Thursday, April 8, 2010

Close Encounter

The bathing marathon continued the last couple of days (big shocker there). As I was walking back towards the barn after freeing my latest bath victims, er - participants, I heard squawking and flapping that seemed to be coming from right around the barn. I assumed it must be The Don although I wondered why he sounded so loud. I didn't see The Don as I walked closer, so I went to have a look behind the barn.

As I rounded the corner of the barn I found myself face to face with a wild turkey. I'm not sure which party was more surprised by the other, me or the turkey. We both had a moment of stunned silence as we stared at each other, and then it ran past me and awkwardly flapped its way over the fence and off behind the tree line into the neighboring property. I have seen flocks of wild turkeys from a distance but I've never encountered one at the up close and personal distance of one foot away. I'm not sure if I was more surprised by A) how big it was or B) how UGLY it was!! I also have to say that the way it moved was far from graceful! I am confident that I would not want an angry wild turkey coming after me, that thing was big and was so ugly that it appeared ferocious.

Yesterday Cinnamon, Harmony and Cuff Links had baths. Two more grays down and only one (Lightening) left to go at this point. Actually I guess two left to go if I include my horse Sky. Nine of the eleven gray horses on the farm have had a bath and all have been scrubbed white. The white may have been extremely short lived (thanks Ivan!) but it was satisfying to achieve at least for a short while. Cinnamon is a lovely liver chestnut which is a perfect color for hiding dirt but she really didn't have much dirt hidden on her.

Cuffie was deceptively dirty. I stupidly thought he would be an easy scrub since he didn't look that dirty and he's a little medium pony so it isn't like he has a lot of surface area. WRONG. I always scrub with a curry comb after I soap them up with the sponge and the layers of ground in dirt I removed from that pony were unreal. The more I curried and rinsed with soapy water the more dirt that just kept coming up to the surface. I finally ran out of dirt to scrub and made him wait to go out until he was dry. I must say that he is just blindingly white right now, and he has humored me by only rolling in the grass and not the dirt.

We did get a little bit of rain last night but not nearly as much as I thought we would get. Isn't it ironic that after a soaking wet winter now that I actually want it to rain it isn't. Mother Nature is a cruel mistress. On the bright side of the weather the next week will be lovely with our forecast calling for sunshine and highs in the low 70's. I won't complain about that. Off to make my farrier list for tomorrow!

Harmony sporting the wind blown look in her mane; the last couple of days have been breezy

Teddy still soaking wet after his bath and giving us his best impersonation of a drowned rat. He was so cooperative when I bathed him I decided not to push my luck and let him go back out while still dripping wet.

Snappy and Clay grazing on a beautiful afternoon

Some of the Big Boys having a lazy day; Homer, Tony, Levendi, Thomas, Apollo and Ivan

O'Reilly doing his best to grind himself into the ground after his bath


Faune and B-Rad

MyLight having a scrubbie; she doesn't look to happy but nonetheless she was a very good girl
Lucky and Clay

Snappy and Lucky

Cuff Links, MyLight, Missy, Harmony, Buffy, Lily


Seindria said...

I encountered a wild turkey once while I was out driving the back roads of east TN. He stood in the middle of this very narrow rode, all puffed up, trying to look threatening.

And I'm just thinking "My car is not going to be scared, bird." I flashed my lights at him, and slowly crept up to him... He moved over just enough to let me pass with my passenger side wheels on the soft shoulder.

And he GLARED at me as I passed. I could have patted him on the head, or he could have hopped up and grabbed the glasses off my face.

I will never forget that bird.

SmartAlex said...

We have turkey all over. Sometimes I get a rare treat of watching one all puffed up and strutting around our yard.

You think coming face to face with one is shocking, try watching them fly across the road at windshield height.... bone chilling.

RuckusButt said...

Wow, can you ever tell how clean everyone is! We were really needing rain here too but fortunately we've been getting a lot the last couple days. It makes such a difference - things are greening up fast (it's still pretty early in ON) and growing like mad. I should have flowers pretty soon.

