In this part of Massachusetts, its not unusual to see flocks of wild turkeys here and there, and now and then. In our new house, we see them rather more frequently. More here and now, than there and then. A family of them lives nearby, somewhere in the woods around our neighborhood. We started noticing them especially over the summer. There was a group of a few adults, and quite a few chicks. I don’t actually know how many of each there were, but I do know that now we have a group of 8 adults that regularly visit our yard. Especially now that we have put up bird feeders in the back yard. They can’t reach most of the feeders, but the little birds that can are messy enough eaters that there’s usually something to be found pecking at the ground below.
Our family, especially the younger generation, has been enamored with birds in general. So, we tend to enjoy these visitors. The one exception to this was when we had our lawn re-seeded. Then I was rather displeased to see the flock of turkeys out on the front lawn, enjoying the grass seed buffet. There were more than a few times when neighbors may possibly have seen me running across the lawn, waving my fist and shouting, “get off my lawn, you whippersnappers!” Or something like that. I did also enjoy a strategic use of the newly repaired sprinkler system, turning on the sprinklers right where the gang was pecking at the lawn.
Anyhow, here are some photos I took back in July. I know I’ve taken more recent photos of these guys (or gals, really), but it’s fun to look back and see the little chicks. Or the not-so-little chicks. They were cute, in any case.
The turkeys didn’t visit us today, which is Thanksgiving in the United States. Also known as Turkey Day. We figured that they were laying low. But these guys don’t have anything to fear from us: the only turkey on our table was a ceramic salt shaker.
The African crowned cranes at my local zoo are remarkably photogenic. They were quite cooperative posing for me earlier this year, showing off their striking crowns of feathers.
Striking a pose.
Craning to look at me?
Bending over for a drink.
Showing off its height and wingspan.
Enjoying the mid-day sun. (This photo was taken a few years before the others, which were from earlier this year. I notice that this crane has darker neck feathers, and a smaller crown. I wonder whether this is a black crowned crane, and the photos above of a gray crowned crane.)
Friday’s friday foto finder challenge was to share a photo of a crane While my first interpretation of this polysemous word was of the bird, I was almost certain that I wouldn’t have any photos of this sort of crane in my archives. I knew, however, that I had loads of photos of construction cranes and shipping cargo cranes. But a bit of poking back through my old photos triggered some memories of a variety of cranes I had encountered.
To see what cranes others found, pay a visit to the fff blog.
For this week’s friday foto finder, we’re on the hunt for animals. My photo library is full of all sorts of animals: furry, feathery, scaly, slimy or otherwise. But here’s one animal photo I’ve been looking for an excuse to share. These two prairie dogs live in our local zoo.
This photo cracks me up, and it seems like it’s screaming for some sort of caption. Any suggestions?
“Thinking again?” the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
“I’ve a right to think,” said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.
“Just about as much right,” said the Duchess, “as pigs have to fly….”
— Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9.
Everyone knows that pigs can’t fly.
Except, of course, when they do. And fly they do, in all sorts of lore and literature, song and show, and even in a few airborne vessels. This ThThTh list is hog-wild for the swine of the skies.
A list of flying pigs
when pigs fly: an expression by which a speaker can convey the opinion that a given event will never happen. As in “this blog will be awarded a Pulitzer when pigs fly.”
when pigs grow wings: an expression that means “when pigs fly”
Pigs Have Wings, by P.G. Wodehouse. A book by the author of the Jeeves and Wooster series.
The first recorded pig flight took place in England in 1909. (source)
The first historically recorded flight of a pig took place on British soil, at Leysdown in Kent in 1909. The pig was carried aloft by J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon, later the First Lord Brabazon of Tara, in his personal French-built Voisin aero plane.
The pig was placed into a wicker basket, which was in turn strapped to a wing strut of the aero plane. A hand-lettered sign attached to the basket read: ‘I am the first pig to fly.’ Brabazon purposefully carried the pig aloft, thereby disproving the long help opinion that ‘pigs can not fly.’
Pigs in Space: these pigs from the Muppet Show have mastered not just flight, but space flight.
ad astra per alia porci: Steinbeck’s motto “To the stars on the wings of a pig” (found via the blog On Pig’s Wings, taking its name “from Steinbeck, whose motto, described his status as a ‘lumbering soul but trying to fly.'” )
Can’t get enough flying pigs? Lots more about them can be found at Porkopolis, a website devoted to all things porcine. Be sure to check posts in the category “flight,” and the informative post A Brief History of Pigs and Flight. Flying pigs have their own Wiki page, too.
With Chinese New Year having brought us into the Year of the Ox, it seems a good time to bring on the bovines.
Seeing as oxen aren’t all that plentiful in the universe of things in my head, Babe aside¹, I’ve decide to round up some more plentiful bovines instead. This ThThTh brings you cows².
A herd of cow things
Cows are used in the branding of several companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream, which is a dairy product), La Vache Qui Rit/Lauging Cow cheese (more dairy products), A black and white cowhide pattern is also used for Gateway Computers, which are computers made entirely out of cheese. Or are they made out of beef?
cow pie: Not anlagous to a chicken pie, this is not a beef-filled pastry.
cowlick: a section of hair that grows in the wrong direction, sticking out as if licked by a cow.
Vachement: a French slang adverb. Vache being the word for cow, and -ment being an adverbial suffix along the lines of -ly, vachement could be translated as “cowly.”
Cow Parade: a large scale art project/event in which life-sized plastic cow models are painted and/or decorated as works of art and put on display. First seen in Chicago, and later in other cities around the world.
Mrs. O’Leary’s cow: the cow blamed for starting the Great Chicago Fire by kicking over a lantern. She has since been cleared of the arson charges, as she didn’t really exist.
Don’t have a cow, man.An expression meaning “don’t get upset.” A catchphrase used by Bart on The Simpsons.
How now, brown cow? A saying used to practice the diphthong [aʊ], which is contained in each of the words.
“I never saw a purple cow.”: a children’s rhyme.
I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
till the cows come home: an idiom meaning “all day long” or “for a long time.” I could list cows till the cows come home.
¹ The blue ox, not the pig.
²I’ll spare you the bull, or at least the bulls, for now.