Peace. Love. Birdies.

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New Birdie Announcement!

I’m happy to announce there will be a new birdie joining the household in the next few months!

My new birdie is a Green Wing Macaw. He’s coming from NYC (Lawn-Guyland lol) to be exact. πŸ™‚

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Why buy a birdie from NYC? Well, there were several reasons, Β including how expensive/hard-to-get that these birdies are in Texas, but what really sealed the deal was how awesome the breeder, Charlie, has been with the birdies, and the kind of spotless, glowing reviews he has. You can check him out here: Winging It Aviary. Charlie has done a wonderful job with keeping me posted with updates on my sweetheart. I’ve decided to name the birdie Jimmy. He hatched on December 1st, 2012 and he is already 2 pounds, 9 ounces! He’s going to be a big boy!

This is what Jimmy looked like when he was an itty bitty. πŸ™‚ I LOVE baby birds!!!!

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Jimmy seeeees youuuu!!!! And doesn’t Charlie have an awesome tat sleeve?

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He’s flying to his mommy soon! πŸ™‚ That’s his sister behind him. She was born a few days before him. πŸ™‚

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This is him snuggling with Charlie. This is one happy birdie!

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This is Jimmy with his sister. Jimmy is kissing a Congo Grey baby. I don’t think my Congo Grey will be as receptive to his kisses…she gets freaked out by the attention Mr. QwertyBird the Macaw gives her. πŸ™‚

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I can’t wait to pick him up from the airport in a couple of months and just hug him to pieces. πŸ™‚


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Why I Love Birds So Much

So today is the festival of love. Whatever. I have reached a point in my life where a holiday of cards and candy given insincerely one day means little to me. Shouldn’t every day be Valentines Day, in all honesty?

I’d rather talk about something that I love, that consistently loves me back….my birds.

For years, I’ve left a lot of people bemused, dismayed, or both. “Laura…why do you love birds so much? What is with that?” I just tell them, “Well I just love birds.” I don’t really go into detail. People can be quite judgmental and don’t understand, until they actually meet them, then they understand the love. I’ve actually “converted” people who have feared birds to being more comfortable and confident handling these creatures.

There’s a lot more to it than that.

First off, they are just absolutely beautiful creatures. Think of them — they are variegated in colors of the rainbow. Even the solid-grey African Grey has an amazing flaming-red tail. Sun Conures are literally flying balls of fire and jewel tones. This is my Mr. Sun Conure. This was taken when he was a baby, so needless to say the stress bars are gone and the colors are even more brilliant.

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Then, there’s the personality. I have 13 parrots. Yes, 13. Keep in mind several are paired conures that live together, and it’s really not “that bad.” Most of my parrots chose me. The guy you see above, he jumped out of aΒ TupperwareΒ box filled with babies, crawled up my arm, and that was that. The others wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. lol

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Sometimes their personality can be a touch on the overwhelming side, like Luna engaging in bat-like behavior.

…or tearing keys out of my laptop. (Laptop was majorly on its way out anyways.)

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Then, there’s just the awesomeness of these creatures wanting to spend time with you, all the time. They’re so amazingly affectionate and people-oriented, it’s not even funny. Even when they’ve got buddies, they want to hang with you.

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Share your food with your parrots. It makes your life a little easier. πŸ™‚

They’ll also share food with each other!

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Birds are also super-intelligent. They will talk to you (and each other, in contextual, comprehensible English) which makes them even more of a part of the family.

These guys talk to each other a lot. Usually the interactions involve one scolding the other, but they laugh in context of conversation, growl at each other when playing tug-of-war, and all sorts of other interactions. πŸ™‚

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They are also really capable of showing sincere kindness to each other. πŸ™‚

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Birds also REALLY like quirky little things, like pancakes. πŸ™‚ (I walked in on this shot, this wasn’t posed…LOL)

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Birds are carboholics. They also seriously enjoy pieces of donuts.

