Wednesday, February 27, 2013

After only four days in our home here is Mambo's first parrot trick

Just a reminder.  We adopted Mambo 4 days ago.  She is about a year old. The first day we had her she bit my daughter's ear but now after some clicker training she loves to ride around the house on our shoulders and hasn't bit anyone since. She now steps up and steps down on command.  She was resistant at first and we realized that she may have thought if she gets picked up she is going in the cage.  Even if we need to put her in the cage right away we turn her away from the cage and talk to her and scratch her neck.  She is a little love bug.

Today I taught Mambo her first trick.  She can turn around on command.  She learned this trick in about 6 minutes. We use clicker training and we have to give all of the credit.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Learn more about celery and see our new parrot!

Meet Mambo! She is our new Green Cheek Conure.  She is just a little different from Kiwi. She has no yellow under her wings and she is heavier.  She is a sweetheart and in just a few days she has decided she likes us.  Last night she surprised me when she jumped off her perch and ran across the top of her cage and was half way onto my finger before I had finished the words, "Step up".  I didn't even have a treat.   Wow! Green cheeks are fast learners and sweet.  She loves a head scratch.

Now more on the garden. 
More savings:
In the garden things are needing to be thinned.  Too many plants in one pot can cause damping off.  I prefer the $3 it cost me to start all of the plants inside verses the $4/plant it would cost me if I bought them as transplants at the garden center. That's major savings.  

Less work:
And because I use peat pots and fill the totes with water instead of watering the plants themselves, I water less.  Maybe once every 5 or 6 days.  

Less Waste:
When I thin the plants I don't just toss the sprouts. They become fresh treats for Kiwi and Mambo.  Well, at least Kiwi.  We are slowly getting Mambo used to fresh veggies and sprouts. She seems to love the BirdTricks diet  but is a little wary of the sprouts.

The celery is sprouting well. I am experimenting with it a little this year.  I have 12 in these little peat starters and a bunch in 3" peat pots.  I want to see what the roots do exactly and what that will do to the full size plants.   

Here's the celery in the 3" peat pots.  I will eventually thin them down to 1 plant. Last year I had great success with celery in my square foot garden. Here's a little info about Utah Celery 52-70 from Andersons Seed and Garden:

Celery requires 10-20 days at a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit to germinate. Seed should be covered and kept moist. If soil dries out, it will delay germination. Keep celery well watered while growing and spray with a good fungicide once a week and fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks. Vigorous sturdy plant produces smooth, thick, long stalks that are often 9-11" to the first joint.  Should be blanched.  120 days to harvest.
And this photo of harvested celery is from their site as well:

The green onions are looking better every day.  These are from seeds that I collected from a plant that just pops up every year and goes to seed.  

You can see from this photo how colorful Kiwi is. He's been breaking off the feathers on his shoulders.  I have some calming drops for him and I have a humidifier on.  He started it when we left him alone on Christmas day.

You can see that Mambo has a little bit of breakage as well.  Hopefully after a visit to the vet for both parrots and the spring molt, they'll both be in tip top shape!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Indoor Garden Upgrades

So this year I decided to ditch the old plastic trays you can buy at the garden center. You know? The kind that flats of flowers come in.  Holding eighteen 3" pots filled with soil and water was fine on the tables but move them an inch and they break.  

So as you can see I upgraded to something a little more indestructible.  They have a 10 year warranty but I don't really care.  What mattered was they were about the right depth and heights and width and all 3 of those containers fit between the ladder game. And I like the clear look.  

A look in the first one shows a little container of green onions.  1 pot of bok choy, a whole bunch of celery in peat pots, 2 bell peppers, many jalapenos, and Serranos too. I'm leaning towards Salsa this year. Last year it was all about the tomato sauce (I made homemade spaghetti with 2 quarts of tomato sauce tonight and it was delicious - lasagna will be made from the left over sauce later this week).
This tray is full of cold weather veggies and items for the covered square foot garden. Summertime Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, kale, and swiss chard. 

I must admit that I've NEVER eaten chard or kale - I'm only growing them for my parrots.  Oh ya, PARROTS, with an S.  Yes.  And they are super fun! We've had Kiwi, a yellow sided green cheek, since last April.  Today we purchased Mambo, a green cheek. She is not quite a year old and was living with the cutest family but her owner is moving. Today we got Mambo to jump on command, step up when asked and without biting, and target train to learn the clicker and get a treat.  Someone held her all afternoon and Kiwi even showed off his basketball skills while she watched intently. The best part was the end of the day when she let me scratch her head and neck and fell asleep in my hands. 

