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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Turkey season

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Don keeping watch over his flock by day

Has it really been almost a year since we saw Sarah Palin talking with a reporter about being Vice President and pardoning a turkey from being killed for someone's Thanksgiving table, while turkeys were visibly being slaughtered behind her? It was a grisly example of someone being out of touch with their surroundings.



In the U.S., if you call someone a "turkey" it's an insult, meaning the person is stupid (out of touch with their surroundings -- yikes). Or if you say some project was a turkey - like a movie - you mean it was a failure. Apparently this arose from the fact that turkeys are thought to be stupid. You know how we call someone a "bird brain" if they don't seem to have terrific mental capacity? Well of all the birds, turkeys have the smallest brains in proportion to their size: 2%. Domestic turkeys have supposedly been known to drown standing out in a rainstorm - looking up, mouth open, "hey, what just hit my little head?" as it pours down their throats.

Some say turkeys get a bad rap, since their mortality is not good, and they die from other things more than from drowning. But there is some truth that domestic turkeys have been bred away from their wild instincts to find shelter from the elements.

After we lived in the country of Turkey we encountered a few individuals out of touch with their surroundings who, after chuckling a bit asked in disbelief, "You lived in Turkey? What do you mean, there's a place called Turkey?" Actually the real name for the country is Türkiye. If you pronounce it correctly by rounding your lips and putting that ü just behind your teeth, no one thinks you're talking about living inside a big bird. (Did you know that Sesame Street's Big Bird was made with 4000 turkey feathers?) I remember going to bed at night after speaking a lot of Turkish and my cheek muscles were sore from all those ü's and ö's. Here's an exercise in something close to stupidity for you: When you go to the turkey farm with the kids this year, try saying "göbble göbble göbble" and make the correct sound for the Turkish ö. Öh, and in Turkey they call a turkey a hindi. Now what's that about? I think it went something like this: Turkeys have to do with American Thanksgiving -> American Thanksgiving has something to do with American Indians -> Indians -> Hindi. Phew. I feel like I just flew around the world.

Two of the big toms in the photo at top - the ones with tail feathers fanned, and big pink and blue drooping gobbledy-goop under their little 2% heads, one bronze and one white - died recently after each breaking a leg. See, I told you they die from other maladies. Don doesn't know if they were in a fight, or just too heavy for their drumsticks. :| They have another two months to grow before Thanksgiving dinner - one for us and the rest to be given away. I'm afraid the one tom that's left won't fit in an oven.

I can't say that I think turkeys are dumb, but they look dumb the way they stand and stare at you inside your personal space. Or maybe they just look curious, because they certainly are that. In fact, they look the opposite of being out of touch with their surroundings if I really think about it. Can you be dumb if you're this curious?



So this is what you can say if you don't want to call someone stupid, or a turkey:







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70 comments:

Susan said...

Oh, those are gorgeous, gorgeous birds! I love how they all look directly at the camera. I had no idea they grew that much in so short a time. I guess you're gonna need two ovens for the giant one, eh?

I tried to say the words Turkishly, but don't know if I was successful. I'm guessing NOT! You'll have to teach me someday.

I call the grandkids turkeys all the time. But in a loving way, of course! :)

California Girl said...

this is an interesting post with lots of twists, turns and tidbits. I have always liked turkeys altho' I've never raised any. We have a flock of wild turkeys who graze the yard, tease the dogs and cat and take off. They seem very close, they come out of the woods, hang around til something alerts them, and then fly to the tree tops before going elsewhere.

I don't think Ms. Palin was unaware of her surroundings. She's not that dumb. I thought it was a set up although, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. Can you imagine if she were now the Veep? Holy cow!

Barry said...

I just wanted to wish you a Happy Arrrr! This being International Talk Like A Pirate Day, after all!

And we all know how much Pirates loved Turkey!

Or did they?

ellen abbott said...

I really enjoyed this post. Birds are amazing creatures. My sister keeps chickens which I find amusing.

Ruth said...

Howdy, Susie! The bronzes' feathers shine beautifully with iridescence.

