I’ve obviously been slacking on the blog. Work at Fur Night and Day has consumed my life. Both Ashley and I joke (though we cry more than laugh) that even when we aren’t working, we are either thinking about work or doing something work related. For me, that means working on training classes, reading training books, watching training DVDs, or making trips to Lowe’s to buy supplies…and then plotting how to convince The Brother to help me build stuff.  I can’t decide if this is sad or if I actually really enjoy it.

I’m almost done with my internship.  I thought I might share some video I’ve taken of our critters here.

First is Beaker: the Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXjdA2Hlo5Y.  They are from the African equator. They are pretty cool because they have eyelashes…made of feathers!  Males have red throat pouches; females have blue.
We feed him each of his pieces separately to 1) train him to go to his stump  and 2) to keep him from trying to feed Gonzo, the vulture next to him. I’m not sure why.

Come back soon for more!

Last night was the Center’s fund-raiser WildBrew.  Yup. Beer, food, and birds!

Big Boss Man wanted us to fly some birds for the patrons.  This last week we have been working with Midas, our golden eagle, and Zephyr, the Harris Hawk, at the Tulsa Expo Center to prepare.
When we call the birds, we needed them to see us over all the people. So, Boss Man wanted Boss Girl and I to be high and he would be on the stage. There are catwalks in the event building. He wanted me to climb up a straight vertical ladder to get to the highest walk. YEAH…The intern who’s not too big on heights…RIGHT!  I don’t have too much trouble when I’m finally up, but it’s the getting there that bothers me, especially when the assent is vertical!  But not wanting to be difficult, I worked myself up to climbing that ladder all week and yesterday at practice.
At practice, Zephyr landed on a table that was set up for the restaurants instead of coming straight to me.  Of course, this would not be ideal if he landed table with food on it or worse, a person!  Boss Man decided to not fly Zephyr just to be safe; he was able to convince Big Boss Man that this was for the best.
We ended up only flying the golden eagle. So I spent all week freaking out going up and down that stupid ladder for NOTHING! I was not pleased. At least I didn’t have to go up one more time, but it was frustrating to have to go through that. I guess it’s good that I accomplished it.

I FINALLY get to put some heels on this blog!    (photo credit: Embraceable You Photography)

Yesterday was my second time to participate in the OKC PhotoWalk.  This is an event in which photographers, professional and amateur, come together, walk around downtown, and take pictures. It’s a nice way for photog.s to practice techniques and shooting other media (landscapers can practice with models, portrait photog.s can practice scenic shoots, etc).

I was coming home this weekend for a wedding anyway, and it was nice that it worked out for me to do both.  I had a blast last year and got some amazing photos back.It was so hot this week that I couldn’t really come up with another great costume that was cool enough. 😦  But I still think they turned out well.  We all had dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse and then did a night class.  This year, Jason Jones from Dallas came to teach about flash techniques.  I was thrilled when he chose me as his test model.  He even talked me into getting further into the fountains than last year!

Amanda Mertes
Brooke Martin
Jason Jones

Thank goodness! Got to love the mink oil for the boots!
The last summer I was here it was a rainy few months.  This month is starting that way as well.  It started raining here this morning and within a few hours we were nicely flooded.
This blog format does not support my camera’s video format, so check out the YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVuW1W4DF38

The Chick Lab/my room is down an incline.  At the start of the video, the waterfall is flowing down some stairs I take to go to the Eagle Barn and the Quail House. … Yeah, not happening!  Panning over, the new lake is even worse than usual because I just raked for our special guests. Awesome.  The water is worst over the plank that is supposed to help keep me dry during such situations…also not happening!  Then the water flows off behind and under the old prairie-chicken habitat, which is thankfully elevated.

Drew Edmonson’s wife came to visit us on Thursday. That means that Big Boss Man was super strict about wanting everything to look nice.  I was in charge of cleaning up our areas and raking all the leaves away from the buildings.  A major task seeing as how we are in the woods.
Apparently Big Boss Man told Boss Lady that he was pleased with my work. He told me in person as well, which was nice.  He said I’d made it look cleaner than it has ever been before. It was especially nice that he mentioned it the next day in the staff meeting as well.  I finally felt good about all the stuff I’ve gotten done around here.

