Saturday, March 30, 2013

Turkey Feathers

These are the tail feathers I kept put outside in a pair of old boots I can't bring myself to throw out. The tail feathers are from this past Thanksgiving's turkey, who happened to be the first ever turkey I raised, got to know, and butchered entirely by myself. He was cooked up at a table of nearly a dozen people along with one of my Freedom Rangers and it was a pleasure and an honor to be the provider of the ritual sacrifice for that holiday meal. I know ritual sacrifice sounds like scary or harsh words, but that is exactly what a Thanksgiving Turkey is, a point made to me by a character on a favorite TV show of mine, Buffy TVS, from a decade ago. Anya is upset that there won't be a turkey at the dinner table.

Anya: Well, I think that's a shame. I love a ritual sacrifice.

Buffy: Not really a one of those...

Anya: To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice, with pie.

I can't help but chuckle at that, but it's true. Those tail feathers aren't compost because that animal lost its life to mark a holiday, one of great import to most folks around here. So the feathers stay as a little grave marker, something to be grateful for every time. And they sit in the first pair of mucky farm boots I ever bought, old and full of cracks. They were purchased in Idaho at the farmer's Co-op in Sandpoint and they served me in Vermont as well when I moved. Now they are a vase for the remnants of a ritual sacrifice. Life is neat.

The first Sunday in May is the annual, amazing, livestock tailgate party that is the Poultry Swap! I will be there and I'll be shopping for some turkeys for certain. Adult birds, too. Raising poults is cheaper but I can't tell you how many flocks of Bourbon Reds I started with chickens and goslings only to have them the first to become May Fox chow. And I do not pen birds here, and I won't. So I purchase a big fat Tom or Two and hope for November.

And I never mention Buffy episodes to them, ever.