And last of all I have the 5" peat pots with the heirloom tomatoes.  2 are early girls but the rest are either cherokee purple or pink brandywine. I saved the seeds from the pink brandywine and they grew well last year so I'm using them again.  Best flavor ever!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cold weather transplants

My cold weather transplants are doing well.  The bok choy is looking great but I'm starting to think I started it way to early. Last year I grew the mini bok choy and it didn't do well at all.  So this was just an experiment.  It already looks better than the other did. I only grew one pot because I am thinking that  fall is going to be the best time to plant these.

I'm also growing broccoli for the second time.  The first time I grew it from some transplants my mom gave me. She didn't even know what kind they were. And the heads of broccoli were full of caterpillars, little green caterpillars.  I couldn't even eat them because I wasn't sure I had found them all. So this year I will be growing broccoli under a net covered hoop.

Super Dome hybrid is a tremendous yielder of very large, extra fine quality heads on nice compact plants. More broccoli, larger heads, more weight - these features add up to more goodness, flavor, and nutrition for everyone who enjoys broccoli. It will do well in the late fall, winter, and early spring. Super Dome is resistant to downy mildew. 58-60 days to harvest.

This variety is early to mature and has a mild flavor. Large buds cover dark green domes that average 8” in diameter. Packman is a heavy yielder that withstands the heat unlike many other varieties. This allows it to be planted later in the season if needed. 57 days to harvest.

They also have a nice selection of organic seeds.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

One of the things I've been working on is to be the kind of mom I have always wanted to be. Sometimes I settle for less because I don't feel well or I'm fatigued or I just would rather do something else. I have always had a difficult time getting up in the morning. It's much better now that my thyroid levels is 1.4. Hooray! Today I had to be at the elementary school by 8 for my son's student evaluation. Right after that I helped his class with their Valentine party. Last night I got these heart cinnamon rolls ready. They are from a can but I am allergic to wheat so the less contact with flour the better. I rolled them out and covered them and put them back in the fridge. Early this morning I got up to preheat the oven and get things started. Everyone was so excited for warm frosted cinnamon rolls in the shape of a heart for Valentine's Day. I ran home and studied for my religion class and then drove to my husband's office. He gave me flowers and took me to lunch. I went back to the school for my daughter's Valentine party in the afternoon. Now we are staying in and I'm cooking dinner tonight. It's been a busy day. I hope my family members feel loved because I do love them. I hope they hear it often enough, and see it when I help them at home and at school, and spend time with them, and of course there are plenty of hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tessa Bassett - Thriving!

This past weekend I got to meet one the most amazing people to ever live on this earth.  She is a mother of two beautiful children.  She had Hodgkins Lymphoma three times.  I had Hodgkins too.  I first heard about Tessa's story from my sister-in-law Kaleena.  And then I saw a link to Tessa's blog from Jalane's blog.  And I found out I knew her sister-in-law.  I watched the video the LDS church did about her and I admired her amazing outlook on life and family. When I saw that she had Hodgkins I had to follow her blog.  A young mom with Hodgkins who shared the same faith as I did.  And I still follow her blog.  

I commented on her blog a few times.  I sent her some OnGuard toothpaste to help with mouth sores.  And I finally got to meet her at the Cache Valley for Hope - Gathering of Hope. Her kids are just as cute as they are in photos.  Her husband is much taller than I would have guessed.  I asked her a few questions and she asked me a few too.  She's waiting to hear back if she has thyroid cancer - good ol' radiation.  She's a little tired but who wouldn't be after just completing a bone marrow transplant and dealing with a malfunctioning thyroid. The radiation I received to my neck did a number on me too but there is hope.  I've tried herbal stuff and oils.  I've tried special lights.  Laser treatments. You name it, I've probably tried it.  Plain old brand name Synthroid works the best and having a good endocrinologist too.  Oh and a counselor didn't hurt me either.  I can honestly say that I have more energy now than I ever remember having.  A good TSH level and a great mindset has been the best medicine. Someday I will tell you more about ACT - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and all the good it did.

She has such a light about her. Why would a person in her situation be filled with light?  So many reasons and I'll name a few. She has hope. Tessa is the real thing.  I watched her move around the room at the Gathering of Hope.  She shared her smile and hugs as she encouraged those cancer patients who were in the middle of it all. Even when she takes a moment to reach inward it is to make herself better so she can have the strength and energy to reach outward again. Thank you Tessa for being such a great example of Thriving!