fifth most important cereal grown in the world, it also used as animal feed, to produce alcoholic beverages, made into sorghum syrup or molasses, and used as a biofuel.

It is also very nutritious! Sorghum is gluten free, with high levels of unsaturated fats, rich in protein, high in fiber, and contains minerals like phosphorus, potassium, and calcium. It also has more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranates.  I bet you didn't know Sorghum was so good! (Important Note: If you sprout for your birds, DO NOT sprout sorghum! It is safe when dry, but when sprouted it contains hydrogen cyanide.) 

We decided to plant some in the herb garden in the back yard. We'll forgo the usual crop of basil this year to make room for the sorghum. This little patch of land was perfect because the soil was very good and organic. We've never used any chemicals or pesticides in this part of the garden.

Since I had eaten all the sorghum we had on hand, we didn't have any seed!  We found some seed on eBay! Yes! eBay sells seed! Organic seed! No GMO's for me! It was very inexpensive and more seed than we needed for my small patch of land. 

Let the planting begin!  We planted in April. Soon, little sprouts began to emerge.

The plants grew and grew!

Little seed heads began to form!
This is the yummy part after it grows and matures.

In about 4 months, it looks like this.

Then, the BUGS Invaded! Yuck!

They are called Leaffooted Bugs and they are disgusting!
(The orange bug is an immature Leaffooted Bug.)

These bugs like to suck the sap out of the tender grain kernel as it grows. Marcia got rid of them by spraying them with solution made with hot peppers. It didn't kill them, but they fell off the plant when sprayed, then she stepped on them.  She did this nearly every morning for 4 weeks.  Soon the bugs were gone!

Finally it was harvest time! She cut the seed heads off and allowed them to dry inside my screen porch for about 4 weeks.  Then, she washed them and let them dry. 

Soon, I will be nibbling my Sorghum treat again!

Monday, July 7, 2014

My Nut Pouch

I love my "Nut Pouch"!  It's made of leather with a few almonds or other goodies tucked inside. Any kind of nut will work, but almonds are my favorite. I love to chew on leather and I took to this little foraging toy immediately. After I get the original treat out, it can be refilled because I've made the hole a little bigger. As you can see, this one is very worn out and time for a replacement.

Marcia bought something similar from a bird toy company years ago.  As you can see the holes are pretty big and we wondered how "bird safe" the rivets are.  "We'll make one!" is what Marcia said!  We'll call it a "Nut Pouch." Here is the original pouch she bought. You can buy one here.

Supplies for a Nut Pouch

We have a store nearby that sell all kinds of leather and leather working tools. Here is the online store. Marcia bought a vegetable tanned hide of leather. When making bird toys it's very important to buy only "vegetable tanned" leather. (Tanning is the term used for the process of cleaning leather to make it soft and pliable.) Other leathers are tanned with chemicals and are harmful to parrots.

This hide will make dozens of nut pouches!
You'll also need 1/8" leather lacing from a bird toy company. The 1/8" size and the rounded edges of this lacing slides through the holes really nicely when lacing.

She also bought two leather punches, 1/8" punch and a 1/4" punch.  She purchased a rubber mallet from the hardware store.

A hard, solid table is perfect to work on because you do some very hard pounding when you punch the leather. A piece of wood placed on the table surface will protect the your table top and will keep your punches from getting dull.

Make your pattern

You can get as creative as you want, but keep the design simple. You will be lacing around it and you don't want it to have too many curved edges. I have a long one for my cage that gets filled up and lasts a long time. I once made a Texas shaped Nut Pouch for Bibi the Bird when she came for a visit.  That was the fanciest one ever made! Einstein's favorite is the triangle shape.

Draw your shape on a piece of paper, then cut it out. I've provided a pattern for the square and triangle shaped nut pouch here.

Transfer your shape to the leather. I like one edge to be folded. (One less edge to punch and lace.)

Cut out the shape with a pair of scissors.

Take the shape, and moisten it with water. Pat it dry with a clean cloth. You want the leather moist, not dripping wet. Leather is easier to punch and work with when it is moist.

Here's a video that shows you how to punch and lace the nut pouch.

Punch the holes

Use the 1/8" punch for the lacing holes and the 1/4" punch for the nut holes.


Moisten the leather lacing just like you did the shape. (If you don't finish, just let the leather dry out and then remoisten when you come back to the project to finish later.)

Place the nuts in the center, and fold the leather over. Start lacing the sides. Sometimes a needle nose pliers comes in handy to grab and pull the leather lace through the holes.

Make a knot at each end. Sometimes Marcia strings little bead on the ends to make it fancy!

Let it dry, then enjoy your NewNut Pouch!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Company on the Porch!

Last summer the back porch was screened in so I would have a place to get fresh air and sunshine. You can read about it here. This summer, we have been busy decorating the porch!

While it is a nice place to perch, the humans need a place to perch too! There are a couple of white plastic chairs on the porch that we've had for years. They just needed a little something to make them more suitable for the space. I think these are a wonderful addition to my porch!


Not only do the chairs look better, they are more comfortable too! As a bonus, they look like ME!  Marcia was inspired to make chair covers from a picture she saw on the internet.  That chair had been painted. Marcia's not handy with paint, but she can make almost anything out of fabric.  She searched and searched for a suitable pattern and found one on Etsy.

I was more than happy to be the model for the design on the chairs.  She used machine appliqué to make the design out of various pieces of fabric.

I like the end result! I'm giving it a final inspection.

