The young Rio Grande turkeys with their 2 moms have spent most of the morning in the yard. They are kept company by two yearling does that spend a lot of time inside the fence. They’ve eaten all the bird seed on the ground by the water trough, had their morning drink, and are pecking around for grass seeds and insects. They stray further apart these days, sometimes splitting into 2 groups.
One group, led by one of the moms, headed down the hill to check out the turkey feeder. One of the youngsters was trailing behind the group and spent a few minutes stressed as to how to get out of the fence. Of course, he could fly over, but for some reason they don’t always do that except as a last resort. The babies have been just walking through the spaces in the goat wire but they are now bordering on being too big for that. After much running back and forth and showing signs of panic, he squeezes through and takes off at a trot to catch his family. Which is good; I was starting to panic with him!
I’ve sat around drinking coffee and watching them for way too long now. It’s easy to get caught up in their daily lives. There is a rhythm to everyday life in the country. It causes you to slow down and look around you. The seasons change, the harvest ripens, the deer lose their velvet, the baby turkeys grow up.
But I need to get going with one of my ongoing chores - cutting down little cedars with my Fiskars pruning stick lopper! (This is an awesome tool with a grip that slides and does the cutting.) It’s a constant battle to keep them from taking over the whole place. I love these cedars (technically, they are ashe junipers, not cedars). I love the smell of them, the way the temperature seems to drop 20 degrees when you get under them, and the beautiful blue berries they have. But they tend to want all the land and we have to share.
I like this chore. It takes me walking over the property to places I don’t normally go. There are so many beautiful spots; “the woods are lovely, dark and deep”. I see sheltered places, the ground covered with oak leaf mulch, a spot cleared and soft where a deer has been sleeping, and think if I was 10 years old, this would be my hideout! I find lace cactus and female Mexican persimmons, the ones with fruit that the wildlife love. And signs that men have left - fencing wire in the corners, a couple of pieces of tin roofing, faded beer cans with pop-tops, and Vienna Sausage cans. Some of the cans have bullet holes where some long ago youngster practiced his shots, getting ready for the “muy grande” buck to come into his sights later in the season. Or from some good ole boys just trying to see who’s the best shot.
I grab my cedar loppers and I’m off on my chore, wondering what I might run across out there today. Hopefully not the mountain lion that was at my neighbors the other night! And if I live to be so old I can’t walk I hope one of the memories I keep is walking this land that I love, with a cool breeze that promises fall drying the sweat from “honest” work, as my dad called it, following the trail home to the cabin.
(Photo - trail left by Woodrow, Gus, and the deer)