Sunday, August 10, 2014

What a Busy Summer!

I have had such a busy summer that there hasn't been any time to write about it! Every weekend I have been at the Mahtomedi Farmer's Market selling homemade jams, vegan cookies and my handcrafted soap. I expected it to go well, but I didn't expect to sell out nearly every weekend. Because soap takes so long to cure (4 to 6 weeks) I started back in April making a new batch every couple of days. Each week I had a new batch ready, and I expected my inventory to hold up for the summer, but I am down to just a couple dozen bars with still 6 weeks of the market to go. Whatever I soap I make now won't be ready until the end of September, just in time for the holiday season! With that thought inn mind, I am experimenting with a variety of essential and fragrance oils and trying some new recipes. Last year I made a pumpkin pie spice soap and a cranberry pomegranate soap, both of which were very popular at my holiday shows; this year I will be adding more winter and holiday themed soaps using peppermint oil, frankincense, myrrh, and one of my favorites, rosemary. I'll be making more of my most popular soaps too.
Every weekend I pick up fresh produce from farm stands or other markets and depending on what I find begin canning early Saturday morning to get ready for the next weekend. Right now with so many wonderful tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers available I have been making salsa like crazy.  I am also finding fresh tree ripened peaches. For next weekend I'll have a fresh garden salsa, a summer salsa with peaches and pears, and a peach salsa. It isn't finding the time to make everything when every day I am also caring for the 60 birds in my shelter, but I enjoy every minute of it. Recently local reporter Joe Cullen stopped by and did a story on my rescue. He did a great job capturing what a day is like at the shelter. You can view it by clicking on this link Parrot Rescue Services Video
We will be hosting a garage sale August 15th - 17th at the store! We have a lot of almost new general household items and clothing. All proceeds benefit Parrot Rescue Services.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bird Clinic Day is May 18th!

Once again we will have two skilled vet techs available to provide grooming for your bird. All proceeds help with the cost of running our parrot shelter. Appointments are required, and do fill up fast. The techs will be available from 1:00 to 6:00 on May 18th. Call 651-762-1151 to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November Events

     It seems that I have to keep getting up earlier and earlier to get my work done, so I look forward to daylight savings time and the setting back of the clocks in the fall. Even so it is difficult to find the time to handle all the work I face each day. I am not complaining; it is all work I thoroughly enjoy (well maybe not cleaning cages so much) but everything else is a labor of love. Right now I am frantically trying to get enough work done for two craft shows and finding little time for other tasks. November is a very full month anyway, with the beginning of our annual fund drive for the rescue. The amount of money we raise between now and the end of the year gives me some idea of how many birds I will be able to take in and care for. It costs around $75 per day to run the shelter. The shelter is staffed only with volunteers, so this is just what it costs to keep going. This year I am hoping to raise $10,000 before the end of the year for Parrot Rescue Services. It is a pretty lofty goal for my small rescue, but I think we can do it.
     Our annual fundraising drive kicks off on November 14th with Give to the Max Day. This year we have a matching grant of $2000.00. This means that once we raise $2,000, it becomes $4,000. By contributing on November 14th, you will not only help out with the matching grant, but help us become eligible for other grant money provided by GiveMN that is given away lottery style randomly every hour.
     I am also attending two craft fairs in November, where I’ll be selling my soap, gourmet food items, and small pieces of original art. The fairs are the weekend of November 23rd and 24th. On November 23rd I’ll be at the Shoreview Y at their first ever product fair. I have no idea what to expect with that one, but hopefully there will be a variety of products and crafts for the shoppers. On November 24th I’ll be at the White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church right up the road from my store at their annual art, book and music sale. It only runs from 8 am to 12 noon so make sure you get there early. If you like handmade items there will be plenty to buy as well as offerings from local musicians and writers. Everything I sell at both events will be going to Parrot Rescue Services.
Saturday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday. This is an annual event promoted by American Express which encourages people to support local small business. I am participating this year, and will have numerous gift baskets for sale donated by one of my very talented and generous friends. I will also have some food items and small pieces of art for sale. It is a great way to get some unique holiday shopping done and avoid the crowded malls, and of course all proceeds benefit the rescue.
I will also be selling items on eBay; I had wanted to start auctioning them off in October, but couldn’t quite find the time to get things posted….my apologies to those of you who went searching for things! I’ve had to reschedule it for November 27th and I promise the items will be posted by then.