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Another thing they ALL love is a good bath!!! My biggies like to go outside and sit on the patio table and get hosed down with the garden hose. I mean, seriously SOAKED! Considering Texas is an excess of 80 degrees and sunny for 9 months of the year, they have plenty of opportunities for this. πŸ™‚

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They look at you like they adore you. Probably because you’re looking at them like you adore them. πŸ™‚

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By the way, speaking of birds, Chickens are not immune to being total lovebugs too!

This is Rusty, my Red Sex-Link hybrid chicken. She loves to ride around on my shoulder. I raised her from 1 day old πŸ™‚

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Pictures speak 1000 words — have I explained to you why I love birds? πŸ™‚


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Seven Reasons to Deactivate Facebook

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There have been a lot of studies out there that show how dangerous Facebook can be to the human psyche. It can create an altered sense of reality, it can create serious narcissism, it can enhance underlying depressive behaviors, and it can feel like everyone else has this amazing life that you don’t have — when the reality is most folks are just selectively posting the good and hiding the bad.

I deactivated my account for a few different reasons. I’ll either create a new account at some point or reactivate the other one. I will need to create a small business page, so either way, I can’t walk totally away from Facebook.

1. Major time sucker. Time is precious, and the natural multitasking abilities that people possess can unfortunately suck time away from things that do matter, like that email you should be returning to someone, or that school paper someone’s been procrastinating about. If you start talking to someone or “getting into it” with someone, even more time goes away, because you start checking for responses. If you get REALLY agitated by something, it might even keep you up at night. That’s a waste of precious sleep!

2. Everything becomes linked and tracked. I deleted my 900-track Spotify playlist because it was linked to my Facebook account. It broadcasts everything you’re listening to to your social network, and you can only temporarily shut it off. I’ve discovered some of the church ladies I know have a fondness for down-and-dirty gangsta rap, complete with the explicit lyrics. Seriously. πŸ™‚

3. Your “likes” can sabotage you, your reputation, or business. Everyone can see your Facebook “likes.” Your future employers can interpret that you’re slumming it, how you waste your time with games, or what kind of savory activities you engage in. I do professional photography — anytime I “like” a page with Photoshop actions, templates, etc. that enhance photographs, the competition can see exactly what you’re using and how to get it. If you were a famous cook with an amazing restaurant, would you be liking all of the secret ingredients in your famous recipes for the world to see? I can figure out what a friend’s political stance is, how they feel on certain issues, what their religious beliefs are, how they raise their kids, etc. just by looking at their “likes” and not even talking to them.

4. The past blends with the present, whether you like it or not. People you don’t necessarily want to talk to can friend you. Even if you don’t friend them, it’s violating to know how easily you can be tracked. Do you really need to know what your ex, former friend, or former coworker is doing these days? Well, when you have mutual friends or interests, surrrrpriiiise! It’s like staring at a train wreck — you know you should leave the past in the past, but now it’s in front of your face, ready to open up a Pandora’s Box of old memories that aren’t necessarily awesome ones.

5. You can’t literally be friends with a couple of hundred people. I have between 290 – 310 people on my friend’s list. There’s no way you can physically keep track of all those folks. There’s no way they can all physically keep up with you, either. So many times, I’ve posted something really benign and then facepalmed myself, thinking “Oh dear, so-and-so shouldn’t have seen that. Oh dear, so-and-so probably thinks I’m referring to them. Oh no, I’m going to offend so-and-so.” I’ve also friended people in the hopes of getting to know them better offline and network with them, and it never happens — they just want you as a warm body to read their advertising or to size you up as competition. People will also creep on your page, have no interest in talking to you, then strike out when they feel “offended,” or can tell you play-by-play everything that you’ve posted for the past two months. Creepy.

