A Turkey On Every Couch

2 Oct

You’re never going to believe this.

So I’m going to promise right off the bat that I haven’t moved April Fool’s Day or Halloween.

It’s often very hard for me to get out of work by 7pm-ish so that Isaac and I can get a jump on our drive Upstate, but this last Friday, I did it! I was so excited and ran to meet him.  I jumped into the driver’s seat and we set off, even managing to make it through the UN General Assembly mess and some very thick pea soup fog around Hudson without much effort.

And then we got to the house.  We opened the door, and it was cold, and smelled a little different, but it was late and we were hungry, so we continued to unload the car.  As Isaac cracked open a growler of beer, I headed upstairs to turn on the heat.  And then I stopped.  That odd smell was even stronger upstairs… And then I heard a little noise.  I froze and veeeeeerrrrry slowly turned my head.

There, on the couch, was… something.  I screamed (Isaac said later that it was so blood curdling that he expected to come up the stairs and find a hockey-mask wearing chainsaw-weilding mad man threatening me).  And then I looked again.  And then I screamed again, “THERE’S A F*CKING TURKEY ON THE COUCH!!!!”  Isaac laughed, and headed upstairs behind me, and said “Oh my god! Take a picture!!!”  All I could do was think, Oh man, he so does not get the gravity of the situation.

It was just at this moment that the turkey decided that she didn’t like the look of us at all and started trying to fly away, only to run repeatedly and with gusto into the ceiling and and living room wall.  It was awful.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.

I grabbed a towel and opened the sliding door to the backyard.  And then started talking very softly to the turkey.  Heeeeeere turkey turkey turkey.  Oh please stop flying into the ceiling turkey.  Oh turkey, how did you get in here? I used my most soothing voice.  I clucked and hummed and cooed and tried very hard to get her to come towards me and to please stop flying into the ceiling.

It didn’t work.  She started freaking out even more.  And then she ran.  Down the hall.  I followed her and almost fell.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaa! Glass! Everywhere!! That’s how she got in! Through a double-paned window at the foot of the stairs to our bedroom.

There’s a little nook there, with a window and beautiful wainscotting and bead board.  The window was shattered nd every square inch of the beautiful moldings were covered in mud, shards of glass and turkey sh*t.

This is where my mind began to shut down a bit.  I was tired, hungry, and at my wit’s end about what to do.  I have no memory of how she began running down the hall again, but she did, and this time towards the door! I was so happy! Yes! it was almost over!! But, no.  Apparently she didn’t want to go back outside where turkeys belong, and instead decided to go downstairs.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in case you’ve ever wondered, turkeys can use stairs.

So there we were, in the kitchen, the very place I hoped she would never go, and what does she do?  She heads for the laundry nook and wedges herself neatly behind the washing machine.  Great.  Now what?  She seemed happy and calm behind the washer, so I got a chance to think.  I spotted my gardening gloves and decided to take some decisive action.

Together, Isaac and I got the washer moved, and then, I grabbed her.  I didn’t get a good hold of her, but I had her.  I ran towards the front door, but she began to panic, and twist and freak out. I kept squeezing tighter and tighter.  Then I felt something under my fingers; the softness of her flesh, the hardness of bones.  She made a little noise, tried scratching me, and then I lost it and dropped her.  I felt nauseous.

She was hopping about like I had hurt her, holding her wing like it was broken and moving in a jerky fashion.  With a jerking gait, she trotted into the small room off the dining room, and stopped.  It was over. She had had enough. I calmly walked up to her, grabbed her wings very gently, kicked open the front door and set her down.

She ran away, but I was broken.  All I could think was that I had killed that poor turkey.  I’ve never needed a glass of beer so badly in my entire life.

I was covered in turkey sh*t and feathers, as was my house. I felt filthy and intensely depressed.  I had brought up two sandwiches for our dinner; ham & brie, and you guessed it, turkey.  Isaac gamely ate the turkey one, and I tried to eat the ham, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t stop running the last 40 minutes through my head. I kept coming to the same conclusion, that I’d killed the turkey.  After a few bites, I had to stop and cry.

The next morning, there were no obvious signs of her anywhere, so I began to feel better.  Maybe she had survived?  Maybe she was faking injury?  We had to drive up to my mom’s house to borrow her vaccuum, and she, being an amateur wild life expert as well as gardener, thinks that was the case.

We have a few theories about how the turkey got into the house.  The window that she came through is under the deck off the master bedroom.  We think she might have been taking a nap under the deck when something scared her–the weather (it was very stormy), the volunteer fire department’s siren (which sounds like an air raid siren) that is near by, or possibly a coyote or rogue dog (there’s a lot of them)–she then burst from the ground, hit the underside of the deck and crashed through the top window.

