Thursday, September 6, 2007

turkeys in the straw

We have been absent for several days. Last weekend was swallowed by our preparations for a wedding dinner at the restaurant, then we recuperated Labor Day. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. We almost feel rested. And now the seasonal loop will start all over again.

The last few days have been marked by nothing much. Long episodes reading books, a movie. Brief efforts at making a meal, sort of making the bed. Mostly, we have been watching the turkeys that have spent the summer in our meadow. The two hens that joined us in June have now become three, and the second brood has hatched and waddle and gobble in the long, dried grass after their caretakers. Sitting in a chair outside listening to crickets, they sneak up behind us and startle with their garbeled voices. They come closer and closer to the house, or weave their way through the young grapevines planted last summer. They investigate the compost, perching grandly on the edge of the rather utilitarian black compost bins, then they go to the upper meadow and visit with the neighbors hens.

Down the road, we see another flock and think they are our turkeys, until we get a closer look. We see three toms preening and stretching across the road to meet a deer in an upper pasture. We stop and stare at each other. The turkeys and deer stand close together eyeing us. No one wants to be the first to leave.

With the turkeys living so close, we know the fields are safe from the dreaded fisher cat and coyote, though some nights we hear the coyotes call. Now that September is upon us, soon the air will change, and long-toothed critters will leave the edges of our wild Chateauguy forest and hunt close to our houses. The neighbors chickens already have extra protection with their underground chickenwire fence, and our cats will stay in. But where will the turkeys go? Will they stay in the meadow and take their chances? Or will they roam on, until the fishers and coyote have gone to ground, and they can return to the meadow resplendant in their feathered fall coats and fancy tails.

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