Tuesday, October 28, 2014

So Long, Skipper

Well, our family has just gotten a little smaller. After years of talking about it and months of stressing out about it, we have found a new, much more fitting forever home for Skipper.

We had a feeling this would be the result when Eddy was born. To be honest, we were dreading his reaction to her because normally when he hears a baby cry, squeal, laugh, or make any other noise for that matter, he responds with a pretty ear-piercing scream of his own. But, to our surprise and relief, he seemed to understand that our baby was taken care of and he didn't need to let us know about it.

So we thought maybe we would be able to keep him. Unfortunately, though he is much more pleasant about Eddy than we anticipated, he still has his needs that we don't have the time or energy to attend to.

Caring for Skipper is like caring for a toddler. He needs a lot of our time and attention and will scream if he doesn't get what he wants. What makes it hard is the fact that he hates me. If we would accept any affection, or food from me without attacking me, it might be a different story. But he only wants it from Shawn and Shawn just isn't home enough for it to be fair for Skipper.

We also think Skipper is lonely. He sits by himself for most of the day and screams when he sees our neighbors out the window.

He's a sad little dude, and we needed to do something about it.

The we were informed about Pacific Parrot Placement.

PPP is a local 501(C)(3) that helps people rehome their parrots. Once I heard about them, I filled out their Placement Registration Form and was contacted by them within 5 days with the message that they had a potential match for Skipper. The email included a little information about the possible candidate. It sounded pretty good so I filled out the Release Agreement form which officially switched ownership of Skipper to PPP (they actually retain ownership of him forever, so they have the right to take him back if they feel the new owner is not a good fit.) This agreement can be rescinded by us at any point in the process if we decided to keep him afterall. Once the papers were in from both parties with a donation from us ($50, which we were happy to pay to an organization that does this amazing work,) we got the contact information from Skipper's new daddy.

Then it was up to us to contact him. I emailed him with more info about Skipper and asked for more info about him. Though we were pretty eager to get Skipper out of here, we also felt an obligation to make sure that this new home was right for him. I asked him a few questions, one of them was whether he has any kids of his own or whether any kids may come around once in a while. To be honest, finding a home with kids would have been ideal, but this new home sounds like a winner.

We dropped him off at his new house on Sunday and were super happy with his new digs. He has a nice long hallway to practice his flying and his new Amazon friend named June is already enamored with him. (He also has two African Greys to hang out with.) He will also get periodic weekend visits from two children. His new owner is very experienced with parrots, and sounds like he devotes a lot of his time to caring for his "children." He also seems really chill about the way he cares for them, and just wants his "kids" to be happy. He was talking about how he shares his fries and pizza with the birds, and allows them the freedom to just be birds. We hung out in the house for a while and we drove away feeling happy. Though it's weird to not have him around anymore, we're super happy that he finally has a home that is best suited for his species (second to the wild, or course.)

To conclude, let's reminisce.

Though super annoying more often than not, he provided us as well as all our guests with a ton of entertainment over the years. From his somewhat limited vocabulary, to his extensive sound effects, and ear-peircing screams, he was always making noise. Despite this, and maybe because of this, Skipper's intelligence was always fascinating to me. He just knew things, and you could tell he was thinking and calculating and manipulating. Cool and aggravating at the same time.

He brought many laughs and lots of joy to scores of kids. I took him in to work on at least five different occasions over the years and he made a show out of the whole thing each time. Since he was always happy to see new people he'd never met, he would also put on a show for all of our guests, oftentimes being the life of many a party. The video above is of him putting on one of his shows. He thought he was a pretty good singer. He wasn't. But it was sure funny.

Since we dropped him off, I've been getting occasional picture messages from his new daddy. Here he is with his girlfriend, June. (Though he seems to be more interested in whatever he's eating than in his new friend.)

Skipper's on the left, June on the right :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Quinoa is Not Always Gross

Unlike most people, I don't like quinoa. In general, I think it's pretty gross. Due to the fact that it has been such a fad lately, I've eaten it quite a bit in various ways over the past several years, but I've always been somewhere between disappointed or grossed out. I actually enjoy the texture and even like the fact that it looks like a bowl full of teeny tiny worms. The taste just doesn't do it for me. It's like dust. Dirty dust.

