Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Farm life

I have a little story to tell today.

Funny things happen when you climb out from under your rock and take a risk.

(As an aside, my daughter is big into the "And Then It Happened" series of books right now...hence my story telling style today!)

We are very blessed in our neighbourhood to have a very old homestead turned very urban small-scale farm, known as the Tilt Farm by locals, and frequented often for the purchase of fresh free range eggs sold on an honour system out of a fridge at the end of their driveway.  For years I had purchased the best eggs ever from this farm, and one day I was able to speak to the farmer, and was invited to bring kitchen scraps for the chickens and toss them over the fence.  Well, colour me a happy girl!  Now I had a reason to go more than once every week or two!  It was so much fun to toss our food waste, mostly fruit and veggie peels and stale breads over the fence and see these pretty girls so happy!

I just can't be miserable when I'm in the presence of chickens.

Fast forward about a year or two.  I noticed they had some cute little white fluffs back in a separate fenced area.  I asked about them and was told they were raising a few turkeys as well.  They had 10.

One Tuesday night in mid to late August, just before dusk I stopped by to toss our kitchen scraps over the fence for the girls, but to my surprise they had all gone in for the night already.  I had noticed the last few weeks there were fewer turkeys, and I saw the lady of the farm out to tuck in the girls, and I asked her about the turkeys.  She told me they had had difficulty with the turkeys, and that they had lost 4 of 10 and two of them were very sick now, and they were afraid they were beyond saving at this point.

And then it happened....my mouth opened to say I'd be back with the food for the chickens in the morning, so it wouldn't attract predators through the night; but it didn't stop there.  Without really thinking through how I might come across to this lovely farm lady, I went on to explain that I am a nurse, and I have recently been learning a lot about natural health care options, and especially energy medicine and essential oils.  I went so far as to ask if I could come the next day and see the sick turkeys and try some techniques that had recently worked so well for my own pets at home.

I have to give Mrs. Nancy Tilt all the credit in the world for grace under fire.  She must have thought I was crazy, since she didn't know me, and here I was asking to do what probably sounded to her like voodoo with her turkeys!   She graciously agreed to see me the next day if I decided to come by, and probably went to bed scratching her head and wondering what the heck she'd just gotten herself into.

I scurried home and got to work.  I had my sister look up some avian information for me in Dr. Melissa Shelton's Animal Desk Reference.  I WILL own this book, one day soon! (in fact, I'm working on becoming an affiliate)

I made up the avian raindrop oil blend, as well as a feather spray.  The next day I trucked over to the farm, introduced myself as the crazy lady from the night before, and she only somewhat reluctantly took me out to see the birds.

Let me just say, I made it clear I've never worked with turkeys (at least not the kind with feathers haha!) before in my life, and I really didn't know how this would work out.  If they really believed they were going to lose these two birds, I would be happy to do my best for them, and we'd just have to see what would happen.  She had come around to the idea of just trying anything, and set me up with a place to store my oil concoctions in her garage so I could come anytime to see them. It's hard to do worse than dead, so there was really nothing to lose at this point.

I started working with them on Wednesday morning.  I came twice a day.  The first time she helped me catch the turkeys for the treatment, and after that I was on my own.  But you know what?  It didn't take very long before both turkey and nurse were really looking forward to the time together, and catching the turkeys ceased to be a problem. Sadly on the Friday I missed the morning 'appointment', and we were in a horrible heat wave.  By the time I got there in the evening, one of them had passed.  I resolved not to give up, even though the other sick one was really, very poorly.  I also knew I couldn't miss a visit in that heat.

Here is my 'turkey girl' (forever known only as turkey girl, only because I had named the other one Sasha and then she died the next day.  I wasn't going to jinx turkey girl too!)    :(

You can see she has a congenital deformity of the right foot.  This made it really difficult for her to get around as she grew, so as she got bigger and had a harder time moving around, I often had to carry her in and out of the turkey house.  We grew very close, this beautiful turkey girl and I.

I understood the purpose of this mission was to get her well enough to feed people on Christmas day.  A year ago, I wouldn't have believed that I'd do this myself.  But here I was, nursing a turkey so she could fill her life's purpose.  But let me tell you something.  She lived WAY beyond her life's purpose.  This turkey girl here taught me more in the few months I worked with her before she went to the happy farm in the sky, than I could have learned in a hundred years without her.  No one at the farm could believe that she survived and was well for slaughter.  In all honesty, I think it was the worst mission accomplished of my life thus far.  But I'm processing it, and the experience has left me a much better person, and certainly more appreciative of the meals I feed my family.  I prepare them with more love and reverence for the animals who lived their lives so that I could feed my family.

In a day and age when we are so far removed from the food that we eat, I have learned so much, not only about farming, but about myself too.  In my time at the farm, I also learned how to care for the chickens, and I especially love collecting the eggs.

I will have a post soon with pictures of some eggs of various sizes, inside and out. :)  Link HERE

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