We roasted one of the birds that died, and we had to cut off the legs to fit it into the oven - I think I told you. I think I bagged six big Ziplocs of cut up meat into the freezer.

I wish chickens would stand and look into the camera like the turkeys. It would make photographing them a whole lot simpler.

Ruth said...

'Morning, California Girl. I've seen a lot more wild turkeys in the last couple of years out here in the country than I ever had in my life. In fact I don't think I'd seen one until moving here. Maybe they are proliferating the way Canadian geese were/are.

Palin does know what she's about, I think. But she seems to willfully ignore a whole lot of reality. And no, I don't want to think about if she were VP.

Ruth said...

Barry - me buckaroo! And rats, I meant to send you a ITLAPD card!

Ruth said...

Ellen, hey there. I have been grateful to the turkeys for coming close and standing still. They are great subjects. The chickens on the other hand really do run around, even with their heads on, making them very hard to capture on my camera's sensor.

Ok, now I wonder if you have ever designed a chicken into one of your glass projects?

Jill of All Trades said...

My grandfather had a turkey farm when Momma was a youngster and she said that turkeys were the dumbest animals. She said that when it rained that they would look up and the water would fill their "noses" and they would drown.

dutchbaby said...

I went to college with someone who grew up on a farm in Fresno, CA. He said he always had to wear the same hat when he fed the turkeys or they wouldn't recognize him.

Great informative post! Love the Palin tie-in :-)

Oliag said...

Wild turkeys seem to be proliferating here in RI too...and they are often seen on the sides of the super-highway or in the middle of the road...so yes I would say they are definitly out of touch with their surroundings!

They do make beautiful photography models though!

Ruth said...

Jill, ah so, your mother was a witness!

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, hahaha. I will tell Don about that.

Our neighbors who own a little piece of land, no house yet, come and camp out on their property about once a month. We know when they're here because we hear the gobblers gobbling. They love to go to the fence and talk to them and make them gobble gobble gobble.

Ruth said...

Oliag, it's dangerous riding in a car with a person with a camera who always wants to stop and photograph interesting sights, like wild turkey herds. Lately though, I've stopped stopping because there are so many of them!

Dakota Bear said...

Very interesting. They look like they are rather large already. About how much do they weigh?

Last year I saw about eight wild turkeys around here.

ds said...

Ha! Just yesterday, on a walk, I saw a flock (if that is the proper word) of wild turkeys. They appeared to have appointed one as sentinel while the others went about pecking through the grass. I know they will be strutting their stuff for the next few weeks, and then will disappear, surfacing just in time to peer into the dining room window at the poor unfortunate cousin who was caught. Last Thanksgiving we saw about 30 of them in the field at my parents'. Unaware of their surroundings? Nah. Keen sense of irony? Oh, yes!

Umlauts are a pain--literally. ;-)

Oh said...

Ruth! I love the turkeys. In fact, seeing them makes me realize I don't want to eat them. And yet this was rather hilarious ( a favorite word of mine and yes, I really mean it - I was laughing!!!) And your buttons!

Adn most of all, thank you for stopping by my blog and your lovely comment/compliment about my writing that absolutely made my day!

Back soon...you know I love your pictures!

Nancy said...

We had wild turkeys in Minnesota, too. I have never seen one in Nevada, however. They are really impressive looking. Great pictures.

shoreacres said...

The few domestic turkeys I've known didn't seem especially dumb or especially curious. They just "were". They didn't respond like ducks, and they weren't busy like chickens. They just stood around, like that bunch in your photo.

I've only seen one group of wild turkeys. A friend who lives in the country has them walk through every now and then. When they show up, he'll go out on the porch, drink coffee and gobble at them. They gobble right back. It can go on for hours. He says it gives him a good excuse not to do any work, and he figures it breaks up the day for the turkeys.

Mr. and Mrs. Bronze Turkey are beautiful. I don't think the wattles are especially attractive, but of course I'm not a turkey.
(Well, at least....hmmm....)

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Ha,haaa,haaa Oh Ruth that post had me half enthralled at all The facts and half giggling so much I nearly covered my Keyboard in coffee!!!

