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! :>