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Jeff Sexton

Friday, January 12, 2018


Harlan doesn't even like almonds that much. He will eat them, but walnuts and pumpkin seeds are his favorite.

Just the same, make some in-the-shell, partly cracked, almonds hard to get at, for example by putting them inside this foraging toy, and he'll stay busy for an a solid hour.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Elgin Advertising

Here's a nice Elgin watches print block, those were the days...

Thursday, December 14, 2017

New Foraging Toy

Harlan really took to this toy quickly. I did not even have to slowly introduce him to it. It comes full of shredded paper, a couple vine balls and some wooden blocks. A few stashed treats in there and this bird is busy for awhile.

The back opens up for re-stocking, but because of the way it opens, you have to be sure to install it right side up (so it "hinges" top instead of down) it it gets pulled down really fast with a bird the size of a grey parrot. I think I'll most just load food in through the holes.

Also, the plastic screw clamp that attaches it to the cage is really not strong enough for Harlan. I simply tied a long zip tie around the flat tab at the back of the top of the toy, and the cage. Problem solved...

It's important to have foraging toys like this for parrots that, literally, make food a challenge to get to. In the wild these highly intelligent animals spend most of their day looking for food. In our homes, most of their food is just sitting there in a bowl.

Providing toys like this, with food inside, is basically a mental health requirement for a parrot in the home. Harlan will eat food that he has to work for before eating from the bowl. He'll also eat food that aren't his favorites this way.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


Harlan, the Grey Parrot, has been loosing feathers like crazy. It's his first molt. I have read that African Grey Parrots have upwards of 8000 feathers (for most parrots that's in the 5-6 thousand range). They change them all out over the course of a few weeks to a few months, every year!

The big thing about this is that clipped wing weathers are being replaced. He'll soon be able to fly. And he'll have to learn how to fly, and perhaps more importantly, how to land, with injury. Parrots are not born with much of an idea about flying, they have to be taught. This is a challenging time...

So far, my strategy has been to work with him every day on going a short distance in the air (he can go a few feet with clipped wings, but can not stay level), from the cage top to me and back. He gets excited about doing this and has learned it well. If I can get him to fly on command, I hope he'll fly less on his own. 

A Tech Project Gone Well!

For a change...

I've been dreading doing this, but I'm at it today. Awhile ago, I used the wrong external hard drive for a backup and (ironically) over-wrote the backup of some files I want to keep.

Because of various computer issues that I never fully addressed, that started like 4 years ago when my main desktop died, and I didn't have a lot of money, I've been using a several mickey mouse systems since. I didn't actually have a working directory of all these specific files any place. I guess I had not been paying attention. I am (ironically again) pretty good about backups. I had like 4. But over the past few years as PCs and drives died or got re-formatted, I was down to one copy of that stuff. And I erased it.

Well it wasn't the only copy. I still have three dead PCs in the basement that go back 10 years probably. At least one I knew had 2 500 GB drives (dating back to a time when 500 GB was a huge drive) in it with a ton of old stuff, including what was once the main copy of the files in question.

I finally decided to figure this out. I bought on Amazon a device that seemed like it would do the job.

I pulled out a drive from the dusty old PC, plugged this thing all up, powered it on, and bam! in a few seconds my computer opened a file browser on the old drive. It even detected the drive format. I'm copying the files now.

I seriously can not remember when something went so smoothly.

Monday, November 27, 2017

New Toy

I put inside this ball a couple Nutraberries (sort of granola balls for birds), a chili pepper, a cinnamon stick and a couple large walnuts.  Harlan's been trying the get the treats out for a good 20 minutes.

Friday, October 27, 2017

New Feathers?

It looks like Harlan may be growing in some new, adult, tail feathers. The adult tail feathers will be all bright red, without the dark edges the lower feathers have in this photo.

ASUS 7" ZenPad Z170C-A1-BK Won't Charge

We had an Asus tablet quit working.

It wouldn't start up, obviously, but also wouldn't charge, it seemed. Dead.

When it was plugged in there was no indication, and the screen stayed black. Holding the power and volume up button also did nothing.

After some looking around, it sounded like the thing to try was to disconnect the battery inside.

The front separates from the back by undoing a series of snaps. I used a watch case knife to slowly pry open the gap along the silver trim that goes around the bezel. Working the knife around the sides separated the back. A butter knife would probably work.

The battery connector comes off straight up and away from the motherboard. This wasn't clear at first.

I had the thing disconnected for just 2 or 3 minutes. Reconnecting it, and plugging in the USB resulted in immediate charging. After a couple minutes it had enough charge to boot up.

The key with these things seems to be to never let them really go to dead zero charge. I know even my Nexus table behaves badly if that happens (although I have never had to open it up).

We don't we design better consumer electronics?

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Even More DIY Bird Toys

One thing you have to do to keep birds happy is provide a steady rotation of toys, particularly toys they can destroy. Ed and Olive, the cockatiels love to chew up balsa wood for example.
Harlan really goes for brightly colored acrylic parts like these. He'll chew up the sections of plastic straws I put in between them.
And a few other chewables...
Harlan approved.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Bird Cookies Number 5

This bird treat is similar to this one, with a couple variations.

First, instead a mix of several vegetables, I dehydrated a bunch of kale and used that only. All our bird love kale. And second, instead of banana, I used a smallish to medium sweet potato, cooked.

Oh, and I ground up all the seeds almost to a butter.


1 sweet potato
6 tablespoons flax, chia and hulled hemp seeds ground almost to a paste
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons-ish of dried kale, crumbled up
4 tablespoons of cooked brown rice
1 egg
Cinnamon to taste

I microwaved the sweet potato, 4-5 minutes (poke hole with a fork first), removed the skin and cut it up into very small pieces.

No fancy process. The dry ingredients, egg, cooked rice, and all just get mixed together into a dough. This takes awhile, to mash the sweet potato mostly. I used a big spoon, but a food processor could probably do it faster.

I added some cinnamon last and mixed it in, about a tsp I think.
I made the dough into balls about one inch and fried them in coconut oil. The cooking is slow because you can't heat coconut oil much before it burns and probably sets off your smoke alarm. Use heat significantly lower than you would for olive oil or butter. I set the burner on our stove to 3 to 4. Your mileage may vary.
While frying I flattened the balls into thin patties, as thin as I could.
 All done! With left over rice...
These cookies received 6 wing up, bird approved by Ed, Olive and Harlan.

(Humans seem to like them too)

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