OH! And look at the Cooper’s Hawk now! So big! About 35 days.  Boss Man does not name his falconry birds until they have made their first kill. But his 5-year-old daughter has named the bird “Rainbow.”  : )

It’s been a busy few weeks.  We did the OK Mozart show last Thursday. We had about 250 people. Not as big a turnout as Ryan expected, but still good.  A lot of small children that became restless. Like the little kid who threw his pacifier at the stage and freaked out our recycling raven. Thanks kid!!
One of the volunteers the Center has is a really nice lady we call “Momma” because she takes care of us, especially the interns.  She had us over for lunch after one of our practice days for Mozart.  This past weekend, she invited me to come with her to the final OK Mozart event, “A Night of Gershwin.”  Before the concert started, I noticed a woman I thought I recognized. She went backstage and came out with her harp. Yup! It was the professor Matthew and I both had for Understanding Music! Small world.
This week has been frustrating. I’m working with the Quakers and it’s not going well. Boss Man is not great at constructive criticism.  I’m feeling very discouraged. I got one Quaker to fly to my hand. The other would step up, but today she completely stopped and now acts scared of my hand. Frustrating.

I first came to the Sutton Center summer of 2008.  The end of that summer, I obtained my precious baby rat, Stumpy Sutton!  Today, he turned 2 years old!!  Such a big boy!!  I’m proud of how far we have come.  To date, Stumpy knows 17 commands, is learning another, and has starred in his own short film.

babiesBabies!About one year.2 yearsStumpy at 2 years

I am thankful for every day I have to spend with him, and look forward to more adventures.
LOVE YOU STUMPY!!!

Summer camp groups came up this week to see our show.  The rule is that large buses cannot come up our steep hill. I was the barer of bad news for a lot of kids when I told them they would, GASP! have to WALK UP THE HILL!! What disturbed me the most, was the number of kids with inappropriate foot ware, flip flops and sandals.  I mean, come on! You are going on a trip to an outdoor location. I in no way want to sound holier than thou, but I would think that the parents would be in charge of making sure their children have some solid soled shoes to wear!  I’m pretty sure most summer camps have an itinerary that the parents have access to prior to signing their children up for the camp.
I realize that some of the groups were underprivileged youth that may not have money to buy a lot of shoes. It just seems logical to me that if you can’t afford a lot of shoes, then you’d buy one pair…tennis shoes. I also realize that flip flops are cheaper than tennis shoes, but I’ve seen cheap shoes around here: Dollar General and even Aldi has them. Yes! Aldi has cheap shoes!!
So parents, please! For the sake of your children. Please be responsible enough to dress them appropriately for their daily activities!! If you can’t be there when they get dressed, then at least try and help them lay out the appropriate clothing the night before.

Let’s review. Tip #1: Power washers can wash away your skin!
Tip #2: Be a responsible parent; dress your children according to the activities of the day! Because flip flops are NOT appropriate for the Sutton Center!

Ryan/Boss Man is a falconer.  He recently took two babies from a Cooper’s Hawk nest in Tulsa for he and a friend to train for falconry use.  This is completely legal as long as the licensed falconer leaves at least 2 eggs or babies in the nest.
When he acquired the babies, he approximated that they were 2 and 3 days old.

He asked me to ‘babysit’ for him my first weekend here while he was busy because they have to be fed and to make sure they didn’t fall out of the nest.  They were 3 and 4 days old then.They sleep funny, sometimes on each other like they are smothering each other. I think they are kind of cute!They have to be fed little pieces of quail by placing them on the end of stick. They can’t associate hands with food, so you use the stick.

Sunfest weekend, Ryan had a softball tournament, so I watched them again.  They were 1o and 11 days. AWH!

It is crazy how fast they grow.  They still need help eating.
Today, Ryan had another after-hours errand, so I watched them for a couple of hours.  Today they are 16 and 17 days old … and HUGE!!!  They are growing … I hate to say it, but less cute. 😦  Their feather shafts are coming in so they lose the cute fuzzies.
This weekend is a falconry meeting.  One of the babies (Ryan said he’s pretty sure they are female) will go to his friend. This is a juvenile.

This is an adult.