Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

What are U doing today? > Fri. Jan. 9, 2009 - What are U doing today?

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message 1: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Today I'm making a handle for a turkey's nest. (g)

message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6282 comments Why would you want to handle a turkey's nest, much less make a handle for it?

I just found out something interesting. I was going to post a comment that was just a question mark. I got an error "Body is too short (minimum is 2 characters)" I'm always finding something new around here.

message 3: by Becky (new)

Becky (beckymurr) Enjoying the fact that my husband has 4 out of the next five days off!!!

message 4: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6282 comments A turkey's nest is food? Hmmm... We used to raise a couple of turkeys every year. Mom stopped after one of them pecked my youngest boy under the eye. He didn't need stitches, although it was close. It was really close to taking out his eye - 1/2" or less higher would have done it. I got to pluck it the next day & we had it for Thanksgiving, as the guest of honor. I really hated plucking them. Their feathers were very tough to pull out. Tougher than a goose. Only a peacock came close.

message 5: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I knew that "turkey's nest" comment would make folks curious. LOL The explanation is that it's the answer Ed's father would give when Ed, as a little boy, asked his father what he was doing.

We have no idea where his father got that answer or if he made it up. He was full of remarks like that. He called cauliflower "flowers the Collies play in". Asparagus was Sparrow Grass.

He was quite a personality. When he headed the dining room table, there was a certain presence in the room. Some rare people have that quality. He played piano,organ, and accordian by ear with never a lesson. He was always rigging up Rube-Goldberg-type devices. He was good at drawing cartoons too.

He was one boy among 8 Swedish sisters, each one prettier than the other.

Here are 3 pics:
This one shows him with his 8 sisters.

Handsome fellow. Clever and smart.
RIP - 1901-1976

message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim, the only things I've ever plucked are flowers and things like eyelashes.
What do you do with a peacock after you pluck it?

I snapped this pic of a peacock while at Weekee Wachee Springs, FL, in 2006: ====>

message 7: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6282 comments Joy H. (of Glens Falls) wrote: "What do you do with a peacock after you pluck it? ..."

Eat it, of course. No sense going to all that trouble for any other reason I can think of. They're not bad. Kind of like a pheasant.

None of Mom's birds were like what you get in the grocery store because they ranged free during the day, only coming into the roost at night. We had Guinea hens, Bantams/Cornish Game hens & a couple of other types roaming around depending on the year. While we raised wild turkeys, pheasants & quail for wild release (their numbers were very low in the wild in the 70's & early 80's) we didn't eat them often. Occasionally one would break a leg or have some kind of mishap & we wouldn't let it go to waste, though.

We raised some Peking ducks for eggs & food, but mostly ate wild Mallard ducks. I never cared much for them, although when we'd have some around laying, it was interesting because their egg shells are greenish. My aunt used to serve 'green eggs & ham' frequently when my uncle had them. We had some Call ducks once, but they weren't good for much & were picked off by various predators. Too stupid to live, I guess.

We also had Muscovy ducks for a while. Our first one was 'Mrs. Quakless', so named because she couldn't quack. She wandered into our lives one day, never did find out where she came from. We found out that she wasn't broken after a while, it's a breed trait. Hers were the best eggs.

We had Swan Geese (big bump on their head) which we also got eggs from occasionally, but I hated them. They used to beat me up until I was 6 or 7. Until then, they were bigger than me. Nasty things. Luckily, my dog didn't let it happen too long or often. Still, their eggs were good, just huge. About like 3 chicken eggs or maybe 4.

I think my favorite bird to eat is pigeons, though. I'd shoot 6 or 8 of them, breast them & it would make a good dinner. There's no other excuse for pigeons that I can think of. I wouldn't eat a city pigeon, but the ones that lived in our barn were tasty & didn't need plucking, which is best.

