This Thing Called Courage

Sunday, June 24, 2007


THEY'RE BACK!!!!!!!!!! I wasn't sure if the turkeys were really back (although of course they're different turkeys-- except possibly for the momma)until this past Friday,when I spent some time gardening on my lunch hour. I had some chores to do-- tying up the tomato vines, tying up the morning glory vines (which are beginning to run)planting some bean seed (French yellow bush beans-- I'll plant a row every two weeks from now until the end of July for a number of successive crops)and then some weeding and watering in the perennial flower bed out front along the front wall bordering Main Street.

Anyway at one point I came around the corner from the driveway into the back yard, and there was Momma Turkey, about fifteen yards away. She froze when she saw me, and ducked down really low, as if she were in tall grass (maybe an instinctive thing?). I talked real sweet to her, then backed up. I raced upstairs and chucked some acorns and cracked corn out the back door down to her, and she went after the provender right away. But I was sadly disappointed to see that she was alone-- John had reported seeing 'about five' poults with her the other day, and my heart went out to her, thinking she had lost them in the interim to predators. I went back to my gardening at the front of the house so she could eat in peace, but after about half an hour I figured I'd check up on her. I stole back down the driveway, then snuck my head around the corner of the porch. Voila!!! There she was still, feeding-- with her four babies!!! She must have had them secrted in the brush between my house and the neighbor's-- this is a dense growth of the invasive, insidious Japanese Knotweed, a huge explosion of which comes up every year between me and the house next door. Every year I think of uprooting it all-- but now I see that it's been giving the turkey poults some cover when they come out from the woods to feed, so obviously I will leave it be.

When we had a turkey family here two summers ago, I was also tying up Morning Glory vines the first time I saw them-- in that case, a Momma with 11 poults-- this year's edition only has four babies. I wonder if the clutch was just smaller, or if predators got some? At any rate it's great to have them back, and again this morning I nosed out the back door and saw them feeding below me in the same place. I rained down some more acorns and cracked corn on them, and again they went right for it. I think I need to put some water out there for them too-- I don't know if they get all their water from their diet, or if they need supplemental water? Probably the latter, so I'll put a little pan out there for them tonight. It still is amazing to me, that twenty yards away at the front of the house there are four lanes of state highway traffic, and noise, and motorcycles and trucks and de-mufflered low-riders throbbing their bassy rap music-- and then you walk down my driveway and see the beginning of four acres of woods, an old red and white barn, and wild turkeys. Amazing. Right now the poults are about the size of pigeons and are, of course, adorable, as most young are.


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