Tag Archives: Turkey

How I Know My Neighbours Rock!

When your turkey gets nailed by a passing eagle, you discover who your friends are...

When your turkey gets nailed by a passing eagle, you discover who your friends are…

With the good weather, the grass is starting to grow again, so I’ve been letting the turkeys out of their smaller pen to roam and graze in the strip of grass between me and my neighbor’s place immediately to the north. Things have been going well over the past few weeks as the turkeys have settled into their new routine quite happily. The boys are in full display mode and the girls flirty and happy to accept the Toms’ advances.

I was up at the house just finishing up some computer work when someone banged on my office window and nearly gave me a heart attack! Carol, spattered with blood and holding a turkey hen in her arms stood outside looking like someone who has just had a run-in with a bald eagle. Turns out, she had just had a run-in with a bald eagle!!

She had a front row seat from her place as an eagle swooped down and pinned one of my good-sized hens to the ground. Carol raced outside to come to the hen’s rescue and despite yelling and waving her arms the eagle was very reluctant to relinquish its tasty lunch! When he finally did move, he didn’t go far and it sounds like it was seriously considering taking Carol on as she scooped up the injured bird and sprinted over to my place.

Fortunately, I was at home and with the assistance of my wonderful German volunteer farm helpers, was able to assess the damage. The skin had been torn off on the hen’s back, but that wound seemed fairly superficial. On her right side, though – a couple of puncture wounds from the eagle’s talons and a big piece of flesh ripped off and hanging on…

All things considered, there was very little blood – and the hen was alert and a bit indignant as I checked her over. She was panting and a bit shocky, but remarkably feisty considering her close brush with death. 

I called my other neighbor to the east, the Surgeon’s Wife who caught The Surgeon on his way home from work. He called me right back and stopped in at the local vet’s office to pick up a curved needle and a bit of suture thread on his way home. A few minutes later we had all convened in the Surgeon’s barnyard and made a makeshift operating table on the lid of our feed bin, pulled out into the late afternoon sun so as to take advantage of the light.

Flushing the puncture wounds left by the eagle's talons...

Flushing the puncture wounds left by the eagle’s talons…

The Surgeon donned gloves and flushed out the puncture wounds with hydrogen peroxide. SP (our most recent arrival from Germany) covered the bird’s head with a facecloth, and I held her firmly so we could see what we were doing. Before you could say, “Jeez, I have the best neighbours in the world!” the hen was all stitched up and slathered with antiseptic ointment. SP had already prepared a large dog crate with fresh bedding and a clean towel, the recovery ward for our lucky bird.

The Surgeon deftly tying fancy knots using a pair of pliers! We have a pact to stock up on suture supplies... we've been talking about it for ages and today was a great example why basic stitching materials are essential to have on hand.

The Surgeon deftly tying fancy knots using a pair of pliers! We have a pact to stock up on suture supplies… we’ve been talking about it for ages and today was a great example why basic stitching materials are essential to have on hand.

Stitching up the patient...

Stitching up the patient…

At least, I hope she will continue to recover. I checked on her an hour ago and she was actually up and walking around, looking steady on her feet, bright and perky in her demeanor. We shall see how she does overnight. If we get lucky and a terrible infection doesn’t set in, she might just survive the ordeal.

Whew! We were both glad when the field surgery was over and done with!

Whew! We were both glad when the field surgery was over and done with!

I can’t express how grateful I am to everyone who jumped in to help save the turkey hen. Keep your fingers crossed she will make a full recovery!

 

Enter an Airport, Enter an Altered State of Reality

There is something distinctly unnatural about air travel. One minute you are doing your usual thing seeing how many boxes of brussels sprouts stalks and slightly soft apples and pumpkins you can squeeze into the back of the pickup truck for the hogs and the next minute you are in some other time and place with other people, other routines, other everything…

Dad and I popped up to Kelowna to visit family for a few days and arrived back late last night only to experience another round of slight discombobulation.

Of course, it didn’t help that I slept in a room (my lovely nephew’s) that really does look like some other kind of reality…

Welcome to the strange world of Minecraft...

Welcome to the strange world of Minecraft…... not that I know the first thing about the world of Minecraft... But it does look kind of cool. … not that I know the first thing about the world of Minecraft… But it does look kind of cool when you are sleeping in a bunk bed inside it. This is what happens, btw, when my dad doesn’t leave his paintbrushes at home when he goes on an extended visit to young relatives. Last time he did this I believe some Disney princess castles appeared on a niece’s wall…

Perhaps the oddest moment of this trip occurred when I was debating whether or not to put the turkey in my packed bag or carry on suitcase. I had a vision of the interrogation as I tried to get the bird through security screening:

Them: M’am – what’s that in your bag?

