The Early Bird

I am up a little earlier this morning than I planned. It happens like that around here. Weather alerts, the wind, strange cat sounds, or a puppy whining at the hardness of bone she is chewing will do that to you. You probably surmised at this point that Val is still with us. After being sick for a week and hardly lifting my head off the pillow, I did not have the heart to send her away. It looks like she is now part of the family and even Eddie has become her doting alpha male to the chagrin of Fritz, who believes himself to be the top dog. They are all in a three way tie for who is the most spoiled.

Their day consists of rushing out the front door first thing in the morning to get a little play time. Stand back if you are between them and the door, because it is a little like watching elementary school kids in the old days when school dismissed. [Todays school are much more regimented.] They return to dog biscuits while we sip our coffee through a one-eyed haze. In about an hour they leave with Mike to ride along while he feeds the calves. It is the happiest time of day.

Patterdale Terrier Deutsch: Patterdale Terrier

Patterdale Terrier Deutsch: Patterdale Terrier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately, their rambunciousness means that Mike has to chase down three dogs running in three different directions at the same time and none coming to their name. Stop! Hee! Sit! …yeah, Mike’s learned those well– not so much the dogs. I hand it to old Fritz. He has never responded to voice. Never. He’s a Patterdale, though, and while other breeders bred for agility or looks or whatever, I think they bred Patterdales for stubbornness.  He does not mind…not in English, not in French, not in Spanish and not in Japanese. I know. We’ve tried. Looking at the Wiki picture, maybe we should have tried German. We have found that the only way to get him to mind is to fool him. If you want to get him to eat dinner, for example, and he’s hiding upstairs, “Fritzie! Wanna go for a ride? (jingle keys)” is the way to do it.

The good thing is that Fritz LOVES the calves. When the three tear off in a confused run with Mike trying to get them into the truck, Fritz usually makes a bee-line for the calf shed and often runs around to the run-in side to try to see the “baby cows.” This morning if the same scenario occurs, I wonder how he will respond to thirty turkey chicks, not calves, looking back at him. They are the newest arrivals to the calf shed, although separated completely away from the calves. I suspect his excitement will not make it easy for Mike to get him back into the truck.

Yesterday, you see, was move-in day for our soon-to-be free range turkeys. Mike, Caddyshack and City Guy spent the day before tranforming the run-in shed to a turkey coop, complete with roosts, feeders and manure box (for the want of a better word.) It looks sharp! Not as cute as some of the Victorian style chicken coops I have seen and admired on the internet, but certainly very functional.

Run-in shed converted to turkey they call it a coop for turkeys?

I imagined moving the turkeys from their brooder in the garage to the cowshed would be comical. I pictured the three amigos pitching squawking and flapping birds into the back end of Mike’s truck only for the flappers to escape when they opened the hatch to take one or two out. I pictured us chasing turkeys around at least five acres, which none of us is in the shape to handle. I even suggested rounding them onto a sheet then gathering the ends to tote them over, when met Mike’s sharp disapproval along with a bit of teasing. Nevertheless, as the time arrived for the men to transfer ability-to-fly birds, I quickly ran for my cell phone. I just knew there was a $10,000 prize for this on America’s Home Video or something.

I think I was disappointed when the transfer went off uneventfully. No. I know I was disappointed. I really wanted the $10,000! We just reached in, grabbed a bird or two, covered its head and carried them to the pen. They hardly peeped. Each was a little confused once they arrived, but you could tell from their chirps, their scratching, and their snuggling into the hay that they loved their new home. Even the little Royal Palm turkeys snuggled in under the heat lamp and went to sleep.

Which is what I think I am going to do for a little while. This getting up early stuff is for the birds…or the turkeys…or the dogs…or someone. It is not for me. Have a great day!


Royal Palm turkeys. They soon will get 'real' feathers. Until then, they like the heat lamp.


better shot of the turkey coop


The Bronzes checking out their new digs. See how much they grew?

About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
This entry was posted in Animals, farm advocacy, humor, Kentucky, lamentations of a city girl and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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