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Thursday, October 8, 2015

It's Turkey time

I went out to the barn to take stock of the flock before writing this column. Actually a group of turkeys is called “a rafter”. So I went out to check out the rafter of fat, fluffy Thanksgiving dinners on legs. They stand about three feet tall now, and greet me as I enter the barn.
Our birds are comfortable and happy right until their last moments, which are humane and calm. We moved our birds to the abandoned horse stable this year, so that we could hear them and their communal gobbling from the house. The sheepdog is keeping a close eye on the comings and goings from the area and announcing the arrival of any intruders.
The turkeys are enjoying the added benefit of social activity in this new location. They can see out through the slats of the stall, to the barnyard on one side and the house yard on the other. When they hear the patio door slide open, they comment. When a car drives up the lane, they comment. It makes life far more interesting for them, I’m sure. The soundtrack of the farm has been turkey song all summer.
In another week we will have fresh turkeys for pickup for Thanksgiving dinner so if you need one, make sure you let us know. We only have a limited number.
The wild turkeys are plentiful this year. The designated female leads the kindergarten troupe in a zig-zag across the road and I have to follow their silly parade as I’m trying to get to work. We watch from the back porch as the males compete in their flamboyant tango moves, fanning out their tails and attempting to impress the women.
September 26th was opening day for the duck hunt and the Farmer launched his favourite time of year with his traditional hunting party gathering. The trucks started arriving at 4am and unloading their gear. The canoes were already down at the creek so they piled everything on the trailer behind the ATV and rode down under the last of the full moon. By ten they were exhausted and hungry so they came back up to the farm for a feast of last season’s wild game. Hunting season is the only time of year that the wine and beer are flowing before noon – because the hunters have already been up for eight hours and they are ready for a relaxing drink.
A dozen men fill the sun porch picnic table, their plates loaded with venison roast, goose bourguignon, wild turkey and lake trout. I quickly toss a salad and add it to the table with potatoes and carrots so it isn’t a total meat meal.
After brunch the hunters retire to the back deck for cigars and coffee and a nap in the sunshine. Some of them head home, while others prepare to head back out to the creek for the sunset hunt.
I imagine I would find it all a bit boring, sitting in the bush for hours, but to them it’s a form of meditation, I think. And they say they solve all the world’s problems out there, in their deep woods conversations.
I think out of half a dozen hunters they got one duck. It was turned over to the host/cook and will be served as an appetizer at Sunday dinner with a side of goat cheese and red pepper jelly.
The Farmer and I sat up to watch the super blood moon total eclipse thingy last Sunday night. He set up our lawnchairs on the front porch and covered them with sheepskins to make them extra cozy. I poured the whiskey nightcaps, turned off all the conflicting lights and we settled in under a blanket for the big moment. We got some visits from the barn cats who were out for their evening hunt. White cats glow in the dark. Finally the moon started to look like something was happening – the eclipsed part started to glow red and if you stared at it long enough it actually appeared to be spinning. Very cool. Then, it was over. For another 18 years, at least. And the Farmer was snoring beside me. I’m lucky the cat woke me up or we might have been there until sunrise.

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