Willow…Thursday?

I know, I know. Consistency isn’t my thing.

Willow and I were in the bathroom and she started begging to be put on the rim of the tub. She’s shown interest in it before, but not this much. I’m really hoping she will become more comfortable with it as time goes by so she can have the chance to get a proper bath instead of flapping around awkwardly in her water dish. Hey, a girl can pray.

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Parrotphernalia: Items to Consider for the Bird Room

The inspiration for this post was something I literally tripped over. Our bird room/office space has a lot in it right now: two birds, two desks with accompanying chairs and computers, a filing cabinet, and a few things that we like to have to make sure the birds are nice and comfortable. This past weekend, not paying attention, I went to do something (turn on a light?) and banged right into our humidifier, spilling its entire contents all over the floor, traumatizing the birds, and making a massive mess. Since then it occurred to me it might be a nice idea to do a post about a few things Mr. Awesome and I have found useful in our bird room:

A humidifier. The whole house humidifier that is attached to our furnace looks like it’s older than me, and it didn’t age well, nor does it work, the result being that the humidity levels in our home during the cold months could get close to that of the Sahara Desert (not joking. Read this article). So after sandpaper feet, nose bleeds, and chapped lips, it was time to purchase a humidifier. Our Odyssey to create humidity in our home could be a post in and of itself, but I won’t bore you with it (for now). Suffice it to say, if you are suffering from lack of humidity, it is safe to assume your bird is as well. Compound this with the fact that your bird may be molting this time of year, and that could make for one uncomfortable parrot.

From what I’ve seen, humidifiers come in predominantly two types: the sort that produce hot steam, and the kind that work via evaporation and a fan. The humidifier we currently have in our bird room is a 1.3 Gallon Honeywell warm mist humidifier. It can be a bit of a pain to clean with our ridiculously hard water, but it does an adequate job and has a knob that lets you adjust how much steam you want it to put out. We also have another, larger, evaporating humidifier in another area of the house.

Two things to keep in mind: Obviously, the warm steam humidifiers can get hot, so if you have one near your birds make sure it is in a place where they will not be burned by it. If you are using the evaporating variety, be sure the fan isn’t putting your birds in a cold draft. And as always, be sure anything plugged into an electrical outlet is out of chewing distance.

***Side Note*** Before purchasing a humidifier, check how much energy it uses. I thought I was being clever and picked up three small, low priced warm steam humidifiers thinking if they worked well it would save us having to purchase a larger version. They did work well, and I kept them bubbling away for at least twelve hours a day. Then the energy bill came in, AND IT WAS ABOUT $100 MORE THAN USUAL. Mr. Awesome did a check online and discovered that the watts used by the things was enormous, which would be fine if you were just using it for the night to soothe a cold, but not for trying to run it nonstop for a month.

A space heater. Depending on your home and setup this one may not be necessary. Our condo is really more of a townhome in its layout. We basically live in a tower consisting of three floors, the result being each level you go up is warmer than the previous level. We keep our birds on the highest floor where most of the heat collects. This winter, in an effort to save on energy costs, we turned our thermostat down to 69 F during the day and 65 F during the night and set up a small space heater in the bird room to keep it in the low to mid 70s. It has worked well so far, and I’m really hoping we will see the difference on our energy bills. Even if your home is a consistent temperature all over, you may find a space heater beneficial to have on hand in case of emergency or illness. Of course, keep anything hot at a safe distance from your birds, and be aware of any fire risks.

A thermometer/hygrometer. Obviously, you’ll have no idea what the temperature or humidity levels are if you don’t have a way of measuring them. You can get thermometer/hygrometer combos that are pretty inexpensive. Even if you are confident of what the temps and humidity levels are in your home, it is smart to have one of these near your birds so you can be sure of what is going on directly around them. I recommend a digital version for the sake of quick, easy reading.

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. These should be in every home anyway for your own safety, but it is worthwhile considering where they are located in relation to where you are keeping your birds.

An air purifier. This is probably more for your sake than the birds, but air quality is important. As any parrot owner knows, birds produce and incredible amount of feather dust; grey and white birds especially. We have an Alen air purifier that we are quite pleased with. Neither Mr. Awesome or I are allergic to birds specifically, praise God, but we do have allergy issues, so not having to breathe in quite so much birdy dander is a big plus. If you do put an air purifier in your bird room, do make sure it isn’t putting any of your little guys in a draft.

A TV, computer, radio, or music source. Willow and Robin get to watch cartoons. As I said above, our computers are in the bird room (or are the birds in our office?), and many times I will pull up a cartoon on Netflix for them, just to keep things interesting. Bright colors, funny sounds, and frequent musical numbers keep the birds from having to spend their afternoons in silence while I am busy getting things done. Music is also something nice to have playing for them, even talk radio, so long as it isn’t too loud or unnerving. I recommend you not play anything for your birds that you don’t want them repeating later. Just in case.

