Old News
It should be said again, this is a story about where food comes from, and contains some fairly graphic photos of turkey slaughter. Don't like it? That's the beautiful thing about the internet: you can look at puppies instead.

If you'd just like to see photos, you can check out the tame ones (pre- and post-harvest) here, and the more graphic pics here.

Okay, enough disclaimers, on to the good stuff!

I won't share the full backstory on how I met Margot, but I will say it's a good one, full of random connections to all sorts of people. All you need to know is that I joined her vanpool and ultimately got a turkey out of the deal.

Margot and her partner have an amazing little compound of houses on Capitol Hill that all share yard space, and they take full advantage of it. They have several gardens, a couple picnic tables, and a rotating menagerie of animals. Upon meeting her, she announced she was buying some turkey poults (baby turkeys) for Thanksgiving this year. This was in June.

Throughout the summer, I got updates on the turkeys (there were eight until a neighbors dog finally got through the fence and killed on), and occassionally visited them. I also learned that Margot was planning on harvesting the turkeys herself (no slaughterhouse for them!). But I didn't know my Thanksgiving plans, nor was a turkey offered to me, and I didn't think too much of it, save being impressed these birds were being raised in a major metropolitan locale, and would be killed just 10 blocks from my house.

Come October, as my plans to stay in Seattle for the holiday solidified, I casually mentioned that if there was an unclaimed turkey, I would be interested. Sometime in mid-November, the email arrived: I was in! Not only that, but as jobs were being assigned for harvest day, I volunteered/was volunteered to be head executioner.

HeadEx. Kill and bleed Dave
[ FYI: this is not the graphic image. Wait for it. ]

One of the logistics emails read, as the various job titles, descriptions, and names were listed, "Head Executioner: Kill and bleed DAVE". Wow.

Needless to say, we were not experts in this field by any stretch of the imagination, which led to some pretty great Internet research. Let's just say you find some pretty creepy stuff if you search for "turkey slaughter video" (notably, this Sarah Palin video).

Fast forward to the Sunday before Thanksgiving, many more emails having been exchanged about the myriad tasks related to turkey harvest. We meet to discuss details, our roles, and toast the birds:

(Wild) Turkey(s)

We also do a preliminary weigh-in:

Our turkeys weighed between 12 and 19 pounds. Margot says next year, she'll start a little earlier, since the birds were still gaining weight up through the harvest. Mashed Potato, our bird, was one of the larger birds at 18 pounds.

The day before harvest, Margot and Knox moved the birds from their coop to a penned-in area inside. If they knew what was coming, they gave no indication of it - turns out turkeys aren't the smartest animals.

Penned in birds

Cone and mulch

Turkey in the cone