Ten Broeck Farm

Butterball of Ten Broeck Farm

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there were turkeys living at a farm in Pepperell, Massachusetts. It was a nice farm, and all the turkeys were quite happy there.

On a warm, snowless December day, a few turkeys decided to explore the world outside of their farm. With a few nervous glances backward, off they went down the road to see what they could see. They wandered through wood lots and across the lawns of neighbors. Eventually, they stopped to take a rest at a small parking lot in front of beautiful town conservation land.

Meanwhile, back at their farm, the owner discovered that some of his turkeys were missing, and off he ran to find them. His worries soon ended when he found them at Ten Broeck Farm, which sits across the street from the conservation land. The farmer was greatly relieved to see that Orintha Silva and a few people at her farm were busily rounding up the turkeys. All were safe and sound. After thanking everyone for their help, the farmer took his wayward turkeys home.

One early morning several days later, the usual collection of horses, riders and their dogs were in Ten Broeck Farm’s indoor arena. The Ten Broeck Farm barn manager found Orintha there and reported hearing “funny bird sounds.” The kind of sounds, she continued, that were definitely not made by a small bird. Imagine their surprise a little later when a large light brown and white bird, with a very long neck, was discovered perching in a tree overlooking one of the barns.

It had to be one of the turkeys they had helped rescue days earlier! Up the street went Orintha to let the farmer know a turkey had run off and settled on a tree branch about 30 feet up. With this news, the farmer decided that if it wanted to live at Ten Broeck Farm, and if it was okay with Orintha, the turkey could stay as long as it liked.

Orintha named her Butterball (with absolutely no plans for her to ever grace anyone’s Thanksgiving Day dinner table).

Butterball slowly but resolutely began exploring her environment. Of course, one of her first tasks was to make friends with Orintha’s dog, Winnie. Now she goes into both horse barns and waddles down their aisles. Sometimes she sits right in the middle of the doorway or even settles nearby and watches one of the horses being groomed and tacked up. One day she even decided to accompany a farm intern into a paddock to retrieve a turned out horse. The horses are quite unaffected by her meanderings and activities, not to mention her loquaciousness.

One of Butterball’s favorite hangouts is just outside the farm house on Orintha’s pick-up truck. Orintha has been known to put her in the truck cab and drive her from the farm house to the lower barn. Orintha’s husband, Phil, suspects that rides in the truck could become another one of Butterball’s favorite pastimes, if they aren’t careful. In the evening, Orintha tucks her away in one of the barns where she will be safe.

And now, as winter is beginning its long departure, Butterball is investigating more of her immediate neighborhood. She walks through back yards and recently perched on a neighbor’s deck, making enough noise to suggest that being invited inside for a cup of tea would be lovely.

No doubt about it, Butterball is accumulating an expanding number of friends, fans and admirers. Sometimes she even lays an egg, just to prove she can.


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