Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers ...Living With Five Parrots!

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,

And never stops at all...

~ Emily Dickinson ~

Many of you know Henry. I handraised
him in the fall of 1998 from a tiny featherless
baby, and he is my great love. He is also the
Alpha Person of the House and here we are
having our morning meeting over coffee
before the day begins...

Life is, what might be considered by some, an unusual proposition when you live with as many animals as I do. The thing is, it's all I know. There are the five parrots indoors, countless wild birds and squirrels outside with many, many feeders, the 4 beta fish who continually delight me, swimming in their meditative worlds, and my 3 precious dogs, who are all about cuddling, snuggling and unconditional love. The thing is, at this point, we all form a flock/pack and are very much in sync.

Let me give you an example. In the morning, though the birds may be awake, if I am not up yet you wouldn't know there was a bird in the house. They are quiet as a mouse. As soon as they hear me move at all the chattering, singing and talking begin (and pretty much go on all day, UNTIL..) and don't stop until it's time for me to take my nap.

You see, 2 years ago I fell down my very narrow steep staircase and shattered both feet. This was after other breaks and a very serious surgery. I am not able to do stairs easily so I sleep and mostly live downstairs. So when I say they don't make a sound, you have to understand that I am surrounded by the three dogs and 5 parrots as I sleep (well, Sampson the pug sleeps with me, somewhere on my person!). Sometimes I can hear the birds very quietly eating, but I swear, they don't make a sound. The minute I sit up Henry starts in with, "Good Morning, Good Morning, Good Morning!" AND he goes one by one and tells all five parrots good morning, calling them by name. He also talks to the dogs calling them by name.

I tell everyone good morning as I am creaking up off the sofa, and Babs, 12 and also a bit arthritic, looks like me tottering about before we get our footing and leashes are being attached, but then out we four go for the morning walk.

This has been a real adjustment for me because I am an artist and a writer and my schedule for years was to sometimes work half the night and Moe would go out very late so he never minded if I slept in. WELL, there are 2 pugalugs who have never HEARD of such a thing, so now our routine is to be out in the neighborhood at 7ish, which might sound early BUT after Babs came we were out at 6 and when wee Sampson came he thought 4:30 a.m. was a fine time to go. Ahem. We quickly got past that hurdle!

Half the mornings when we're out I think, "Ok, I'm getting them out, I'll get them their treat, and then I'M GOING BACK TO SLEEP!" But truly, after a long walk in the brisk air, dogs bouncing about excited about treats, birds heralding the day and singing and Henry starting in on his, "I Love You Hen-n-ryyyyyyyyy..." song so I'll sing it for him, well, it's a tad hard to go to sleep. And now that I'm used to it I really do love being up so early. I get so much more done!

Where Henry and Solomon (The Blue Crown Conure) live. Sol's
cage is in back of Henry's in this picture, right up against the
window. Their cages look like Disneyland and they get lots of
natural light...

Henry spends a good deal of the day on me. He likes to sit on my shoulder or the back of my desk chair, but he also likes to play on his cage top and he goes over on Sol's and they play. They were pretty much raised together and are very bonded and darling together. It's so cute. When I start making the rounds with the bird's treats, I start with Henry, and he says, "Sol," (like, "Give Sol one too....") and again he calls them all by name to make sure they ALL get a treat. When I walk in the room with the treats in my hands Henry says, "Ooooooooo, Mommy gots a TREAT!!!" There is NO surprising a grey parrot. He just KNOWS, and shouts it to the world.

The shelves for the three smaller parrots (whom I also handraised
from babies, all nearly 10 or so years ago!) in front of the French
Doors so they get lots of light. From left to right: Sierra, Meyer's Parrot;
Middle, Emmy Lou, Green Cheek Parrot; and sweet little Thomas,
Dusky Conure, on the right. You can see them closeup in my Flickr

Sierra, Emmy Lou, and Thomas sit on some wonderful shelves in front of French doors so there is lots of natural light and room for play. The top looks a tad empty now because I am just about ready to bring in outside plants that will fill the top and we really look rather rainforesty in here, especially since on the other side of the room, behind Henry's cage, there is a huge plants whose vines climb across the ceiling.

The amazing thing is that people sort of tsk tsk as if it's a shame I have to take care of so many animals and one hates to be rude but frankly I prefer the company of my animals to most people I know! It is a very comforting, serene, soothing way to live. And there are birdfeeders attached to doors and windows and hooks on the patio with little buckets hanging for water and bathing, and truly, we have an army of wildlings we watch all day. The garden is just beyond the patio and I will be out there working on fall cutting back and cleaning up today. That will be a big part of the next few weeks.

There is not a thing in my life that doesn't inspire me. I am about to spend the day doing fiber art, finishing 3 pieces for my Dragonfly Cottage Design Studio etsy
store. I have pulled all of my handspun yarns out of the store because there are so many people selling handspun and I am actually using mine faster than I can spin it! Everyday I'm spinning, spinning, spinning at least a spindle or 2 full of art yarns that will become fiber art. It is a long, satisfying, creative process and as I spin I know just what the yarns will become rather than spinning something, hoping it would sell. Now they are on a course to becoming something magical, whimsical and delightful and I couldn't be happier.

This cozy little animal-filled, garden-surrounded cottage is such a blessing in my life. May you all create and find peace joy and happiness wherever you are, and remember it's the simple little things in life that bring the most happines...

Maitri, and all the little ones....


Anonymous said...

I discovered you blog the other day quite by accident and have to tell you that it is so refreshing compared to so many that I have read. I used to have my own blog but stopped it recently due to many reasons. There are very few that I read now, but I will count yours amoung them. I live with 7 dogs, a cat and a fish (beta) so I totally understand everything that you are saying. I am also a spinner so I am sure that is how I found your blog. Penny

Maitri Libellule said...


Thank you so much for your kind comments. :o) And ah! An animal person and a spinner too! A true kindred spirit!

Thank you so much for reading my blog, it means more than you know. What are you spinning now?

Warm blessings and joy to you,

Maitri and her lively crew!

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