Wild turkeys

I think I’ve mentioned that one of my regular chores now is hanging out the clothes. I’d like to say this is the way we are reducing our carbon footprint but that would be total baloney. We hang out clothes, and always have, because we like the way they feel and smell. Still, it’s a nice arrow to have in the quiver when somebody starts giving me the environmental pitch and I ask them if they hang out their clothes or still use a, ugh, dryer. Shuts them down fairly quickly. Sort of like asking Al Gore which SUV he drove to his private plane this morning.

Doing it has created an awareness of clothes hanging technique and since out here in the country most people hang their clothes, I have a chance to study technique. For example, I can always tell when the family is Mexican. They have a different way of hanging out clothes. Maybe it’s a cultural thing and I can’t be sure whether it’s a Mexican culture, a generic Hispanic culture, or a Pierson Hispanic culture. First, they don’t use clothes pins; just drape the clothes over the line. I kind of like that and started doing that myself with sheets. Second, they can use anything that simulates a line. Most commonly that would be a fence. Even if there’s a clothes line available, certain things hang on the fence. So if you’re riding around Pierson and see a fence draped with clothing, you know the occupants are Hispanic. There’s one family across from the post office that adds a nice touch. Each day they remove the clothes to be worn that day and when the last items go, out comes a new load. In the rainy season, the clothes may be rinsed several times in rain water. You can tell the size of a family, the age breakdown – diapers are a dead giveaway. One thing I do know – they wear nice clean clothes. I suggested this idea to Nancy but was turned down cold. Maybe this is a German – Italian clash.
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Saw something really interesting (to me) yesterday. I was going out onto the porch to check on a grilling meat loaf and noticed a flock of 8 wild turkeys in my neighbors yard. I was no more than 25′ from them. I’ve seen a couple of turkeys before but never that many and never that close. The first thing that struck me was how big they are – maybe 4′ tall At first glance I honestly thought it was a flock of sandhill cranes but the coloring was wrong. And the color. From a distance turkeys have always looked black but up close they’re a very shiny reddish – bronze colo. When they heard me, they quickly started running off and then all took flight. What a wing span! I was blown away by how well they flew and how quickly they gained altitude. I’ve only seen turkeys on the ground and never appreciated how well they could fly. I was under the impression that they were awkward flyers but these guys were literally soaring and executing sharp,hard spirals while at the same time gaining enough altitude to clear some tall pines. Very impressive.

I think the reason I’m so excited about seeing turkeys is that I knew lots of guys who were avid turkey hunters 30,40 years ago. I never heard them ever actually shooting one and they would talk about how wiley they were. Seems they almost never got to see one and would talk about hearing them as a big deal. Each had a turkey caller and instead of bragging about the turkeys they actually got, they’d brag about how they almost got one to follow their call. Eventually they switched over to hunting turkeys with bows and black powder guns. Never got any that way either but I think it was better for their ego to not get one using antique techniques rather than with the latest Italian shot gun. When we first got back to Florida I saw a few while driving which was incredible to me. With the first couple of sightings, I assumed it was my imagination and that they were some kind of unfamiliar buzzard. Now it’s common at a dinner party for somebody to say they saw a flock of 50. I still don’t believe much of that talk but will have to admit that I’m personally seeing them more often and in bigger flocks. So if times really get tough, maybe we can add wild turkey to our squirrel and possum larder. My guess is the reason there are so many of them is that the hunters woke up to the realization that the store bought variety were just better eating.

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