Your stare-down with the turkey is such a funny mental image! Hazel never lets me get close enough to get a good look at a turkey. She thinks they are one of the best things to go after - they tend to fly low to the ground for quite awhile (there's that gracefulness, lol) which keeps her hopes up!

Anonymous said...

No baths here yet - I could have bathed last week but they all are still a little too hairy on the sides and bellies. And last night it was in the 20s (ugh!), but things will warm up someday. You've got some bright whites in those pictures! I don't know if you've bathed Norm yet, but we always used to call him the Teflon pony - he always cleaned up easily and dirt didn't really seem to stick even to his white - some sort of special pony hair!

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

I got a mental picture from your description of the "stare down" and laughed out loud when I read it! LOL! Thanks for the belly laugh today! Hope you don't have any other turkey encounters. I might have done more than stared at it...probably wet myself!!

Jason said...


It's *VERY* early for green in east central Ontario, but I'm glad to hear you're getting to see some ! :)

Our first frost of the fall occured Nov 27, 2009 and looks like our last frost this spring occurred March 7th, but we had a very cold winter (for Tennessee) between those dates. We seem to be making up for our winter with some seasonal temperatures right now and in spite of a very late start, spring is progressing rapidly. We will be in the 70's throughout the next forecast period which is perfect for anything out of doors.

My wife is the only person in my world who would get freaked out by a wild turkey which I think is kind of cute. In addition to being really, really dumb turkeys are also *really* skittish. I can reassure Melissa (and everyone else who wonders) that the very last thing on Mr. Turkey's mind was attacking her.

Smart Alex - I think you nailed the only plausible way a turkey could hurt you ! Never thought about hitting one flying at windshield height ! Ouch !

amy324 said...

C'mon, you photoshopped the white onto those horses in the first picture, didn't you? ;-) I've never seen a wild turkey, and from the sound of it, I never want to!

Lori Skoog said...

Melissa...I just caught up with your blog! Can't believe all the work you do. How many horses are there? Your facility looks like heaven for compliments to you and your husband for maintaining such a first class home for these sweet creatures.

Do you have turkey buzzards too? They show up in our fields.

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

I love the turkey story. About 16-17 years ago they reintroduced them to Westchester County where we lived in NY. It was still a VERY RARE sight to see them. Now I think they have thrived and they are all over. We see big flocks of them in our suburban Florida and we even had a pure white one when we lived in Va. They are actually quite delicious- I have cooked them twice but totally covered as Pete skinned them, not wanting to pluck them. Your spring time looks beautiful!

RuckusButt said...

Jason - yep, it's early, but we've got it and I'm not complaining one bit!

RuckusButt said...

Ok, so, I'm on my way to the barn this morning and in the last stretch of country highway guess what was in the middle of my lane?? That's right, a giant wild turkey. I had to slow down to a stop, the darn thing was NOT in a hurry to get out of my way! It turned and looked right at me which of course made me think of your experience and I had to laugh. I crept slowly towards it and it finally hauled its butt in the air enough to land in the ditch.

Now I can say I've gotten a good look at one! H.U.G.E. I actually thought the plumage was rather attractive. And then I pondered possible wild turkey recipes, lol.

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Kate, so funny you mention about Norman being the Teflon pony. Amy bathed him and her exact comment was she couldn't believe how easy it was to get the stains out!

Misae - I am sure you will never forget that turkey, I know the feeling!

SmartAlex - watching this one fly over the fence was creepy. Honestly fly is to kind of a word, it seemed questionable whether or not he would get off the ground at all!

Luanne - glad I was good for a laugh!

Amy - no photoshopping, and IMO you do NOT want to see a wild turkey up close, lol!

Lori - we do a LOT of work but I find most of it so enjoyable it doesn't feel like work. A few things do but hey, no one can claim 100% perfection in their life! We do have large buzzards here but I am useless at identifying birds so I don't know what type of buzzards they are.

Vivian we have large flocks around here but until a couple of days ago I had never seen one up close and personal. I hope I never do again for that matter, I like from a distance much better!

RB, glad we go to have parallel experiences of a sort. I thought about you when I was riding Sky the other day. I had my first truly exceptional canter-trot transition on her. Like the MasterCard commercial says, it was a priceless moment!