Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Heirloom turkeys

Thanksgiving dinner is not not why we have all of those turkeys. You know, the turkeys out in front of the house. We're talking about fourteen various heirloom turkeys. Four different breeds.

Sort of tall skinny birds.

Not much like the broad breasted bronzes that end up in the grocery store. (did you know that bbb turkeys can no longer breed without human assistance? That shape, the size of the turkey you get in the freezer department over at Whole Foods, is not a natural turkey shape).

The reason why I have so many turkeys is that the nursery (no doubt the same one that sells the ‘weeder geese’) won’t ship less than 14.

So, while I only wanted two or three as sort of pets, I ended up with an entire flock.

And do you know how much damage a flock of heirloom turkeys does to a field of vegetables? if you didn’t see any spinach or chard in your fall share. Think Heirloom turkeys.
Until I realized what was happening the flock of turkeys would run down the rows of greens, gobbling away as they went.

That’s when they got locked up in the greenhouse for the month of October.

But, now they are free, and living in the same pasture as the chickens.

And while I wouldn’t mind keeping two or three. Fourteen is a bit much.

I suggested a solution to Wenonah. “How about we have one of our very own turkeys for thanksgiving dinner?”

She laughed.

I told her I was serious. “I mean, if we’re going to eat a turkey, we should probably kill it ourselves rather than have someone else do it. It seems much more natural that way. If we are going to eat a turkey we should look it in the eye first. That’s better than buying a turkey from Whole Foods that’s lived its entire life in a cage And then when the day comes, its treated like something that’s manufactured. It’s hung up on a conveyor belt and run through a factory that turns it into one of those packages you find over at the grocery store.

“At least this way we’d be more in touch with what we are eating.”

Wenonah didn’t want any part of it.

“If that’s what you are going to do,” she said. Tell me that morning, so I can make sure I’m not home.”

So there you are. Almost a dozen full grown heirloom turkeys looking for new homes. (and yes, I have never butchered or plucked a turkey, but I do have a book that explains all).

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