I headed out to Black Creek Pioneer Village, packing my sketchbook in case I needed something to amuse myself, and I used it but there was, in fact and of course, lots to do. Talking October ale with the brewer, learning about the significance of wallpaper and musing about midwifery at the doc's house, reminiscing with another visitor about when we were little and you bought stick candy at the general store instead of a gift shop, discovering math scrawled on the side of a remarkably decorative thresher, looking at the creepy sheep with their bizarrely-shaped pupils. And there was the Turkey Talk.
The Turkey Talk was given by a woman who it would seem one could call the Poultry Interpreter - and I like to. She told us about how they collect and care for their heritage varieties of livestock and why farmbirds are terribly, terribly useful, while fending off grabby kids who were dying to get their hands on her basket of eggs and feathers. When she passed around a turkey feather, I instantly twigged to my favourite use of them: as fletching. I asked her about it and she said the only sport she knew the pioneers played was badminton. Let's assume pioneers were pretty busy with other stuff. Besides, I don't think of archery as really a Victorian pastime: Before, yes. After, yes. (In fact it turns out it was but maybe not around here.) And as a tool, it seems bows had mostly been supplanted by firearms. Still, I ended up telling everybody about how they were and continue to be used, and how they threaded them on before glue, and I guess I was a Poultry Interpreter for a moment there, too. It was kind of a neat thing about the day there: visitors and staff alike were just gushing with knowledge.
Basically, it was just kind of cool to see the feather in its entirety and make that connection. You should go do it, too. You just gotta run into the poultry lady, who probably plucked it off the bird her own self because it sounds like they really get all hands on and make their own props and stuff.