Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Without Carly

The farm is different without Carly. Dave works nights this week and the house feels very empty. Oolong the cat is still here of course, but she is bonded more closely with Dave and rarely makes contact with me. I miss the ritual of feeding Carly and letting her outside during the day. I miss having someone to talk to. I even miss her labored breathing.

The most obvious sign of Carly’s absence is the presence of wild turkeys in the yard. After the leaves fall, we frequently see the huge black birds scuttling through the woods or across the fields. They can weigh between 6 and 24 pounds - not something I’d want to tangle with. When I come down the driveway after a run, the turkeys pause in the woods, freezing into the autumn camouflage of brown, beige and gray. If I stop moving for long enough, the turkeys eventually go on their way. I saw my first turkey roosting high up in an oak tree while I was standing perfectly still, just watching.

Carly didn’t stand still and watch when she saw turkeys. She barked and ran toward them, chasing them rapidly out of range. She didn’t spend a lot of time out doors, but it must have been enough to make the yard smell like dog or in some way seem dangerous, because they never came near the house. With no dog on the property now, the turkeys are advancing.

First we saw one on the roof of the pickup truck. Next a pair strutted over the wood pile. This morning, the entire flock of eleven stood under the radiant crab right outside the living room window. They stretched their ugly, bare necks up and plucked apples from the tree. Turkeys have beautiful plumage in shades of gray and brown. I’ve found turkey feathers on the driveway. The colors on the huge pinion feathers form crisp black and white stripes. The softer, smaller down feathers are more subtle blends of brown and gray. For some reason, the feathers stop at the bottom of the turkeys neck and wrinkled gray and pink skin covers their heads. Up close, in the autumn, with their feathers sleek against their bodies, turkeys are ugly birds. Next spring, when breeding begins and the males spread their tails to reveal the iridescent bronze and blue and green feathers, the males, at least, will be beautiful. Without Carly to scare them off, we may see those magnificent displays up close.


  1. I'm so sorry to here about Carly, I know that feeling myself when I had to say goodbye to my pal. After a long while, another "indoor" dog came my way and ended up being the best dog ever. She even has a natural herding ability (quite good actually), I found out just recently she is a blue lacey, never heard of that before. A gift out of the darkenss.

  2. I loved reading your story about when Carly came to your house. That a family rescues a good dog, helps them along with their fears, and just falls in love with them is a story I always find most touching. So now, it is without Carly? However she might have gone, on her own or with the help of your vet, I know it was a most humane way for her. Cheers to you for rescuing her and loving her.

    Jo in MN