It rained last night, pretty heavily at times. This morning, the winds came with the rain, whoosh for quite a while. Small branches fell and we heard some ominous sounds from afar—thankfully for the afar part. I went out to photography the white azalea that’s in full bloom and found the branches droopy under a heavy load of precip.
To get away from the roof and diminish the scary wind noises, I did some reading downstairs during the w-o-r-s-t of it, and came across the following in Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable Miracle: A Year of Food Life (2007). Here’s the setup. Spring is coming, and the turkeys that weren’t sacrificed for Thanksgiving and other feasts—meaning the hens—begin to experience the springtime tide of rising hormones, but BK doesn’t understand that that’s what’s going on with the hen with droopy wings. She finally figures it out and hies off to the internet and the library for the animal husbandry information she needs, and which didn’t arrive with her two-day-old chicks the spring before. Since most modern US turkeys come into the world via artificial means, hatch under heat lamps, and are sacrificed before they reach their own springtimes, appropriate council, she discovered, is…rare. She finally digs up a fifty-year old agricultural self-help book and gets some advice (p. 322):
I had more than just sentimental reasons for wanting to see my turkey hens brood and hatch their own babies, however unlikely that might be. I plowed on through my antique reference for more details on nesting and brooding, and what I might do to be a helpful midwife, other than boiling water or putting a knife under the bed. My new turkey-sex manual got better and better. “Male turkeys,” I read, “can be forced to broodiness by first being made drowsy, e.g., by an ample dose of brandy, and then being put on a nest with eggs. After recovery from the hangover, broodiness is established. This method was used extensively by farmers in Europe before incubators were available.”