Laying Hope to Rest

Early in April this year, family from Nebraska came to visit for a long weekend.  We forewent the usual sightseeing in the nearby Wichita Mountain region and Oklahoma City area.  Instead, we opted for a more relaxing weekend of hiking, fishing and kicking back here on the ten acres.  Niece Emily, and nephew Sid tried their best to bond with Daisy deer.  Daisy took a sniff or two of Emily and promptly walked off.  Sid had better luck.  After all, Daisy IS a female and Sid is a nice looking young man!

A speckled wild turkey egg is the size of a jumbo chicken egg!

While taking a hike to our favorite fishing hole later that morning, Sid discovered a lone, turkey egg laying in the sand in a sparse, grassland area.  We all looked to see if we could locate a nearby nest but nothing was found.  We deduced the hen had either laid the egg where it was, or some varmint had stolen it from a nest and dropped or discarded it for some reason or another.  Whatever had happened, it was apparent the egg was bound for doom if we left it where Sid found it.  We decided to take the egg home and incubate it.  My sister kept the egg warm all afternoon, keeping it against her warm body, while FD and I took the kids fishing.

Sid the turkey egg in the new incubator.

Once back home, I borrowed my mom-in-law’s antique egg incubator.  FD and I got online and researched incubation of wild turkey eggs.  We set up the old incubator according to Mom’s instructions, but soon realized one of the bulb sockets wasn’t working.  We made a few adjustments to help with temperature, but it remained unstable by a few degrees.  We checked the temperature for two days before deciding to drive to the nearest farm store and purchase a new incubator.

Now set up in his new home, Sid the turkey egg (appropriately named after its founder, our nephew Sid)  sat in the little warming box with two thermometers and a hygrometer to constantly monitor temperature and humidity.  Of course we had no idea if Sid was fertilized, or how long he had laid on the ground in the cool weather, but we set up our charting system anyway, as if we had discovered him just after being laid.  FD designed a spreadsheet to keep track of each turn to the “X” or the “O” side, marked on opposite sides of the egg with a pencil.  For 25 days, four to five times a day, Sid the turkey egg was turned.  We added water as necessary to keep the atmosphere inside the incubator at the correct humidity level.  On day 26, we stopped turning the egg and adjusted the humidity a bit higher, and on day 28 we kept constant vigil to see if we had any pipping (the chick pecking its way out) going on.  Day 29 and 30 came and went with no indication of life.

This morning, day 31,  I knew it was time to remove the egg from its warm Styrofoam nest.  But what to do now with Sid the turkey egg, who had become my new little charge for the past month? He had a name.  He was a responsibility and, as far as I was concerned, a hope of being my little side-kick.  I envisioned him walking beside me as I performed my daily chores. I even purchased the movie, “My Life as a Turkey” in preparation.

Regulating temperature and humidity, along with turning the egg 3 to 5 times a day became a part of my daily routine… still beats being the hen who has to sit all day long and turn the eggs herself!

I remembered a few years back that FD’s mom had taken a trip about the time she was expecting chicks to hatch.  Old Whitey the hen had been sitting on a clutch of 5 eggs and Mom thought they should hatch a few days after she left on her trip.  Sure enough, the pipping started on two eggs early one morning.  I was excited when I heard a single “peep” coming from the nest.  However, a few hours later Whitey was off the nest and a horror awaited me.  One chick had managed its way out of the shell, but something was wrong with it.  A bloody sack hung from it and I never could tell what had happened.  Another chick had only partially hatched, and died.  I buried the small chicks and waited a couple more days to give the other three a chance, but Whitey was done sitting.  She wanted out of the chick pen area and back with the regular flock.  I took the other eggs and decided to investigate if they were fertile or not or if any development had taken place.  One apparently was not fertile at all.  The other two were fertile but the embryos only made it between day 10 and 13.  I wasn’t prepared to see partially developed chicks, and I wished I had not opened the eggs at all.  I buried everything, feeling miserable about the whole ordeal.  I knew I would not investigate what happened with Sid.

So this morning, with a heavy heart, I took little Sid the turkey egg to the woods behind the house and found a resting place in a grassy area where I put him in a little crook at the base of a tree.  I know something will come along and nature will have its way.  Perhaps the egg will feed some kind of mother, who is nursing young.  Perhaps a snake will ingest it, or a larger bird of prey will spot it and have a meal.  The ways of nature are not always pretty, but I accept that this is the way it has to be.

The empty Cardinal nest so cleverly hidden in the Quince.

A week ago I discovered a Cardinal bird’s nest in the quince shrub on the south side of our house.  In it lay a clutch of 5 eggs.  If I came near the shrub, Ms. Cardinal flew from the nest and chirped from a nearby Elm tree.  Not wishing to disturb her, I tried to avoid the area whenever possible.

