I hope everyone had a great Father's Day! If you're not a dad, then I hope you did something special for the dad(s) in your life.
Much like the speech I gave you about moms, hopefully you make them feel special on a regular basis... but nonetheless Father's Day is a good excuse to go above & beyond!
I spent the day with both my dad & my father-in-law, which was great, and I will see my stepdad later this week.
Mr. V and I are not parents yet though, so there is no celebrating within our little family.
No, our only 'child' at this point is our little Senegal parrot, CJ.
She's technically Mr. V's parrot since his last year of high school, but when we moved in together I forced her to love me (for those of you that aren't familiar with parrots, they tend to be very fickle and do not enjoy new people).
Recently we decided that since CJ has had the same cage for about 13 years now, she deserves a new one.
We went to Petco and picked out a really awesome one that's way bigger and cooler than her old one. And while we were there, I happened to see a book in the bird aisle specifically dedicated to her species. Mr. V and I both picked up a copy to thumb through, and between the two of us, we noticed some shocking information.
For one, Mr. V always thought that her species only lives to be about 20 years old. Meaning she's lived more than half of her typical lifespan already.
But what he didn't realize was that's for Senegal parrots in the wild.
In captivity, she could live for fifty years.
Half a century.
Are you kidding me??
The second shocker came when we read that her favorite food (sunflower seeds) is about the worst thing for birds in large amounts due to the fat content. But most parrots love them, and so they fill up on the sunflower seeds first & then they don't eat much of the other stuff which can eventually lead to health problems.
(Hmm, I can relate to that.)
The book said seeds should actually only make up a portion of their diet, and the rest should be fresh foods.
This was news to us.
Apparently, we are dreadful 'parents'.
All this time we thought we were giving her a balanced diet with all the different seeds & nuts in the mix, but nooo.
In actuality, if she was a child, it would be like giving her platefuls of Oreos all day and then wondering why she didn't eat the brussel sprouts we put alongside them.
Now as I mentioned, parrots are fickle creatures. So you can imagine that after 13 years of getting unlimited quantities of her favorite food, she has not exactly been eager to try new things.
We decided the only way to do it is to give her a small amount of seeds for part of the day, then take that bowl out and swap it with one chock full of fresh fruits & veggies mixed with a tiny sprinkling of the healthier seeds & nuts.
I diligently cut up a bunch of stuff in bite-sized pieces the first time we tried this, only to watch her lean her little bird eye over the dish, and then go off to the corner to sulk.
Eventually she got hungry enough to pick out a few things from amidst the fruits, but I am fairly certain it was more out of necessity than enjoyment.
This went on for a number of days. When she was feeling really feisty, she would pick the items out of the bowl and throw them on the floor of the cage in defiance.
Then this past Saturday morning, I put in her bowl and walked away to help Mr. Vittles with something. When I came back, I stuck my head in the cage to examine the bowl and see what, if anything, was nibbled.
Then I heard the bird chomping on something next to my ear. I looked over, and noticed orange bits smeared all over her beak.
Ah ha! Success!
Just goes to show you healthy things can be delicious too.
Yeah, I know, apple chips are no Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies.
But they are still a yummy snack you can feel good about. So bust out your mandoline & get to slicing!
- 2 large apples, cored (I used Red Delicious)
- 2 T. sugar (optional)
- 1 t. cinnamon
- canola oil spray
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Thinly slice apples crosswise about 1/8-inch (2 mm) thick with a mandoline or sharp knife. Arrange apple slices in a single layer on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets, and spray with canola oil cooking spray.
If using sugar, combine in a small bowl with cinnamon. Put mixture into a sieve and sprinkle evenly over apple slices.
Bake in the top and bottom third of the oven until apples are dry and crisp, about 2 hours (mine took a little longer than that to get crisp, but I didn't use sugar). Remove from oven and let ‘chips’ cool completely before transferring to a sealed container for up to 3 days. Makes about 2 cups of apple chips.
Recipe Adapted Slightly from Ontario Apple Growers, via Snack Girl