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Not Again... by Tara DiRocco

Unusually photogenic, arguably cute meets warty, straight out of the land before time, we bring you The Turkey. If ever you are in need of renewed curiosity, patience, and new life perspectives, we invite you to spend some therapeutic time among the Turkey Tribe.

For now, we shall paint you a picture. Escaping the electric fence around their pasture, they run towards you, excited you have come to play. Of course, this is the third time today you have brought them back into an electrified area safe from predators, but still you smile. Their running waddle is reminiscent of a duck crossed with Bambi, and their lovely snoods (the interesting piece of red skin hanging down from their third eye) are bopping in tune with their gait. They gobble at you, at the motorcycle on Cloverdale Road, and at something you just can’t seem to see or hear… Never has a creature so frustrated and fascinated you.

The sun begins to set over the coyote brush hills to the west. A turkey flaps up on top of the coop. The night is young, and your job not yet done. We lost a turkey who had fallen off the top of the coop to a coyote earlier this month, and it is now your task to make sure all the turkeys go to bed inside the coop each night. You pick up your shepherding stick and the games begin.

An interesting game of ring around the rosy ensues, only the rosy is a red coop and you are certainly walking around it more than once. The turkeys follow each other in a herd mentality… ish. Guiding them into the coop takes patience and a knack for dance. The second that frustration rises up in you, two turkeys sense the disturbance and fly atop the coop. Oh yes, they are wise photogenic creatures. Onwards you walk, realizing that kindness and patience are the only ways of successfully putting these turkeys to sleep.

In they go, all 91 of them. The sky has turned a faded pink, the land lit by a rusty orange flow, and you head for your cup of tea.

Raising the turkeys this season has been one of the more educational endeavors of my life. Not only on pasture-raised, heritage breed poultry, but truly on my self as well.

28 Days until Thanksgiving, and this year I know my meat.

Written twelve days ago by Root Down Farm Apprentice, Tara Dirocco