Yesterday, I noticed Ms. Cardinal was no longer around, chirping her usual warning. Concerned, I peeked into the quince and discovered her eggs were gone too.  Likely a squirrel or a snake raided her nest and the little lives-to-be were rudely, however naturally, interrupted.  Wildlife, especially birds, are quite resilient creatures, and I know Ms. Cardinal will make another nest soon, perhaps this time in a more hidden area.  She, and life, will move on.

Pondering this reality, I thought of my own infertility issues suffered over a period of more than 2 decades.  The excitement of planning pregnancy and having hope for a child.  The disappointment of failure month after month.  The years of investigating probable causes and solutions; followed by more hope and more disappointment…  And yet, the spirit does not give up.  It moves on, perhaps changed in some aspect but, with resiliency, helps us to carry on with everyday life.

The final resting spot in the woods.

Today I laid hope to rest in my endeavor to hatch Sid the Turkey.  He was a gift for a time.  I learned a lot about wild turkeys and hatching eggs because of my experience with him.  That he did not hatch did not say “failure” to me.  Sid offered an experience that brought understanding.  I have hope that the next time I am presented with a turkey egg (or a clutch of them!) I will be better prepared because of my experience with Sid.

Though it took many years for me to lay hope to rest with my infertility issues, I did move on, and eventually found other ways to express my nurturing nature.  I always had empathy and compassion for others who struggled with being childless.   Many times, what we cannot have, produce, or bring to life, are the very things that bring about realization that all life is truly a miracle.  Rarely do we give thought to the complex, biological mechanisms that must take place to bring about and sustain life.

FD captured this photo of “Henrietta”, a wild turkey in our canyon. She appeared for a couple of weeks in early spring, possibly looking for a place to nest .

Nature speaks to us of an ineffable resiliency to move on, return, recover, and endure.  It does not question or investigate; it moves on continually.  Of course, we will always have hope for a positive situation or turn of events as we perceive it.  But there is also a time to lay hope to rest, so that we may move on.  I gave the best I had to Sid the Turkey – who never was.  And I will continue to offer nurturing and love to nature’s creatures, whenever it is needed.

Wherever I go, wherever I look, there are miracles to be found in nature.  Perhaps Sid the turkey egg will be the miracle a hungry young mother discovers in her search for food this morning.  Perhaps this was his miracle of not hatching.  All things happen for a reason and, though it is always wonderful to have hope, it can also be a good thing to lay hope to rest… because that too can bring about a miracle in our lives.

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


35 thoughts on “Laying Hope to Rest

  1. I am so sorry about your infertility issues – I didn’t know. I chose to be sterilised when my son was diagnosed with severe autism, because the chances of my having another autistic child were just too high (it’s apparently genetic in our family, and unknown to me back then I myself have autism).

    The higher powers deemed you to be the right person for the job as Earth Mother; that much is clear 🙂

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    1. In this day and age, many times it is assumed that people choose not to have children if they are childless. From the time I was a very little girl, I knew I wanted at least 4 kids. I was the eldest of 5 and I loved having siblings to play with. I was also very domestic and loved keeping house and working in the family garden. I was a bit at odds going through the infertility years, watching my siblings and friends have babies. I felt isolated and very alone. My mom was my savior during those years. She encouraged when it was time. She wept with me in my deep sadness.

      I am thankful that FD realized my desire to nurture and love. Though I have a LOT of nieces and nephews to love and dote on, my work here is with animal life. I appreciate FD’s support and help in caring for wounded and orphaned animals and birds, and for fostering rescue dogs. He is the ultimate “animal whisperer” himself, and he has plenty of his own rescue stories to tell… but together we make a great team. I have to be thankful for “Laying Hope to Rest” in order to move on and be who I am at this time in my life. There is wonder and mystery (and miracles) at every turn in the journey.

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      1. It always breaks my heart that those with fertility issues are almost always the people who desperately wish for children to love and care for. My son is fostered because we are both disabled (at my request, to give him a chance of a good life and a life above the poverty line) and he has been blessed to have found a wonderful family. The couple are already parents but always wanted more children and they adore my son.

        I enjoy every moment of following you on your journey 🙂

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        1. How wonderful for both you and your son to have the help and love of such a wonderful family. These are the types of life stories that I love to hear. There are many good and kind people in the world who make a difference. We all have gifts to share with others. Our lives are changed forever because of that compassion and love.

