And We’re Back!
Holy cow has it really been that long since we had a post! Oops! I will admit, it has been busy around here but I will post a WARNING: The following post might be dull and boring to many readers. To avoid nodding off, I think I will insert random pictures in this post (plus, I don’t really have any that relate to the story about to be told). Proceed at your own risk of boredom
I suppose to most people, the last month here wouldn’t really seem that busy. But since I took some time off to visit my mom back in South Dakota, a lot had to be done before hand. I realize that feeding 4 birds doesn’t seem like a big deal, and it’s really easy to do, it’s just time consuming to organize it.
As you are aware, I have a fantastic crew of volunteers. At this time of year, however, many of them are also traveling to see their families in places like Minnesota or hosting a lot of relatives from out of town and, thus, not able to give up much time. Not to worry, though, there are always those die-hards who can’t stay away!
Preparation to leave for an extended period of time begins a couple weeks in advance.
First: Make sure there is enough food in the freezer to get the birds through. All of the food we order for the birds comes frozen and is therefore shipped quite quickly. Most suppliers, however, ship only once a week, so if you don’t order before Tuesday, it won’t ship until the following week. We had an interesting situation this month as well – rats are in short supply across the country. “How can that be?” you ask. Well I’m not sure, but it’s been tough for those of us who need them. Fortunately, I was able to arrange to get rats a bit smaller than we normally use, so at least we have them.
Second: Arrange for someone to be at the mews daily to feed the birds and bring them into the public for viewing on days the Center is open. With a group of 15 volunteers that can be a chore in itself. I start by sending an email to everyone asking them to let me know if there are days they’d like to help. I get a couple replies but mostly, “sorry, I’m out of town too.” Fortunately, one person offers to cover every day. Another email is sent to everyone saying it’d be nice if she didn’t have to do every day. Finally, several volunteers are in with the birds at the same time and a schedule is agreed upon. Whew.
Third: Plan the menu for 10 days of being gone. Normally I write out what the birds are eating for a few days at a time. During the week I feed and tend to “fudge” the foods a bit. One day a quail will be a bit small and while Haya only eats 1/2 a quail at a time, it means that one of the halves is going to be not quite enough. When this happens to me it’s not a big deal because I can pull a little meat off of something else that’s a little big or from the meal of a bird that might be a tad “plump” but the volunteers are trained to cut the quail in half and feed it. Period. So deciding exactly what to feed that far in advance is a bit more challenging, but I get it done.
Fourth: Prepare info sheets for the volunteers. These have contact numbers for me, my boss, the vet, etc. as well as info on anything that might be of note. For example, right before I left Suli had a swollen toe. I still have no idea what caused it but the volunteers needed to watch it and it meant that she rest for a bit.
Lastly: Tie up loose ends. Yeah, about that . . . I am the kind of person that has a whole bunch of things going at once. I am usually reading (& taking notes from) at least two books at a time. I am always working on new program ideas and thinking of ways to improve things around the mews, and I’ve also been researching a lot of enrichment ideas for Suli as she gets bored easily. My biggest loose end this time was a brochure I have been working on. I finished it up, sent it to our graphics department, and wanted to send it out when I returned. That was a pretty time consuming project that I randomly decided to take on.
Basically, that’s how you eat up two weeks of time before your vacation and turn the slow time of the year into a hectic period. Then, just for fun, when you return from vacation, you should get sick and miss another 3 days of work. Just for fun.