Hall’s Choice Open House in New Market, MD

For once, my parrots aren’t the main thing keeping me super-occupied in life (although they certainly play their part!). I’m helping to organise a pet-friendly charity event for Clean Water Linganore, and, as you might imagine, there is a whole lot to be done. There’s going to be food, ice cream, local tours, arts and crafts, dog-training sessions, meet-n-greets with political candidates, horse events, and more! And if you just like looking at gorgeous Hanoverian horses, you can do that, too. ūüėõ

Clean Water Linganore’s main¬†goal is to teach the community about the importance of both our local farmland, and the watershed area that is set to be developed in the area. The open house is being held at Hall’s Choice Farm in New Market, Maryland, on June 22, 2014 (10:00-16:00). If you live in the area, be sure to come visit!

My apologies if I haven’t been replying as quickly as usual. I have a big catch-up blogging session to do for sure.

*Regular bird updates to be resumed soon.*



Bird Visitors


Had a friendly little visitor to my garden yesterday morning. This homing pigeon got a little lost on his journey from Ohio to New Jersey. They apparently will often stop to rest for up to two or three days in a row, but this one picked a bad spot. Our property is up against wilderness and a small wooded area, so we have all kinds of predators, including pets, hawks, feral cats, coyotes, owls, foxes, etc. All would be happy to munch a pigeon.

I made friends with him by offering him some safflower from our treat stash and a little pan of fresh water. He then followed me around for a bit on the ground and had a nap. I didn’t think he seemed sick or injured, just tired and hungry.

When he didn’t leave by dinner time, I got a cat carrier, tossed some seed in, and in he went. I christened him Nigel.

In any event, dear Nigel (after contacting Animal Control and the local club of his owner) is on his way home to New Jersey. Websites usually suggest leaving these birds alone if they appear to be okay, but since this one refused to get off the ground, we all decided he needed a little help! Happy endings all around.

Side note: I washed thoroughly after contact with the strange bird, and my flock never came into contact with him – very important!

2013 in Review.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Cue the Colourful Metaphors.

Sooo… I broke my laptop.

Well, I tripped and spilt cider on it in a seriously freak accident, thereby damaging it beyond repair. I kept my writing (including six novels, two of which were in progress) and eight years of photographs on it, and – of course – it was my access to blogging, Skype, and the Internet. I didn’t have anything backed up because I was still searching for an external hard drive.¬†Fortunately,¬†the actual hard drive was salvaged, though the state of it is currently unknown. We’ll see what I can recover.

In the meantime, I think I’m undergoing the five stages of grief, haha.¬†At first, I was completely in denial. I didn’t even freak out. Then I became very angry – how could I have friggin’ done that? Next, bargaining, which I kind of skipped, but there was a bit of trying to figure out the logistics for a time machine. I gave up quickly on that because… well, maths.

Depression, hell yes, I’m depressed about it. I spilt cider¬†in passing¬†on a Macbook Pro that I nursed through years of life with accident-prone¬†me and my flock. It didn’t even have any damage from curious, bored parrots! Cue the melodramatic sighs and head-flinging. (No grieving is complete without dramatic head-flinging.)

And acceptance? Can I go back in time, please? Somehow? I’ll never, ever drink cider again. Not in the same building. Not in the same flat. Not in the same room as valuable electronics. Well, fine, not within 10 feet of computers, anyway.

Teleportation does sound nifty…

I guess it seems a bit silly to be so upset over a thing, but honestly, besides holding my work – which is important to me for obvious reasons – it was also my connection to home 3,600 miles away. I’m lucky enough to have access to O.’s computer, at least.

Of course, that does mean I’m currently stuck waiting for O. to be out of the house. He is on his computer a lot, composing and doing research, so I was thinking I’d get a tablet at this point. I can’t afford to replace my laptop for a long time, and a tablet happens to be more portable. Please note that I don’t think Apple products are ‘superior’ to PC by any stretch of the imagination, but save for this cider incident, I never had any¬†issues with my Macbook Pro. Its predecessor, an HP laptop, died a horrible, sizzling death. No, my Macbook was fool-proof, and that was all I asked of it.

Any recommendations for tablets?

Zoo Photo Shoot.

No, this post isn’t what you might think. I’m mostly okay with zoos, at least the ones I’ve experienced. When the enclosures are enriched, spacious, and have private shelters for the animals, I think they are no bad thing! They can educate kids and adults alike, and besides, a lot of the animals were donated once owners realised they couldn’t care for their exotic ‘pets.’

No, today’s post – my 135th! – is a collection of my favourite photos that I’ve taken – from the zoo, or just of animals. And also – just because Bobo had a fantastic day – a story and a revelation. The title gives it away: he is a she.

We took Bobo for a walk in Mavi’s cat carrier. It wasn’t as cramped for him as we’d feared, and he… er, she… was quite comfortable. S/he showed off at every opportunity, begged me for attention, and happily sang and chatted to anyone who would listen. Most importantly, Bobo’s day out made quite a difference in his home and cage behaviour. I’ve mentioned the biting and lunging on this blog. I couldn’t go anywhere near him yesterday, and I didn’t press it. Today, though, after his walk, he’s been an absolute darling,¬†begging¬†for scratches, and generally hamming it up. He’s calm and relaxed, and that’s just what we all want.

