His objections were clear, turkeys require a lot of grazing land, well drained soil, with a large warm vermin proof shelter, free from any drafts and free from any unusual sudden noise. and they don't do rain. Turkeys drop dead for no apparent reason, turkeys scare easily, turkeys regularly huddle and suffocate, and turkeys should never be kept with chickens due to black head disease which chickens can be a carrier of , fatal for turkeys but not often so for chickens. I'm sure he put forward other reasons as well, he just did not want to keep turkeys.
This was an on-going discussion. Our first farm was in Anglesea, Wales, we had good free draining land, we had a good barn but we also had a lot of rain. Then we moved to our first farm in Ireland, bad land, anything but free draining, even I could see it was a none starter.
At the second farm we were far too busy to contemplate giving time to such fragile creatures although the land was good, plenty of it and good barns, there was just not enough hours in the day, but we kept geese and raised them for the Christmas market, geese, proving you have enough of them and enough land pretty much look after themselves.
The first farm in Spain would have been ideal weather wise, but no barns and once again we were too busy building our house to take on more live stock.
Then came the move to Galicia in NW Spain, good land, plenty of it, free draining, and lots of big barns. Simon finally agreed, we would get two turkey poults to raise, one for Christmas and one for Easter.
Now, as any small holder knows, or should know, you don't give names to animals that you intend to eat, it makes it far too personal, rather like eating a friend.
We picked up the poults, clearly one was male and one female, they were quite different from each other. They were installed in the big hayshed barn, warm, dry, away from wind, noise and all the other things that you have to protect them from. They had access to range in a secure run.
They didn't move, they were happy to just sit, giving reassuring gobbles to each other from time to time, they didn't panic when I went in to feed and water them, but they did not move.
This continued for a week or so, by then I had grown quite fond of them, ( mistake) they would gobble their thanks for their food, but still had no interest in moving. I would sit out with them, stroking them, they would gobble their appreciation. Time to get them on their legs and moving, I picked up the smaller of the two, placing her on my lap, stroking her, reassuring her and then the second mistake, naming her. She was named Jessie,and he was called Andy, they responded to their names and quickly learnt that I was the barer of food, the food bowl was placed further and further away from their warm comfortable nest, after two weeks they would gallop to the food bowl which by now had been placed in the run. After a month or so it was time for them to go 'Free Range'. Their favourite spot was in our secret garden, this was supposed to be an animal free zone, no dogs, no cats and certainly no poultry, turkeys although quite big can fly, each day when we took our lunch out to the secret garden to eat by the pond we would be greeted by two waiting turkeys. They sat at our feet, purring and blushing, yes, turkeys do both.
They were the most enchanting poultry we have ever kept.
Would we ever consider keeping them again? Only if we want two pet turkeys wandering around and we don't.
So we are quite happy to leave turkey rearing to people who don't form a friendship with them.
What became of them? Jessie had a heart attack for no apparent reason, Andy never got over the loss of his mate and died from a broken heart a month later.
During our time in Spain we came across several dishes which became firm favourites with us. Amongst them are Ensaladilla, Tortilla, and a spinach dish with pine nuts and béchamel sauce.
Every area will have their own versions of the dishes.
1 med. peeled and boiled potato , half a carrot peeled and boiled per person.
1 desert spoon of finely chopped up onion per person.
1 hard boiled egg per person chopped up, (egg slices to garnish, optional)
Desert spoon per person of thinly sliced and diced green and red sweet peppers, lightly roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt and black pepper.
Small handful of good olives, chopped up small.
When the potatoes and carrots are cold, chop in to small squares add all the other ingredients, season well with salt and black pepper add good mayonnaise so it coats all the ingredients but doesn't make the dish sloppy, mix well, garnish with sliced egg and parsley, serve.
If you are not a vegetarian you can add some GOOD tinned tuna, don't waste your money on the cheapo stuff.
This dish goes well with green salad, cold meats or a slab of cheese.
|Everything is ready, it looks quite festive.|
The St. Stephan's day meal went well, a starter of Irish Organic Smoked salmon, avocado's with herby goats cheese topped with caviar.
The main course was the inevitable cold turkey , cold rib of beef, home made coleslaw, ensaladilla, hit the ceiling freshly made horseradish sauce, ( it sure clears the head) plus homemade chutneys, and the old Christmas favourite, very alcoholic sherry trifle. Although one of our guests had previously stated that he did not like turkey he certainly like ours, and did the beast justice. We won't be needing to think up new recipes of how to use up turkey a week on. Every one enjoyed their selves, even the cook.
|I'm over half way through 'Everything I want to do Is Illegal'.|
|It tried to snow.|
|Sunset in December.|
Hope you are all recovering from the last couple of days festivities and that you are all keeping warm or cool depending what part of the world you are in.