          Because we are “love” I believe our spirits move on to discover a niche or a way to live out our desire to nurture. I too, care for the elderly, and of course fostering Japanese Chin rescue dogs, and caring for injured and orphaned animals are ways I reach out, caring, and giving help and love to those in need. I am proud to be Aunt Lori to many wonderful nieces and nephews, and even Mom to one young lady in town; a transplant from another state, as I once was when I moved to Oklahoma. Love abounds in this connectedness we experience all through life. It is easy to be disillusioned by disappointment, but if we tap into our inner strength and spirit, what seemed to be a roadblock is now the gift of a new experience!

          Thank you for your always kind words my friend! I love you so much!

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  2. The two goose eggs that I was incubating did not hatch either, but I, like you, tried my best. I think that these situations are lessons in patience and love for others. Also, it is a lesson of the wonders in nature, like how a mother bird makes it look so much easier to hatch her eggs than it does for us deer ladies. You are an Angel of Mercy, because you are there for the weak and helpless creatures of the world. And on their behalf I would like to thank you for that.

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    1. Ah, and you too are an Angel of Mercy and Love to the deer population! Each of us has the capacity within, to love unconditionally, whether it be human, animal, bird, reptile… etc. We are always discovering the magnitude within, to love… to BE love! I’m sorry your goose eggs didn’t hatch. Alas, there will be other experiences I am sure!

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  3. Another wonderful post and I admire how you put your feelings and hopes out there for anyone. I have a hard time doing that for whatever reasons but I find inspiration in those that do. Perhaps some day I’ll find that courage to express myself more easily. Like you I recently found a bird nest along my back fence while cleaning the row. It had two fledgelings inside so I put off doing fence clean up until the were up and gone. A few days went by and I found they were gone. It was way too soon for them to have left on their own and I felt a bit guilty. I wondered if I’d exposed them to other dangers by making their nest more visible. I felt a bit sad about their loss especially with me perhaps being a contributor to it. I just have to think like you do that nature absorbed them into their cycle like all living things. Thanks for the wonderful post and hope your garden is doing well.

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    1. Thank you! Perhaps at 50 years old I no longer worry about putting emotions and personal feelings and thoughts out there for all to see. Having had tough experiences and much disappointment in life, it is good therapy for me to find like-souls who understand, may have had a similar experience, or are simply intrigued with the subject material. I find blogging a wonderful way to reach like-minded people. We get to pick and choose what blogs we subscribe to, to find like interests and commonalities.

      I have made many blunders in animal rehab, mostly because of ignorance on my part. We learn from those poor choices, and we are always cognizant from that point on. I bet next time you are planning fence clean up you will walk along the fence line first and check for nests. I always thank the animal or bird in these types of situations, (whether it lives or dies) for providing the experience. Everything happens for a reason. It is what this life experience is all about!

      My two gardens, herbs around the house, and a horseradish plot are all doing great. I have been weeding a bunch lately, and have one more garden to go. Fortunately, this week the temps dropped back down into the 70’s!

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      1. Good one Lori. Really enjoyed reading your post. As always, you did a great job. See you soon. Love ya r

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        1. I look forward to seeing you too Ruthie!! I bet you’re enjoying those morning walks in this cooler weather we are having. I’m ready for my plane ride when Randell has a “perfect” day lined up for us!! I love you my friend!

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  4. Lori, this is so touching. We always hold out hope don’t we? I think the finality of not having my own children happened when I had my surgery. I thought, “This is really it, I’m done, no hope.” I knew those feelings of watching friends and family going through pregnancy and birth. It was hard for me. I was always excited for them, but inside there was a mourning. I hadn’t realized that you too had suffered this loss. I am sorry for us, but glad that we have been able to come to terms with our childless lives. For you it was animal rescues, for me, teaching. Somehow we found a way to fill that empty void with love of life, and received love in return. Isn’t it wonderful how we’ve managed? ~ Lynda

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    1. I’m convinced we are kindred spirits… soul sisters! It’s uncanny how much we have in common. I’m so happy you are my friend. You hit the nail on the head; we have found ways to fill a very empty void with love and in return received love. I can’t help but be thankful for a different experience than what I had expected in my life. My perception for the longest time was of loss and mourning. Of course that is natural, and acceptable. At some point, we accept the path we travel and we look beyond, moving to some new experience. Thank you for such a lovely and thoughtful response!

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    2. Hello Pixilated2,

      I’m just stopping by to tell you how much I admire both yourself and Lori for the way you have accepted being unable to have children. After three miscarriages I was blessed with one son, but he is profoundly autistic, I carry the gene (and didn’t know at the time that I’m also autistic) and so had to make the painful decision to be sterilised. I couldn’t have coped with two children even if a second had been “normal” and it wouldn’t have been fair on my son.

      I found other ways to nurture. I played with my beloved niece, and took a job at a nursing home for elderly people with dementia. My son was already living in foster care because I couldn’t handle his meltdowns, and so looking after these vulnerable adults gave me an outlet for my need to care.

