Posted tagged ‘turkeys’

“Chicken Alive”

November 21, 2017

Last night we all went to bed far earlier than the night, or rather the early morning, before, but it must have been too early for Gracie because she woke me up around 3:30 wanting to go out so we did. It was darn cold, and I hadn’t put on my sweatshirt so I urged Gracie to be quick. She was as she doesn’t like the cold either. I’m keeping an eye and an ear on Gracie as I heard her sniffing and snorting last night and this morning. She may have a cold so I’ll wait today but take her to the vet’s tomorrow for a check-up if she keeps snorting.

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was the parade, M&M’s, walnuts and dinner. In school, we colored turkeys on work sheets to help pass the time. I remember coloring each feather on the turkey’s tail a different color. I hadn’t ever seen a turkey so I envisioned it more like the peacock I had seen in the zoo.

Wild turkeys are all over the place here on the cape and even in Boston where they have been known to attack people. I see them often on my street. Usually they travel in a group with one Tom and a bunch of females. The Tom always seems to be strutting, letting the world know he has a harem. The wild turkeys can fly. They even roost on branches. When they fly, they look lumbering like some military cargo planes.

I learned so many things when I was in the Peace Corps in Ghana. One of my skills, a seldom used skill, is cleaning chickens, plucking their feathers. In the market, I got to pick my chicken, my dinner for the night. I could never dispatch the chicken to wherever chickens go when they become dinner so Thomas, who worked for me, did the dispatching. He got the feet and head for his troubles and usually cooked them for himself. Foot and head stew is what I called it. The now dispatched chicken is dipped in boiling water to loosen the pinions. After that pull off the tail feathers first then the smaller feathers. My hands got tired when I plucked so I usually left the final cleaning, the pulling off of whatever was left, to Thomas. What surprised me was how skinny chickens are without their feathers. These were always free range chickens. Nobody had coops or fenced in areas. My chickens, except the brooding hens, left the yard in the morning and returned at night. I never knew where they went.

Before I left for Ghana, I read books the Peace Corps recommended, and I read the material the Peace Corps sent. I knew about the regions, a bit about languages, the tribal system, crops and the prevalent diseases, but I knew nothing about buying live chickens let alone how to pluck them. Why would I? Chickens never entered my mind before I left, and in my whole life I never thought about plucking them. Chickens came in packages from the meat counter, but out of necessity and being partial to eating chicken, I learned to pluck. Should that skill ever be needed here, I’m all set.

“Our pets are our family.”

May 11, 2017

Yesterday in the early morning, Gracie and I went to get the papers in the front of the house. I saw a feather on the road and picked it up. It was huge and I knew it belonged to a wild turkey. All of a sudden the gobbling started. The turkeys were on the next street. I could see them from the deck. They were strutting as they walked up the street.

Gracie woke me up at 3. I could hear her panting, a sign she needs to go out. I put on my sweatshirt and my slippers and out we went to the backyard. It was even too early for the birds. Luckily Gracie was quick, and I was back to bed in no time only to awakened again at 6. I put on my sweatshirt and my slippers and out we went to the backyard. This time I could hear the morning songs of the birds. We were back inside quickly, and I surprised myself by falling asleep until 8:30. Gracie slept a bit longer.

During the summer of the Watergate hearings, I stayed glued to the television. I was fascinated. I heard the revelation the president taped everything and the reaction of the committee. I loved Sam Ervin, his sense of humor, his outrage and his dogged hunt for the truth. I remember Howard Baker, a republican, sitting beside Ervin asking, “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” It was a bipartisan committee dedicated to finding the truth. That is no longer possible.

My lawn was mowed for the first time this season yesterday. The air was filled with the sweet aroma of the newly mowed grass. The problem, though, is now you can see the connect the dots game on my lawn. During the early springtime, I took Gracie to the front yard to pee. Now you can see all the dead lawn dots. Sebastian, my neighbor and landscaper, and I spoke this morning. He is going to reseed those spots. He is not happy with my lawn or my front garden. He is going to mulch the garden. The beauty of my grass and yard is a matter of pride for him and me too.

 

It is still sweatshirt weather during the day and blanket weather at night. My heat goes on for just a bit every morning. The house was cold at 3 when Gracie and I went outside. I was glad to get back under the covers.

We have a couple of errands to do today. Both Gracie and Maddie are out of treats and Maddie keeps making her displeasure known. Gracie, though, is willing to take substitutes. She munched a piece of scali bread with butter and ate a bit of cheese then lowered herself to eat a dog biscuit. Both of them are now sleeping. I am blessed.

“It is beyond the imagination of the menu-maker that there are people in the world who breakfast on a single egg.”

May 4, 2017

Last night was downright cold. I huddled under the afghan wearing my sweatshirt. This morning the sun is shining, even glinting, and the sky is blue. It is still chilly but is, at least, a pretty day.

My back is a bit better. I just can’t walk upright. On the evolutionary chart, I most resemble homo habilis without the hair.

