A Christmas Woodie

November 30, 2014 § Leave a comment

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially “acceptable” to start decorating for my very favorite holiday of the year:  Christmas!  I love getting Lola’s cage decked out with festive decor and ornaments and garlands.  Of course, it’s slightly more difficult with my “all natural” color scheme, but thankfully the ladies at I Got a Woody were up to the challenge!  I asked them to design a custom toy for Lola– some sort of Christmas tree with a few parameters, but mostly I left the details up to their creative license.  I absolutely love how it turned out!  There may not be color, but I think it captures the spirit of the season quite well.  Unfortunately, my photo really doesn’t do it justice, but it’s lovely.

lola’s custom christmas tree

To create the shape of a Christmas tree, they used four carefully carved balsa chunks that mimic the boughs and branches of a real tree, and embedded little ornaments into the branches– cute little hardwood beads.  They make great foraging opportunities and always entice Lola.  The tree is also decorated with chain garlands hanging from the different levels, and there is a real natural wood trunk at the bottom (not visible in the photo).  Beneath the tree are extra fun presents, in the form of chunky corks and hardwood beads.  It’s even topped off with a pretty wicker star!  What’s more, it’s all strung on a stainless steel skewer, so when Lola’s all done destroying it, I can refill the base and turn it into an entirely new toy.  This toy came out perfectly.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

santa’s belly foraging toy

and the goodies within

I purchased another Christmas toy, but without the color– it doesn’t quite look like Santa’s Belly without the distinctive red, but I still think the toy is awesome.  It has two wicker baskets that hide lots of treats within, like basswood, turned corks, natural cork bark, and more.  Of course, there’s lots to chew both above and below as well!  I wonder how long it will take Lola to realize that it’s the perfect spot to hide an in shell almond.

side-mounted basket toys

A few other toys also incorporated the foraging opportunities of baskets, but in the form of side-mounted toys instead.  They both come equipped with stainless steel mounts, which I love because they can be installed exactly where you want them (as opposed to only where there’s a horizontal cross bar).  I especially like to install foraging toys at lower levels of the cage, where Lola might not necessarily visit without something to attract her there.  The possibility of a treat hiding in one of her baskets always does the trick.  The smaller basket on the left is open on top, but has cork, wicker, and beads flowing from it, whereas the basket on the right has a balsa “cover” that hides the goodies within.

garland toys

close-ups of the garlands

These garland toys are huge and packed with so many toy parts.  The first one, Twigs and Berries, really has a ton: basswood slats with bark, willow chunks, natural cork bark, tons of hardwood beads, shredders, paper, and probably more.  It’s a really good size and will definitely last at least a little longer than Lola’s average toy.  The next toy included a few custom twists, like larger vine balls (which are also great for foraging!), and includes balsa with embedded beads, cardboard, and even more beads.  The garland toys can be hung at both their ends, either side to side, up and down, diagonally, or even hanging from the ceiling like a swing.

isis and mini sanitarium

The last two toys are surefire hits.  On the left is the Isis.  I made the mistake last time of only getting the small version, which Lola quickly turned into toothpicks in no time.  She couldn’t get enough of fishing the turned corks out of the thin, crunchy pine.  So this time, we got the large.  But perhaps I didn’t quite learn the lesson because I only ordered the Mini Sanitarium.  (Yes, there’s and even bigger version!)  This one has huge jumbo corks and basswood triangles.  We’ll see how it fares under her beak!

a humongous basswood platform perch

The last addition to the order was one of the basswood platform perches.  Oh my goodness, I had no idea how MASSIVE it is!  It’s like a serving platter!  I think it’s a bit too big for the inside of Lola’s cage, so I’ll have to figure out where it can go.  Perhaps it’ll be her new balcony?

the whole order all together

That ‘s it all together.  We are so happy with this awesome order and are ready to get decorating!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2014 § 1 Comment

Lola and I are wishing all of our American readers a very happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!  Lola has a lot to be thankful for and we are quite behind on posts.  This one will be brief since there is lots of eating to be done, but Lola would like to give a big thank you to Big Beaks Bird Toys today!  (It almost seems like their company was named for Lola, doesn’t it?)

two awesome toys from big beaks

A few months ago, we took advantage of one of their fantastic sales (definitely sign up for their newsletter).  We chose two great toys:  the Stuck on Balsa as well as the Nutrageous.  For now, the Nutrageous is just a bit too challenging for Lola– those almonds are really stuffed in there!– but I’m hoping that one day she’ll feel brave and industrious and make her way through.

lola with her stuck on balsa toy

The Stuck on Balsa toy, on the other hand, is already a big hit.  The lollipop sticks are really lodged into the balsa block, making the first one quite a challenge to extract.  But Lola was up to it!

After testing out a few different angles…

… she achieved success!  She’s since cleared all of the lollipop sticks (and ripped them to shreds) from one of the holes, and will be beginning another one promptly after our feast 🙂  Interestingly, the balsa used on this toy is the hardest balsa I’ve ever come across.  Balsa from most other stores can be extremely easily punctured– even my finger nail can leave an indent– but this one is considerably harder.  Definitely doesn’t approach the harness of pine or probably not even basswood, but at least it will take Lola more than two seconds to destroy.

Thanks again to Big Beaks from me and Lola both.  And a very Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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