Friday, November 4, 2011

Emma asks for help

On Friday after Val left for work Kid gathered everyone to discuss the turkeys’ predicament.  As usual, Buddy grumbled and asked why anyone cared about the darn turkeys, but he came anyway. 

“Okay, folks.  You all know Lemuel, and last year we got to know and like him.  He’s worried that his flock is in danger, since they’re not hatching any new poults, and without new poults, the flock will die out, especially since Bart’s family likes a turkey dinner now and again.  Bart used to take most of the eggs, but leave a few with the hens.  Now he’s taking all the eggs.  I told Lemuel I’d talk to you guys and see if you have any ideas as to what might be going on.”  Kid sat back and waited for answers. 

Ziggy shook his head.  “I don’t think I can help you with this one, Kid.  I’ve never had a litter of puppies, much less turkey poults, and a trip to Tibet when I was a wee pup made sure that would never happen.  Sorry.”

Buddy rolled over on his back and pretended to snore.  Kid guessed that meant he didn’t have anything to contribute.  Bella spoke up.  “Well, you know I used to live at a puppy farm, and they kept making me have litter after litter of puppies.  Sometimes I heard the breeders talking about how some animals are bred differently than others.  Some types of animals need all sorts of help from Tibet to have any puppies, or kittens or wombat joeys.  Maybe Bart’s changing how he breeds them.”  

“Wombat joeys?  Bella, what have you been smoking?”  That was Buddy’s contribution. 

“I’m just trying to make a point, Buddy.  There are more creatures in this world than we know of and humans have bred them to the point where they sometimes can’t have offspring without help.  Humans have bred animals to be so big or meaty or tiny because they want them that way, but those changes make it difficult for, well, natural breeding.”  Bella blushed.  She was not used to this kind of conversation in mixed company, or in any company for that matter. 

Emma sat up very straight.  “You have an excellent point, Bella, and you’re the only one among us with any first-hand experience in this.  Unfortunately, we just don’t know enough about how turkeys are raised.  We know what Bart has done from what Lemuel told Kid, but that’s not enough now.  I have an idea.  Let me get on Val’s computer and send an email to some of my friends.  None of them live with turkeys, but at least Rudy is a whiz on the computer.  I bet she could figure out what’s going on over there, or what could be going on.”

Kid smiled at Emma.  “Great idea.  And since Val works the evening shift tonight and day shift tomorrow, we should be able to check the email and get an idea without her catching us.” 

Emma opened the door to Val’s office with some difficulty (why couldn’t she just leave it open?) and turned on the computer.  While she waited for it to boot up she considered what she’d write.  It would probably have to be a bit long so that she could explain, but she wanted to keep it as brief as possible so she wouldn’t get any “DRTL” responses.  They were just rude.  If someone took the time to write something to you, the recipient should have the courtesy to read it and respond and not just give you a four letter code that most beings didn’t understand anyway.  “Didn’t Read – Too Long” was what it meant, and it had taken her a while to figure that one out after she’d poured out her heart on a chat board one day.  She got lots of those responses, and once she figured out what it meant she’d never posted on that one again.   

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To: Tatum@cheerful.com; peepmissrudyandlt@gmail.com; clem@catlover.com; runa@coldhaus.com
From: Emmabuddyandkid@kittymail.com
Subject: Question about turkey breeding (and no I’m not kidding)

Hey, y’all.  Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but there hasn’t been much going on.  I can fill you in later if you want – just send me an email.  We have some turkeys that live in the farm behind us, and Kid’s become friends with one of them, a Jersey Buff named Lemuel.  They’ve been there for about a year, and up until recently Bart, the farmer, has let the hens brood their eggs.  Now he’s taking all their eggs, and there aren’t any poults (baby turkeys).  Lemuel’s worried that the flock will die out, but Bella thinks maybe Bart’s doing something different with the eggs (other than just eating them).  Since she’s the only one of us who’s actually reproduced she might have a point.  I’m not at all familiar with turkey breeding, and probably you all aren’t either, but I thought that maybe you could ask around or do some sort of research.  Rudy, I know you’re a whiz on the internet, so I thought maybe you could so some searches on turkey breeding.  If you can get back to me by early tomorrow afternoon I’ll be able to check the email before Val gets home.   Thank you! :) :) :)

Emma
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Emma sat back and looked at her email before clicking the send button.  It wasn’t too long, stated the problem and hopefully appealed enough to Rudy’s vanity that she’d do some research.  It was doubtful that the others would have any concrete suggestions, although Runa did live up in New England and her family had raised some sort of animal.  Sheep or pigs or something like that.  Not turkeys, but maybe she knew something from what her humans had talked about in passing.

A polite cough in the doorway alerted Emma to a visitor.  Kid walked in and asked, “So, how’s it going?  Any answers yet?” 

Shaking her head, Emma replied, “Kid, I just finished writing the email. It will take a while to get to the folks I’ve addressed it to, they have to check their email and then get back to me.  We’ll be lucky if we get an answer by tomorrow.  Most of us have to wait until the humans go to bed or leave the house before we can check our email.  Can you imagine Val’s face if she caught me typing on the keyboard?  She’d think I was just playing, but if she saw what I was typing on the screen my secret would be out. We cats don’t want our humans to know we’re this smart, you know.” 

Kid hung her head.  “Yeah, I figured it was too soon, but I’m just sad for Lemuel.  He’s worked so hard to try to build up his flock, and I’d hate to see him lose it.  I’d hate even more for him to become Bart’s Thanksgiving dinner.  The fact that this is happening in November really has me worried, but I’m not telling him that right now.  Let’s wait and see what our friends have to say.” 

Emma hit the send button, and Kid walked out the room with a heavy heart.  This didn’t seem like a story that was going to have a happy ending.  She went across the hall into Val’s room and jumped up on the bed and arranged the covers into a cozy nest.  She needed all the reassurance she could get right now, and a comfy bed that smelled of her beloved Val was about all she was likely to get. 



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