I happen to be a big fan of Birds...Never had a turkey though and Infact think they are quite Ugly!

But The Gobble Gobble noise I do like.

Too big for their Drumstix! Ha,haa...That's Funny!

CottageGirl said...

You AMAZE me, Ruth!

I'm sitting here in the quiet early morning hours and wondering what it would be like to have gobblers running around outside the cottage!

I've always thought a turkey just a turkey, but your photos give me a whole new appreciation for their beauty.

Very cool to be able to see glimpses into your wonderful world!

Ruth said...

Hi, Dakota Bear. Yes, very large. Don thinks the big toms are 40-50 lbs., and then dressed out over 30! We had to cut off the drumsticks to fit one in the oven.

If he raises turkeys again, he will get poults much later so they don't grow this big before Thanksgiving.

Ruth said...

Ök, DS, that is a funny image of you all in there eating the cousin of that rafter of wild turkeys. Hehe, I just looked up baby names of animals and found a terrific site that also tells the names of animal groups. Now I want to write a post about it. I thought of you and how you would probably write something clever with all the names, it is really fascinating! If you're interested, the site is here.

Ruth said...

Did you notice the umlaut in my comment, DS? :D

Ruth said...

Hi there, Öh! Sorry, I'm going a little umlaut wild. Well thank you for thinking this was funny, it was to me too, hehe.

I really do like how you write. It is such a pleasure to read your blog OH! BOOKS…PAPER…REAL LIFE…and see your personality come through.

Ruth said...

Hi, Nancy. I guess you have other wild birds to look at in NV, like eagles?

Ruth said...

Hi, Linda. The wattles look gross to me too, and Don tells me they gobble for the same reason as the wattles: to attract the females.

Which reminds me of the poor bobwhite Don called to our first spring here on the farm. Don called and a male came out. I don't know if he thought Don was competition, but he hung around for a long time. I don't think the females call, or gobble. Or göbble for that matter.

Ruth said...

Hi, Cupcakes! Turkeys grew on me. They are humble and ugly, but their eyes are sharp and piercing, and something about their demeanor is sweet and innocent.

I like birds too.

Ruth said...

Hey there, CottageGirl. Last night Don was away, so I went out at dark to close up the coop and there was a turkey out, I could hear her gobbling but couldn't see her. When I closed the coop I turned and saw her up in the window of the "foyer", ready to come in. Yay! It's fun how they come in of their own accord at sundown.

Shaista said...

Such an interesting post - the video of Palin was pretty shocking; in fact I don't think I listened to the content of her speech at all, just watched that poor bird head down, in the machine. Yet it is reality. I think it must be wonderful to live with nature as closely as you do, really connect (synchronize!) with each changing aspect.

Deslilas said...

Dinde paraissait convenir comme un gant à cette candidate et le pauvre candidat républicain a été le dindon de cette farce.

Hildegarde said...

Haha, you are a great story-teller/maker.

ds said...

Hi, I'm back!

Yes, of course, I noticed the umlaut ;) I just don't know how to do it (or the accents on French words)...hint.

Thanks for the link to the site where you found rafter of turkeys. I bookmarked it!! It would be a fun post. I can't wait to read it...here!!

rauf said...

oh ! Miss Palin is still not forgotten ! poor thing. Beautiful isn't she ? Lot smarted than a Turkey.

No Turkey has ever stared at me Ruth, actually there are many design goofs in nature. Turkey is one bad design. In the end this might turn out to be smart design. i think they can be caught easily. Many (farm) animals multiply rapidly for the same reason, for consumption. Nature is not always kind Ruth.

Turkey is actually Thurrkistaan. I think the Brits called it Turkey.
Thurrki topi is Turkish cap. Istanbul, constantinople was called 'Khustuntuniya'
'Khus' should sound like something stuck in your throat and you are trying to spit it out. Alexandria was 'Askandariah' Sikandar, (Alexander) big chapee, conqueror of the world. Had to struggle with the spelling of conqueror Ruth. How can i conquer anything when i can't even spell the stupid word. Why Alexander couldn't stay home ? probably no one loved him. poor chapee thought even his teacher Aristotle thought that the world is a flat plate, he wanted conquer till the end of the world. Just imagine the dreams of Alexander, reaching the edge of the world and looking over ! oops !
What a Turkey he was ! Das why a city in Turkey is named after him.

alice said...