Yesterday morning, Gracie wanted out around 5. Always willing to oblige, I got up and walked her to the gate. The air was filled with the morning songs of birds. What gave me pause and a smile was among the songs I could hear the gobble of turkeys from what sounded like a street away. As the other birds sang, the turkeys kept gobbling. I figure a song is a song.

Yesterday I had Frosted Flakes with a banana for dinner. I used my Animal Cracker’s bowl. I could have been six except my mother would never have allowed just cereal for dinner. It was breakfast. Dinner was meat, potatoes, and a vegetable. Lunch was soup or a sandwich or both.

My father hated breakfast in continental Europe. His complaint was the assorted cold cuts and cheeses were for lunch, not breakfast. He would usually have coffee and some sort of bread and butter and complain between mouthfuls. My mother and I enjoyed breakfast and the different sorts of cheeses and meats. In Ghana, I always had two fried eggs and two pieces of toast. Both were cooked on a small charcoal burner. The bread was leaned against the hot sides and turned so both sides browned. The eggs were fried in peanut oil. Ghanaians ate for breakfast what they had for any meal.

We affectionally called my mother the seagull. She’d eat whatever for breakfast. I can remember her standing one morning at the counter eating a sandwich of a cold but cooked hot dog with cucumber slices washed down with diet coke. If she had eggs, they were scrambled with cheese or whatever else she could scavenge in the fridge. When she visited me, I always had biscotti, a favorite of hers. She didn’t drink coffee but did use it for dipping the biscotti. I still have biscotti. The other day it was anisette.

I have some seagull in me as I am not bound by convention when it comes to meals; however, cold hot dog is out even for me.

“Air, I should explain, becomes wind when it is agitated.”

November 15, 2016

Today I am accomplished. The first load of laundry is in the washer. I finally got tired of walking around the overflowing laundry bags in the hall.

The wind is blowing. When I look out the windows, I see brown leaves falling almost as frequently as snow falls. The weather feels chilly because it is damp. Rain is predicted for today, and the cloudy sky makes it probable. It is getting darker.

Maddie howled again last night. It is from loneliness. When Gracie and I slept downstairs, she slept the whole night. I feel so bad for her and wish she would join Gracie and me upstairs. She knows Gracie won’t chase her as she stands on the couch beside the sleeping dog when she wants to be patted. Gracie doesn’t even notice.

When I was a kid, I never got all that excited about Thanksgiving. There was no countdown like for Christmas. It sort of it just arrived. In school, we colored turkeys and wrote down why were thankful. I always said my mother and father. I was probably thankful for them, but I was even more thankful for knowing what to write down. The short school week was also a blessing but not one I mentioned.

Even though every week was the same when I was a kid, except for holidays, of course,  I never really tired of the day to day. I ate the same breakfast every morning unless it was so cold my mother felt the need to make oatmeal to insulate us for the walk to school. We walked the same route to school every day. It didn’t take us long, maybe 20 minutes or so. On cold days we walked a whole lot faster both to keep warm and to get to school sooner.

I remember walking backward against the wind on days like today. My clothes would sometimes billow, especially my skirt. Every now and then I did need peeks to make sure I was walking straight on the sidewalk and to know to face the front when I reached the curb to cross.

I need the lamp lit to keep the darkness away. It was the same when I was a kid. I was never afraid of the dark, but it wasn’t good for reading, my favorite pastime when I couldn’t go out to play after school. I remember lying in bed, comfy and cozy, with the lamp lit behind and above me and an open book in my hands. It felt perfect, almost like paradise.

“Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.”

May 7, 2015

We have had such beautiful days, warm days, short-sleeve shirt days. The sun is even so bright it makes me squint. By the afternoon the sun has made its way around the house to the back so I go and sit on the deck to take in the warmth. Gracie stands beside my chair and watches the birds until she gets sleepy and lies down for a nap in the sun.

Yesterday I was sitting at a red light when I noticed a hawk high above me riding the thermals in ever smaller circles. I got lost in the hawk, and it took a honk from the driver behind me to bring me back to the now green light.

I have seen foxes, rabbits, coyotes, wild turkeys, deer, skunks, opossums and the common raccoon around here where I live. Actually it was only one deer which ran across the road in front of my car just down the street from my house. I pulled over to watch until it disappeared near the power lines.

I don’t remember seeing many animals when I was a kid even though we spent a lot of time roaming the woods. I remember snakes the most. They seemed to be everywhere. They were, for the most part, garter snakes. We’d pick them up just to check them out, but we never hurt them and we always let them go. They’d slither so fast when freed they seemed to disappear. I can’t remember the last time I saw a snake around here.

