Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wild Turkeys -- hard freeze tonight -- picking green tomatoes

This has to be the most cruelty-free wild turkey feather ever -- it was dropped on our dirt road by a passing flock of turkeys about a week ago.   I frequently see turkeys around here, sometimes as many as 20 or more.   I wish I knew where they are roosting -- then I could find lots of feathers!

This morning our dogs were raising a ruckus from inside the house, and when I looked outside, there was a crow walking down the road.  I thought it was odd to see a crow taking a stroll there, but thought maybe he was looking for gravel or grains.  Then I saw the turkeys following behind.  At least, that's how it looked.  I grabbed my camera but of course, as soon as I went outside, the crow let out a warning call and the turkeys all ran into the bush.   I did get a good enough look to see that there were 5 adults and 2 older juveniles. 

Was the crow actually serving as a lookout for the turkeys?  It sure looked like it.  And he did fly off in the same direction that they went.

On another topic, we are due for a hard frost tonight -- going down to 26F, which is probably going to break some records around here. This is really early for a killing frost. Way too cold for tomatoes to survive, even if they are covered.  So I'm taking a break right now from picking and storing them all in the shed.   Some will ripen, and for the rest, I've got lots of recipes using green tomatoes -- fried, pickled, in sauces and relishes.   (BTW, naturally-ripening tomatoes do so from the inside out.  Any tomato showing some whitish or reddish on the skin is already ripening inside and will eventually turn red.) 

I've already pickled all my cukes, picked all my beans, onions, leeks and hot peppers, made sauerkraut and kimchi from the cabbages, jelly from the grapes.   All in all, it was a pretty good year for the garden.  Tonight we are making apple butter and applesauce, using fruit from our trees.  All of this certainly helps with the winter food budget.

Scarlet Sumac leaves against the sky
Pine County, Minnesota

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