6. Major life events become trivialities. My mother died on October 16th, 2012 of very aggressive Stage 4 cancer. It took her in literally 2 months. She was very dignified about it, and never told anyone that she was sick until her very last breath. As a result, when she died, I had a tidal wave of outrage that “I didn’t tell anyone” and that “Why didn’t she tell anyone…I was always on Facebook and she never said anything!” Additionally, I had people come up to me a week or two later and say “Yeah, I know your mother died, but it just felt too awkward to say anything to you on Facebook.” We have phone, text, email, face-to-face contact, etc. Is it now inappropriate to express condolences or feelings outside of social media, once you become friends with someone? That’s something to think about.

7. Drama, drama…DRAMA.Β The straw that’s really broken the camel’s back in my case is the drama. People will literally start it over anything. I’ve had people pick arguments with me over a brand of over-the-counter digestive supplements. Yes, seriously. I have had people “tell me how it is” where there was nothing to say. People will offer their opinions/experiences, even though at no point did you ask for their opinion or for their experience with the same matters. The anonymity of the internet is not always a good thing.

I woke up this morning and my phone wasn’t buzzing, bleeping, or blooping at me. I didn’t feel any major urge to check up on social networking. I’m rather liking this “deactivation” thing. I feel calm knowing that nothing is going on, being said, or being observed. I don’t have to see 50 posts “like this post if you don’t want your grandmother to die, ignore if you want her to die in the seventh circle of hell in a vat of molten caramel.” It’s a nice refreshing feeling.

Now, on to some serious business today! πŸ™‚


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My First Poultry Show

I went to my first poultry show two Saturdays ago. It was held at the Texas A&M Livestock Pavilion in College Station, about two hours away from me. What a beautiful (although kind of deserted) ride…I’ll have to do it again sometime soon to explore some of the little towns along the way.

So, I arrive at this pavilion, which is uber-muddy and lacking parking. Not the kind of place you bring a new car to park…especially when you might pick up a new passenger. (More on that later on.)

I enter and it’s like my backyard x 10,000!!!! There’s crowing and cooing and bawk bawking everywhere, along with lots of stinky screeching geese. Geese freak me out. I got bitten by a couple as a kid feeding them and I’ve always been shy of them since. This is the same person that hugs 14 pound roosters. πŸ™‚

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Those are Silkie chickens in the immediate foreground. They freak me out too. Their fur is like a cat, they’ve got alien faces, and in my opinion, they smell funny. (I sniff things, I’m very scent-oriented.) Sweet chickens, except I just can’t get all crazed about them like other people do. Did you know their bones are BLACK? Here is an article about it if it strikes your fancy…just don’t forget to come back and read the rest of my entry 😦 lol

poultryshow4There were tons of my favorite chickens,Β the Barred Rock. I love this one’s “I’m so smug, I’m a fat chicken” look. πŸ™‚ I’ve never seen a Barred Rock Rooster before…those have to be some of the hugest I’ve ever seen!

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Barred Rock Rooster

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Speaking of which, there were lots of roosters getting into snits with each other, which I thought was hilarious. These two were relentless. Anytime one settled down, the other would start in, and this went on the entire time I was there. It’s like one wanted the last word and the other one would have none of that.

I also learned two things from this show…

Thing I Learned #1 — My Black Copper Marans Rooster is NOT a full-blooded BCM. He would have been disqualified for having “bare legs” instead of feathered legs. I also figured out he’s 1/2 Australorp. He’s also 2x the size of the breed.

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A real Black Copper Marans. (Image links back to owner of image. I do not claim any credit for this image.)

