Tag Archive | turkey

The Fowl Revolution

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General T stalks the evil beast

 

For the last couple years, every time I visited a certain area of my daughter’s campus, my car was attacked by a turkey. He was an angry, brave little dude, darting fearlessly into the street and pecking ruthlessly at the tires on a mysterious mission that we may never fully understand.

This local wild turkey had for some reason decided that he had had enough of these fools overwhelming his homeland. The many students hurrying to class or studying on the lawns of the nearby library had grown accustomed to the aggressive fowl, barely taking notice as cars seeking shelter in the nearby parking lot were forced into gridlock when confronted by the university’s very own, and very real, angry bird. He comes out charging, head down, feathers slightly ruffled so that his stunted wings looked more like spoilers on a coupe, as he fearlessly holds his own against two ton hunks of motorized metal. He was almost as persistent as the metered-parking enforcers that lurk amongst the trees wielding citation pads. Almost.

And now, after a good year or two of breeding and gene transference there are no less than eight attack turkeys. General T has taught his family well. An avian army is mustering. One has to wonder what’s in store for these rebels as they continue to reproduce, passing on the DNA of aggression to the next year’s generation. What will it be like over at the Engineering department next year, or even a decade from now? I envision students and faculty in shin guards, riding in armored campus buses, or hurrying fearfully between buildings and lecture halls while turkeys with bandana covered faces chant, “Humans will not replace us!” while brandishing pine cones and twigs in a menacing manner.

Hey, I don’t blame the birds for their random acts of violence. They live all summer, as they have for thousands of years, in this pristine forest filled with redwoods and ferns, and all of a sudden here come seventeen thousand humans in the fall, reeking of tea tree oil shampoo and melon scented deodorant, their limbs are stained with ink pictographs, they carry noise makers and are draped in brightly colored costumes that clash mightily with the environment. Come on, you can almost hear General T saying, get it together dude, unless it’s mating season your plumage is supposed to blend in! Camouflage, hello? Stealth? And what right do they have to bring these nasty, greedy, black-smoke-belching predators right though our ancient breeding ground! They don’t even eat what they kill. Forest Justice for all poultry!

It is, after all, an institute of learning known for activism. Just ask my Republican family, they’ll snort derisively and snidely imply with a condescending tone of voice that it’s a hippy school. Never mind that this University produces more top scientists, biologists, astrophysicists, and business leaders than Harvard, nevermind that it’s an academic education that far exceeds their own, it’s in Northern California, and to my republican siblings and parents that means the dirtiest of dirty words. Liberal. It’s the one word with no S’s that they can still hiss. Three syllables that make their ears bleed, not unlike what they think of my heart. The very idea of learning to evolve as a species seems to scare the hell out of them. So those turkeys would feature in their worst conservative nightmares, no doubt causing them to wake up sweating, trembling and gobbling, “Fowl!” Before they turn on their Tiffany’s bedside light and start muttering, “Why can’t those damn turkeys go to their own segregated college like God intended. Next thing you know, women will be allowed to play professional golf with men! This country is going to hell. God Damn liberalsssssss.”

What would they think of that one damn indigenous bird fighting for his turkey rights? “Who the hell does he think he is objecting to having his world paved over? Damn turkeys should be grateful to be smushed into American pavement! It would be an honor for him to be eviscerated and stuffed full of stale bread in our country!” Friggen’ wild turkeys stealing jobs from our factory farms!”

Okay, my family isn’t quite that bad, but it’s fun to poke back at them when they laugh at me for not believing I’m as entitled as they are, and I can’t really think of a nicer way to put that. I deleted quite a few other versions of that sentence.

When you send your kids to college, you never know what added benefits will come from that higher education. This is one time that trickle down is actually a factor. I consider my new knowledge of Meleagrididae, of the genus Meagridea, (aka common wild turkey) worth the tuition. I was also horrified to discover, while doing research for this very scientific blog, that the third most asked question about this bird is sadly this, “Is the country of Turkey named after the bird?” Yep, higher education is pretty desperately needed right here, right now, in this country. “We’re number one because one is higher than two!” I can just imagine these uneducated citizens chanting. I’m guessing those same people think the Ottoman Empire is the name of a furniture factory. The Ottoman Empire, by the way, is also commonly known as the Turkish Empire and they invaded Europe around 1354. Maybe this current day college turkey has transcontinental empires on his tiny brain too. It would explain the antagonistic tendencies and the increase in his military.