O. and I happened to notice this afternoon that¬†her¬†eyes are distinctly brown in the sun. Male cockatoo’s eyes appear black even in strong light, apparently. Whether we make the change from referring to him as a he, who knows. We already call Pip and Mishka she’s, and they’re both definitely male. Fortunately, none of them mind. Plus Bobo already says, ‘Good boy, Bo!’

The walk today was a success. It was hilarious to watch people’s reactions. One woman must have thought I just had a cat in the carrier at first glance, but Bobo saw her and shouted, ‘LALALA, HELLOOOOO.’ She did such a double-take! Children absolutely clustered around him to see him (at one point, just on the street, we were surrounded by about six), and even adults were happy to come up to us. One guy had a Grey of his own, another was an Aussie who’d seen lots of ‘toos in the wild. One woman was trying to look through the slots on the sides, and guessed that we had a snake. Bobo definitely preferred the more level energy of the adults. As soon as he’d spot anyone over the age of twenty or so, he’d start chatting away. He also saw two Jack Russells playing in the park and barked at them a few times at them. When we continued away, he let out such a disappointed howl. It sounded like a small child’s shriek. There were police patting someone down nearby, and they looked twice!

Now that I’ve rambled quite a bit, on to the pictures!

Scattered Thoughts.

Warning: Health (and health-care) rant! If you don’t care for those, you can just skip to the photos at the bottom.

Lesser-known fact, I have issues with sleep. Chronic exhaustion has been my lifelong companion. Some of my earliest memories are of being literally dragged out of bed by my mum because it was well and truly time to get up and I was craving more sleep.¬†Sometimes I have trouble drifting off (my body¬†naturally¬†falls sleep at around 4:00am, no matter when I’ve woken, or for how many days in a row), but mostly I force myself to sleep at a reasonable time. The trouble then becomes waking up.

Note that I have done the experiment where you go to sleep, don’t set an alarm, and let your body naturally wake itself. Except that I woke 24 hours later. Fail. I’ve also attempted variations therein, where you set alarms for different lengths of sleep. 6, 7, 8 hours, onwards. Nope.

And don’t even try to talk to me without at least 12 hours of sleep.

It never¬†occurred to me that not everyone is this way, so I just never did anything about it. To put it into perspective, I have never, ever in living memory felt refreshed from a night’s sleep. Well… I have actually never woken up and been able to get out of bed without a huge internal battle (and my joint issues don’t help). Ever.

The point of this post is to vent because I hauled my sleepy, painful butt to the doctor’s – whom I just registered with – explained my situation, and had her say, ‘Everyone feels tired sometimes. It’s not cause for worry, and it obviously doesn’t affect you that badly.’

Not to be sarky, but I was in a doctor’s clinic, and I¬†hate those kinds of places. And needles. But mostly doctors’ offices. There is something goin’ on with me. Plus I’d just explained the chronic nature of my tiredness and pain… It stops me from making it to class sometimes, from going out to see people I really want to see, and doing a lot of the things I want to do.

I just want to wake up feeling refreshed. Just once. I want to know what it feels like not to drag myself through the day.

She then asked if I’d seen a psychologist about it; I said that I didn’t think it was psychological, and she just stared and said, ‘Mmhm.’ After my mentioning a couple things, she prescribed an anti-reflux medicine, which – although I said I didn’t think it was related – I’ve decided to try anyway. It can’t hurt.

Finally, I inquired about my knee, which is swollen and quite painful. I just wanted to know if there was anything there that I should be concerned about in terms of getting it to heal okay.

She said immediately, ‘Have you been¬†vaccinated¬†for tetanus after the bite?’

Me: ‘No?’¬†Needles? Quick! Backtrack – tell her Bobo is an animatronic experiment gone amiss.

‘Hm. Are your immunisations up to date?’

Me: ‘Yes, to get into the country.’ Phew.

‘Well, it’s obviously infected, so I’ll prescribe an¬†antibiotic.’

No puss, no extreme redness, no heat, just the swelling and bruising? I’m not a medical professional, but I do not think it is. Nevertheless, she printed a prescription. And I walked away with no more answers than I had before, feeling¬†brushed off and frustrated. Though I had tried to stand up for myself, it seemed impossible. She had a vocal tic – ‘mhm’ – happening with each couple words I uttered – like something out of a comedy sketch where one character is listening with only half an ear.

I just¬†do not know what is happening, but I feel it is more serious than she was taking it! (Please note that I really, really like the NHS.¬†It’s just this one experience that I’m not happy with.)

What about you, have you had an experience where the doctor just doesn’t seem to be listening?

Anyway, I think I’ll conclude more positively with photos that don’t need words.

IMG_4023 IMG_4025




IMG_0560 DSC09190


DSC08068_2 DSC09413

Cockatoo (No Longer) Looking For a Good Home!

UPDATE: Bobo has come to live with us.

Bobo is a beautiful Umbrella Cockatoo who loves cuddles, dancing on the floor whilst singing ‘Lalala!’ and putting his foot through the bars of his cage to hold your hand!

Like many ‘toos, he hasn’t had the rosiest past. He spent two years shut in a greenhouse, but has since been rescued (and is safe in his temporary home for now). Poor bud is missing one toe on one foot, and three nails on the other. ¬†He¬†isn’t great with men, but loves women – so a home with a nice lady would be ideal. He can¬†also be noisy, like all his kind, but usually only when their macaw goes off!



P.S. More pictures¬†here, or you can click the photo above to go through to his current home’s Flickr account.