     Baby, from Linder’s, has recently joined the birds at Parrot Rescue Services. I am proud that out of all the possible homes the family could have chosen, they chose my nonprofit rescue. With your support, I can keep helping birds in need of shelter.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Small Gestures, Big Results!

One of our regular volunteers for Parrot Rescue Services has started a can campaign to help raise money for the birds. Joe has pledged to raise $500 by November 12th by collecting aluminum cans and loose change. While  I was surprised to learn that a pound of aluminum cans is worth 89 cents, I do know that small efforts can add up to big results. For years I have thrown my own loose change into a jar which I then deposit in a savings account for my son. We both have fun watching the balance grow, which he has decided to use to buy a car when he is older. The funny part is listening to him feel genuinely conflicted over what color of Mustang convertible he should buy; yellow or red. I’ve decided to let him ponder that without telling him he will need a lot more loose change to make that dream come true! But I believe, just like Joe does, that small efforts can make a big difference.
A small donation will allow us to keep helping birds like Daisy
I have been on the receiving in of many acts of kindness over the years, and it is truly the little gestures sometimes that keep you going. Please bring your saved aluminum cans to the store.  Joe will pick them up every week on his shift and take them to the recycling center.  If you prefer, you can also make a small monetary donation online through our donate now button.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Skylar Finds a New Home

     Last week I received half a dozen calls from people wanting to place their cockatiels, including one woman who said she was just going to open the door and let it go if I didn't take it. I have heard that so many times over the years that it doesn't have the expected effect on me; generally I think the caller assumes that is what will convince me to take their bird. I am sure some people do just what they threaten, but I learned a long time ago that I can’t help every bird and I am pretty good at focusing on what I can do, not what I can’t.  I treat everyone the same, and send out the same surrender form. It is up to that individual to care enough to fill it out and get it back to me.  My husband always says to me that any animal who ends up with me has just won the pet lottery, and a former boss gave me the best compliment I ever received in a review. He said if reincarnation was true then he wanted to come back as an animal and be my pet. (I took it the way he intended, not in the weird kinky way it sort of sounds).
     But nothing makes me happier than finding great new homes for our birds and since my last post we have had 5 cockatiels go home as well as Skylar, our Orange wing Amazon. The five cockatiels were a family; they were from a home breeder who apparently had some hoarding or other mental issues. It was her sister who brought me the birds; a number of cockatiels and lovebirds. They were all living in a plywood and chicken wire coop on her porch, in almost total darkness with no perches. For months they would not sit on a perch, were in fact scared of them, and clung to the sides of the cage instead. It was impossible to even walk by the cage with all of them taking off in a terrified flurry of wings.  It took awhile, but they settled down and have lived happily in our back flight area until being adopted by a generous person willing to provide them all they need to live out the rest of their lives.

     I am also thrilled that Skylar has found her way back to a home. She is a sweet and gentle Amazon, and more bonded to people than other birds. I think she really missed that one on one connection while she was at the shelter. She loved it when new people came in and would call out a cheery greeting. Over the years I have had various birds act as store greeters and it is always difficult to adjust when they leave. Eventually a different bird will fill that role, but I guess for now it has to be me  So it has been a busy time with the birds and with some of my fundraising ideas; I am back in the kitchen doing more preserving as I found some wonderful pears and wanted to get them processed, as well as fresh tree ripened peaches and a new batch of vine ripened tomatoes someone gave me. I made Rosemary Pear Jam, Peach Salsa, and Garden Salsa. I also made another batch of Peach Bourbon Jam, but this time I asked for a Bourbon recommendation at the liquor store. Last time I just picked the cheapest one but I was curious if a better quality Bourbon would impart a fuller flavor. It definitely made a difference! All these items will be at the store by the end of this week, with all proceeds going to support my rescue.  A jar or two of homemade jam or salsa in a small basket or holiday bag makes a great hostess or thank you gift for someone!