After spending the day cleaning and vacuuming and trying to figure out how to get our very, very old window replaced, I whipped up a nice, vegetarian pasta for dinner; because, while this whole adventure isn’t enough to make me a vegetarian again, it sure has put me off turkey, and to a lesser degree, meat, for awhile.

Ed’s Note: One. I’d like to thank Lisa for the able assist on the title of this post.  My feeble idea was to call it Wild Turkey, but in an email reply to my story, Lisa said, “Oh my! You should start a second blog about your adventures Upstate and call it a Turkey In Every Living Room!”  And thus a post is born.

Second. I’m not a huge fan of swearing in my writing.  At work we eschew it because there’s usually another way to get the point across.  That said, there are certain people like Michelle and Carol who use it to such amazing effect that I bow down before their cute little cussin’ asses.  And, given that, in real life, I am a prolific, creative and liberal user of epithets, I figured, for accuracy’s sake, to leave the swearing in this post.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Pasta with No Turkey and Glazed Brassicas with No Turkey.

Pasta, With No Turkey

prep time: 30 minutes ~ cooking time: 1 hour

  • Olive Oil
  • 2-3 small Onions, sliced
  • 2 Bell Peppers, sliced
  • Garlic, minced
  • 1 large or 4 small Eggplants, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large bunch Broccoli Rabe, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Water
  • 1 lb Pasta
  • Salt
  • Chile Flakes
  • Grated Cheese

Set a large pot of heavily salted water to boil for the pasta.

Heat a large glug of olive oil in your largest and deepest sautèe pan.  Add the onions and peppers and cook slowly over medium-low heat until soft, golden and fragrant.  Add the garlic, then the eggplant and turn up the heat to medium.  Cook until softened and tasty, 10-20 minutes depending on your stove and the eggplant.

Add the pasta to the water, stir.  Season the sauce with salt, pepper and chile flakes.  Add the broccoli rabe to the eggplant mixture and coat in the sauce. Cover and allow to cook down while the pasta is cooking.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce with the heat still on. Turn to coat in the vegetable mixture. Turn off the heat and serve with a liberal flurry of your favorite grated cheese, a few grinds of pepper and a nice glug of very good olive oil.  Enjoy!

Glazed Brassicas With No Turkey

prep time: 10 minutes ~ cooking time: 20 minutes

  • Garlic, to taste, but at least a few cloves, finely minced
  • Olive Oil
  • 3 small colored Cauliflowers and/or Romescos cut into florettes
  • Salt
  • Chile Flakes
  • Dry Vermouth
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Honey

Add a large glug of olive oil to a deep pot over medium heat.  Add the garlic and brassicas.  Turn to coat in the oil.  Bring up to a sizzle and then turn the heat a little lower.  Cook slowly until the vegetables are tender, 15-20 minutes.  Turn the heat up to medium-high, season with salt and chile flakes.  Add a small glug of vermouth, vinegar and honey.  Turn to coat the vege and cook until the liquids become a light glaze.  Turn off the heat and enjoy!


32 Responses to “A Turkey On Every Couch”

  1. danamccauley October 2, 2008 at 7:34 am #

    What an adventure – you went from a chicken in your granny cart to a turkey on your couch – the parrallel is kind of poetic don’t you think?

    I can imgaine that both you and the turkey likely needed a stiff shot of wild turkey the drink after this ordeal.

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) October 2, 2008 at 7:57 am #

    Oh Ann, you have been inaugurated into country life. My own initiation came via a bat down the chimney. I know that you, Isaac and the house will recover. But maybe this will be the year for tofurkey…

  3. michelle October 2, 2008 at 8:27 am #

    holy jesus. i mean…whoa.

  4. rowena October 2, 2008 at 8:54 am #

    Did you know that the turkey was in the running to become the national bird, before they picked the bald eagle? That is no pigeon, we’re talking about.

    And I commend you for releasing it back into the wild. I know quite a few people who would be sitting back with a tummy full of tryptophan right now. I’m sure they would have hunted out some wild cranberry sauce to go with it.

  5. deb October 2, 2008 at 8:56 am #

    OMG! And I thought I had it bad when a little bird flew into our apartment and couldn’t figure out how to get out. I am pretty sure if a turkey had ended up in here (and oh, I have seen wild turkeys running around the Bronx before) I would have immediately packed up all of our belongings and moved to the country… which would have of course solved precisely none of our problems. I think you handled it exceptionally well.

  6. French Laundry At Home October 2, 2008 at 9:08 am #

    “Turkeys can use stairs.”

    Quote of the week, my dear.

    And, may I say: Holy fuckballs, you had a TURKEY IN YOUR HOUSE?!?!!?!?!? That is equally cool and horrifying, and I think I just would’ve cried and made someone come over to get it out.

