Posts in monthly updates
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

We are looooong overdue for a post!

First, the good.

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We’ve finally made it into our new location and moved the chinchillas and other animals before the big Hurricane Florence scare. Even though things are not perfectly organized yet, at least we have all the animals safe and sound and in one place.

Our new property is giving us an abundance of new varieties of wood that we’ve been selectively cutting and processing for the chinchillas. On our new property we’ve found blueberry and grapevine, poplar and dogwood and much more! We’ve learned that poplar wood smells minty when it’s cut. And has a minty/lily smell as it dries. The wood is gorgeous with its zebra striped bark. Next is dogwood. As much as I hate to cut these down, some trees are just not well placed on the property. We feel the chinchillas will benefit much more from them. Funny thing, dogwood wood is ugly and smells like a new pack of disposable diapers. *shrug* Chinchillas like the weirdest things.

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Our future apple, pear and mulberry orchard are growing nicely… in their pots and temporary garden spots. We are also working toward reclaiming some overgrown land to turn into usable orchard space.

Our workshop has gotten quite the work out! It is large enough to allow us to haul in small trees to work in a climate controlled environment. This is also perfect and necessary for harvesting leaves for our Confetti Cuisine. You may have noticed this year that the leaves are GORGEOUS! We have perfected our secret process for drying leaves in a way that retains color and vital nutrients.

Now the bad.

If you follow us on facebook, you may have seen pictures of the happy new families who have come to adopt. Over the summer we’ve had surrenders happen, adoptions happen, and matchmaking sessions. It’s been a whirlwind trying to operate from two locations as we’ve accommodated different individuals according to where they live. Making the two hour drive back and forth has been a daunting task. Did anyone notice the difference? I’m afraid yes. We’ve had a few glitches but our followers/customers have (mostly) been amazing. Thank you all for your encouragement as we’ve taken on this enormous task.

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The ugly.

Our move from one location to another has taken far too long to complete as we’ve hit snags and roadblocks and... just plain crooked individuals. Walling in the new rescue room started so well! We had a framer who was amazing. Then things went downhill from there. The air conditioner in the office/rescue building broke down. That became an unexpected $1000 bill. Ouch! But long story short, two different companies took our money and ran, never completing the drywall job. It is really rather embarrassing to admit this. Whimsy ended up finishing it herself (it took 6 days) and volunteers helped with the paint. Just in time for the hurricane scare. *sigh*

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Now that we’re mostly settled in all that remains is some minor tweaking as we sort, resort, arrange and figure out the best way to store and utilize all the space! We have extra cages set up and ready for mass surrenders that are bound to happen. Funny thing is, I typed out this post just before we got word of a mini-mass surrender of 8 and a  group of 3. It’s a good thing we put together the extra cages. Looks like we’ll need to set up some for maternity watch as well.

Busy! Busy! Busy!  The workshop has already been put to good use as we’ve been working to craft some gorgeous lumber into our signature cage accessories. Many of our cages have gotten a facelift with some long overdue swapping of tired old and chewed up ledges with some tidy new ones. Is it time to freshen your chinchillas cage? We would love to help out! We often post pictures of ideas of ways to arrange ledges to make a cage more interesting. We hope that our store offers enough variety to keep everyone entertained. At any rate, with our larger facility, we also have larger bills. While we appreciate those who have chosen to support our rescue, we really love crafting our wares to help enliven other chinchilla’s homes. So if you’re looking for ways to spoil your chinchilla (or other gnawing pet), why not come check out our webstore? And don’t forget the chew toys!

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Happy May everyone!

For the month of April we had four (4) chinchillas surrendered and two (2)  chinchillas were adopted.

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Our numbers of chinchillas are much more manageable now and our upcoming move of them should be relatively easy. We had hoped to have everyone settled in before the heat of summer, but it looks like that’s just not going to happen. We assumed that by hiring pros we could get the necessary work to the new building done quickly and efficiently. That has proven to be a radically unrealistic idea as we are at the mercy of every one of those individuals' schedules. So far we’ve had the framing to the new chinchilla room done. Ed from Olde Oak Construction was especially sensitive to our timeline and worked us in to his schedule. His work was outstanding and very reasonable. AND, he cleaned up after himself! We hope to utilize Ed for many more future growth projects.

