Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wild Turkey

Not the medium-bodied Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey with a rich, amber hue, 
but the gobble-gobble variety.

Last April a lone hen walked through the yard.  

A few days ago, a hen returned but this time accompanied by two toms.
Everyone took a turn at shaking tail feathers and it wasn’t clear just who was impressing whom.
Somewhere in the late 1800s, wild turkeys no longer existed in Michigan due to destruction of habitat and hunting. In 1954, 784 specimens from Pennsylvania were introduced and wild turkeys became numerous once again.  
I’ve never seen it but it is said that wild turkeys can fly, and quite fast for short distances.
These three don’t qualify as anything much more than a trio, but if you do happen along a group of turkeys, the official collective noun for them is rafter.  Other unofficial but sometimes used names include flock, gang, or goggle. That’s for your next trivia quiz.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Experiencing A Junk Yard

There is something very appealing to me about rusted out equipment and old junk in general.  A gravel pit near my home has an inexplicable collection of old farm equipment, tractors, trucks, engines, miscellaneous mysterious items, and yes, even a kitchen sink, strewn throughout it.
Near one entrance is a 1913 steam engine. The snow photo was taken last March.
Both entrances to the gravel pit are marked with No Trespassing signs but road access is available. My first three trips were short, furtive drive-throughs with photos taken from the
car. When I mentioned this place to a photographer friend of mine, who also likes rusted
ruins, we planned a visit.
Rather than driving in, we parked at the entrance and thought we might just walk in. As we were strategizing, we saw a man on a tractor across the street who was now headed our way.
Across the street, by the way, are acres of fields, also strewn with old equipment. The man on the only moving piece of equipment waved and pulled up next to us.
Over his very loud 1960s tractor, I asked him if we could walk around to take pictures. When assured the photos would be just for our own personal pleasure, he gave us permission.

I asked a few more questions about the place and was told that it was an operating gravel pit and farm on about 150 acres. They were still holding out against developers, and the old stuff all belonged to his 84-year old father, who refused to part with any of it.
They are sitting on a small fortune of scrap, not to mention the value of the land itself.
Although John Deere seems to be a favorite, one can also see representatives from Dodge, Chevy, and International.
It was so much nicer walking through it all without worrying about a mugger or crazy person or serial killer leaping out and leaving our bodies somewhere they would never be found. Only our cars would be left as evidence but they could also be disposed of in the pond or under gravel. But I digress...
So we enjoyed a leisurely walk through the discarded debris of other people’s lives and work. Although we now know why it’s all still there, how this fascinating variety of detritus arrived in the first place is still a mystery.
There were no junk yard dogs, just a sad bouncy horse,
and a lot of reminders that rust never sleeps...