Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Diabolical Little Hearts

Are you sick of turkeys yet?

I'm beginning to be.

The big birds have an eye for misadventure, what can I say?

Today, I had to rescue a turkey hen who had accidentally sat on our single line of electric tape fencing and couldn't figure out that she had to get up and run away. (I rushed into the barn and cut the switch, then gently led her out of the pasture.)

The newest episode in our interminable "Turkeys, What the Heck were they thinking?" drama came last Thursday. I was down at the barn for chores and found our biggest tom-- barely functional due to his heavy poundage-- flopping around beside the grain feeder. "Oh, no." Though I "He's finally gone and eaten himself into the category of total lameness." But he managed to flop around the corner of the barn after the rest of the flock. So I grabbed the feed bucket and resolved to check on him after I filled up the feed and water.

Well.... I rounded the corner of the barn to find the big tom in the tall grass with one of the bronze toms ON TOP OF HIM STOMPING AND PECKING in murderous frenzy! It was too late for the big guy. He was quite dead. What a gory scene. I would never have believed that turkeys--TURKEYS!-- were such murderous beasts! But evidently, behind the goofy gobbles and contemplative looks, the comically enlarging snoods and stately waddles, lie diabolical little hearts.

I couldn't-- couldn't-- salvage another gigantic bird alone (See "Cold Turkey, Hot Day" for THAT story.) The kids were up at the house playing Stratego and waiting for dinner. I dragged the gigantic bird to the lower barn and, with great difficulty, hung him up. It was the most I could do. I had a nasty cold and it was just about dark and dinner was... nowhere yet.

Back at the house, I told the kids about the incident. Used to all sorts of odd animal related hi-jinks the kids just said "Really? Oh.." and craned their necks to look out the window at the turkey hanging by the barn. Back to Stratego for them.

Dan, well, I caught up with him as well. "All right," he said, the rush of road sounds loud in the background. "Guess I know what I'll be doing when I get home..." True to his word, he arrived home at 8:30 or so, changed out of his "Perfesser Suit" (Tweedy looking jacket with the leather elbow pads and everything), put on and apron and rubber gloves, sharpened up his knives and spent two hours down by the barn in the dark doing right by the turkey and all of us. What a guy!

He returned with a 32 pound turkey, cleaned and ready for cooling. And so we have a jump on Thanksgiving I guess.

I hope I forget the murder scene by then.


Christy said...

That is a big turkey! Sounds like the turkeys have been quite an adventure. Would you do it again?

P said...

Oh, we'll probably do turkeys again next year. They are a mess and often a hassle (compared to the more sensible chickens). But they provide a LOT of meat per bird and were all pre-sold (to friends at cost)to support the few we are keeping so they work well with our self-sustaining, local food ethic. However, next time, we will order our poults later in the year-- June perhaps-- because we don't have the freezer room to hold them for Thanksgiving and they are overgrown at this point, a month and a half too early.

In turkeys, as in so many things, I suspect timing is everything.