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We’ve also got the electrical moved, new lines run and powered up. The extra thick insulation is in place for added sound dampening and heat barrier between the rescue room and workshop. The drywall is up. Doors are in place. Sounds good, right? Well, now comes the hard part. The air conditioning in the building completely died and it just so happened during the electrical and drywall phase. So the drywall mud couldn’t dry and the construction guys were absolutely miserable. Now we’re fighting with the home warranty company about repair to the HVAC system. Obviously we can’t move the chinchillas in until that is fixed!

In the meantime, we are slowly painting the offices as we can squeeze in time for a day trip and hauling in lots and lots of files. We still need to finish the drywall. Our wall man seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. (Karma baby, Karma) We need to finish the trim, prime and paint the rescue room. Needless to say, with all the road blocks we have no planned date for our official move. We’re still operating surrenders, adoptions and websales (mostly) as usual. We appreciate a little extra patience as we juggle the timing of everything.

Here is a panorama inside view of the rescue room. The wall isn't "really" curved, it's just the camera angle. This shows our progress as of today. Getting closer!

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Happy April!

Happy April everyone!

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With the move to our new facility taking much longer than anticipated, we’ve had to bend a little with regard to surrenders and adoptions. Of course we’d much rather see chins go to happy homes than to have to take them in. 😉 Currently we have more than a dozen rescues waiting for their own special person. We have two new sets of females who appear to be receptive to other chinchillas. They would be excellent candidates for someone who has a lonely female and would like a small herd (trio) of their own. Trios are great! With a trio, should something horrible happen to one chin, two are left to console each other.

We had a bit of an emergency situation this month where one of our follower’s lost one half of a pair. The remaining chin stopped bathing, was uninterested in food, and just generally withdrew. This is an emergency situation! In a case where a chinchilla mourns the loss of a cagemate, they can literally die of loneliness. This is especially true of chins who have had the benefit of a cagemate. Some chins respond better to a loss and thrive….but it’s just unnatural for a chinchilla to be alone.

Which reminds me, we often hear people ask whether a chinchilla should go through a mourning period before introducing him or her to a new friend. The answer is “NO!”. Chinchillas are not people. They have no social need to show their respect for a dearly departed. They do not share the same psychological perspective as a human.

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When considering the needs of an animal, one must consider their needs as a species. This includes food choices, shelter accommodations, how we approach training, stimulation and socialization. As herd animals, chinchillas benefit from the proximity of those of their kind…assuming those in the social group are compatible!

Males, with their instinctive drive to procreate, are much more difficult to pairbond. This is especially true if both males and females are in the same home. We have found that the brevicaudata chinchilla, the ones who are considered more “show” quality and have the big, fat body style,  are the easiest to keep in groups. The typically pet store chins and breeder cast offs  (more likely lanigera and costina) tend to be more aggressive towards their own kind and difficult to group.

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Again, working with their psychological framework, we can give them the benefit of matchmaking when we utilize spay/neuter surgery. This allows us to pairbond otherwise alpha males with a female or two and gives them a much better chance of adoption.

Neuter surgery can be expensive and is not without risks. However, the benefits far outweigh the risk. To date, we have had but a single negative surgical outcome. Please know that neutering a chinchilla will not change their behavior as it does with other animals such as canines, felines and equines. Neuter surgery simply makes it impossible for them to reproduce. In the case of individuals who have both male and female chins, it is the responsible way to keep chinchillas without having to segregate them in separate cages.

As a rescue facility, of course we advocate responsible pet ownership. We encourage chinnie pet people to choose a single gender pair or group,  OR, to choose castration. And while we’re on the subject, those who think they can be quick enough to intervene during m/f playtime to obstruct a possible breeding are fooling themselves. It takes a millisecond for a male to impregnate a female chinchilla. Don’t be part of the problem.

Nothing to see here folks. Or, Hurry up and wait.

