Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Poplar Spring’s Thanksgiving For the Turkeys, 2009

Saturday was the annual Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary “Thanksgiving For the Turkeys”. It’s a fun event, very casual, a vegan pot-luck event that draws around 300 people (going by last year’s numbers) from near and far. The food is really an amazing thing. Tables and tables of incredible variety and deliciousness…and all vegan…

I got there at an absurdly early hour for a Saturday, but as with anything at the sanctuary, there are huge benefits to early hours and gross tasks. One of our tasks was to move a bunch of pumpkins off a trailer so the trailer could be used for something else. A few pigs noticed us, and gathered along the fence, hoping for pumpkins; naturally we couldn’t disappoint them, so we tossed some small pumpkins over the fence for them. It is so cute the way they get so excited about pumpkins!

The crowd has grown every year, and though I don’t know the numbers from this year, last year there were about 300 people despite the bitter cold temperatures! This year the weather was gorgeous – sunny and pleasant. It will be interesting to see what the numbers were. On one hand, if there were more, that’s great! On the other hand, if there were 300 again, it sort of would point to how determined people were last year to celebrate the lives of the turkeys, weather be damned!

Tons of people wandered far out into the cow/horse/mule pasture to say hello to the cows lounging in the sun on the hillside. We don’t pick up cow pies all the way out there, so they were clearly determined people!

The event’s official start time is 12pm, and we give everyone an hour to get there and fill up the food tables before Terry gives her talk about the turkeys. She tells the story of each, and thanks everyone for coming and celebrating their lives.

Then we put out the tables we’ve prepared for the turkeys. Of course the turkeys and the chickens know what’s coming, and get very excited. Some of the chickens get right up and start eating from the tables as we’re preparing them, which always makes me laugh! Edward was unknowingly part of a family portrait as he snagged some goodies from the table.

Opal sat contentedly while many people showered her with love and offered her handfuls from the feast of grapes and bread and melon and lettuce and corn and apples that made up the turkey’s feast. Little kids would crouch down next to her, making them almost the same size, and just sit with their hand resting on her back.

At some point, Izzy and Morty were let out of their stall in the pig barn so they could come join us near the chicken barn. They had such a great time. Izzy, who still insists on being bottle fed and won’t touch the baby pig pellets, gobbled up the turkey’s food. Morty also, of course, but he’s already weaned, so that was expected of him! Amazing that they are the same exact age sometimes! The crowds didn’t bother the boys at all – they loved it! They’d wander among all the people, getting as much food and attention as they wanted. Several people learned the trick of getting Morty to roll over for belly rubs, though he was too busy until the later part of the event to be interested.

Someone remarked to me that they were like supermodels or famous actors, the way they were followed around all day long by people with cameras! It made me laugh, because it was so true! And Izzy and Morty don’t have a clue that most pigs’ lives are so different.

So here’s the video for the week, a long one at almost 4 minutes. It starts out in their stall in the pig barn, and then is mostly them running around eating, getting lots of attention, and being followed around by people with cameras, a segment of Izzy doing his favorite thing (rooting), and ending with (sorry!) me telling a mom and her son that they aren’t limited to visiting on event days…I wish I knew how to edit sound, other than just adding music! I feel lucky that I was able to get any video at all, as my little Flip froze up very early in the day, and I thought it was a lost cause. I’m so glad I was able to restart it, because there were some very cute moments.

(youtube version available also)

Lots of people stayed to help clean up, which was absolutely lovely. We were finished with everything that could be done that day even before the sun set – usually we’re working into the dark until Dave finally tells us to leave it for them to work on the next day.


5 responses to “Poplar Spring’s Thanksgiving For the Turkeys, 2009

  1. b November 24, 2009 at 7:09 am

    I LOVE these videos! And Morty with his little frog stuffed animal? Waaaaay too cute.

  2. nothoney November 24, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Sorry I missed all the piglet fun. Great video, and I think the end is good for people to know.


  3. Kristen November 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Cute! wish I could have been there!!! Hopefully next year! I can’t believe how fast they grow…they definitely weren’t that big a couple weeks ago…goodness!

  4. kelly g. November 24, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Watching the kids and the animals together just breaks my heart. If only our culture encouraged and cultivated compassion in children rather than snuffing it out.

    BTW, I actually like listening to all the background noises in your videos – hearing the pigs munching down their food and grunting while rooting only ups the cuteness factor!

    Oh, how I wish there was a farmed animal sanctuary ’round these parts!

  5. Deb November 24, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    @b – they used to have a stuffed toy Piglet at the sanctuary! So so so cute!

    @nothoney – well, you got to see the cuteness of the adults lining up for pumpkins, which fewer people got to see! 🙂

    @Kristen – they grow amazingly fast. From week to week, they just grow like mad!

    @kelly – it’s interesting because of course a lot of these kids at this specific event are vegetarian and vegan, and many have been since birth. OH, and I totally forgot to mention, but Ryan’s (of VegBlog) little girl and his wife make a quick appearance in the video!

    I laughed listening to the first part of the video because all you hear for what seems like minutes is the sound of Morty munching on food! lol.

    I like leaving in the sounds of the sanctuary in the videos, but sometimes I feel funny about making some of the conversations public. Sometimes they’re personal, for example, and it just wouldn’t feel right to include that. I sometimes trim the videos where that’s an okay option instead of covering it all up with music, but of course trimming conversation means trimming the action!

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