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!