A turkey almost gave me a heart attack Monday night. I wish I had pictures of the whole situation, but I don’t, because I was busy being frightened to death by poultry. So you’re going to have to “make mental images” just like my middle school reading students. I hope, by the end, you’ll understand the shear panic I was feeling.
One of our flocks is going to market Monday and Tuesday night. I went out to take some pictures to post here. I was just going to photograph the semis lined up on the road, with the gorgeous purple, pink and orange sunset in the background. But Adam really wanted to go see the turkeys, so I agreed to take him into the office. The office is command central - the little room at the front of the barn where all of the controllers are located, and it has a door to the main part of the barn. (Apparently I have no pictures of the inside of the office but here’s an old pic of the brooder house, not even the same barn we were in.)
So, into the office we went. And I opened the door to show him (my 25 lb 2 1/2 year old child) the GIANT, 45 lb turkeys. Giant. 45 lb. Waist high. Aggressive. Poultry.
As usual, they greeted us with a chorus of “gobble gobbles” and then crowded towards the door. They are curious creatures, and always like to come and say hello. The door is up about a foot on the wall to keep the turkeys from coming into the office (making your mental image?)
I really wanted to get a picture of them with my new lens, so I was fiddling with camera settings, standing right by the open door, when I heard (and then felt) wings flapping. I nearly keeled over when I saw that one of the turkeys (let’s call him “Curious George”) had jumped the door threshold and was standing on MY side of the office door. NOT COOL.
I’m pretty sure I had some choice swear words at that time, but afterwards, Adam just laughed and told me I called the turkey a “little fellow.” That was nice of me, I guess.
I’m not sure how to describe the next 60-90 seconds besides shear panic on my part. I was fairly sure that either a turkey was going to kill me, or my husband would.
I couldn’t just shove George through the doorway and shut the door because of that foot high ledge that was meant to keep the turkeys OUT of the office. There was a 3 foot piece of PVC pipe hanging out near the door, so I started by grabbing that and trying to push the other turkeys from the door. Of course, they were all huddled up to see what their crazy friend was doing. So in one hand was my DSLR camera, and the other hand held a dirty piece of PVC, my only weapon. I was yelling at Adam to back up and using my hip to trap the escapee between the door and the threshhold, so that he wouldn’t be running around the office.
My brain and heart were racing. I didn’t have my cell phone – I’d left it in the car. And even if I had it, Bart wouldn’t have answered, because he was in the other barn loading turkeys onto the trailer. Adam was clearly not going to be any help, and there was NO WAY I could lift that turkey over the threshold, especially since I knew he would start flapping his enormous wings at me if I got too close. Bart has actually been CUT by a flapping turkey wing.
With my hip holding the door against the turkey, I took a deep breathe and evaluated my options…
a) keep trying to shove the turkey over the threshold, possibly using the PVC as a lever to lift the turkey a bit.
b) or let Curious George run free in the office, grab Adam, and go get hubby (who carries these turkeys around like it’s no big deal).
I was pretty sure I’d be in big trouble if I went with option b. I could hear the lecture in my head. You know, I “should have been paying more attention” and he “really needs to be loading the truck” and on and on. I don’t think any farmers like rescuing a damsel in distress when there is serious work to be done. And I really didn’t want to lose my photography privileges. :)
Option a was really my only choice. I tried the lever idea. I even put my glove on and tried to grab the turkey’s leg. No luck.
And then, in a very anti-climactic ending to this story, I let the door open a little bit more, and the turkey jumped over the threshold and back into the barn.
But it turns out that I did get a fairly decent picture. Remember, they were all crowding the door – they’re not really jammed in that tight. But they are kind of cute, right?