Thursday, September 10, 2009

if chickens are tobacco, turkeys are probably marijuana

(photo ganked from internets and courtesy of National Geographic, via Gary M. Stolz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Well, I promised Tipsy that I would post my findings on this topic, but you're all going to come out on the other end of this just as ignorant as when you began, so . . . sorry 'bout that.


Barbara Kingsolver is many things. A pinko commie, a lifestyle scold, a livestock pusher. But what she chiefly is is a prodigiously talented, wily temptress of a writer. I can see her machinations, and I don't care; I am a faithful disciple of the Church of Kingsolver. She is responsible for an embarrassingly large percentage of my worldview.

Which is why when I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago I became irrationally possessed of a consuming desire to raise a flock of self-perpetuating heritage turkeys. I mean, obviously, right? Who wouldn't want an antagonistic modern-day dinosaur running around the yard, from which you have to defend yourself with a length of pipe? (Mrs. Peacock, in the barnyard, with the lead pipe!)

As I've mentioned, there is a large wild turkey population (the bird, not the bourbon . . . although . . . ) in our area, and there are people willing to kill and clean the bird for you, so it may be that the lazy girl will win out and I'll stay out of the turkey business. We do have limited space in the chicken run, after all. And the processing--we still haven't done the roosters, and I'm not sure I want to buy any more of that crazy. But I started doing research all the same, to find out if there is a specific breed that would do better in our area of infernal summers and Hothian winters. Here's a link to the ALBC's information on the various breeds. From what I've been able to discover, it doesn't matter so much which breed you get, as the heritage breeds all seem to do well. So I'm leaning toward the Narragansett. It has a cool name, is calm and a good forager, and is beautiful. Comparatively, because those heads . . . so many off-color jokes to be made. But the prices! Yeesh!

So we'll see. I'd also like to keep a pig, and a cow, and get another goat, and have a big garden every year. But a quality I possess in spades is sloth, and I have little interest in the time commitment a heaping slice of Ingalls would require. But a Hereford pig--can you stand how cute he is, once you overlook the painfully large reminder of his virility on the back end there?


tipsybaker said...

I am going to do this. Next spring.
I wonder how many people have fallen under Kingsolver's sway. Is this a sleeper trend?

Layne said...

I wish you lived nearby, so we could split an order. If you check Sand Hill's page, they have a color mix assortment for a lot less money. You don't get a heritage breed, but when you're new to it and likely to fail at first (me!), it seems like a good alternative.

tipsybaker said...

That would make sense. But it looks like we have until April to hatch our schemes.
You're good with the photo credits. I should do that, too.

highdeekay said...

We had pigs on our "gentleman's farm" during my formative years. LOVED IT! Seriously, pigs are great to raise. If we could do it ... semi-successfully ... you should have no problem.

Turkeys are cool. The Watkins in Tremonton raise them. Do you know the Watkins?

Once again, you are cool!