I hope you found this list useful. Our bird room is quite crowded at the moment with all of the appliances, but at least Robin and Willow seem comfortable. I’m looking forward to warmer weather when we can put the humidifier and heater away for the season. Perhaps then I will be less prone to tripping over things…


Image Credit

Music Division, The New York Public Library. “The girl you dream about” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1896 – 1900. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fc5d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

What’s Going On Here and What is This Blog About!?

When I first started Budgie Makes Three, I think I intended it to be a sort of “mommy blog”, only the creature I was “mothering” was a white budgie named Giacomo. I thought I’d write about marriage, life with birds, my faith, and maybe share a couple of recipes. It didn’t take long before I ran out of material… and interest. Not long after, Giacomo passed away and our household was down to two humans with no budgie to make it “three”.

My interest in the blog was renewed when we brought home Robin and Tuck. I had a bit more to write about, having the two birds, but I once again lost steam. Then Willow came into our lives, and I thought I’d have plenty to write about sharing life with an African grey.

But somehow that didn’t last long either, and while life with Willow and Robin continues to be an amazing blessing full of joyful hilarity (I am writing this sitting on the bathroom floor as Willow does a bit of exploring, the same location I’ve written a few other blog posts), I find myself wanting more and more to write about the other great blessing Jesus has brought into my life: gardening.

The truth of the matter is I’m a homesteader wannabe living in a lovely city condo. Someday Mr. Awesome and I want to, Lord willing, acquire a few acres and move to the country. That could happen this year. It could happen in five years. We don’t know. Part of me is very happy and content where we are. The other part of me thinks that I’m not getting any younger, and setting up a large garden, orchard, etc. takes time. I keep praying that God will let us know when the time is right to make such a move.

And part of me is deliciously happy seeing just how far I can push the homesteading concept here at the condo. Can I grow enough fresh produce in containers on our deck to make a large contribution to our diets? What DIY skills can I acquire that will help us save money? I’ll never get the condo association to approve chickens, but I did string a clothesline in our basement and learned to do embroidery. And if embroidery doesn’t sound like a useful skill to you, two words: Christmas presents.

I started blogging again at the beginning of the year because I very much wanted to write, and not just for myself. For a long time journaling had satisfied the itch, but as time went on it felt less and less like enough. I was diving deeper into the whole gardening thing, and I wanted to share what I was doing. Perhaps someone might benefit from it. And of course, I hope and pray God is honored through all of this somehow.

But now that I’ve rambled on and on, I find myself back at the title of this post: what’s going on here and what is this blog about? I had considered starting another blog that was garden specific, but I’ve scattered so many blogs across the blogosphere and subsequently abandoned them that it’s positively embarrassing, and I’ve found pigeon holing one’s self too strictly is a surefire way to get blog burnout. Besides, God has given us two lovely psittacids who really should have their photos posted from time to time.

Perhaps one day I will change the name of the blog, or the address, or even stop being so cheap and shell out a bit of cash to actually purchase a WordPress plan. I still haven’t found a look for Budgie I’m super in love with either. I suppose this post is a bit of a warning that gardening will very likely become an increasingly prevalent subject here, with a couple of feathered miscreants thrown in, and you’ll probably see aesthetic changes from time to time. I appreciate all of you who take the time to read and like my posts. I hope you wont be disappointed in what the future holds for Budgie Makes Three.

God bless!

Needy

But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying.

– Psalm 70:5 KJV

The last few weeks have been rough.

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Since early spring we have been waiting and watching to see what direction Mr. Awesome’s current job situation would take, but we are now in the final hour as it were, and we are still waiting and watching, wondering where God will lead us next.

Arthur’s recovery continues to be slow. At one point during his round of antibiotics he lost a lot of his mobility. He is unable to perch, so we keep him in the hospital tub, which we eventually moved back out into the bird room so he could be near Robin and not feel ostracized from the flock. It seems to have helped a bit, but Arthur’s progress continues to be a one step forward, two steps back affair, and we are wondering if he will have special needs for the remainder of his life.

Being stuck in a tub, Arthur needs cleaning twice daily. He was having trouble getting his head up to eat and drink from his normal food and water dishes so we picked up containers that would be easier for him to access, but being smaller and lower to the ground they need to be changed more often. With the current setup we can’t leave him alone for more than a few hours, making even overnight trips to visit family problematic.

Throughout Arthur’s illness, poor Robin has had to take a back seat to Arthur’s needing special care and Willow’s insistence on being the center of attention. Still, he appears to be quite content not having to share his toys, and I believe having Arthur back beside him has helped him a bit too. If nothing, it gives him something new to investigate.

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Willow continues to be Willow, and that’s a good thing.

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And so, with all of the stresses and unknowns of our immediate future (I have to add the looming presidential election to the list), what do Mr. Awesome and I do? We pray. And we wait. Because even though it feels like the world is crumbling beneath our feet, we know there is a Rock underneath that will remain solid for us.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

– Matthew 7:24-25 KJV

I have been through enough rough times with Jesus to know that no matter how dark everything gets, His light will pierce through it. I don’t know what His plan is for Mr. Awesome and I, but I know it’s going to be great when it gets here.