I truly hate plucking a bird, even with a plucker like our old Magic Fingers - basically a wheel with long rubber fingers on it that would strip them off. Ducks & softer goose parts were as big as it would work on, though. There's a lot to be said for buying a bird from the store.

message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 09, 2009 12:54PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Wow Jim! Your life has been full of fowl! (g) You've become an egg connoisseur... and a fowl connoisseur.
Do pigeons taste like chicken?
How did the swan beat you up?
What does it mean when you say Mrs. Quackless wasn't "broken"?

We see mostly Mallard Ducks on Lake George. There are also some Merganser Ducks on the lake. They seem unusual because they have a crest on the top of their heads.

I wrote a poem about a swan once. There's a story behind the poem. In 1992, a man transported 2 swans, a male and a female, to Lake George. He was supposed to take them back to where they came from, before the winter set in. However, he was unable to catch the male swan and it was left alone without its mate. I don't know what became of that swan. I wrote the poem after I saw the swan fly past my second story window near the shore of Lake George. It was a shock to see him so close with his wings outstretched. He seemed so large and had an enormous wingspan.

The poem appeared in the "Hague Chronicle", a small monthly newspaper in the small town of Hague on Lake George in northern NY State.

See my poem at: ====>
It's a short poem but it has more than one meaning for me.

message 9: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6282 comments I'm not much of a connoisseur. I just grew up on a farm & Mom had lots of animals. She was often given them or got them in trade for shearing sheep or something, so we had a variety. My step father worked with the Extension Office & other state agencies. He was very into hunting, too. We did tree planting & testing as well as replacing game birds & building habitat areas, both on & off the farm. We knew folks & seemed to collect strays.

Pigeon breasts are an almost purple red, very filling. I could never eat more than a couple. They don't taste like chicken, but I can't say what they taste like, besides good.

Swan geese used to beat me up, not swans. There's a big difference. Like the difference between bruises & death. A real swan is a lot bigger (2 or 3 times) & have been known to break a grown man's arm. Swan geese, the domestic variety, are no danger to an adult. In both cases, they tend to grab/peck you with their beak, push you up against a wall or something & beat you with their wings. Their wingbones hit you like a big stick, very hard. If you grab their neck, it has to be high up, just under the head or they bite & peck hard. When they're as big or bigger than you are, they're a mean opponent. Once you get tall enough, you can keep the head down between you & their wings. Then they're not a problem.

Muscovy ducks can't quack. They hiss & make broken little noises, but are pretty much silent - unlike the geese which are very noisey. Thus the name, Mrs. Quackless. We'd never seen one before & thought she was injured or something, but she wasn't.

message 10: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 09, 2009 06:48PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Thanks for the explanations, Jim. Very interesting. I never realized that wing bones can be like a big stick. Good comparison.

Do the swan geese bother you if you keep your distance? Why did they pick on you?

We see Canadian Geese here in the Lake George area. The ducks and the geese tend to poop on the park lawns and on the docks. It's not healthy. So they aren't welcome there. We're told not to feed them because their waste isn't good for the lake. But they're pretty to look at.

More reasons not to feed them can be found here: ====>

Never thought about how they might beat us up, although I knew swans could be hostile when provoked.

message 11: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6282 comments Joy, I never understood why our geese liked to attack me. I wasn't near their nests or anything. Sometimes I'd be outside their pen & one would get out. If I came near the barn, it would make a bee line for me. Pure meanness was my guess. They're very territorial & make great watch animals. They'll attack even a full grown human they don't know & set up a ruckus like you wouldn't believe. It would wake the dead.

Once I got big enough to win sometimes, they became my 'dragons'. As an only child on a farm, a 1/2 mile from the nearest house, I had to come up with games & they were almost always good for a fight. After reading about Tarzan & his lasso, I made my own out of baling twine & would hunt them down & tie them up. Mom whipped me a couple of times for it, but usually didn't catch me. It was a challenging game.