Me: Turkey.

Them: Who are you calling a turkey?

Me: You’re arresting me for the use of the word turkey?

Things could have gone terribly wrong in a hurry. And, what if they insisted on a cavity search?

Dad, of course, found this scenario highly amusing... out came the sketchbook as we were waiting for our flight.

Dad, of course, found this scenario highly amusing… out came the sketchbook as we were waiting for our flight. I can just hear the latex gloves snapping…

In the end, the bird travelled in steerage and arrived at the other end unscathed. We enjoyed a lovely dinner a day later and soup and sandwiches until it was time to come home.

It was all rather delightful, sleeping in and not worrying about toting bales or mucking paddocks for a few days. Many thanks to K., my delightful and efficient farm-sitter. You are worth your weight in golden eggs!

Oh, the Food!

Oh, how I love the way this season is all about the food!

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We kicked things off with a bang with our Holiday Cookie Exchange party on December 1st and it has been plain good eating ever since.

A couple of weeks ago I tested out a new super fast, super hot oven turkey recipe (with butter and maple syrup slathered between the breast skin and the breast) – it was so super fast it was ready before I had the veggies done, but was delish nonetheless.

For our family Christmas dinner I cooked up one of little turkey hens (about 8 lbs) the way my neighbour C. suggested – 350 degrees for a couple of hours with a bottle of beer added to the pan. I stuffed garlic butter under the skin, tented with oiled parchment and then foil, and uncovered for the last half hour. Oh. So. Juicy. Very, very good – Thanks, C.!

It will come as no surprise that two fave presents this year involved food… A frozen fruit dessert/sorbet maker that requires nothing but the addition of frozen fruit (though, you can add a bit of yogurt, if desired). What a great way to dessertify the bags of berries and apricots and plums we still have in the freezer! Also an excellent way to use up very ripe bananas, just pop the bananas (pre-peeled) into the freezer and then, when frozen, run them through along with whatever other fruity deliciousness you have on hand. Yum!

The other most excellent handy gadget (and, yes, I know I shouldn’t be quite so addicted to handy gadgets) was a gift I received – a Magic Bullet. Though the various blades can be used for all kinds of chopping and blending, my plan is to use it mostly for smoothies [though, the ‘grown-up’ beverages they describe in the accompanying booklet along with instructions for how to host a refreshingly fun party are intriguing…]. I have experimented with various other blender type devices but this seems to be particularly well thought out in terms of being able to make small quantities in the same container you are going to drink out of. So far I’ve only indulged in fruity versions, but I have plans for adding kale, carrots, and various protein options so my smoothies stick with me for a little longer than they tend to given my high energy outputs on an average day.

Right at the moment, I’m jotting these notes while making turkey stock for soup tomorrow.

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Too soon this season where food is front and center and nobody feels bad about food being front and center will move on into the New Year where so many people feel they need to to return to a relationship with food that centers on self-deprivation.

My food-related resolution will be this: more smoothies. And, to steal the theme word that will be getting a lot of airplay over in Catbird Quilt-land, EXPERIMENT. [Catbird Quilt Blog] Coconut oil. Sunflower seeds. Carrots. Parsnips. Maple syrup. Chocolate. Yes, chocoloate! I wonder what cool combinations I might be able to come up with in the smoothie department? I might have to re-listen to the An Organic Conversation podcast segment that was all about smoothies…

Which reminds me how much I enjoy their podcast. Are any of you podcast listeners? What are your favourites? I’ve loved the book and cookie recipe suggestions – how about some ideas for great podcasts I should be listening to while I muck out the horse paddocks and wash the hen eggs?

Young Turkey In a Pickle

One of the perils of letting your poultry free range is that sometimes the birds get into places where they shouldn’t be. This young fellow had been trying to get in to (or out of) the goat pen when a single feather got caught up in the piece of string that used to hold the top edge of a fine mesh intended to keep the birds out. The mesh had been taken down because the birds had been tearing big holes in it when they perched on the fence rail and I had left the string so I could replace the lighter mesh with something heavier. The good news in all this is the bird was hung up in such a way that his foot reached the ground. Add to that the fact these Ridley Bronze turkeys are very mellow (so he didn’t panic or thrash around) and I was able to lift him up and set him free. He suffered no damage, except perhaps to his pride, and is now back at work cleaning out the summer vegetable beds.

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Turkey Poult Hatching

It never gets boring to watch the little guys bursting forth out of their eggs. Even though they unfold and emerge before your eyes, it just doesn’t seem possible that they could possibly fit inside that little egg!!