The Turkey Inheritance

A little back story here- My great uncle was needing a little hobby. Nothing strenuous, but something to get him out and about. The idea came about to get him a few chickens to tend. We had more than enough to share so once his boys got a coop assembled for him we brought a handful of hens.

Each Sunday after church we would get an update on how they were doing. I tell ya’ what, he must have been talking sweet to those girls because he got an egg from each of them every day. They were decent layers at our house but never that consistent. I was glad they were working out well for him. He seemed pretty happy too.

After a year or two of chickens he moved on to turkeys. I don’t remember how many he started with exactly but after losing a couple along the way there were two hens left.

This summer at the age of 94, he passed away and the hens were needing a new home. That is how we came to inherit a couple turkeys. To be later named Lucy and Ethel.

They are about a year old roughly and gracing us with an egg or two day. Uncle Bill had mentioned before that he was hoping to have a few hatch (when he had a tom with them). Since they are part of the family in a different way than Gus and Humphrey, the steers that went to butcher, the ladies will live happily ever after with us. I don’t know if saying “in honor of” is quite the words I’m looking for, maybe “in respect of” or “in remembrance of”, I’m not sure that’s right either but for Great Uncle Bill I posted an “In search of” listing asking for a tom turkey.

It wasn’t too long after that I got a reply. A gentleman had a couple that were the same age and the girls and was willing to part with them. I told him I’d take one and made arrangements to make the hour and a half drive to go pick the bird up. The day we were to go get him I received a message from the gentleman asking if we were sure we didn’t need the second one as he was the last turkey they had  that needed a home. Of course I said we’d take the second one too. Imagine that!

Mike met me at work with one of our large dog kennels in the back of my little SUV and we continued our turkey adventure. This wasn’t our first time hauling farm animals like this. We started with chickens, then ducks and goats and in hindsight we could have fit a calf in there. We figured we were prepared…

Well, these boys were used to free-ranging and from what I understand, were not willing participants when it came to getting in the kennel they were arriving in. So much so that there owner suggested we just take his kennel too rather than trying to move them kennel to kennel in the Dollar General parking lot. That was all fine but even with ours disassembled it took a little rearranging of kennels and car seats. But we got it all in.

We weren’t even out of the parking lot when our noses were wrinkled. Even with the windows open those turkeys were smelly. Exceptionally smelly. What an adventure! At least it was only an hour and a half home and after the first forty five minutes we didn’t seem to notice any more.

I don’t have a problem with the boys, now named Ricky and Fred, flying in and out of the coop as they please but before they start doing that I wanted them to know that that was now home for them. Lucy and Ethel were outside when we got home so I closed their door so they would have to stay out for a day or two. Mike and I carried the kennel to the coop and squeezed it into the feed room. The boys had settled considerably and all I had to do was pat their backs and they hopped out and into their new room.

That went as good as it possible could have!

A couple days later their door to the outside run was opened and they have been happily wandering the yard ever since! They have even made friends with our last surviving duck!

 

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Painting the Gate

It’s been five years since we first moved to the farm. A lot has changed since we arrived. You may recall, I had cows coming home and no fence to keep them in about the same time I had chickens ordered and no coop. Yep, that happened. (It seems to be a recurring theme for me and started long before the farm.) Mike and my dad were there to save the day once again!

One rainy night that first summer Mike and my dad went up to Grandma’s farm to pick up some old fence posts and barb wire that she said was in the back of the barn. When they were heading back my husband called and said “Boy do we have a surprise for you!”

After I got home from work we walked through the dark and rolling thunder to our barn. There against the wall was an old gate. He didn’t have to say a word. I knew exactly where that gate came from. I was so excited to be able to use it!

The gate was blackened with years of motor oil that had been painted on for weather proofing. I remember being allowed to swing on Grandma’s garden gate but we weren’t to touch the corral gate because the oil would ruin our clothes. By that time the animals were gone as far as I can remember. When the fence line was finally taken down nothing went to waste and the gate, still in good shape, was stored in the barn.

The old gate has been keeping the cows in our pasture and now it’s my turn to paint the gate.

I put the little Miss in some old clothes and we set out to the barn. She carried the paint brushes while I carried the jug of used oil. She was pretty excited to be able to help with a “big girl” job. I filled us each a small container of oil and gave her a warning “do not get any on your clothes.” –you can laugh its ok. I knew as well that was going to be a joke. There was no way that she was going to make it more than one brush stroke before it would be on her clothes. But, in trying to be a good mama I needed to at least say the words.

She worked at her eye-level for a while, then over by me and then it happened.

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The Making of a Beekeeper

A few years ago, the little boy found himself in the middle of an angry hive of stinging, flying somethings. They were in his shorts and up his shirt, he got it pretty good. The following summer he stayed in the house every time we checked bees.

Fast forward to this summer, curiosity got the best of him. One night I went to check the bees and he asked to come with. “Next time. You need pants and boots and long sleeves.”

We weren’t even finished with supper the following night and he has excused himself from the table and came back dressed to check the bees. Together we built a fire in the smoker. He “suited” up in Mike’s beekeeping hat and gloves and grabbed the hive tool. We hopped on the four-wheeler and headed out for his first hive check.

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Putting Up Hay

Rain, rain, stay away. Come again another day. Papa wants to hay today.

By Friday night we had the first cuttings bales of fresh hay in the loft. I think this was the first year nothing broke and we didn’t have the worry of rain. I should probably write that down because who knows if we will ever be so lucky again. I guess I am jumping the gun a little bit; the hay on dad’s fields still needs to be put up and the sky is looking pretty dark.

Personally, I love haying season. As with anything there are some not so great parts but I do my best to overlook those. Things like a million cuts on my forearms from the scratching hay, the constant heavy lifting in the summer heat, the chaff that clings to sweat and itches and the sneezing and snot. Yeah, haying isn’t always pretty, easy or comfortable. All that aside, it’s great. (Yes, I know, I probably am outnumbered everyone to one on this.)

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Wheat Harvest

Dream big or sit on the front porch…or… Dream big, grab your hoe and rolling pin and make things happen!

I love that the eggs in our kitchen came from our coop, the raspberries in my scones came from our berry patch, the honey from our hive, the wheat from our field and ground to flour in our kitchen and if I were ever not pregnant when it came time to start milking Lucy and Sweet Caroline there’s potential for fresh dairy products from the barn. That’s just the bakery side of the farm. To say that we are blessed is an amazing understatement, to say we are thankful is the same.

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