Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Turkey Named JACKIE

    For the past 15 years, rather than eating a turkey at Thanksgiving we have sponsored one. This year our special bird is...

According to the shelter she is curious and thoughtful and likes cooked squash and cranberries. 

    Jackie was one of 11 baby turkeys left anonymously at the Farm Sanctuary in New York. Her beak tip was seared off, indicating that she probably came from a factory farm. Turkeys like Jackie are debeaked, and sometimes detoed, so that turkeys, overwhelmed by extreme confinement don't peck each other to death, 

      Check out The Farm Sanctuary, they have all kinds of wonderful animals, and rescue stories. 



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fun Facts About Wild Turkeys

Wild turkeys, which are native to North America, have been around for almost 10 million years and diverged from pheasants. The usual lifespan of a turkey is 10 years. A mature turkey has about 3,500 feathers. The heaviest male wild turkey recorded weighed 38 lbs.
Image result for pictures aztecs with turkeys   They were domesticated by the Aztecs long before they were introduced into Europe by the Spaniards. The King of Spain was so impressed by the new bird that he ordered every ship returning from the New World to bring along 10 turkeys in addition to the gold and silver that they looted. The popularity of the turkey soon spread throughout Europe replacing the peacock at banquets.

  Contrary to popular belief turkeys can fly, at least wild turkeys, their domestic counterparts are now not able to do so due to selective breeding. Wild turkeys are capable of flying at speeds of up to 55 miles per hour for short distances and can travel on the ground at speeds of 25 miles per hour.

In the wild, turkeys sleep in trees, furthermore they prefer oak.
Wild Turkeys forage for food such as acorns, seeds, roots, insects and wild berries. Domesticated turkeys weigh twice as much as a wild turkey, this is because they are fattened in factory farms and fed growth hormones and have no room due to close confinement in which to exercise. 

Dispelling the myth: Although there is no documented evidence of this, we've all heard the story of a turkey looking upward in a rainstorm and drowning. The behavior is a genetically-caused nervous disorder called tetanic torticollar spasms, which causes the bird to hold it's head at unusual angles. 

Turkey talk: They don't just gobble. But when they do, they can be heard as far as a mile away. However, turkeys have been known to have over 20 distinct vocalizations including “yelps,” “purrs,” and “kee-kees.” Turkeys can recognize each other by their unique voices.

   Turkeys are highly social, affectionate and love to play. They create long-lasting social bonds with each other and with humans. Turkeys love to be stroked, petted and cuddled. They will remember your face and if they like you, they will come up to you to greet you. Turkeys also love music and will cluck along with the songs.   

         If Turkeys were stupid, they wouldn't be so hard to hunt. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Poker Alice: Gambler, Dealer, Wife, and Mother

Poker Alice
At my age I suppose I should be knitting. But  I would rather play poker with five or six  'experts' than eat."
-- Alice Ivers Tubbs; aka: Poker Alice

    Born in Devonshire, England in 1851, Alice Ivers and her family came to America and settled in Virginia when she was still a small girl. Her father, a conservative schoolmaster made sure Alice attended an elite boarding school through her teen years. Then the family moved to Leadville, Colorado where she met Frank Duffield a mining engineer whom she married at the age of twenty. 

Image result for pictures gambling saloon
Gambling, almost unavoidable in the mining camps of the Old West, Frank became a regular player. Alice not wishing to stay home alone, often accompanied him. At first she quietly watched from a far, but having a sharp mind and a competitive spirit, before long she sat at the tables winning her share at poker and Faro.  

A few years into the marriage, Alice's husband was killed in an explosion and she was left with no means of support. There wasn't a school for her to teach in and other female occupations didn't appeal to her. Capitalizing on her gambling skills, she became a Faro dealer. A petite 5'4" beauty with blue eyes and silky brown hair, and dressed in the latest fashions, she was soon in great demand. 

     As she traveled from camp to camp, playing in cities all over Colorado including Alamosa, Central City, Georgetown and Trinidad. As a dealer and a player, she acquired the nickname "Poker Alice", and could often be seen in her frilly dresses while puffing on a large black cigar. She never gambled on Sundays, and carried a .38 revolver which she had no reservations about using. She was welcome everywhere as her presence always drew a crowd and was good for business. 

Expanding her horizons, Alice made her way to Silver City New Mexico. She won $6,000 a the Gold Dust Gambling House which prompted a trip to New York to replenish her fashionable wardrobe. 
Image result for pictures of bob ford

Later, in Creede, Colorado, she met and went to work for Bob Ford (the man who killed Jesse James. In 1890 she ended up in Deadwood, South Dakota, and met Warren G. Tubbs, a house painter from Sturgis. 

She saved Tubbs with her .38 when a miner pulled a knife on him. The couple married, moved to Deadwood to homestead on the Moreau river and raised 7 children. But luckier at cards than love, Warren contracted tuberculosis and despite her dedication to making him well, he passed away in 1910

After that, things spiraled downward. Gone were the fancy clothes as she enjoyed a good cigar. She ran a brothel and saloon in South Dakota, shot a man in self-defense, and after repeated convictions was sentenced to prison. However, Alice, 75 years old at the time, was pardoned by the governor.

At the age of 79 she underwent a gall bladder operation in Rapid City, but died of complications on February 27, 1930. 

In her later years, Alice claimed to have won more than $250,000 at the gaming tables and never once cheated. In fact, one of her favorite sayings was: "Praise the Lord and place your bets. I'll take your money with no regrets."