Turkey Trouble

I’m a bit under the weather this week (that hillside literally carpeted with goldenrod behind our house might have something to do with it), which brought an incredibly frustrating halt to my plans to press apples for cider today.  I hate being sick, it always feels like I’m missing out on so much.  I wish I was better at just reveling in the excuse to lay around like a cat and read a book. For lack of energy, I’ll keep it brief this week and just share a few photos and videos we’ve captured of some beautiful moments around the house.

The turkeys visit our front yard.

Lately we’ve been having some very close encounters with S & S’s turkeys.  I never knew what a menace they can be!  S & S call them Houdinis, for their talent for escaping from their pen and coop.  They like to range all over the place and are incredibly curious, sticking their beaks into everything, peeking in windows, tearing up potted plants, stepping on seedlings, and tormenting Gypsy-dog.  She got so wound up at one point that she actually escaped from her pen and charged into the middle of the flock.  To my enormous relief, she only seemed to want to herd them, get them under control and in one place, and not eat them.

This curious hen watched us through the window for about 15 minutes.

But they are also fascinating and hilarious creatures.  Once they are comfortable with you, they’ll let you get very close and even pet them.  A close up view of their talons, beaks, and bizarre waddles leaves no question they are related to dinosaurs.  The sounds they make are mesmerizing; not just gobbles but tweets and burbles, low growls, huffs and clicks. Occasionally, for no reason apparent to humans, they suddenly get flustered as a group, fluff up their feathers and wings, and gobble loudly and excitedly.  They often do this when they hear someone laughing, and sound a bit like a laugh track on a cheesy sit-com. Herding dogs can in fact be trained to shepherd turkeys and other large birds, and I love watching them follow S up the hill like a big mother hen.

One last thing to share.  The mountains and valleys in this area create some interesting weather patterns and microclimates.  We’ve been surprised several times to drive out of our rainy and overcast valley, over the pass, and into bright sunshine on the other side of the mountain.  Once, coming home over the pass, we had to stop the car to gaze down at a luminescent, swirling pool of cloud and fog that looked like an icy ocean set down in our valley.  Being the geek that I am, it immediately brought to mind a pensieve, neither liquid nor gas, but something magically alive, glowing from within.  I cursed myself for not having my camera with me that time.  Luckily, I did have it nearby on another occasion when we got to witness the fog rolling up the valley.

That’s all for now.  Hope you’re all weathering the seasonal transition better than I am!

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6 Responses to Turkey Trouble

  1. Tammy says:

    The turkey laugh track is HILARIOUS!! Thanks for the laugh! I replayed it over and over again just so I could keep laughing!

    • teeandzee says:

      There’s nothing as contagious as laughter – especially with turkeys, it seems. I’ve followed them around the yard, laughing to make them laugh to make me laugh. Good medicine for a cold…
      This is guaranteed to get you going as well:

  2. I loved the turkey laugh track as well and the photo of the hen peering in the window. We have lots of wild turkeys roaming around Sonoma, about an hour north of S.F.; they are bold and love nosing around garbage cans left outside. Sounds like your microclimates are similar to the many we have in San Francisco! We go 3 blocks downhill from our house and emerge from fog into sunshine 2-3 degrees warmer.

    • teeandzee says:

      Hi Stephanie – Yes, we’ve often remarked how much Appalachia reminds us of hilly parts of the west. Its a good bit greener though, at least until winter, when its just grey, and can’t hold a candle to golden Sonoma. Cool that turkeys are wild pretty much from shore to shore in North America!

  3. katierhodes says:

    The wildlife on our mountain consists of the usual Northern Alabama/Tennessee Valley creatures – possum, raccoons, deer, a myriad of birds and bugs, and the occasional coyote. When I started teaching at a small school in Hollywood, South Carolina however, I went to the front doors of the school only to be confronted by a gaggle of guineas. If you have never seen a guinea, they may just be the ugliest fowl in existence. (Proof!: http://www.motherearthnews.com/uploadedImages/SpecialProjects/Eggs/poultry-full-5.jpg) Having no idea what they were, I ran to the principle’s office in a panic. His only response was “Just wait until the ducks waddle over from the farm across the road…they’ll try and follow you inside.” He was right. That Autumn they nested in a big bush just beside the gymnasium.

    • teeandzee says:

      That sounds like an amazing school! How wonderful for the kids to be exposed to farm and wild life.

      S & S have guineas too, though their variety is quite pretty – maybe a different look from the wild ones (your link didn’t work – not sure why). I think many birds are a little ugly if you observe them closely – it’s that primitive look they have about them. T was once chased by a wild pheasant on a hike during our honeymoon in Nova Scotia. I think I have a photo of the beast around here somewhere – if so I’ll post it.

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