In French, if you call a woman "une dinde", it is not a compliment either... (is my phrase correct? I always have had some difficulties with "either" and "neither" and the way to use them, but I'm blond so...;-))

Ruth said...

Shaista, I don't think you missed anything in Palin's interview worth remembering. I do wonder if it was a setup.

As for living this close to nature, I can't tell you how much it means to me. I feel that I'm camping all the time, except I'm not in a tent and sleeping bag.

Ruth said...

Oui, Daniel, peut-être il a été planifié?

Ruth said...

Hello, Hildegarde! Thank you. Well, sometimes I get carried away by the subject.

Ruth said...

Dear DS, so here is what you do to type the umlauts and accents and cedillas, etc. I am so proud and happy that I finally found out (with google help) how to do this.

On the PC desktop click Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> Character Map, and voila! You can pick your font from a few different ones. Select the character, copy and paste.

Ok, maybe I'll work on a silly essay using animal baby names and group names. I might be too lazy though, so don't hold me to it.

Ruth said...

rauf, no, Sarah Palin is not forgotten, she is still a favorite among Republicans. She is very beautiful, and she is pretty smart, but she has a hard time speaking without pouring out sound bites. Maybe it's because she is forced to say someone else's words, I don't know.

Thurrkistaan makes sense, along with all the rest of the 'staans.' Oh those guttural 'k's. The Turkish people from the villages say them very strongly, you have to be careful of spit flying out of their mouths.

Oh don't worry, rauf, men who conquer places don't worry about pronouncing or spelling them right. Look at "Iraq": EYE-RACK. If you are concerned about such details, you are not a conqueror.

Ruth said...

Alice, I have trouble with neither and nor too. You wrote it correctly. I wonder what is meant when someone says that in French. Well, maybe I don't want to know . . . :)

João said...

Istambul was born in the day Costantinopla died...turkeys mean a lot to you, hope they all lead happy lives and contribute to great thanksgiving dinners, so their sacrifices won't be in vain.
Things and animals just don't die, they transform themselves(or are transformed...)

Ruth said...

Hi João. Ours is a happy coop. But Don would like to make a separate coop for the turkeys so they don't climb up high. They have an instinct to climb high onto the rafters in the chicken coop, but when they get so big, jumping down is dangerous. We think that is how two broke their legs; one died and Don butchered the other because it was miserable, and that is the one we ate. We are learning how to keep them comfortable and happy.

Anya said...

Fantastic post,
great blogsite you have :)
I love turkeys,
they are so FUNNY .....
(@^.^@)

greetings from The Netherlands
Anya :)

alice said...

It means the same thing in French than in English! ;-)

Ruth said...

Hi, Anya, welcome to synch-ro-ni-zing. I have a few friends from the Netherlands, but I don't know any dutch. Your cat is very sweet, and wow, you have a lot of cat friends. :|

Ruth said...

Alice, dakkor, I was afraid of something more severe and maybe off color. :)

Ruth said...

Oh, Anya, Bishop meant to say thank you to Kareltje.

Meow.

Peter said...

As Alice pointed out, to be treated turkey in France is not really a compliment either! Maybe they are too absent from the Swedish farms, because I cannot recall that the same applies there.

Maybe I'm too much of a city person... I wonder if I would be happy to eat a turkey (or any animal) that I have seen walking around on my land. Maybe a stupid attitude; I'm happy to eat meat of any kind! :-)

Anya said...

Well I started blogging in Dutch ;)
The blogreaders from the USA ask me if I could write in english
( its not easy for me .... LOL)
But I did it ;)
Its just Catfun and a little about me and my family ....
Thanks for your visit,
you are welcome :)

purss hugs to Bishop
from Kareltje =^.^=

Sidney said...

