Wednesday Nov 29, 2006

Leftover Turkey

Five months.   That's all it took.   From adorable fuzzy little yellow poult to a whooping 35 pound roast Thanksgiving dinner.   And this year's crop was small compared to the 50-60 pounders we had last year.

One of the newly hatched turkey poults purchased at a local feed store at the end of May.   For the first few weeks of their lives, the poults lived in a very large box in my office.   They were kept warm under a heatlamp and enjoyed frequent attention.

Vegetarians wonder how anyone can possibly eat animals.   Some people wonder how we can possibly eat animals we personally knew and raised ourselves.   Sometimes, I wonder how we all became so conditioned to happily eat meat from animals we didn't know or at least know more about.   Maybe farm life has affected my perspective on this more than I realise...

Meet Tom, Tom, Tom, and Hen at 4 months of age.   A few weeks earlier, the three boys started strutting their stuff and perfecting their gobble calls.   The hen never seemed impressed.

We know exactly what quality of life our turkeys had.   They had free range of the property during the daytime.   Fresh air.   Grass pastures.   Unlimited access to my little corn patch (which they decimated) and my tomato garden (which they also happily consumed and fertilised).   At night, they were kept safe inside the barn, sleeping in large clean box stalls with shavings, food, and water.   And, they met with a very quick humane end.

Cooking the bird overnight, we enjoyed a quiet little Thanksgiving Dinner at 8 am on Thanksgiving Day.   The dishes were done by 9 am and we were able to sit back, rest, and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in peace.
 
Needless to say, we still have lots of leftovers....

Thanksgiving.   Americans and the turkey.   It's an interesting relationship.   In our household, we just make it a bit more personal.

Tuesday Nov 09, 2004

Parrot Use of English

When I read Rich Burridge's blog entry about Kids Use of English, I immediately thought of my own kid...   Ian.

Ian is an African Grey parrot who was born in the UK.   He is nearly 18 months old.   In parrot years, he's still a kid.   Yet, already, he knows several words and phrases quite well.

Ian's first word was "Hello". Then he learned "Fly", "Good boy", "Up top", "Drop it", and "Come here".   He also can do a meow, a woof-woof, a perfect car alarm, and a cuckoo clock.   He's also learning his body parts...   starting with "Beak" and "Foot".

Recently, we were away on holiday.   When we got back, Ian had developed a cough.   It was a smoker's cough.   We called the babysitter (no, she does not smoke in our house) and simply asked her how her cough was.   "Fine now," she said, "but how did you know I had a cough?"

Ian also snores (I don't know where he learned that!) and laughs along with the audience when watching TV.

Sure, this is what parrots do, you say.   It's just "parroted" sounds, nothing really in context...   or is it?

Ian's baby vocabulary is limited.   He knows the word "nut" means Pistachios, his favourite, but he can't say "nut" yet.   But he knows what "Come here" means.

When Ian sees a nut he can't get to, he tells it, "Come here".

When he is about to fly somewhere, he announces, "Fly".   When he arrives at his destination, he sometimes says, "Up top, good boy".   When he drops something (or is about to), he says, "Drop it"

Fortunately, Ian has not learned to lie or keep secrets.   When he is biting something he shouldn't, he usually announces it somehow, either by saying "Ouch!" or "No!".

I agree, English is interesting.   Watching a parrot work with it is even more fun!

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Kimberley

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