Thursday, May 19, 2011

Life & Death....and More Life

A few weeks ago, my turkey egg-hunting son presented me with a basketful of rogue eggs and asked if we could incubate them. Of course I said yes. 

How could I not?

In what seems like a lifetime ago, our eggs finally started to hatch. Right on time. Since I am unprepared for babies being born on the exact day of expected arrival, I was taken by surprise with the chirping emitting from the dining room. 

In our house, that could mean anything.

Actually, I was a little concerned that someone had let the cat into the house with a mouthful of something feathery. Thankfully, this chirping meant new life.

Before the day ended, we had 5 beautiful little turkey poults. 

My Mister decided to improve on his idea of a chick brooder and by the time we sat down to dinner, 4 of the 5 turkeys were safely tucked into the place they'll call home for the next few weeks. (The 5th was still drying off in the incubator.)

Life was good. 

Over the 9 years we've lived on our little farm, we've had a few dealings with an unsavory character by the name of Lucyfur. As the summers have passed, Lucyfur's notoriety has increased. In the animal kingdom, Lucyfur is a legend.

To us, she's a nasty, wicked raccoon, capable of hauling away small children and stealing cars.

Okay, maybe not cars, but I wouldn't put it past her to try.

See, Lucyfur is no ordinary raccoon. Missing half of her face, she has defied death many times. If the gunshot holes in our back porch could tell a story, they would say, she is unkillable. She is immortal. She is unstoppable.
Lucyfur gives me nightmares.

While we haven't seen her for more than a year, we know she is still around, watching and waiting for an opportune moment to turn our world upside down. 

Last night she made her move.

Raccoon damage to the turkey's back.

Thomasina fell victim to Lucyfur while she was sleeping on her roost. 


The Lucyfur legend lives on, but her days are numbered. Because of the damage that was done to the turkey, we had to put her down. And because we are farmers, albeit not very good ones, we had to salvage what we could for the table.

My Mister had to leave for work, so the butchering fell upon my son, Dakota, and I's shoulders. It was our first time butchering alone, but we did it. 

It only took an hour.

As hobby farmers, we understand the cycle of life and death. We purposely choose animals that are going to eventually nourish our family. Some animals are strictly intended for the table. Others are spared for breeding purposes. Those are the ones that we become attached to. Given real names instead of tasty dishes & designated holidays where they'll be the featured guest (like Big Mac, T-Bone, Meatball, Christmas & Thanksgiving, etc..), these are the animals/birds that we take the time to handle so that they will not "bite the hands that feed them."

These are the same animals that when tragedy happens, we cry. In my case, a lot. But then something wonderful happens to bring the cycle to full circle. New life begins where there was previously no hope. 

2 new turkeys.

The last eggs to enter the incubator~from Thomasina's hidden nest.

Better than a legend, Thomasina now has a legacy.


Mary said...

So nice to have your comment on my blog. Sorry about the raccoon. We trapped a skunk inside our coup before! That was a stinky mess!!
God bless

Teresa said...

I must say I appreciate my two big dogs that can tackle a raccoon. They do bring me peace of mind, as does the guard llama. I'm sorry you lost you Thomasina. I have so many animals, but I couldn't bear to eat them. It's actually why I've become a vegetarian. You are much stronger than me.

Kris said...

That's so sad. I hate when that happens, but it does. I had a hawk swoop down and kill a hen once. I saw it happen and rushed out. The hen was dead. So I hurried up and finished the job the hawk started. Got it in the freezer. Ya gotta do things like that sometimes.

It's so good to actually see little turkey poults! You lucky girl you. I had a Buff hen setting on 9 turkey eggs for several weeks now and decided she would get up off the nest and forgot where it was. This morning the eggs are of course cold. I am SO upset now. It was almost time for them to hatch. Darn hen. So I will try yet again. One day I wil have turkey babies. Enjoy yours.

MamaTea said...

What a great post!! I too understand the life and death on the farm, but it doesn't make it any easier when its one of the animals you allowed yourself to be attached to. Sorry for your loss, but so thankful for the new life. :)

And LucyFur??? I have never heard a more fitting name. :)

Petra said...

loved how you put this in the end about her legacy. Great post.

Elisabeth said...

That is wonderful that you were able to hatch the turkey eggs and I hope you get that raccoon!

Mary Ann said...

Just catching up on Farm Friend Friday from a week ago, and found your blog... we lost a hen to a possum last week.... drives you crazy, they take the head only. The possums and coons are NOT little Walt Disney creatures around here, either! So sorry for the turkey.