Gobble-gobble on the range

On the way to town this morning Stew spotted a group of turkeys working their way diagonally through a field next to our ranch, pecking, pecking, pecking the ground for any trace of seed, worms, weeds or whatever turkey crave. At first we thought it might be a flock of wild turkeys, but then we spotted a tiny old man sitting on a rock and keeping an eye on the birds.

I stopped to ask the man if they were his. He laughed a toothless smile and said indeed they were, all 33 of them. Remembering turkeys’ reputation for dimwittedness, I asked how he kept them from wandering off in all directions.

More smiling: The turkeys generally stay in some sort of formation, he said, like cattle or sheep. He shoos them out the back door of his ranch, about half a mile from here, and the turkeys just amble along until they get to the corner of the field next to our house and then he shoos them back home.

Even more interesting, he said he had a bunch of chicks at the ranch. Interesting because in the United States, thanks to industrial farming technology, turkeys don’t reproduce on their own. Frankensteinian breeding methods have created grotesque birds with such large breasts that they can no longer, you know, connect–hell, they can hardly walk–so the females have to be artificially inseminated with a turkey baster-like device.

But enough of that.

Thanksgiving dinners in San Miguel’s expat community tend to be tumultuous affairs, with some delicious dishes but mostly mounds of lukewarm sweet potatoes, canned cranberries and coleslaw, and much chit-chat.

So Stew and I were thinking of hosting an intimate, quiet dinner for eight or so good friends, who can share the blessings, or perhaps travails, of the previous year.

One of those 33 guys we saw this morning could make a nice Thanksgiving dinner. It would be organic, definitely range-fed, and locally produced.

Something to think about, though the turkeys in question probably rather not.

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