As we inch closer and closer to the Thanksgiving holiday, I find it fitting to tell you about our pet turkey, Jake. That’s the bird—in my heading picture for my blog. We bought him at the Middleburg auction back in early summer. Our intent was to try our hand at raising some turkeys. The minute we had Jake home, though, I was set on not eating him. I loved him…well, as much as you can love a bird. And, he reminded me a lot of our peacock, Kevin. He was curious and friendly, well, again, as friendly as a turkey CAN be.
Unfortunately for us, Jake’s inquisitiveness led him to run off with a flock of wild turkeys. Initially he would leave with a flock (we witnessed this) but then return every few days to get some grub at the woodsy barn feeder. Eventually though he stayed with his wild flock, now entrenched in the ways of wild birds and has not been seen since. My hope is that he is a smart bird and can evade the hunters. Since he’s nearly pigmentless, the hunters should treat him as a special animal, like an albino deer, and leave him alone. (The woodsy guy claims to have spotted Jake twice wandering the woods.)
So we are now back to trying to acquire a bird the more “woodsy” way. My woodsy hunter has shot two turkeys in his 24 years in the woods. Those aren’t really good odds, if I do say so myself!
However, just a few years back, he was successful and bagged this bird.
Never having cooked a wild bird before, we deboned some of the meat and I made a turkey/rice casserole. It really wasn’t all that great. I kind of didn’t push the woodsy guy to go after more birds. However, what I didn’t realize was that I just needed more practice preparing wild fowl.
Here he is with his second bird, maybe 2 years back? …or was it longer?
The woodsy guy was kind enough to gut and skin this bird and left it hanging by a rope in our barn. I was determined to cook the bird whole this time and wanted to have it marinating for at least 24 hours. So…I went out to the barn, only to realize that the FEET were still attached to this animal. I couldn’t keep the feet on because I didnt have a pan/roaster big enough to accommodate this bird AND it’s feet. Feeling slightly excited and empowered…I located a hatchet and finished the butchering myself!
We had some good friends over for turkey dinner the next day…and it turned out AMAZING this time around! Now I find myself pestering my guy to get us another wild bird from our woods. I think time is running out, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a Thanksgiving woodsy bird! I leave you with a song by Van aka the woodsy guy on Turkey Hunting!