A tradition in my family has always been centered around the turkey we have on Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact we are very traditional! There is always turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, homemade rolls, and even green bean casserole. The pumpkin pies always shine at our holiday table along with many different kinds of cookies. We gradually started to add new dishes – still having the usual but adding different pies and sides in addition to the regular. Sausage stuffing and creamed corn casserole has been popular or adding pecan and apple pies to the dessert table.
I have to admit I did try a wild turkey once, and only once. I did not care for it as there was an occasional buckshot in the meat! My son-in-law is an avid hunter and so is his Dad. I think his Dad contributed the wild turkey to the feast that year. No, we did not shoot any animals ever on our 75 acres of land. Nor would we let anyone else hunt; everyone could fish, but not hunt. Gene had lots of guns/rifles that he only used for target practice.
Most of my Thanksgiving recipes that I have collected and made over many years are already posted (remember I have a total of 730 posts – that’s a lot of recipes). They include roasting a turkey, making chicken stock and gravy, numerous sides and of course the desserts. We are a pie family and usually there is a variety to choose from but always pumpkin! Now, when it comes to the meat I am definitely white meat all the way. If it was not for the stunning presentation of a turkey I would probably make a few breasts. Of course there are a few dark meat lovers that I always have to think about.
This is my pictorial contribution of what many will be having on their holiday table. I am bringing these fun pictures to the party at The Novice Gardener. Thanks once again to the two co-hosts Stephanie @thecozycook.com and Tracy @scratchitcook.com
Did you ever want to know why the breast and wings of chickens and turkeys have white meat while the legs and thighs are dark? The answer is a physiological one involving the function of muscles. The dark coloration is not due to the amount of blood in muscles but rather to a specific muscle type and it’s ability to store oxygen.
1) Big Bird (Sesame Street) has 4,000 turkey feathers which have been dyed bright yellow.
2) Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the National Bird instead of the eagle.
3) If you are called a turkey you are incompetent.
4) After the first Thanksgiving in 1621, it took over 200 years before Thanksgiving Day was officially proclaimed a national day.
5) Abe Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, a day of Thanksgiving, praise and prayer. In 1941 it was declared a legal holiday by Congress.
6) The “turkey trot” was a popular dance in the early 1900’s where dancers actually bobbed their heads up and down. Many members of society found the dance was demoralizing. In 1914 it was replaced by the “Fox Trot”.
7) If you bowl three strikes in a row it is called a turkey.
8) The Pilgrims did actually bring several turkeys to America on the 1620 voyage.
9) The largest turkey is the Bronze turkey which weighs up to 50 pounds and is popular with restaurants. I have had 25 pound turkeys and that is enough to handle.
10) While a hunter/distiller was on a turkey hunt with friends he brought a private supply of whiskey which became known as “Wild Turkey”.
So, instead of a new holiday recipe I am bringing you the turkey flocks we were privileged to enjoy for 20 years from our previous home out in the country.
I was fortunate to see male turkeys showing their finest stuff many, many times. Normally, they look similar to hens but are larger. However, come mating time they puff up and their head and neck look like an American Flag. This by the way is called the wattle which has no feathers, rather it is covered with fleshy skin. It is truly amazing how they could turn color and quite a site to see!
These two males are in full plumage and almost look royal-like don’t you think? They are trying to attract the attention of the girls, or hens, by strutting around – this is called the mating dance. They do not look like this all of the time, only when they are showing serious interest in the hens.
Now, he sure is handsome – he will attract many hens!
Here’s quite a threesome! From left to right, a mature male called a Tom or Gobbler, a Piebald (not quite an albino) and a young immature male called Jake, or maybe it is a hen. Adult males are the ones that “gobble, gobble” and make all of the noise. Hens make a clucking sound. The coloring is just spectacular !
These two guys are just starting to fight over who gets the hens – may the best gobbler win! Gobblers, or toms will beat each other with their wings and hook each other with their spurs. They also lock their necks together like in the picture below. These matches are not to the death, the males are just asserting dominance within the flock.
Deer, squirrels, pheasants – they all shared the corn. What looks like a beard on this turkey’s chest is actually a bundle of long, thin feathers.
A young male, or Jake.
These guys are doing their “mating dance” down our driveway.
Our front yard…
Lots of turkeys down by the deck and gazebo at the edge of our pond.
Yes, that is a beautiful pheasant among the turkeys.
My potting shed near our house – a favorite place to overwinter geraniums. Gene built this for me and where I grew my seedlings in the spring. Oh, and where I stored lots of corn, apples and carrots to help my friends through the winter. I know you are not supposed to feed them but I did. I quit when the coyotes moved in 😦
Moms and their poults (babies)
Hens lay a clutch of 10 to 15 eggs, they are incubated for 28 days and the poults, or babies leave the nest within 12 to 24 hours.
The turkeys and deer are friendly to each other and share the corn.
Yes, turkeys like to roost in the trees where they sleep at night. Unlike their domestic counterparts, wild turkeys are agile fliers. Their crude nests are on the ground made out of dry leaves.
A Piebald – not quite an albino.
Do you like my Snow Girl with her turkey friends?