Turkey Time

While the season isn't quite over yet (does it ever really end?), I think all of us here at Prairie Heritage Farm are breathing a long sigh of relief, now that the turkeys have found their way into the mouths and freezers of friends and family in nearly a dozen cities across the state.

We still need to wrap up our first annual Grain and Seed CSA, but cleaning, weighing, bagging, and delivering grains is a far cry from wrangling 80 turkeys in subzero weather.

So, here are a few images from the highly successful (thanks to the wonderful crew that came out to help) 2010 Prairie Heritage Farm Turkey Fest:

Russ the Turkey Catcher.

Kelsey the Turkey Scalder.

Mandy, Jason, and Rick - the Mothers of All Pluckers.

Heather, Erin, and John - Turkey Gutters Extraordinaire.

Recipes for Your Heritage Turkey

We can't believe the community that turned out to help us get 81 birds from pasture to table this weekend. We're so very thankful to all of you who helped make it all happen: Jason, Heather, Erin, Rick, Neva, Kate, John, Nathan, Mandy, Dad/Clyde, Jennephyr, Bronco, Kelsey, Jill, Russ, Christa, David, and Mom/Julie. At one point, these brave souls were butchering in -19 degree weather. Troopers doesn't even begin to describe these people. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And, of course, customers, we couldn't do this without you. Thank you for supporting us, encouraging local food in Central Montana and for keeping these breeds alive by eating them.

Back by popular demand, after the jump (click on "more" below) are three great recipes for your birds.

Happy, happy, happy Thanksgiving from Prairie Heritage Farm, Jacob, Courtney and Willa.

Picking Up Your Prairie Heritage Turkey

Saturday, Nov. 20 and Sunday Nov. 21, our turkeys meet their fate.

If you're one of the lucky folks who got in early on the turkey list this year and are picking up your heritage bird, here are the details:

Conrad-area customers:
Pickup between 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21
at the farm: 165 Sunrise Lane.

Map to the farm:

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Great Falls-area customers:

Between 6-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22
2509 Upper River Road (Courtney's mother's house. Thanks Mom!)

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Missoula area customers:
Between 5-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22
1118 Jackson Street (our friend Jason's house. Thanks Jason!)

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Helena customers:
Between 6-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21
1523 Flowerree St. (Our friend Kelsey's house. Thanks Kelsey!)

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Bozeman customers:
Between 6-8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22
544 North Rouse Ave. (Our friend John's house, across from Audrey's Pizza Oven. Thanks John!)

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Start 'Em Young

I'll write again here someday, when I have this thing called time, which apparently disappears when you have a newborn. But, for now, to tide you over, a few photos of our new farmhand.

Here's Willa herding her first flock of turkeys. Jacob has been gone this last week, leaving Willa and I in charge of these darned birds. I'll regale you with the trials and tribulations of herding turkeys sometime but, suffice it to say that I will shed not a tear next weekend when they meet their maker.

Just look how excited she is. Or wait, maybe that's me. She's not so sure.

Here's Willa on the quilt that the board and staff of AERO, the Alternative Energy Resource Organization, got together and bought for her at the live auction at this year's annual meeting. In so many ways, the community of AERO has made what we do possible. From equipment to emotional support, AERO folks are always there for us. We just plain love these people.

Also, I might mention that in the top photos, Willa very likely has turkey poop on her somewhere. In the bottom photo, she is wearing cashmere (thanks to my friend Jule Banville, who handed this little outfit down from her adorable daughter Kate). This just goes to show that a farmgirl can be up to her elbows in both posh and poop in the same day. That's just how we roll.

Driving Truck

It's been a gorgeous fall. I should be taking advantage of it by working my tail off in the garden, but I'm dragging my feet. I need to spread manure, but I can't get motivated to do it (mostly because our manure spreader is a pickup, a shovel, and me). It's backbreaking work, so I've been avoiding it.

When a friend and neighbor asked if I'd help drive truck for his harvest, I jumped at the chance. So, instead of slinging poo, Lydia the Dog and I have been driving loads of barley from the field to the bin, dumping it, back to the field, back to the bin, dump, field, bin, dump, field, bin, dump. It's easy on the back and the scenery is nice.

What I have finally accomplished is setting up the drip irrigation in the high tunnel and broadcasting winter rye and winter pea. Both have germinated and are popping through the soil as though it's springtime and not the beginning of November. It's a wonderful sight.

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