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Around the Bend: Vicious turkey is a sign of spring

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Posted on March 14, 2013 |
By Jessie Raymond



Did you notice anything different about last weekend? If you’re like me you stepped outside, detected a change in the air, surveyed the layer of grime on the colorless landscape and thought, “Ah, it’s springtime in Vermont.”

Isn’t it beautiful?

I’m not saying the daffodils are up or that a reasonable person would take off their snow tires just yet. But for me the weekend marked an unmistakable turning point in the seasons.

I celebrated by hanging clothes on the line for the first time in months. Granted, I had to wear a barn coat and I suffered windburn on my cheeks. But I was rewarded Sunday night with crisp, fresh-smelling sheets. Even better, in March, unlike July, I can sleep on line-dried sheets without worrying that any earwigs might be camping out in my pillowcase.

The weather is having a different effect on our tom turkey; his former disdain for me has blossomed into cold hate. Lots of farm animals get that love-is-in-the-air hormone rush right about now, but his goes beyond fanning out his tail feathers and gobbling: He’s showing off to the hens by trying to kill me.

Every time I go out back, he sidles up to me, making a high-pitched tremolo, and then lunges. I hate to see any bird culled (farm talk for “get its head chopped off”), but I’m sick of doing my chores in a defensive crouch, looking over my shoulder the whole time. You only have to flee smack into the side of the barn a time or two before culling starts to sound like a fantastic idea.

However, I have yet to convince my husband (a turkey hunter, no less) that he must put an end to this dagger-beaked psycho. He finds great entertainment value in watching my twice-daily turkey escapades from the kitchen window. (Show times are at 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Check your local listings.)

The weekend also brought something we haven’t seen since last spring: mud. Admittedly, it’s hard on one’s dress boots to tromp through ankle-deep mud to the car each morning. But it’s a refreshing change from what I’ve been doing for months — skittering wildly across the icy driveway for 8 or 10 feet before catching my toe on a frozen lump of gravel and tossing my purse, phone and lunch bag over the top of the car.

I find the mud more of a challenge than in past years, though, now that my daily routine includes trying to escape a homicidal turkey. My barn boots vacuum seal themselves into the soggy earth, preventing the fancy footwork that has so far allowed me to bob and weave my way out of almost-certain death by poultry.

Turkey notwithstanding, it felt good just to be outside for a change. I braved the winds to prune the black raspberries, which I’m happy to report I accomplished with only moderate blood loss.

I also started picking up a cord or so of fallen black locust branches, which are appearing in quantities that make me suspect they are being trucked in by the neighbors. While out retrieving the laundry that had blown off the clothesline, I checked for crocuses and inspected the lilac bushes for buds. (I’m trying to cultivate the air of someone who typically keeps tabs on her yard.) Indoors, I even planted some early seeds, an annual tradition that brings me great joy, despite the faint, high-pitched screams emitted by the helpless little seeds. They know it’s not going to end well.

Overall, this was the kind of weekend that I look forward to all year long, except for one thing. I hate turning the clocks ahead — or, as I like to call it, “losing one of the most precious hours of the year.” If it were up to me, Daylight Saving Time would start on a Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. so we could spring forward right into the weekend. Instead, we wake up an hour late Sunday morning and find the day slipping away from us, always an hour ahead of where we feel it should be. You can call it a minor inconvenience; for me it’s bordering on existential crisis.

Not only did the time change deny me of a valuable hour of early spring, it also messed up my sleep schedule, and I can’t have that right now. As long as that turkey’s got it in for me, I need to be at the top of my game.

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