Posts Tagged ‘blueskydesert’

Last weekend my friend Jana came over with her son, Dez, just to hang out and take shots of our newly hatched turkeys. (Yes, it’s that time of year again.)

We walked all around the yard, but most of the interesting animal life had taken cover from the heat. Jana noticed a hollow branch on an apple tree, and because photographers are naturally curious she took a peek inside the hole.

“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!” She jumped back several yards.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” I joined in, partly so she wouldn’t look so silly in front of her son and my daughter (wink, wink) and partly to scare off whatever horrid creature had to be inside that tree.

“There’s something in there.” Jana pointed a shaky finger at the gnarled trunk, holding hand to chest and trying to catch her breath.

I ran to the tree ahead of the kids, pushing Em out of the way as she tried to beat me to it. Thankfully, I was the only person besides Jana tall enough to look into the hole. With my body poised to flee at a moment’s notice, I slowly leaned in to peek inside the hole. This is what I saw:

Launched a thousand screams, mouse in a hollow tree trunk, June 2008, photo (taken with Jana’s camera) © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

“Aw, it’s a teeny little mouse,” I said. The poor thing was quivering.

I picked up the kids and let each peer in. Then the work of trying to take photos began, and that’s when a new round of screaming took place, led by Jana.

In the end, we didn’t get a lot of photos and what we did get weren’t very good, but Jana and I laughed like crazy. You can know someone for a while before you discover certain shared quirks. It was fun to find out that we are both screamers.


One other thing about last weekend. We have a bizarre cat statue that came with the place when we bought it. Jim hides it around the yard, the way Trader Joe’s hides that coconut doll with the grass skirt in the shelves so that kids can find it and win a prize. (If you don’t have kids and don’t shop at Trader Joe’s, you’re missing out.)

Anyway, Sony the pug found the cat, and, well, you know what Sony does when she finds things. Luckily, we rescued the cat; it presently resides in all its mangled glory on a tree trunk by our new flower garden.

Jana was immediately drawn to the cat, and it turned out to make a darned cool-looking photo.

The moral of that story is, Wake up! Bizarre mangled cats can make for interesting pics. They might even elicit a shriek from the screamers among you.

Untitled, cat statue at ybonesy’s place, photo © 2008 by
blueskydesert. All rights reserved.

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Happy Turkey Week, Mama Azul on the plum tree, November 2007, photo © by Jana L’Esperance (blueskydesert). All rights reserved.

Last Saturday my friend Jana L’Esperance, who goes by the Flickr moniker blueskydesert, came to the house to shoot the turkeys. “What’s she gonna shoot ’em with,” Jim asked, “…her huntin’ rifle?”

We — Jim and I — had reached the end of our rope as far as the turkeys were concerned. Much as we tried to keep them in the orchards, the turkeys insisted on spending most their time on the back patio, where they could watch us through the sliding glass door or have us watch them perform their amazing tricks. “Check your shoes for turkey poop,” had become our most frequently uttered sentence.

Then one evening a few days ago, we saw a news story about Frank Reese Jr., the turkey farmer responsible for saving heritage turkeys — the breeds raised for Thanksgiving Day since 1850 — from extinction.

Today’s commercial turkey has been genetically modified to get so fat in such a short period of time, the bird can hardly stand on its feet. It’s raised in confined spaces inside buildings, and it tastes nothing like bourbon reds, blacks, or any of the other breeds Reese Jr. raises.

Commercial turkeys produce more white meat than heritage turkeys. According to Reese Jr., most people today don’t know how real turkey tastes. The heritage turkey — that is, the real and original turkey — has darker, juicier meat than the Butterball that usually shows up on Thanksgiving tables. 

Well, the girls won’t have anything to do with our newfound interest in our, yep, heritage turkeys, so we’ve struck a compromise. We’ll keep the two mamas and one tom. That way we can have more turklets next year, now that we know more about what we’re doing.

A friend, Trish, who is the kind of woman you could drop into the wilds anywhere and she’d survive, is going to slaughter two turkeys for her family, and in the process she’ll teach Jim how to do it. He’ll slaughter two for our Christmas dinner. The rest we’re selling, and we’re not being picky about who buys them.

So far, one local guy bought three bourbon red toms. He raises turkeys for pets; actually looked at me askew when I told him I’d heard they were excellent eating. Said he’s had turkeys since he was a boy — he looked to be about 50 — and he told us we could come visit them any time we wanted. We know where he lives; seeing his heritage turkeys is what interested us in getting our own in the first place.

And, we managed, thanks to Jana’s visit, to get our entire flock back into the pen. So, this Thanksgiving Day morning, all is peaceful.

We’re up and getting ready to spend the day with Jim’s family. We’ll be eating a commercial turkey, but until we’ve tasted better, we’ll think it’s the best food we’ve ever had. Our turkeys will spend the day free, so to speak. No, they’re not out picking apples off the ground at their leisure, but they’re alive on a beautiful Thanksgiving Day morning, and I don’t think they could ask for much more than that.

Thank you, Jana, for “shooting” these gorgeous pictures of our birds. No matter what becomes of them, we can look back and admire their beauty.

Two bourbon red toms posing (both since sold), November 2007, photo © by Jana L’Esperance (blueskydesert). All rights reserved.

      Mama Eagle Eye on the flagstone near the pond, November 2007,
      photo © by Jana L’Esperance (blueskydesert). All rights reserved.

Follow the Leader, baby following Mama Azul, November 2007, photo © by Jana L’Esperance (blueskydesert). All rights reserved.

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