Wild Turkey & Creatures


Posted by Shawn & Annette in Outdoors on April 15, 2011

I have really been enjoying our mountain oasis. I call it an oasis but in reality it is more of a peninsula; a word I still can’t spell despite growing up in Michigan with its upper and lower peninsula – go figure.

Today, I stormed out the door, onto the deck with my normal over-exuberance and not only startled a wild turkey who sat perched on the edge of our deck rail but I was surprised to suddenly find myself 5-feet from a rather large bird. I had forgotten just how big turkeys can get. (We used to raise turkeys on our Curtice, Ohio farm a lifetime ago.)

This particular turkey has been visiting for a couple of weeks, stopping in, normally in the early evening hours. He was here bright and early this morning. Strange, she just doesn’t look that big in the pictures I’ve been taking, but up close is another story. I could see the texture of the birds wings as she sat preening herself. I’ve been trying to be more quiet when I step outside for a smoke break and what I’ve begun calling my mental health moments.

Our nervous flock of junco’s are finally getting used to me. They will stay and eat pretty close by if I stand relatively still. Of course, any significant movement causes them to get spooked and fly off in unison, which in itself is pretty neat to see and hear. The sounds around our deck can get incredibly loud at times and vary throughout the day depending on the birds and animals that have wandered in.

I try to keep water available on the property for the animals and I put bird seed out for the birds, as well as an occasional crust of bread. I keep dried corn on the cob for the squirrels, which they recently have enjoyed peeling off the cob — I have a small pile of it under the shepherd’s hook. I sprinkle bird seed on the ground from time to time, toss out some peanuts and almonds for the jay birds. Left over potatoes, apples, apple peels, lettuce and carrot scraps make tasty treats for the deer to enjoy.

I try to limit my offeringss to mostly things the animals can and do find in nature.

I’ve been reading some back issues of Birds and Blooms, which has some terrific ideas for making inexpensive homemade bird feeders. I enjoyed several articles and I am considering using some of the neat tips I’ve found. I am a little concerned to read articles about people training wild birds to eat from their hands. I think it’s important that we help the animals survive harsh winter weather. But, there is a huge difference between offering a little assistance to our backyard critters and creating dependence.

If we humans continue to interfere with the natural cycles of nature, we upset the delicate balance and natural order of things. Wild animals are just that — wild — and need to remain so. Hand feeding deer, birds and other wildlife simply isn’t natural and can lead to more harm than good for the animal.

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Get Your Chicks!


Posted by Shawn & Annette in Activities, Outdoors on March 14, 2011

We stopped in at the Sonora Feed & Supply in Sonora yesterday, to pick up some bird seed. I was out of just about everything. While I was there, I found out that their baby chickens, ducks and other assorted birds will be delivered on Thursday. I tried to talk the hubby into letting me get a baby chick, but he wasn’t giving in. Darn!

Later in the day, we stopped in to the Tractor Supply Company in East Sonora, where I got to see lots of baby chicks. They were totally sold out of ducks yesterday but the baby chicks were so cute. I really wanted to hold one but the sign said not to touch them. I was totally bummed out.

When I had the farm in Ohio, we used to get 300 baby chicks every spring. It’s still pretty cold in Ohio this time of year, so we kept them in a pen in the diningroom. It could get pretty loud in there. Fortunately, we only had them in the house for a couple of weeks. Who could stand it for much longer than that? But the kids really loved having the birds in the house for that short period of time.

One year, we ended up getting talked into to taking home 10-pheasants and 10-turkeys, someone had ordered and never picked up. That year my favorite joke was:

Do you know what the only thing dumber than a turkey is?

Answer: A turkey farmer!

We were told at the feed store that in order to get the turkey’s to eat, you have to put shiny things in their food. How crazy is that? We had marbles in there, coins and a few other things for them to peck at. We didn’t lose a single one, until they were almost full grown. Some darn fox decided he liked turkey more than us. We ended up raising 4-birds to maturity. We lost 6 to the foxes.

The pheasants all made it, and not knowing what else to do with them, we said a prayer for their safety and turned them loose into the wild.

I plan to stop in t0 visit the chicks on Thursday. I hope they will let me hold them.

As far as the weather goes…

It rained all night long and the weather man is predicting rain for most of the week. Right now the sun is shining. Everything is drenched from the rain but I have a feeling most of it will dry out soon — but for how long? It’s 51 degrees outside. A nice day for a hike.

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