It is not true that birds are stupid... when I was a kid I had a chicken which was amazingly intelligent...

Funny birds those Turkeys... great pictures.

shicat said...

Hi Ruth, I guess the saying goes, you can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear and, in my opinion,you can't make a beauty queen out of a turkey no matter how beautiful the photo.
Exactly how much do your turkeys weigh? I wonder if Sarah will stop by to process them for you ? Wasn't that just too funny when she posed in front of the turkey grinding guy:)
Crazy weather,isn't it? Don't you think it's warmer then usual?

bindu said...

Great pictures. I'd take a stupid turkey over a stupid human any day! At least the bird cannot hurt others with its stupidity!

Ruth said...

Bonjour, Peter, no you are not stupid. It is an adjustment to see these animals, feed them, talk to them, knowing we are going to eat some of them. We don't name any of the ones we are planning to eat, and we don't eat any of the ones we have named. Don's chickens are our pets in a way, and they provide us eggs. The turkeys were acquired for the meat.

I have adjusted myself, and now I watch with interest as some of my family and friends cannot eat our chicken or turkey. We have been programmed to be more comfortable eating what is wrapped in plastic (well in France you probably buy lovely fresh meat from a butcher that is not wrapped yet) and has been "sanitized" in a big factory. I feel the opposite now. I have grown quite disgusted by the huge chicken factories and try to avoid meat raised in such terrible conditions and injected with chemicals that affect me who knows how?

But I do know what you mean. We new farmers are playing at this. But go to a real farm, and the farmers don't have much sentimentality for any of it, even the barnyard pets. Something dies, well that's life on the farm.

Ruth said...

Anya, it's a nice place, thank you for writing in English. Purrs and drools back from Bishop to Kareltje.

Ruth said...

Sidney, no birds are not stupid, even if their heads and brains are small. Imagine surviving as they do, but not just surviving - flying and soaring. I love birds.

Ruth said...

Hi, Cathy! Don thinks the big toms got to be 40-50 lbs. - dressed out at least 30. But with another two months, I am worried. Maybe the hens will be just right. But wow, so much meat.

Yes, it was so warm night before last! Only got down to 70. After having those nights in the forties just a couple days before.

It's been so beautiful. Happy Autumn!

Ruth said...

Hi, Bindu, thank you. Oh you said a mouthful, yes so right. Our stupidity is very, very dangerous at times.

Ginnie said...

I must say, Ruth, that this post was written expertly and made me laugh several times. But I agree on those wattles. The one I posted on SC awhile back still grosses me out, just remembering it!

Peter said...

Thanks for your long comment to my comment! All what you say seems to correspond what I would finally think also! At least your turkeys have had a happy life!

Montag said...

Hard to believe, but I studied elementary Turkish once under Dr. Almazon at Assumption in Ontario 40 some years ago.

The best way to do T-day (Thanksgiving) around here is to celebrate Canadian T-day in October at some congenial Canadian venue, then recreate the whole thing a month later at home.

My fondest T-day memories were done that way: St.Hippolyte, Quebec and then Michigan.

Jeanie said...

Learned a lot here and the photos are fabulous. Though hard to believe someone didn't know about Turkey (the country!)

Be one with the Fro said...

hahahaha I am feeling the turkeys!

Ruth said...

Boots, thank you. And ha about the wattles. Yuck!

Ruth said...

Peter, we have to get them their own roost, without any heights. When they jump down they break their legs. :(

Ruth said...

Montag, iki Thanksgiving çok daha güzel, doğru!

How nice. :)

Ruth said...

Jeanie, turkeys are very happy to stand still for the camera. Too bad the prettier chickens aren't. Funny how life is.

Ruth said...

Tiffany, I think you would get a big kick out of them. We love to go out and watch "chick TV."

julie king said...

i'm curious what the turkeys would do if don didn't sit and watch them. smile! i just made the connection that you are ruth of don's view from the green barn and also ruth of small. you are one busy, creative lady!

Ruth said...

Hi, Julie, c'est moi at Don's and small. :)