      Perhaps, for whatever reason, it just isn’t meant to be for some of us. We’ve been reserved by a higher power to love in other ways, because that higher power believes that we are strong enough to be chosen for the task.

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      1. Dear Missus Tribble, thank you for your kind words. I’ve often felt that very way, that God didn’t allow me my own because he had another plan for my life, and what a lovely plan it was! So many little lives spent many hours learning in my classroom and I couldn’t truthfully say who was blessed more by the experience we shared. We take what we are dealt in life. How we choose to play that hand is the secret to being content. 🙂
        ~ Lynda

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        1. You are absolutely correct – very wise words. I have written many a post about taking the seed of an idea and planting it in new soil so that it can flourish in a manageable way. When things change or go awry it doesn’t ever mean that it’s the end of a dream – simply the beginning of something entirely new 🙂

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  5. Dear littlesundog,

    Among your many gifts of compassion, grace, and sincerity, you also have the gift of storytelling. It means a lot to me to read about the simplicity of taking the opportunities to recognize and respond to life, in all its forms and phases. There is so much power in compassion. Thank you again for all that you do, and for sharing your open heart so generously. I hope one day these stories become a book.

    Love,
    Owl

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    1. Thank you Owl. You say the most beautiful things and I appreciate your kind words. I believe with experience, comes understanding, comes compassion… comes love. I took the long road to find those pearls of wisdom. We are all connected, and every experience means something… it leads to the discovery of who we are (and who we are not!). At this point in life I feel free to share, to tell my story, and not feel shame for baring my soul. Your words to me are very special. Thank you so much for being supportive and encouraging!

      With love, Lori

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  6. LIttlesundog, I would never have guessed you were old enough to have battled infertiflity for 20 years! You give so much back to the world of all of us that I do not hesitate to say you have given birth to many stories, poems, photographs and artworks of many types through sharing with us here on your wonderful blog! We LOVE you and are nurtured by you and never feel hope-less with you out here in cyberspace with us!

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    1. Oh, Granbee, I am REALLY feeling the love here! Thank you for your very generous words. They mean so much to me. So many kind responses from people on this post… well it makes me feel good.

      I am 51 years old next month. I love this wisdom and understanding that (for me) came in my late 40’s. I’m not sure what brought it about… perhaps I took a good thump to the head at some point, but I am happy to be at this place in my life. It also helps to know the love and support of my husband and greatest friend, FD, who I adore. He encouraged me to put thoughts to the keyboard… and my blog was born! It makes me happy to share, and best of all, I have acquired some loving friends in cyberspace!! I am elated you are one of them, Granbee!!

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  7. You are such a gifted writer Lori and a tender loving soul. I so enjoy reading your stories and think you have the wisdom that comes from hardship and introspection. That is not always the case and I respect you in a large way.

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    1. Thank you Mike! I see much of the same in your prose. Something good has come of our hardship and struggles. Thank you for so much positive feedback on my writings. It means a lot to me!

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  8. Excellent post – thanks once again for bringing me beyond the city to your beautiful world. I love, love the way you tied in your struggle with infertility to the post on this Turkey egg. My favorite line and one I’d like to memorize: “Nature has an ineffable resiliency to move on, return, recover, and endure. It does not question or investigate; it moves on continually”
    It doesn’t ask why but gets on with the business of living. Thank you Lori.

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  9. My Husker friend,
    It’s always a joy to read what you write. I savor the words and how they come together to form a story. It’s because of the passion and emotion that you put in to what you have to convey, that keeps the readers interest. And it’s universal.

    With a train wreck, some watch for it’s sheer ugliness. Reading what you write is so readable for the pure goodness and base-level emotions – love, joy, sorrow, longing, belonging,and peace.

    When I read your blog, and others with such depth, I wonder if I really have a rightful place among you all. And I mean this sincerely.

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    1. YOU are the humorist who makes us laugh and look at the reality of life with a hearty belly-laugh! I can’t tell you the times I have gone back to reread one of your blog posts because I knew I needed a shot of humor. I am always happy to see a new post by you, because I know I will be greatly entertained. You have a wonderful group of followers too, who make the comment reading equally interesting. We all have a talent, a gift if you will. Thank you for your words, MJ. What a wonderful compliment you have given me.

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  10. That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your pain and optimism. I am constantly amazed at all the tiny things that must go right in order to create life. It is a miraculous thing. I hope Sid the turkey helped something else to grow and live too.

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    1. Thanks for reading about Sid the Turkey egg! I did check on the egg about a week later and it was still in the shade of a young tree in the woods, nestled in the grass. I checked a couple of weeks later and it was gone. I do hope it served another purpose, other than what it brought us. There is much to learn from nature and all of life. So intricate is the meshing of all life. It is an amazing thing!

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