A few other fun facts; Did you know a very young turkey is called a poult? I guess the birds who live on this campus earn their ‘RY’ when they complete their degree, or reach eating age. It’s a title they are granted at commencement. Theresa Poult, RY. Major in delicious with a minor in entomology. Or did you know that turkeys eat small animals? Who knew your holiday bird could be fattened up with slugs and rats? The knowledge you can acquire at a top-rated University for half a million dollars is really pretty amazing.

So moving on; since we have now learned that turkeys will eat meat, do you think those turkeys will attack a vegan on campus as decisively as a meat eater? Do they discriminate? Do they prefer the taste of cannabis-smoked freshmen to beer-poached sophemores? Does wild muscadine grape pair well with organic graduate students?

I’m being silly, I know, but evolution is a funny thing. And there is a strange parallel here. Creatures learn to adapt in order to survive, our kids learn for pretty much the same reason. I wonder if those turkey chicks pulled-all nighters memorizing the strike zone on Volvo tires. I imagine the extra credit question on their finals; “Which area is most likely to puncture through the inner tube? Draw a diagram of the layers of steel belted radials and a short essay explaining the pros and cons of attacking a whitewall.”

That first attack turkey, General T, sent his chicks off to scratch out a living and fight the man in spite of all the scary changes to his world. We send our kids off to college to learn to deal with authority, scary real life, and apparently, uh…turkeys?

You never know what you’ll have to deal with in life, but one thing I think I can promise you is that if you educate yourself about it, you’ll do much better—and be far more entertained—than if you remain ignorant. So let me close with some fun facts to know and share.

The country of Turkey was not named after the bird.

Ottoman is not the name of a low, upholstered stool.

Education is not your enemy.

Look it up.

You have a dictionary in your hand.

Learn something.

Evolve.

Or be devoured by wild turkeys.

Poultry justice!

Life is full of funny choices.

 

 

Shari, October 18th, 2017

 

Leftover Lovin’

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Here’s two of my nephews on the hunt. Be berry berry qwiet. Wabbit!

Whew! What a whirlwind Thanksgiving. One thing I love about Joseph and my families is the interesting mixture of people and kids with whom we have the joy of sharing the holidays! Thank goodness they all helped cook, and the plethora of food was almost embarrassing. My brother Dwayne, who produces both “Madmen” and “Magic City” and is a wonderful cook, took over the timing in the kitchen and got everything to the table in a timely manner. “We need gravy on the set!” “Flying in!” Once a producer, always a producer! 

The kids spent the day on the trampoline, searching for frogs, on the hillside smashing pumpkins, (not the band, we do this to share with the forest animals, and some of the seeds may root for next year!) I watched several ‘plays’ from the girls, which lasted all of thirty giggling seconds, worked on some stage fighting with the boys when they found Joseph’s stage swords, threw baseballs, picked oranges off the tree to make gallons of orange juice, (they love this!) and roasted marshmallows! Double whew! 

And now, the rest of the house is sleeping, and I’m up, wondering what to do with the leftovers that I couldn’t pack up for the others to take home. And here are some ideas! 

Stuffing balls. These can be done several ways. The kid’s favorite is this; take a small cube of cheese, pack it into a meatball sized ball of stuffing, (If it won’t stick, add an egg or two to the stuffing!) roll it in bread crumbs and fry it in a bit of olive oil, turning to brown evenly. If you are ambitious, you can add an outside layer of breakfast sausage before the breadcrumbs, serve hot! 

Turkey Crepes I won’t give a crepe recipe, it’s easy to find. Take the stripped clean turkey, and put it in water, bring to a boil then simmer for a good while. Strain the liquid, discard the bones, and bring the broth to a boil to reduce by at least half. You want a very flavorful broth. (this has the added joy of filling the house with that turkey cooking smell again!) take about two cups of the liquid, add a cup or so of half and half, a half cup of grated parmesan, half a pack of cream cheese, enough of a paste of flour and cornstarch combined to thicken it, stir to prevent clumping! Once it’s creamy, add in leftover turkey pieces, diced red pepper, peas if you like. Fill the crepes with the mixture, sprinkle with paprika and extra parmesan. Yummy! 

I’m not big on exacting recipes as you can see, but I think it’s fun to be creative, wing it! 

The best part of my thanksgiving was after everyone had left and I could hear my two girls in the bedroom next to mine. They were laughing together for a long time. The music of that to a mom is something that reverberates through you. Every time I would hear a blast of laughter, something in my body sang out. I thought to myself, I don’t know if I will ever be able to write that feeling. Some things in life are so all encompassing that even the most eloquent among us can only scratch out a stick figure sketch of the magnificent art that life is. 

But I’ll keep at it. Listening, loving, writing, sharing, being overwhelmed with gratitude. 

If only I could find the words. 

Shari,  November 23, 2012