Blue-headed turkeys or beaver steaks?

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Farm Forum

What a beautiful fall! The colors were magnificent! The weather was outstanding! The crops were bountiful! And the stress level over the top! But, in my book, Mother Nature has out done herself in the critter category. Read on for the adventures.

The blue-headed turkey caper

Out here in the wilds of South Dakota land, you just never know what you’re going to meet up with. Usually, hubby and I on our daily morning pasture drive see ducks and geese and gophers—nothing too earth shattering. However, one morning this spring we spied something most unusual. Four blue-headed turkeys were casually feasting at our silage pile.

We stopped and watched them picking and scratching away through the silage hunting for the kernels of corn. They didn’t seem to be afraid of us. Actually, we were mesmerized by their presence because turkeys with blue heads were a most unusual sight to behold. Both hubby and I thought turkeys only had red heads? More importantly was the question: Where had they come from? Were they wild turkeys or did they belong to our neighbors?

So, we asked around the neighborhood, but no one knew about the birds. When we inquired about the blue-headed turkeys visiting at the old Rancho Grande, the neighbors looked at us rather strangely. Maybe the neighbors thought the Green’s were seeing things. Hm?

The birds didn’t stay around our place very long this spring, and we figured they had left for greener pastures or whatever birds do. However, last week our hired man came in all excited because he had spied not four but six blue-headed turkeys casually coming across our hayfield heading for –you guessed it—the silage pile. So, we were not the only ones seeing these strange critters.

Every day we have now been watching for the turkeys to appear again. No luck so far. But, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and who knows what will happen. I have been told that turkeys are smart and very sly. Since the cold weather is coming, maybe I should check in our barns. And maybe I could capture one of the birds for our Thanksgiving meal. What do you think? I will keep you posted.

You owe me money

Mother Nature has outdone herself with lots of unusual critters plying their trade, for the badgers seem to have multiplied profusely right along with the skunks and raccoons and ducks and turtles. I could write a whole article just about the mud turtles, but I will save that adventure for another time. Instead, let me tell you about the beaver story.

Our son came in for dinner madder than a wet hen. I could hear him grumbling and snarling as he entered the house. Uffdah! That young man has a real temper at times.

After scarfing down his noon meal, he looked across the table at me and proceeded to inform me that I owed him a pile of money! That I had better call my insurance agent and give him the details about my black-hided cows destroying a large portion of his corn field.

I was shocked! My Angus cows in his cornfield — oh, my goodness. How could this be? The fences were up and the hotwire was on and hubs and I had checked the Angus cows that morning and they were all in. Hm?

So, I scarfed down my meal quickly and got up to go and view the damage. Then I heard a slight snicker and swirled around to see everyone at the dinner table with their heads down and trying unsuccessfully to hide their laughter. Their chests were shaking uncontrollably.

Our son was smiling the most profusely of the whole group. He had got me good this time. The real story included a family of black hided beavers that had moved into his cornfield and destroyed a corner of the field adjacent to a slough. They had built a most impressive fortress of cornstalks and mud. I would call it not only a beaver dam but also a condominium.

Beavers are not a usual animal in this part of the area, but be that as it may, we have them now. And so, the thought comes with black-hided animals that eat corn, maybe they would be good eating. I have inquired a bit about this, and have found that beaver steaks are quite tasty. I don’t think I’ll try it, but maybe I’ll cook up a batch for someone else and serve it at the Thanksgiving meal. Yes!

Reflections

We have a lot to be thankful for! Life is indeed good in Dakota Country with the tame critters and the wild critters and the human critters. We all have to get along with each other and a little tomfoolery doesn’t hurt a bit. It’s all part of the survival game.

In the words of my dearly departed father: “It’s a great life; if you don’t weaken.” Here’s hoping you don’t weaken and you complete your fall work. Remember to have a little fun along the way.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Jane Green and her husband, Jim, live near Clark. Contact Jane for some public speaking, to order one of her books, or to register your comments. Email her at jgreen@itctel.com.