Poultry Epiphany

For a while I’ve been obsessed with having chickens.

Or the thought of having chickens.

I pictured a cute, little squat hen house where Hadley could mosey out at dawn and gather fresh farm eggs.

But then I realized that we don’t have a hen house and we’d have to build one. And take care of the chickens.

Not to mention that we don’t even eat that many eggs. And what we need, we can get from friends who already have chickens. Or in a pinch, I can drive up the road, across the river, and place $2 in a basket… in the fridge… in the corner of a machine shed — and pick up a dozen farm-fresh eggs.  Anytime that I want.

That marked the end of my chicken obsession.

Now I want turkeys.

Monday evening Martin and I grabbed the kids’ bathing suits and towels, fired up the gator, and everyone piled in. The plan: a quick chlorine dip before the brewing thunderstorm hit. I also planned to pick blackberries, per Chet’s offer (“pick ’em because they’re coming out,” he said. He’s replacing them with raspberries that don’t have prickly branches and seedy fruit.)

But then the clouds moved in. Fast. By the time the gator spit gravel up the drive, we’d scrapped plans for the pool.

And that damn dog had run to the river again.

“Just let me out by the blackberries,” I told Martin, “and you guys get the dog.” He didn’t even stop. He lifted his foot off the gas and I jumped out. In the dusty residue I could make out Cayden in the back of the gator, clutching the sides.

I stood there swatting gnats and wending my arms through brambles to reach the plumpest fruit — which happened to be out of reach. So I circled the bushes, plucking and picking. It was ominously quiet… just the occasional rumble of thunder. And the gobble-gobble-gobble! of turkeys.

Chet’s neighbors have a slew of animals — you can hear the rooster from our house — but this is the first time that I’d heard turkeys. They sounded off after each ripple of thunder. I don’t know if the weather triggered their calls but with each sky-bound grumble they unleashed cartoonish, Woody Woodpecker-like calls.

Their gobbles were oddly comforting as the storm approached. But not as comforting as the return of my ride: the distant hum of the gator and Maisie’s maniacal yarping. Just as the first fat drops fell.

The next day I googled “caring for turkeys.” But eventually, my interest waned.

Who needs more dependents?

What I really need is a sound machine with a “gobble” option.