Up Close. Very Close.

And personal. Always. Up close and personal.  Both the turkeys and their ever present associate and ringleader Geraldine the pea hen.

farming

As I dole out the feed into separate bowls for the pigs, they have their heads in the pigs bowls, as I lean in to scoop chicken feed into the white bucket they are leaning right onto my arms trying to get their heads into that bag too, pecking at the scoop as it moves up and down – their bodies are fat and warm, they smell like summer.  I have to lift them entirely, spreading my fingers wide so as to hold their wings against their bodies then move them to one side their legs peddling in space and then try to re-attach them to another side of the bench just so I can see what I am doing.

They get so close to my face I sometimes fear for my eyes, but they don’t peck each others eyes so I think I am safe from them pecking mine.

They frequently knock into me, or step on my arms, or fly at me or wack me in the head with their wings, or peck at my hands as though I am just another big bird stealing from a feed bag.

peahens

When I feed the chooks and peafowl they refuse to move away to their own personal bowls. These are the type of bowl you hook over a gate. One red and one blue. I always fill their bowls first in an attempt to free my arms to work but they ignore their own bowls until the other hens are distracted with food and the pigs have ceased their clamour. And I have finished rattling about in the bags. Then they totter away and balance precariously on the wooden pig gate where their blue and red containers are hooked and eat frantically until from the corners of their dense black eyes they see me move again, then they reel back and fall like fat grubs onto the ground jostling about like keystone cops as they recover their balance and direction and hurry after me.  Drunks. Hungry nosy drunks.

turkeys

These turkeys are not pretty, they do not have the smooth beautiful heads and sloe eyes of the Peafowl. Or bright red combs like the chickens. They do not have a little crown, or special long tails and their eyes are black and oval like the eyes of the martians you see in those old movies, but the turkeys are glossy like brushed blue black horses, and their feathers lay down their backs like well laid roof tiles.

turkeys

And they are sweet.  And strangely appealing.

I hope you have a lovely day.

celi

 

54 Comments on “Up Close. Very Close.

  1. Got to love them … warts and all 🙂 Will you be on the look out for a Tom for these ladies or are they to remain unnamed? Laura

      • Wild turkey is quite tasty but tends to be quite tough. The first one John shot I put half the breast in the slow cooker all day with all manner of good spices and seasonings and…. you could hardly get a fork in it! I’ve found the trick is slicing or cubing it and long cooking. That works quite well. All in all I prefer it over domestic turkey but I don’t think roasting it whole ala Thanksgiving would work. We only ever keep the breast as there’s not a lot of meat on the rest of it.

  2. Good Morning, Celi!
    Very beautiful and precise portraials of your turkeys although one really not can tell that they are beautiful for themselves. Nevertheless their’s kind of dignity in their expressions.
    Have a great day!

  3. I have been wondering about your turkeys lately, especially since a neighbor up the road gifted us with three of them. Eastern Wild Turkeys. We had never even thought to have turkeys before, but these three are very cool. They aren’t anywhere near as tame as yours, but they are getting to know us. They are very strange, and noble looking and slow moving. And just nice to have around!

  4. They are quite sweetly cute, in their own turkey way. I just love watching birds — a lot of time goes missing if my chickens happen to find a spot of bare (non-frozen) earth while I’m watching. They’re just so funny and curious. My toddler daughter finds them just as fascinating, and the chickens are quite fond of her, so I lose even more time watching them all interact!

  5. I have only had encounters with wild turkeys. I find them fascinating. Apparently we have lots of them between here and the river as I saw lots of tracks in the snow the last time I trekked that direction. Hopefully, I’ll manage some photographs this spring during mating season. Your photographs of the turkeys are beautiful, I think!

    • Morning darling – I had to track Boo yesterday ice slid off the west barn with such a crash he thought someone was shooting at him and ran straight across the fields, through the freezing creek and across another field – home. Poor lovey! c

      • Such a big stocky boy but afraid of noises, poor baby. Mirrhi is the same, confident, fearless, until I drop something with a clatter or next door makes a racket and she’s off, under the bed usually, bum hanging out.

