Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A "Tail" of Woe!

Good thing I love my husband SO darn much, 'cause if I didn't it would sure be easy to hate his guts this turkey season. I am still without a turkey. And Mike? THREE! Yeah, that's right, THREE. Although it differs by county, the season's total bag limit is four, and he has three. Not his fault he claims, but I'm not buying it.

First he went to El Dorado (made infamous by the Yearning for Zion polygamist sect last year) where each year he graciously guides for a group of old friends who gather every year to go turkey hunting. This group of gentlemen are all in their late 70's to mid-80's. Their eyesight is failing, their hearing is close to zilch, and overall they couldn't hit the broad-side of a barn! At least this year they didn't shoot Mike's decoys as has happened in the past. I think the main reason they do this is primarily just to get together and enjoy the camaraderie, and turkey hunting is merely an excuse. Whatever, they're gracious hosts, and they treat Mike as a special friend. In fact they schedule their hunts around Mike's schedule. Mike in turn, would tie a turkey down by the leg if he could figure out how to do it in order for these guys to have something to shoot. It's really hard work setting these guys up in order for them to be successful but he sincerely enjoys taking them out.

His "payment" is a turkey hunt of his own, and I'm really okay with this--he's earned it! But THIS year he got two turkeys with one shot and the dog treed a third (which he declined to shoot). Needless to say, he and the dogs came home happy.

We needed the rain desperately, but it rained out MY next scheduled attempt, and now I'm really bummed.

Then this past weekend Mike went to Comfort to give a presentation on prescribed burning for a group of local ranchers who had formed a burn co-op. (Mike's on the State Prescribed Burning Board.) His "payment?" Yeah, a turkey hunt. Yes, he was successful. Darn it!

This coming Thursday he's heading up to Ranger, Texas to again be a turkey guide to help out a friend who is short-handed. I don't need to mention how he'll be be paid for his guide services. I hope he misses.

This will leave ONE WEEK for me to bag my gobbler. ONE, I just want ONE gobbler! Surely that's not too much to ask for! In the meantime I will begin working on a turkey feather wreath as our annual donation to the Texas Wildlife Association's upcoming convention. They're really beautiful and they're also easy to make. The best part? I'll be using up every tail feather from all three of his turkeys, hehehehe!

Turkey Feather Wreath

This is a truly stunning project! It is adapted from the January/February 2003 issue of Turkey Call magazine. The wreath in the photo is the one I made to hang in our cabin.

If you have problems removing the tail feathers from the fan, stand the fan up in about 3 inches of boiling water and “cook” for about 10 minutes. The feathers will pull out easily. Don’t make the water too deep because melted turkey fat in the water will get on the feathers.

1 small (about 10”) straw wreath form
About 40-50 gobbler tail feathers
About 10-20 smaller tail feathers (those just in front of the fan)
About 10-20 body feathers (to fill in any “holes”)

1. Place the wreath on a flat surface where it can be easily turned. Determine where the wreath touches the table. This is the level where you will start inserting the turkey feathers.

2. Start by inserting the first four feathers at a 45 degree angle, one each at the top, bottom, and both sides.

3. Fill in with a feather between each of these points. Again, make sure all feathers go in at an angle of about 45 degrees.

4. Keep filling in around and around until the first round is full. Check the shape. Some feathers will be longer or shorter and will need to be adjusted to keep a round appearance to the wreath.

5. Repeat this procedure and work towards the top of the wreath. As you get towards the center, start using the smaller feathers.

If desired, add a bow or other arrangement to the base of the wreath.

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