Thursday, November 24, 2011

Talkin’ turkey

Having lived in an area where hunting is integral to the culture, I was already aware that the wild turkey is a very clever bird, and “getting a turkey,” as the hunters here say, is not all that easy. I used to clean house for a man who was the national champion at turkey calling contest for years running and he used to tell tales about his adventures hunting them.

Most of us tend to think about turkeys as the dim-witted birds with the gigantic breasts that are raised in mass quantities for consumption. When I looked into raising a few turkeys for us when we were in our “back to the land” phase, I was warned that extra care was needed with them because they were not bright. And indeed, being called “a turkey” is not much of a compliment.

After watching the wonderful PBS Nature program last week “MyLife as a Turkey,” and I may just watch it again on-line, it is so beautifully done), I have even more respect for the wild birds. The program is based on the journal kept by Joe Hutto, who hatched 16 wild turkey eggs in an incubator and then spent close to 2 years raising them from poults to adulthood.

The turkeys taught him a lot. Turkeys live in the now. They don’t think about what happened yesterday or the day before or the day before that. They don’t think about what is going to happen tomorrow or the day after or the day after that. They are just concerned about what is happening right….this….minute….

Hutto pointed out that because we are able to think about the past and think about the future that we often times miss the “now” – we are cheated out of truly living because our minds are often elsewhere and we miss now.

At the moment I am definitely in the “moment” because I am somewhat concerned that something is going to go wrong with the two pies that are baking in the oven. The timer that is supposed to mean the pies are done has gone off twice and the pies were definitely not done either time.

One looks like a pumpkin pie but is actually made with butternut squash. This pie will be taken later this morning to the community-wide Thanksgiving meal that is being offered free to those who have no place to go (our church volunteered to provide dessert). The other also looks like a pumpkin pie but is a sweet potato pie that will go with us at noon to our friends’ house for dinner. They had brought a store-bought sweet potato pie to a recent church meal and concluded that it was “nasty,” so I offered to make one.

This is the day that we set aside to give thanks. There are somethings about this day that are going to be hard, and I am very thankful that these dear people have invited us to their home so that we do not spend the day by ourselves… and I am indeed most thankful that I have wonderful memories of “Thanksgiving past”…. (and excuse me while I see if buzzer going off this time – third time’s the charm? -- means the pies are really done)

And I am also thankful that pies appear to be OK…


Have Myelin? said...

Oh yes. When I lived in Texas the wild turkeys were something to see. In fact...they were big and ugly I couldn't believe we actually ate those things...LOL.

My mind is never anywhere it needs to be.

Sweet potato pie! My grandmother used to make those!

Far Side of Fifty said...

We have wild far as I can tell they are usually looking for food or roosting in the trees. Happy Thanksgiving! I am glad you got invited out! :)

Wanda..... said...

I love when the wild turkeys visit the field, sometimes as many as 30show up. Will try to watch the program on-line too. Hope the pies turned out good and your Thanksgiving great!

Oklahoma Granny said...

You may remember that last year a wild turkey was 'living in the moment' and the next minute he died in the grill of my car - to the tune of about $900 as I recall. Thank goodness for insurance!

I made a sweet potato pie in October thinking my husband might like it. While he did eat some, he just said it was "ok" and didn't eat another piece. While he likes sweet potatoes he doesn't like pumpkin pie and for whatever reason the pie reminded him of pumpkin. Personally I didn't think it tasted a bit like pumpkin. Whoever heard of putting orange zest in a pumpkin pie?!

I did make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving though. We had plenty of guests that are fond of it. Unfortunately for some reason though, the filling bubbled up and over half of the pie crust within the first 15 minutes of baking. I was able to salvage it though and it tasted just fine. This year will long be remembered as the year of the Ugliest Pumpkin Pie EVER. I still can't figure out what happened. The pecan and apple pies I made came out beautifully.