Heirloom Meals: Savoring Yesterday's Traditions Today

Thursday October 14, 2010

Heirloom Breeds & Seeds:
Indian Line Farm: A flock of wild turkeys

As usual, Elizabeth Keen is the great farmer/philosopher!!
News from Indian Line Farm
A flock of wild turkeys have taken up residence at the farm this summer.  Fourteen birds sleep in the trees just west of our house and meander their way down to the farm fields every morning.  I catch myself laughing as occasionally Harry and Rainbow the cats will herd them a little faster in whatever direction they are traveling. By the time we make our way down to harvest they are in the front sections near the greenhouses munching away on bugs and bits of green. They have been here since the little ones were just chicks and they are now full grown to my untrained eyes.  In all these months we have never seen any damage from their passing. They seem to have stomachs for the things we don't eat. By 9:00 am they have usually headed south across the hay field to wherever they spend the rest of their day. They return about 6:00 pm again meandering their way through our electric fence and into the vegetables.  We most often notice them coming up the hill as we are sitting down to dinner.  We almost always comment to each other that they are headed home for the night and Colin can rarely let the moment pass without jumping up and watching them pass.  There are so many of them. 

I have seen turkeys move freely about the farm in the past but they usually travel in a north to south pattern and most often as far from the house as possible.  I suspect that the absence of our old dog Brantley has opened up possibilities for this new flock.  I have yet to do research on the habits of wild turkeys but I suspect they will soon migrate to a warmer location for the cold of winter. One day I will realize they have gone. I am pleased to have them here now and hope that some will return to lay eggs next year. 

I have been pondering the idea of this farm as a gathering place for creatures of all kinds.  We have a healthy wildlife population:  deer, raccoons, skunks, bears, opossums, ground hogs all live here or at least make sightings multiple times a year.  Of course there are birds of all kinds and the reptilian population seemed especially strong this year. I have never seen so many frogs! Equally as important are the insects that congregate here.  I tend to remember the least desirable of this category as they can do the most damage to the vegetables.  Tomato hornworms, cucumber beetles, peach colored aphids, flea beetles, white flies, cabbage lopers,  Japanese beetles, and Colorado potato beetles are just a few of my least favorite creatures.  But we do have monarch butterflies, swallow tails, parasitic wasps, lady bugs, tons of spiders and other creepy crawlies we encounter in our day. 

And then there are the human creatures which fill this farm with hard work and toil and manage to bring forth amazing food.  On some days the humans are quiet and steady (except for when we need to blast the radio to hear NPR or listen to our favorite radio station) and on other days this farm is bustling with cars and more humans big and small. Just as I am pleased to have our wild turkey friends this year, I am glad to have all the humans that call this farm their own.  After all, without them, we would not know who we were growing for.  I hope they too return in years to come.   

For the farm crew,

Here's some of our "take"from this week:  carnival and delicata squash.  Stay tuned for recipes - oh so simple!!