ROOSTERbMy Black Copper Marans/Black Australorp hybrid rooster, Mr. Roasty. I think he’s prettier than “full blooded” Black Copper Marans.Β 

Thing I Learned #2 — My chicken’s eggs are probably not show-quality….they’re too round. They want pinchy-ended eggs. I guess that means chickens need to have tight little pinchy tushies for the pinchy eggs to come out of. Β πŸ˜› Mine just lay around complaining like pre-menstrual middle schoolers and the rooster looks on in concern like they’ve never brought a freaking egg into the world. πŸ™‚

eggsHuevos of Glory.

eggladytalkingThis was one of the egg judges. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her, but she was passionate about eggs.Β 

So, my dad brought home a friend. The guy wanted him gone, and he was 5 bucks. My dad named him “Chuck.” Chuck is a BIG SWEETIE. For some reason, he loves to cuddle up to my father, so he became my dad’s “pet rooster.” Doesn’t my dad look like Walter White from “Breaking Bad?” bwahahaha

(Well in all seriousness, he’s had Class 4 heart failure since 2005, his kidneys failed, and most of his hair fell out so he just keeps it shaved off now 😦 )

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Bad news: we took a new car, and Chuck didn’t come with a box. We didn’t bring a box. So, we decided to wing it and just stick him in the backseat and pray. On the 2 hour drive back, he stayed in his seat, looked out the window, and didn’t need to poop once. Better than most 4 year old children. LOL

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He’s settled in beautifully. Chuck is a Black Australorp rooster. Mr. Roasty REALLY likes him…we were stunned. He kind of let him take over managing the flock so he can chill. But more photos/stories about this later! πŸ™‚


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Beautiful Ava

About two weeks ago, I was up in the Dallas area and visited Tree Top Bird Center, a well-esteemed bird store. If you’re ever in the area, I suggest going in for a browse. I went in to get some birdie toys and they were having a 50% off sale, so that was awesome.

There was a Macaw that was up for adoption as a result of being given up by her owners. Her name was Tempest, and evidently the owners were having a baby so they got rid of her. (This is common, by the way. The average parrot will see 5 homes in its lifetime. A parrot’s lifetime ranges from 30 – 80+ years depending on the species and care.)

I was not interested in adopting another bird, since I already had birdies. Also, Tempest had a sign that said that she hated women, and quite honestly, I was freaked out by the fact the bird was pretty much named “Violent Storm.” On my way out, my dad said “Don’t forget to say goodbye to Tempest!” So I did. “Bye sweetie! I hope you get a good home!”

Tempest came over, reached through the cage, grabbed three of my fingers for dear life, and started staring at me.

Yeah, Tempest got a “good home” that night. LOL

She has NOT lived up to her name, as she is the gushiest, sweetest parrot I have. She’s even nicer than LUNA, and that is saying A LOT.

I decided to rename her Ava. I think Ava, A-bird, A-team, Avian, just a nice sweet girly name.

She doesn’t scream. She doesn’t bite. She doesn’t curse. She doesn’t follow me around trying to eat my clothes/sneakers/flip flops.

She DOES love sugar cookies, and she cleans her bowl every night when I cook the birds their nightly meal. She also gets it all over her face and doesn’t bother to wipe it off.

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Beautiful Simple Surprises

I went outside a couple of days ago, and heard some seriously loud sparrows. I have hundreds of sparrows, doves, grackles, and a couple of hawks (shudder) in my yard…and a big bunch of loving, sweet chickens with their doting rooster. πŸ™‚ So, needless to say, loud birdies aren’t so much of a surprise. However, these birds just seemed a tad too big and loud to be sparrows, so I decided to investigate.

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This Twinkie of a bird is usually nowhere to be found. Since my chickens free-range, they often lay in a group and then Miss Betty here broods over them, usually to no avail. She hatched out one huge black chicken back in June, which grew to be nine pounds and is still growing. She obviously was not the mother, LOL. So imagine my surprise when these two little sweeties walked up to me!

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Who the biological mothers are to these two sweeties is a total crapshoot. All I know is, they’re incredibly cute. I brought them inside, given that the weather has been disgusting here for two weeks. Mommy is thrilled just to sit with them, and they’re just as thrilled to hide under her all day and peek out. πŸ™‚

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Mommy, hide me from this crazy lady!