Canadian geese aren't nearly as agressive, although we did have a pair that went after some little kids once. Maverick, a German Shepard mix that was 1/2 Great Dane & the gentlest dog I've ever known, stopped them by pouncing on them. There was a lot there to pounce. He didn't hurt the geese but squashed them some & they ran off.

Maverick was dumber than a rock when it came to vehicles & it finally killed him, but he was the sweetest dog I've ever known. He was huge & ferocious looking, but if a chick got separated from its mother, Mav would lay down next to it & whine. When Mom's Golden Retriever was having pups, he laid there & helped clean them off. I've never seen a bitch allow that before or since, but even the ewes didn't mind him around during lambing. He'd kill a possum, raccoon or ground hog in a second, but the farm animals all knew he was completely safe in some weird fashion. He was 'special'.

message 12: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim, You must have been quite a kid!

As a "city girl", I find your farm background very interesting. You have special knowledge that most city people don't have and you've had experiences which give your knowledge a certain depth. You have a million memories you can constantly draw upon. Besides that, you tell a story well.

Maverick certainly was special. Too bad he died that way. It's so strange the way some dogs seem to have emotional instincts about caring and looking out for other living things... and how some dogs are so selective about what other dogs they will tolerate.

Jim, have you read the Edgar Sawtelle book? I swear I think of you when I read about the dogs in that book. I think you would appreciate that book more than any other reader because you have the background to pick up on the details. And believe me, the author, David Wroblewski, is a whiz at giving details. (g) Sometimes I say to myself, now why does he have to tell us all that? LOL

message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6282 comments Growing up on a farm certainly had its moments, but there was a lot of hard work, too. I always envied my town friends who didn't have to come home after school & do chores. Of course, they envied me because my chores were things like taking care of my pony, dogs &/or steer. You'll note that today, while we have 5 dogs, a pony & 3 horses, there isn't a chicken on the place. I may get them one day, but the thought of cleaning the coop twice a day doesn't appeal.

I haven't read either book, Joy. Could you recommend them to me? With the state of my 'to-read' pile, I don't know when I'll get to them, but it sounds interesting. I might recommend them to Mom. She's the real farm girl. She still takes care of one & at 69, out works half the kids they send to help her.

She raised fawns, used to drag logs out of the woods with a team of horses & can milk a cow or goat faster than anyone else I know. She's not very good at skinning, but can pluck a bird or breast it a lot faster than I ever could.

She really wants someone to write a book about one of her fawns, Buddy. She got some wonderful photos of him. She likes the James Herriot books. Have you ever read them? Really excellent reads.

message 14: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 10, 2009 02:11PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim wrote: "I haven't read either book, Joy. Could you recommend them to me?"

Jim, it was only one book I mentioned: _The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel_ by David Wroblewski.

Please put it on your to-read book. I'd like to know what you think of the dog training/breeding part of the book. Maybe your mom could read it and tell you about it.

Your mom sounds like quite a woman!

I haven't read the Herriot books. Someone gave me one once, but I prefer reading fiction. I must still have the book around here someplace. I'll have to take another look at it.

message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 6282 comments You really should read the Herriot books. They read as well as any fiction. It starts with "All Creatures Great & Small", but really they all stand alone pretty well.

I will add the book to my list. I'll see if I can get it on BookMooch or PaperBackSwap, too.

message 16: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Jim, you won't be sorry you got the Sawtelle book. I'm wondering if it's easy to swap because it's in such demand now.

I just found the Herriot book I have. It's the following one: The Best of James Herriot: The Complete Edition Updated and Expanded

It says it includes stories from all six of his major books. So that's a good start.

message 17: by Debra (new)

Debra (debrapurdykong) I love the Herriott books, though it's been a long time since I read them. I also loved the BBC series based on the books. Great stuff!


message 18: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Jan 12, 2009 05:08AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Hi Debra. My Herriot book is sitting on my piano bench beckoning me. But I can't answer it's call... not until I finish the Sawtelle book which has finally become compelling... whereas before it was just interesting. I'm on p.401. The book has 566 pages.

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