Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Beginning....and an End...

Well, I never thought I'd do a blog, but, what the hell, right? So, here I am, with my own little place of the web to just ramble and ramble and ramble....scary thought, isn't it? But, hopefully, this will help me keep friends and family up to date on the goings on, and perhaps help me keep track of what day of the week I'm on! I'll probably post fairly frequently to start, just to update everyone, and then just do once or twice a week...unless things really get crazy! But, I think my first real one will be on just one subject...

Tomorrow is the day we take the turkey to the butcher. On April 3rd of this year, along with our shipment of chicks, we got 8 small turkey poults. Why? Because coworkers who had discovered we raised our own chickens for eggs and meat asked if we would raise turkeys for them. Well, we were interested in doing so for ourselves, and so we took the plunge.

Curious, striped, and social, they fascinated us with their little personalities. We lost one within the first 24 hours, to a chill, and another in 48. Four days later we lost a third. Raising turkeys was proving to be a great deal more challenging than chickens.

But, after than, things settled down, and soon we were moving them out to the chicken house. A few weeks of brooding saw us lose yet another to a chill when we had a cold snap, and we were lucky not to lose more. And so we were down to four. By this time we were fairly certain we would not try raising turkeys again. The weather warmed, and as the grass sprung up we created a yard for the poults and chicks to venture into.

And they grew...and grew...and grew. We lost one after three months, then the heat wave in July took another two. And so we were left with one. We had determined not to name the turkeys, make the butchering too hard, but soon the last turkey, a hen, became TurkTurk. She followed us like a dog around the yard, came running when called, and pipped happily when we came to visit. It wasn't long before we knew that butchering Turk was going to be very, very, hard. She made the trip from Southern Ohio to our new home south of Buffalo safely and well, and willingly made her home with the chickens in the old garage in the back of our property.

And so...we finally realized that there was no way we could do the deed ourselves. After five months, a roadtrip, and Mike having to nurse her back to health after the heat took her two comrades, we finally were honest and decided to look for someone who would do it for us. It took a while, but finally after giving our number to someone, who gave it to someone, who posted here and there that we were looking, we found a gentleman who butchers poultry on the side. And the day has arrived.

Tomorrow morning, Mike and I will get up, and settle Turk into a box for the trip. About a week and a half ago, while trying to keep up with her chickens, she hurt her left leg. We think it probably is just the toe, but since then she's been pretty well confining herself to the chicken house. The fact that she's not happily tooling around the yard has made the necessity of the trip tomorrow easier to bear. We can't stand to see her unhappy.

So, that's what we're doing tomorrow. I've taken the day off so that both of us can go, both to make it easier on both of us to have company, and as a tribute to a bird who's come close to being a pet.

We'll never raise turkeys again. But we will make sure to give her the honor she deserves, as the turkey, truly, is a noble bird.

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