        • My poor Mac is so afraid of loud noises too though he doesn’t take off. He goes off and cowers in a corner while pleading with me with his big black eyes to please protect him.

  6. From one fellow anipal to another – they are cute and priceless indeed. Have a terrific day my friend. XOXO – Bacon

    • “Anipal”! LOVE that word. I think I will adopt it too. Loved the writing today Celi. Made me smile and savour the metaphors and similies. I could hear their wings in your words. xoxo Wendy

  7. I missed the gorgeous display of Pania yesterday but have to comment now. Just beautiful. I had no idea the peahens are every bit as pretty as the males. Something like a black-and-white photo to a color photo!

  8. I wasn’t able to read yesterday’s post and was so surprised to see Pania’s display was every bit as beautiful as Mr. Flowers’ is. Something like a black-and-white photo compared to a color photo, each quite elegant in its own way.

  9. Yesterday, I wasn’t able to read the post so I read it today and was so surprised to see that female peahens also display, and their displays are every bit as beautiful as the males, something like the comparison between a black-and-white photo and a color photo. Both elegant in their own right. Panic is a knockout!

  10. I’ve never had domesticated turkeys up north- did have Banties for years- we loved those chooks- so industriously gobbling up slug eggs and pesky garden bugs!l Now that we live in the wilds of Upper Northern California we just have wild turkeys that periodically stroll through our 10 acres- we usually see about 40 at a time. Cannot approach them- but that’s fine as we don’t want them to even think about trusting humans. Not here.

  11. An only a mother could love her, type of animal, I suppose…. heh heh
    Well, in reading the comments I have seen the words ‘noble’ and ‘with dignity’ used. hmmmm, somehow I can’t relate, “they reel back and fall like fat grubs onto the ground jostling about like keystone cops,” like some sort of hungry drunks with actions being noble or with dignity…
    I suppose in the realm of anipals there is room for affection toward the less genteel, but up close and personal with turkeys is something that is completed quite quickly with one visit in January. However, turkeys or not, it’s always enlightening.
    Hope you have a great day too! ~ Mame 🙂

  12. I quite like them in their less than beauty. We have brush turkeys around here, who are quite good looking birds, none of that warty oddness, but they like to scrape the garden and particularly the mulch into big mounds then the lady lays her eggs deep int he middle, and there they incubate. she goes off, maybe on more amorous adventures, and the male stays and guards the eggs…..scraping more of the garden on top all day long, to keep them hot.

  13. Not quite underground…..more like inside a big mound of compost…..they build the mounds up, could be a few feet high/deep and the eggs are in the middle, then the male’s hang around and guard them, then make sure they get out ok.

  14. A good circus needs clowns, a good Farmy needs turkeys… which in this best of environments it seems are so unhindered by norms they can be however they want to be. Would be that the greater world was so.

  15. Looking at the photographs, I wouldn’t find them appealing, not even strangely. But reading your account of the way they behave and THEN looking at the photographs, I smile and wish I lived nearby so I could visit them occasionally and celebrate their clumsy-clunky, mysterious beauty. From your description, I can see they are another proof of the existence of the Great Spirit, Humor. Gentle, affectionate, respectful Humor. They do have their dignity, you know.

  16. There is an intriguing reenactment-documentary on wild turkeys, “My Life as a Turkey”, in which the narrator makes observations about the turkeys’ “intelligence, communication skills, playfulness, and need for affection.” His words and images changed my presuppositions about turkeys – if I ever meet a wild turkey, I will do my best to begin by viewing it from his perspective. An article about the film can be found here: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2014/08/on-pbs-nature-documentaries-and-my-life-as-a-turkey.html

  17. I don’t think many of us would look good up that close. It took me quite a while to become accustomed to my bathroom’s lighting. There’s a row of lights above the mirror. Who needs that first thing in the morning? If the lights don’t blind me the reflection surely will.

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