    If it happens again, pick it up and carry it upside-down by its feet — that’s what my farmer friend does when his birds escape to the lamb pasture and he needs to get them back. It makes them submissive, and doesn’t hurt them at all.

  7. Dea Anne October 2, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    Oh, Anne…what a trauma! I’m sure that you handled it as well as you could. Better than I would anyway, but I have to say, this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read this week. Also, gorgeous pictures and a scrumptious looking recipe. I may try it tonight!

  8. Jennifer Hess October 2, 2008 at 11:30 am #

    Sounds like you handled things quite well, considering. :)

  9. sarah October 2, 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    Oh god! This sounds so scary. I would have wanted to sit down and cry. My sister recently found a bat in her dining room and I thought that sounded scary, but this is infinitely worse. So glad you survived!

  10. Julie October 2, 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    Holy crap! How traumatizing! And how bizarre to find a turkey (of all things) on your couch (of all places). And you thought it would be quiet and restful in the city. Have you recovered? I know I would have been thoroughly traumatized.

    I also don’t think that picking up the turkey would have hurt it. I’m sure it was just stunned and disoriented after having been trapped in your house.

  11. kimberly October 2, 2008 at 3:08 pm #

    Wow! You’ve got a great story there!

  12. Christine October 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm #

    Oh you poor thing. I’m pretty sure you didn’t injure the turkey, I’m sure she was just as stunned and shocked by the whole of the situation and man, that’s just a terrible thing to go through. Wild animals are pretty tough though, and if she flew through a double paned glass window with no real damage, your holding her was nothing.

    I’m glad things are back to better and good luck with replacing the window. It is no fun.

    But at least there are a million and one delicious vegetarian options to eat in the meantime.

    (I made black-eyed peas the other night with collards that was particularly delicious if you’re in the mood. Some garlic, a small onion, a chile pepper, sauteed in olive oil, add black-eyed peas and water to cover, simmer til cooked. Add in chopped boiled or steamed collards, cook a bit more, season to taste- we used pimenton and a wee bit of cumin, serve over rice. Eat happily.)

  13. Mary Coleman October 2, 2008 at 7:37 pm #

    Oh honey…
    I would have stood on the couch and screamed until Groom removed said bird from my presence.
    I think we’ll have eggplant for Thanksgiving.

  14. ann October 3, 2008 at 5:42 am #

    Dana — luckily there was a bottle of nice scotch sitting around ;-)

    Lydia — Oh how I wish it had been a bat. I know what to do with bats… but now that I think about it, I don’t have a tennis racket up there. Must get a tennis racket.

    Michelle — Swear away! You’re my swearing hero!!

    Rowena — I did know that about the turkey, Benjamin Franklin was a weird duck… A few of my co-workers said I should have shot it too, but yeah, no, no thanks.

    Deb — Damn that’s funny “move to the country, which would have solved nothing.” You’re always right there with the priceless quip! Thanks!!

    Carol — WOW! Turning it upside down?! I never would have thought of that! How zany. I’m hoping, praying even, that it never happens again. But, now, thanks to you, if it does, I know what to do. Now if only I knew how to get a turkey upside down. They’re HUGE!

    Dea Anne — Thanks! On all fronts!!

    Jenn — I am so happy we didn’t have a dog, or a handsome cat like you have, with us. I think that would have made the situation infinitely more difficult.

    Sarah — Oh, I did sit down and cry, but Isaac finally helped me find the humor in the situation. I think we’ll be scouring antique stores for a turkey print for the living room this weekend ;-)

    Julie — I am recovered! Telling the story over and over to people at work has allowed me to make it funnier and funnier, which is really cathartic. It is funny, I did think the country was just going to be nice and quiet. Call me a fool :-)

    Kimberly — thanks!

    Christine — Thanks! That makes me feel better. Your black-eyed peas and collard greens recipe sounds absolutely delicious! Thanks so much for sharing!

    Mary — Heh, you couldn’t have stood on the couch, that’s where the turkey was ;-) lol! I don’t know why I didn’t let Isaac “drive” on this one. Maybe it’s because she was a girl too.

  15. EB October 3, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    I can’t stop laughing about “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in case you’ve ever wondered, turkeys can use stairs.” Quite the turkey adventure.

  16. Christina October 3, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    Oh honey. I’m so sorry about this horrible turkey trauma, but at least you’ve ended up with a damned (there’s that swear word) good story.

  17. Sandie October 3, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    Up close and personal turkey trauma…too funny, although I’m sorry to hear of the experience with turkey *#@! and feathers.

    Well, at least this is a story you can recount every Thanksgiving and someone will get a chuckle—maybe someday, you will too.

    Whoever suggested tofurkey this year was thinking (I’ve heard it’s not half bad)!