(Remember that commercial from last football season where that guy is grilling a quinoa patty at a tailgate party and calls it "qweeno"? Oh man, I loved that commercial. Also because he said it tasted like a "dirty old tree branch." He's so right.)

I digress.

The other day I was rummaging around my pantry and found a bag of red quinoa that I had bought in a fit of health conscious insanity. I wasn't going to throw it away, even though it was quinoa, so I had to figure out what to do with it.

Quinoa salad was out. It's just too gross for me. I knew that I needed to somehow cook it with strong flavors to keep the tree-branchy dustyness at bay.

Answer: Curry.

So here's the recipe that made me like quinoa. For a day.

This is also a good, spicy, warming recipe for a chilly fall day.

Curried Quinoa with Raisins

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup broth (chicken, vegetable, your choice)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 tablespoon curry
1/2 cup raisins

In a saucepan toss together the quinoa and olive oil. Add the spices, salt, and raisins, and toss together. Add the water and broth, cover, and simmer on medium low for 20-30 minutes or until tender.

It's actually pretty delicious. I still won't eat quinoa salad though.

Yeah, I would make and eat this again.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sleepy Sacky

Before I had a baby, I had all these aspirations to do fun sewing projects that would result in cute little clothes and other accessories. Well, it's been slow to start,  but I've been able to create this and that, here and there.

One of my recently completed projects was a sleep sack I made out of unused blankets. Eddy has a few sleep sacks, but they are all made out of fleece, and during the various hot streaks we were having during the summer, they were just too warm for her, but the house would cool off enough that being in just PJ's wasn't enough through the night.

So my sewing machine and I solved that problem.

First, I rummaged through my blanket drawer and pulled two blankets that Eddy had either outgrown or never used.

Both flannel receiving blankets.
Next, I used one of her fleece sleep sacks and outlined it directly onto the blankets, leaving about an inch border for hemming, etc. but also making it a few inches longer. Luckily, both the front and back panels needed to make the sleep sack are the same size and shape. Once I cut out the pieces from the pink blanket, I cut panels that matched the bottom halves of the two panels out of the smaller monkey blanket.

Next, I cut the front panels in half vertically for the zipper.

Construction was pretty simple. Sew the monkey panels onto the pink sheets, then sew the panels together, while reenforcing the neck line and arm holes. After I sewed in the zipper, I added a little velcro tab at the top. I love the little accents.

Turned out pretty cute, I think. Too bad I didn't make this earlier in the summer so it could be used. Oh well.

The. Cutest. Model.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Garden Stuff and Recap

Is summer already coming to a close? How is this possible? The 2014 harvest season has been pretty good. It probably could have been better had I spent more time watering, fertilizing, weeding, and just giving it general TLC, but I'm happy with it.

A harvest from earlier this summer.
A few things to note:
1) My cherry and grape tomatoes have been cray-cray awesome. And super delicious. We're lucky to get half of them in the house.
2) My zucchini plant never got bigger than the size of a basketball. WTF? Forget about even getting any zucchini this year.
3) I let an onion from last season go to flower to see if I could save the seeds. It totally worked. See below.

Dried up onion flower.
Not a ton, but a good amount for next year. Note Eddy eating grass in the background.
4) For some awesome reason, my dry Calypso beans (or Gussy beans as I like to call them,) decided to give me a double harvest this year. When I went out to harvest the dry pods a few weeks ago, I noticed that the plants had a BuNcH of green beans on them. Like a second wave. Why would the plants do that? Because of our silly summer weather? I'm not complaining.
5) I have an enormous beet waiting to be pulled from the ground. I can't wait to have a chance to roast and eat the shit out of it.

A harvest from this last weekend. Edamame are delicious.
6) I found some tent caterpillar eggs on our plum tree, (which was super sad and didn't give us any fruit again this year) so I cut that off. It feels nice to be able to recognize a pest before it becomes a problem next spring.

See the clump up at the top? So evil!!!
7) We have rats. They ate a bunch of my dry beans, but then the edamame started maturing and they switched to those. I think we may have gotten 25% of the harvest that could have been. The rest went to those fuzzy little asshole vermin. They might need to die. I have to research the most humane way of getting rid of rats. Ugh. I think they also decimated my shiso. Who knew that they liked shiso?

8) We got enough tomatoes for two batches of my delicious marinara. Yum.

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