Marcia also thought it would be nice to have something on the wall too.  She has a friend named Angie who makes beautiful jewelry out of pretty stones and wire. In fact, her business name is Weirdly Wired Jewelry. Angie can be found on Facebook too! Marcia commissioned her make this copper wire design for me, and then Jeff mounted it on a piece of old wood.  I just LOVE IT!  Thank you Angie!

My play area is growing too!

It takes me a little more time to get used to new things.  I enjoy perching on my play perch, and I do have a boing and a swing that hangs from the ceiling.

 As time goes on, I'll have more perches and toys hung.  There is even talk of a shelf! Oh! That sounds like fun!  I have been told not to get my hopes up for a drawer. That will not happen!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sprouting Sprouts!

Einstein loves sprouts and there is always something sprouting in the kitchen! Sprouts are very nutritious and all birds seem to love them! There are many websites and tutorials on sprouting. In this post, I'll share how I sprout for Einstein. This is the process that works best for us.

I purchased an "Easy Sprouter." (Actually I bought two of them, for reasons I'll explain later in the post.) It is a handy container that drains the sprouting seed and allows enough air to get to the sprouts without spoiling them. To sprout properly, seeds need the right amount of air circulation and moisture. Too much water and the seeds get soggy and don't sprout. Too little water and the seeds don't sprout. Not enough air circulation and the seeds spoil or get moldy. Too much air circulation and the seeds dry out and don't sprout. The Easy Sprouter takes the guess work out of that in an easy and convenient way.

The Easy Sprouter comes with six pieces. (I use 4 of the 6, I don't use the small seed sprouted or the dome lid.)
Bottom of the inner Container

The seeds you select for sprouting should be as fresh as possible and organic.
The sprout mix is called Avian FRESH Diet-Psittacine from China China Prairie Products. This mix contains Hulled Sunflower Seed, Whole Yellow Corn, Whole Oat, Brown Rice, Hi Pro Wheat Berry, Whole Green Pea, Garbanzo, Mung Bean, Buckwheat, Millet, Fenugreek, Pumpkin Seed, Sesame Seed, Quinoa, Radish Seed, Mustard Seed, Red Clover Seed.

China Prairie Sprouts
China Prairie Sprouts

Place about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of the mix into the inner container of the Easy Sprouter. Rinse the sprouts under running water. Put the inner container with the wet seeds inside the outer container and fill with enough water to cover the seeds about 2 inches.  

Cover the Easy Sprouter with the solid lid. Let stand at room temperature for a 6-8 hour soak.

Uncover, drain, and rinse the sprouts under cool water and discard the soaking water.  As you rinse the sprouts, shake and spin the seeds in the drainer part of the Easy Sprouter. Then place the drainer back inside the Sprouter container allowing it to rest on the upper ridge of the Easy Sprouter container. This enables the proper air circulation. Place the vented lid on top of the Sprouter and let it sit at room temperature for 16 -24 hours. Watch the video for a demonstration of how to rinse and spin the sprouts.

How long the sprouts take to sprout depends on the room temperature and moisture. I find that the sprouts take a little longer in the winter when the room temperature is a little cooler than in the summer. I also repeat the rinse and spin procedure again after the first 8 hours.

You may rinse the sprouts with Organic Apple Cider vinegar as added protection to prevent bacteria growth. To do this, put a tablespoon of organic Apple Cider vinegar in the final rinse water. I usually don't find this necessary, as I rinse the sprouts each time before feeding them. I also smell the sprouts to check for spoilage. Sprouts that smell "nutty" are fresh and healthy. Sprouts that have spoiled will smell sour and will be slimy or moldy. You'll be able to notice the smell of spoiled sprouts!

Sprout "tails" about 1/8" - 1/4" long
After about 16 hours, little tails will appear on the seeds. The tails should be about an 1/8" to 1/4" long. This is when they are ready to feed and at their peak of nutritional value. I add about a tablespoon to Einstein's breakfast mash and/or her veggie chop.

I don't allow the sprouts to sit out and continue to grow at room temperature. I snap the flat lid back on the container with the inner container holding the sprouts, and place it in the refrigerator.  They will still grow a little bit, even under refrigeration.

Each time I use the sprouts I repeat the rinse/spin again just to safeguard the possibility of any bacteria growth.

When I see I'm running low I'll start another batch in the second Easy Sprouter that I have on hand. That way I always have a continuous supply of fresh and healthy sprouts!

I am not in any way affiliated with the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned in this post, nor have I received compensation from them.

Friday, June 13, 2014

It's been a long time....

I apologize, it's been a year since my last post. Time does fly by these days! Several things occupied my time. Most of last year was spent rewriting and updating my website. It was overdue for an update, and I hope you like the new design!
From This:

To This:

You'll find all the same information that was on the old site, just more detailed.  For example, when you click on the video tab, instead of having all my videos listed with links, I've written back stories and information that you might find useful and entertaining. Marcia often gets asked questions like, "How do you train Einstein?" Soon, I will be sharing more details about that! (And how I train her! Ha! :> ) Some things I write will be for fun, and some things will be informative, and you will still be able to find all my videos on YouTube!

As many of you know, the back porch was screened in so I would have a place to get fresh air and sunshine.  It has taken time for me to get used to my new area, and I really enjoy it on pretty days.

I have many ideas for new blog posts and I will continue to do videos. As you can see, I'm a very busy birdie these days! I better stop playing around and get to work!

Pecks! :>