  18. Will B October 3, 2008 at 7:50 pm #

    Well….your official ‘welcome to the country’!!! At least it wasn’t a bear…And I’ll have a turkey sandwich for you, so you won’t feel so bad.

  19. French Laundry At Home October 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm #

    p.s. — I’ve been quite the fascinating cocktail party guest this week with the factoid that turkeys can use stairs.

  20. ann October 6, 2008 at 5:29 am #

    EB — You should have seen it! You’d still be laughing even harder. It was easily the funniest thing I’ve seen all week!

    Christina — It’s so fun to tell. And it seems I’ve given a lot of people stories to tell. That makes me happy.

    Sandie — I’m hoping I’ll be over the turkey thing by Thanksgiving. I’ve eaten a lot of Tofurkey in my day, and its, well, meh, to say the least. However, the stuffing? Divine!

    Will — That would be quite some welcome! I don’t know what I’d do if I ever came in to find a bear on the couch! Probably cry :-)

    Carol — Aha! You’ve finally discovered my actual goal in life, to be a classier, cuter Cliff Clavin. Here’s another one for you… Do you know the actual name of this symbol: ¶ ? No, it’s not a paragraph symbol.. It’s real name is a pilcrow! fascinating, I know. Glad to be of service :-)

  21. Marie October 6, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    Wonderful story – I’m still laughing. Thank you.

    Don’t ‘spose you thought about chestnut stuffing at any point ? :-)

  22. Marie October 6, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    I mean, sorry, but that sure would have been Local!


  23. ann October 6, 2008 at 6:20 pm #

    Marie — We did, we certainly did. There was a story a few years ago on the local news about some poor schmuck that had bought his wife a frozen turkey when she wanted a fresh one on Thanksgiving day, so back out into the great white North he went, and on his way to the grocery store, he hit a turkey. When the cops came, the one cop was like “man, that’s a nice turkey, you need one for Thanksgiving dinner?” and the guy was like, “uhm, well, uh, yeah” so the cop dressed it for him and off home he went. Or at leas that’s how I remember it. I suppose it might not have been exactly that way :-)

  24. radish October 7, 2008 at 11:55 am #

    Oh goodness – hope you are ok. I heard about your story from Lisa and we missed you over our dinner — but I hope we can get together soon… What a story — it really does read like fiction – and it flew through double-paned windows, no less.. That’s out of control!! I hope you guys are recovering from your wild adventures with nature!

  25. Melly October 7, 2008 at 4:56 pm #

    Reading this post and then looking at the pictures as it progressed was like reliving an old Saturday Night Live spot…the meditation by Jack Handy, or something to that effect.

    A well-written, funny, and most bittersweet story. I am so happy and sad that I stopped by. :)

  26. Melly October 7, 2008 at 5:00 pm #

    Oh wait…it was Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy.

  27. Maris October 8, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    Your pictures are gorgeous! What kind of camera do you shoot with?

  28. Lisa (Homesick Texan) October 8, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    What a story! I’m so sorry that you had to go through such trauma–though if my home was going to be invaded, I think I’d take a bird over a mammal any day.

  29. Terry B October 8, 2008 at 5:50 pm #

    Now, see, Ann? This is why I never ever leave the city unless absolutely forced to. Actually, a bat got into our city apartment once, but I was able to get a dish towel over it and escort it out to the fire escape and release it. As I carried it out, all you could see was an angry little bat head sticking out of the towel and biting it like a [insert word that would make Michelle proud and Carol blush].

  30. ann October 9, 2008 at 7:33 am #

    Radish — I can’t wait to get together! Maybe next week? Everything is better now, but it was quite a night :-)

    Melly — LOL! Jack Handy!!! That’s awesome. That is kind of what writing that post was like. People like me, and I’m worth it. Hilarious, thanks!!

    Maris — My main camera is a Canon G9. It’s kind of a hybrid between a point-and-shoot and an SLR. It has great retro styling, a bit of a learning curve and is a little bulky to carry around in my purse, but I love it. For on the fly shooting I use a little Casio.

    Lisa — Oh hell yeah. I don’t know what I would have done if it was a coyote or a bear or something. *shiver*

    Terry — OMG, that’s too funny! Its so funny how many people have had bats in their houses. We had one in my dorm at school once. One of the cleaning guys whacked it down with a tennis racket. I felt horrible for the poor thing. I’m glad you took a more gentle route, but that mental image of the bat in the towel is just amazing. Thanks for sharing :-)

  31. Rachael October 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm #

    Oh. Bless.


  1. What’s Growing « Upper Meadows Farm - May 6, 2009

    […] orange variety.  My friend Ann had a great idea for those at the end of a post on her blog on the wild turkey that wound up in her living room. And 2 kinds of tomatillos. I’m thinking salsa, or maybe a sauce for some chicken […]

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