Well...March came and went with no fanfare. We expected to have all sorts of new news about our new place, the moving progress, pictures, videos, etc. But we've been hit with some unexpected roadblocks. It seems one issue after another keeps appearing like a long lost family member looking for their portion of an inheritance. We have likened the experience to a bad group project. You know the kind. One person pulls all the weight, most wait until the last minute to contribute, someone else says everything is all wrong and we need to start over again, someone else plagiarizes, complaints are made about "that" person who does nothing and is allowed to get away with a passing grade regardless. *sigh* Closing on the new place has been delayed multiple times already as one issue after another must be addressed.

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In the meantime, we're operating business as usual. We have wood to harvest and process. Lumber to cut, parts to drill, orders to fill...*cue the music* This is beginning to sound like another song. 

If Whimsy's was a musical: The home purchase is a country song. The activity of our realtor is the orchestral interlude, Flight of the Bumblebee. Filling store orders is a Tolkien style dwarvish work chant.

Lovebug, piñata, hugs & Kisses, bunny!
Jacob’s ladder, pumpkin platter
This is kinda funny!
Chinchworm, fruitwood kabob, and a pound of wood!
Don’tcha know we’re ready to go....
...send payment if you would.

Aside from that, the chins are doing great. The neutered boys are healing well. We have several inquiries for pairbonding that are on hold until we move. And we have some rescues due to come in. We've been freshening up some cages with new ledges and have been processing wood like crazy. And speaking of wood...

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We're a bit backlogged on processing as spring is the ideal time to harvest. The drying phase is the most time intensive. It MUST be done slowly and thoroughly to be sure there is no chance of the wood molding. The Jacob's Ladders are on hold until the larger whirls are completely dehydrated. We've seen far too many other vendors "bake" wood quickly to sell a heavier product that isn't completely dry. This is very dangerous practice! Not only does that rip off the consumer, but it makes for a toxic chew!

And...on that happy note, it's time to get back to work. We hope to have some exciting and good updates soon.

Happy February!

Happy February everyone!

For the month of January we have had zero (0) surrenders or adoptions. We have been laying low for the better part of the last year in anticipation of our move. As it is now, we have about 40 chinchillas we’ll need to transfer to the new place in a couple months. Our gofundme page to fund the new rescue room  is up and running again after a minor setback where the page would not accept incoming donations. Even still, the monetary help is trickling in and we are profoundly grateful to those who can help in this way.

Those of you who follow us on facebook are privy to the most immediate updates and news. Recently we’ve developed some fun ideas for some new chew toy designs. It’s been more than a year since our last new release. But the long wait  has been worth it!

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On facebook we asked our followers to help come up with a name for the new chew toy.  We thought of; Shreddy Freddy, Twig Man, Straw man, Vinny the Vineman, Heart on my Sleeve, and on and on. But the best suggestions came from facebook and actually covered both original two styles of toy. We’re going to go with the T(ch)inMan as our default design.  We’ve heard rumors that he  is related to the Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man. Our TchinMan has found a  heart and is willing to share it.  The King of Hearts (AKA Pineapple King) is by popular demand and just in time for Valentine’s day. Thank you Kelsey and Nicole for your name suggestions!

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But the inspiration continues! Our graphic designer came up with another idea for a Knight in Shining Armor, complete with a sword and strategically placed star on the “shield”. For Halloween, we foresee releasing a headless horseman. Cinco de Mayo can potentially bring in Señor Scarecrow. But for now we’re just going to focus on Valentine’s Day. With that being said, who hasn’t ever had more than one  individual vying for your attention at the same time? They are offering undying love to you and your chinchilla.

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Now, it’s getting a bit awkward as in anticipation of their popularity,  we’re finding these guys everywhere! Several are on Whimsy's desk, many more on the IKEA, one was caught overseeing the spring wood harvest this weekend and another in a photo op with one of the rescue chins. The guardadoga got hold of two others, some are in the living room in boxes ready to go as surprise gifts to some of our customers (Shhhhhh!) Personally, we feel they must be distant relatives to Elf on the Shelf or something. But don’t take our word for it. We have them available in our webstore on the Chew Toys page. You’re welcome to order your own and find out. Please, share with us on facebook of all the adventures of your TchinMan. That is…if he lasts long enough.

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