Everyone is thinking and talking turkey at this time of year. It is quite exciting, really. We have never raised turkeys before. They are very much like chickens, though a little reptilian, very, very dim witted, and m u c h bigger.
It seems like there are lots of backyard folks, and farms in the area who decided to raise turkeys this year, though the ones that we have noticed in backyards and in barnyards mostly seem to be of the broad-breasted or white varieties. Since we have not raised either of those two varieties before, I should not “knock it” before trying it, but something about a bird that has been genetically urged to create abnormally huge breasts that their legs cannot support — birds who cannot naturally breed because of their insane proportions… somehow just seems wrong. They probably taste fabulous. It is a shame, though that they cannot be allowed to live and create offspring.
We are raising a very endangered variety of turkey, the lilac. Yes, we got the poults last spring with the intention of eating some of them, but, in our defense, from the beginning, we were, and still are, keeping the most beautiful ones to raise and further the breed.
National Public Radio has covered the turkey subject a length on two different programs today — which is very exciting for me, since I work at a local public radio station. It is pretty neat to be “working” and enjoying learning and hearing about “what you do” (raising animals — specifically turkeys) at home. The two shows that covered turkeys today were Living On Earth, and Weekend Edition Saturday.
Weekend Edition Saturday
HERITAGE TURKEYS — Frank Reece isn’t happy about this country’s turkey crisis. He’s raising what he calls “heritage” breeds of turkeys on his farm in Lindsborg, Kansas. His mission? To preserve strains of turkey that have existed for centuries, but now make up a smaller portion of the turkey market.
Living On Earth
LET’S TALK TURKEY — Almost all of the turkeys eaten in the United States are the same species, the Broad Breasted White. But as Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb reports, heritage breeds of turkeys, like the Bourbon Red and Blue Slate, are making a comeback.
The Wells Tavern Farm incubator (my birthday present) is heating and turning fertile heritage breed, Delaware Chicken eggs presently — we believe that there are 21 viable chicks about two weeks away from hatching. Very exciting. It almost makes it worth it to have a rooster greet you ALL MORNING and EVENING with his incessant and piercing crowing.
Cow — did I mention the Jersey Cow yet?
We have fresh raw milk! We are home-pasteurizing it; and it is fabulous for drinking, making butter, custard, pudding, and putting in your morning coffee. There is n-o-t-h-i-n-g like the cream line on a Jersey cow.
The children, ages 5, 4, and 2.5, shook a half-pint of cream last night until they created butter. It didn’t take very long, and we enjoyed it on our multigrain sourdough bread that I made into garlic bread, along with whole wheat pasta and sauce.
It is pretty exciting around the farm. You should stop in and get some fresh eggs or milk!