I have failed at many things, but I have never been afraid. ~Nadine Gordimer
Lately, our turkeys have become the topic of conversation. Rightfully so. It’s not every day someone decides to purchase peeps, build a substantial turkey coop, and raise their very own Thanksgiving meal. Well, the Piper household took on the challenge.
How are the turkeys? They’re doing great! They love their new home, at least that’s what I thought, but perhaps one bird wasn’t so happy. On Sunday, Kyle checked in on our feathery friends. I watched him from a distance feed and water the mid-sized creatures. It happened so quickly, it took my mind a minute to comprehend. Somehow a turkey got past Kyle and made a break for it. Considering there’s a single door leading in and exciting the turkey coop, how did a bird get past Kyle who happened to be in the doorway? Watching the scene with my own two eyes, I still have no clue. Only Kyle!
So it went something like this. A bird darted out the front door, even though it was more like a stroll, but I’ll give Kyle the benefit of the doubt since I wasn’t in the coop at the time of the incidence, and I didn’t see if the bird actually sprinted or walked. Kyle turned around to hear us announce a bird got loose. The feathery animal trotted around the turkey coop, not running, not flying, not hiding, but simply strutted.
I’ll give Kyle credit, the first thing he did was close the door and lock it, so our now free range turkey wouldn’t get any visitors or spark a riot. But what Kyle did next just amazed me. He took a couple of steps toward the wondering bird, stopped, turned around and moved in the opposite direction. Why? He wanted to put his gloves on. Why? I have no clue, it’s not like the turkey was made of barbed wire or anything. It’s not even a fully grown turkey!
Okay, now that Kyle’s hands were protected from the killer animal covered in white soft fluffy features, my thinking was that he could scoop up the bird and return him to his home, right? Nope! Kyle swiftly walked up behind the strutting bird, bent down in a motion to pick it up, then threw up his hands and stopped dead in his tracks. Was there a force field protecting the bird? Did God just speak to Kyle? I was sitting about a hundred yards from the live action, on the swing on my parent’s deck wondering what just happened. I couldn’t believe it! Kyle could have very simply captured the turkey and put this to rest, but he didn’t! He wouldn’t touch it, even with gloves on! I was stunned! Well, after that close encounter, the bird took off running realizing the danger in the form of a thirteen year old boy. Now the chase was on.
After coming to terms with reality and realizing the type of turkey wrangler, or lack there of, I was dealing with, I got off my butt to do the job myself. I get it, accidents happen, but geez all it took was Kyle to wrap his glove covered hands around the small creature, picked it up, and walked it four or five feet to the doorstep and push it back in. No major weight lifting required, no rabbit animal, and no special tools or skills needed. Now we had a scared bird on the loose that was trying to fly and hide.
The turkey coop sits at the edge of the woods, perfect camouflage. By the time I ran up the hill, that’s exactly where the turkey was headed. Perhaps he wanted to be like his ancestors and run wild and free among the trees, or he did indeed have an escape plan. Well, to add another challenge to the scenario, our beloved and not so obedient dogs tagged along by my side. Seven and Avery listened pretty well, but not Scooby! He nipped at the flying features and drove the bird deeper into the woods, ending up in a serious pile of jagged brush. What now?
Keep in mind, Kyle was wearing jeans, a tee shirt and flip flops. I on the other hand was wearing shorts, a tee shirt, flip flops and my body (mostly my upper legs, forearms and little bits of my back and stomach) was covered in poison ivy. Not exactly attire appropriate for trucking through the woods in a hostile environment. Regardless, I knew I was willing to risk bodily injury to bring the bird home. Well, that was my thinking for that brief moment.
I tramped down my obstacles and moved my way closer to the escapee. Although, the turkey also kept moving forward, just out of arms reach. Finally, I trapped the bird deeper in the huge pile of brush, which was seriously entangled with pointy projectiles. Thinking I outsmarted the turkey, I recovered a long branch to nudge it along. The plan? To poke the bird and keep it moving in one direction, toward Kyle and my mom who were waiting on the opposite side out in the open. Keep in mind, my mom was armed with a long handled fishing net, also wearing flip flops. Seriously? Oh, YES! What a sight!
Did it work? NO! The bird laid down and remained so, even with me poking at its side. Stubborn bird! I did what I could until my poison ivy was ripped open so much that my legs and arms felt like they were on fire. I even asked Kyle to put on a pair of boots and come and get the bird. He refused! After realizing dad was sitting on the swing, not helping in any way, I gave up. I was the only one really doing anything and I was the one cut up and bleeding.
What next? I told Kyle to get the bird as I walked away from the action. What did my dad have to say? He yelled at me! Really? Oh YES! He accused me of not doing anything and letting the bird get away. Seriously? YES! I was beyond mad. I was the only one doing anything. Before the argument heated up to match the ripped open poison ivy and scratches all over my legs, I left the scene. What did Kyle do? He also retreated and sat and played video games on his phone. Not cool. That’s a problem. He was the cause of this situation. Granted, it was truly an accident, but it alarmed me to see that he so very easily dismissed it, and now it became someone else’s problem. I’m going to have to work with him on that.
Well, the bird worked its way deeper into the brush until we couldn’t see it anymore. We waited around for it to make its appearance, but alas it remained transfixed.
Thinking the bird wouldn’t survive the night, and it would become a turkey dinner for the local coyotes or another wild creature, I accepted its fate. Now, fast forward to this past Tuesday, two days later. We got a call in the middle of the day from the neighbor. They had our turkey! Are you kidding me? Nope! Apparently, the bird wondered across the street, survived the local dogs and our dogs, and all wildlife to make it into their hands. That’s impressive!
I’m happy to say the turkey was returned safe and sound, and will be until Thanksgiving. What an adventure!
Does Kyle know? I texted him. His response? Nothing. He probably forgot all about it, or dismissed it as it wasn’t his problem, even though I know he felt bad about the escapee. I guess there are worse things in life. But I did make a note to give Kyle a lesson on picking up a turkey, naturally in a controlled environment, to get a feel for it and to not be afraid.
P.S. It’s ironic I used to call Kyle my turkey and sometimes turkey jerky.