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Dreaming of Thanksgiving Dinner September 22, 2008

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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Joe has often commented that he USED to think that deer hunting was difficult.  Wake up in the middle of the night, drive an hour, hike 30 minutes, climb a tree, and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And maybe see one deer off in the distance out of range.

Then we moved to the country and we can’t keep the deer away.  The venison we’ve put in the freezer have been brought down either from the back porch or the closest fenceline.

I keep hearing people talk about how much harder turkey hunting is.  Turkeys have such a keen sense of eyesight and always have scouts on the lookout for the slightest movement.  But often since we moved here, I’ve had to come to a complete stop while driving  to avoid hitting wild turkeys that leisurely cross en masse wherever they like.  My honking to hustle them before I get rear-ended doesn’t seem to concern or motivate them.

A month or two ago, one of the dogs rousted a wild turkey near the chicken tractors one morning.  I was amazed to see that it trotted away only fast enough to keep ahead of the dogs but could easily have taken flight and disappeared for good.  Instead it played hide and seek with them in the tall grass.  Shortly after that, we began noticing that something was bedding down near the tractors at night.  Joe got out there early enough one morning to find the turkey flock still “in bed.”  They vacated but not in a panic.  We think they were “gleaning the fields” behind the chickens, Ruth the Moabitess style.  (Wonder if we’ll find our roosters betrothed before long.  😉 )

Since that time, we have witnessed the twice daily crossing of the flock (17 that I count) across our pastures and to our ponds.  I always wave to them.  Last week, I decided to see just how close they would let me get.  Here are some pictures.

You can see that one on the far right is actually stretched out but watching.

No hurries, no worries.

They were actually walking toward me as I got closer to the pond.

I think the presence of other poultry milling about our feet must give them a false sense of security.  Indeed, Guido to the Useless Guinea followed me down there yapping all the way, probably saying in his usual fowl language, “Don’t feed them!  Just feed me!”  He chases the chickens away from food every morning when we scatter their scratch.

So, unless this flock moves on to better pickins, we’re hoping to have a home-procured turkey dinner on the table this Thanksgiving.

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Comments»

1. Marci - September 23, 2008

We have lots of wild turkeys around here. Many of the are aggressive. One of our friends (a man) was chased down our road by a flock of wild turkeys.

2. reeska - September 23, 2008

Isn’t it crazy how many of the FWC, (furry woodland creatures,) there are? I think more rare on my homestead is a productive garden.

Just wait until Eric buys a shotgun….. 😉

3. Uncle Chris - September 24, 2008

I’ll Join in the “hunt”. I’ve always wanted to try deep fried turkey. Perhaps wild turkey might be better deep fried then baked?

4. Laura - September 24, 2008

Chris,

You may be right. We have a turkey fryer that we bought to use as a scalder for chicken plucking. We’ve never used it since we haven’t built the plucker (we just skin the birds, feathers and all). We should definitely try that out. That way we could have Mom’s traditional turkey AND something new and daring. You’ll have to ask Joe exactly when the season starts. He figures he’ll get exactly one chance before they find other more peaceful accommodations. But who knows, they apparently aren’t that bright or easily scared off.

Reeska,

We are in total agreement about the FWC and the garden. Something trampled our cucumbers early on so there went the idea of canning our own pickles. In years past, deer have decimated the melons so we didn’t bother planting any this year. Recently, the dogs have been aggressively hunting “wabbits” in the garden we gave up on. Insects and weeds got the better of us in early July and it was just too hot (and I was already too pregnant) to fight. Now Johnson grass and ragweed claim dominion there and I’m paying for all that pollen with terrible allergies. Genesis was right- only by the sweat (a LOT) of our brow do we bring forth food from the ground!

Marci,

When does turkey season start there? Sounds like your friend may have to start taking his walks with a gun!

5. reeska - September 24, 2008

Next year all of my beans and yummy things that deer like will be in my FRONT yard. HA!…..I’m not joking either.

Strangely enough we don’t have a lot of rabbits. I believe this is due to the large population of hawks that we have here. My chickens will always be enclosed in a tractor. (Whenever we actually get some.)

6. Becky - September 25, 2008

My aunt Gene mentioned to the other day something that she had read. If you will take chicken wire and lie it flat around the perimeter of the garden on all sides, the deer aren’t supposed to cross over it to get to the garden. They are afraid they will get their hoofs caught in the wire. Might be worth a try.

Beautiful pictures. Don’t you just love living and raising your children in a rural environment!

I had some of the youth from church over for a bonfire several Fridays ago (there’s something wrong with this when you have to wipe the sweat off your face so you can see to light the fire). I told them we were about 2 months too early. The following Sunday, at least 2 of the parents asked me if there was any property for sale in the area. They had driven about 27 miles from the church to my place and they had already decided it was worth the drive – in spite of the price of gas!


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