I liked scary when I was a kid. I don’t mean afraid. I never wanted to be afraid. Scary was mostly a product of my imagination when I heard footsteps behind me or that hook scratching the screen. Scary made me giggle a little, a sort of defensive reaction to prove I wasn’t really scared. Once, when I was an adult, my dog Maggie, another boxer, woke me from a sound sleep when she leapt out of bed, stood at the top of the stairs and barked her fiercest bark several times but then she just turned around, jumped back on the bed and went to sleep. I wasn’t as fortunate as it took me a while to calm down enough to go back to sleep. I wasn’t sure what to think about Maggie’s barking. Maybe she had a nightmare was one thought, but I didn’t really think so because she usually just sort of barked in her sleep when she was dreaming. I really believed she heard something, something loud enough to put her on alert. Whatever it was left because of Maggie’s deep, fierce barking. She was my protector, and I was really glad to have her. Gracie has that role now, and she is great at her job.

“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.”

June 3, 2014

This morning, around 1 am, I was awoken by an odd sound, a repeating sound. At first I thought it was an animal screaming from being caught by a coyote, but it went on too long for that. Next I figured it was a goose, a large, walking through the neighborhood goose. The sound was right below my window at one point then was quite distant at another then it came closer again. Gracie got up and went downstairs, but I wasn’t going to let her out. Finally the sound faded then disappeared, and I went back to sleep. I asked my neighbor if she heard anything. She hadn’t. My other neighbor said she had seen around 12 or 13 turkeys wandering the neighborhood yesterday. I think that’s exactly what it was: a turkey looking for the rest of the turkeys.

The leaves on the big oak by the deck are mottled with sun. They wave in the breeze, a warm breeze. The air is sweet-smelling. Today is glorious, a short-sleeve day, a day to spend outside.

My lawn is green, spring green. It is soft on bare feet. In the mornings when I go to get the papers the grass is cool, but in the afternoons the grass is hot and means a speedier trip to pick up the mail.

The front walk is lined on both sides with potted plants. I bought flowers, herbs and veggies yesterday. I didn’t buy enough. I never do. Skip is now fencing in the vegetable garden. The old fence was flimsy and needed replacing. The new one will keep Gracie outside. She’ll have to dig somewhere else. Soon enough the tomatoes and cucumbers and two more vegetables yet to be decided will be planted and watered. I get to watch them grow, and I get to be amazed.

“Coloring outside the lines is a fine art. “

November 18, 2013

I am not in favor of busy mornings. Today was a busy morning. It was all medical, scheduled stuff, which took over two hours. I am glad to be home. Slippers are back on as are my comfy clothes. I am done doing for the day.

61˚ here right now. The sun was here earlier hiding behind a cloud. It comes and goes. The sky is blue in spots and white cloudy in other spots. The day is a nice one. Chillier weather starts tomorrow.

We used to color a lot when I was in elementary school. This time of year it was turkeys and cornucopias though I had no idea that’s what they were called. The classroom was quiet when we colored. It took concentration to stay inside the lines especially if the crayons had dulled. I always tried to do the best coloring I could knowing my pictures were destined for the refrigerator art gallery. My nephews gave me some of their colored turkeys. I put them on my fridge art gallery every Thanksgiving. The pictures are from their pre-school days when lines were arbitrary.

Soon enough I’ll pull out my old wooden nut bowl with the silver nutcracker and silver picks for pulling the meat from the shells. My mother always put her nut bowl out before thanksgiving. We used to open the nuts while we watched the parade. I remember shells flying and a pile of them on the table. I liked Brazil nuts. Walnuts were too dry.

“Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled.”

March 14, 2013

Yesterday was a delight. Though it was a bit chilly, the sun shined all day. I left my self-imposed hibernation and went outside to do some yard work and Gracie came with me. When I’d finished, I stood on the deck for a while and watched Gracie try to figure out how to carry a slightly deflated basketball in her mouth. She managed and ran around the yard in triumph. I did a laundry, changed my bed and the cat litter, filled the feeders and went on an errand. It was an industrious day all brought about because of the sun. It was like I had my battery recharged. Today is cloudy.

The mouse trap sat in the cellar for over a week, and I only caught two. It is now on the kitchen floor, and I haven’t caught any. Once there were mice. I cleaned out a kitchen drawer and found cloth and cardboard had been gnawed into small pieces, and the mice had left their familiar droppings. I threw stuff away, put most in the dishwasher and hand-washed other stuff. When I took out the drawer, I found piles of chewed paper and more droppings underneath it. With a vengeance, I scrubbed the drawer and under the drawer, and now that everything is clean, I keep checking both drawers, but there are no more tell-tale signs of current mice in residence. I’ll leave the trap for a few more days, but I’m guessing it was Maddie who rid this floor of rodents.

I never saw wild life when I was a kid. I don’t even remember seeing a skunk. I saw lots of fireflies, grasshoppers, tadpoles, frogs and a few snakes, but that was it. The only wildlife I saw was in the zoo. It never occurred to me I was missing anything. I got to see the cows at the farm and the horse in the pasture not far from my house, and that was enough. Here on the Cape I have seen   coyotes, foxes, deer, possums, raccoons and skunks. The latest are the wild turkeys. They are numerous and don’t mind strolling down the street as if in a parade. I love it when I see any of these animals. It means the Cape still has space for both of us.