Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Slipping through the cracks

We use an old water trough as a brooder for the first two weeks.
For those of you who have said, "You're so busy. I don't know how you do it all," the answer is that I don't do it all perfectly! While working on the book this past winter, a lot of things slipped through the cracks. Normally, I spend January and February perusing gardening and hatchery catalogs and placing orders. It is just not something I think about during March. In April, I suddenly realized that I had no seeds started in the basement, and there were no turkey poults ordered, so I frantically tried to correct the situation.

Of all the seed potatoes sold by Seed Saver, there were only three varieties not sold out by the time I placed my order. So, I decided to try Nicola, a new one for us that looks a lot like a Burbank russet, but hopefully it won't be plagued by some of the issues that cause russets to not do very well in organic situations. And we'll plant some of our own potatoes that we saved from last year's crop.

The turkey situation was not much better. I called several hatcheries, and the earliest I could get a turkey delivery was the first week of May. Some were already sold out for the year. Good news for heritage turkey enthusiasts, but not so good for us. I decided to try Narragansetts this year. They are the only breed of turkey recognized by the American Poultry Association that we have never had for dinner. We tried to raise them five or six years ago, and they all disappeared one day. It was a very discouraging experience, although I don't blame the breed. I'm sure it was not a predator, because there were no feathers anywhere. And it would have taken a pretty big pack of coyotes to eat twenty young turkeys. So apparently they just all took a hike and probably got lost in the woods, never to be seen by human eyes again.

We like to get turkey poults in early April because we get the largest live turkeys by Thanksgiving. Get them any earlier, and the males start to reach sexual maturity and begin killing each other. Although two or three additional weeks of growth on the turkeys before Thanksgiving would have been nice, I can't beat myself up about it, because it's not going to do any good. The poults arrived last week in the best condition I've ever seen, and so far (knock on wood), they're all still alive, which is unusual for poults, because they don't usually handle the trip that well.

And if you're wondering why we don't hatch our own turkeys, it's because they don't hatch early enough in Illinois to be a good size by Thanksgiving. Our turkeys hens do hatch poults, but not usually until June or July. And if we collect eggs and incubate them, we don't usually get them hatched much earlier than that. We don't mind small turkeys, but customers do. However, I usually save that topic for a November post.

For today, I'm just trying to accept the fact that although I can do a lot of stuff, it may not all be perfect, and that's okay.


LindaG said...


Have a wonderful Wednesday! :)

rachel whetzel said...

I was JUST talking to someone today that was saying how I "do it all" and all that nonsense. lol I asked, "have you SEEN my kitchen!?" lol because seriously. Things give, and it's not usually the fun stuff. It's usually the housework. At least for me. lol


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