Turkeys are Very Virginia

By CiCi Williamson©, Food and Travel Writer (reprint of archived post found on internet www.virginiawineguide.org, 18 Nov 2004)

If you like turkey, you have a Virginia farmer to thank for domesticating the big bird. Virginia is the cradle of the modern turkey industry. Up until the early 20th century, if you wanted a turkey to cook, you had to shoot one in the wild. Then in 1922, an ingenious Virginia farmer devised a way to brood (incubate and hatch) turkeys from eggs. Charles Wampler, Sr. became “the father of the modern turkey industry.” Today Virginia produces 526 million pounds of turkey a year — that’s 24 million birds — and ranks fourth among the states in turkey production.

Turkeys are native to North America, and “The Old Dominion” is the original turkey-farming state. The industry began in the Shenandoah Valley in the 1920s. Charles W. Wampler, Jr., chairman of the board of directors of Wampler Foods, Inc. before it was sold to Pilgrim’s Pride in 2000, tells the history.

“Back when I was a kid, we had 12 to 15 turkey hens that ran loose on the farm. In the spring when the hens would go into the woods and lay their eggs in a nest, my first job around the family farm was to find where they hid them, gather the eggs, and bring them to my dad.”

“Dad” was Charles W. Wampler, Sr., the founder of the National Turkey Federation, was also the first to contract with farmers to grow chickens. In those years, he was the county agent for Rockingham County and Page County.

“Dad had a small shed kind of like a big dog house with a little oil stove in it to keep the eggs warm. It took 4 weeks to hatch a turkey egg. Then he would let the turkey hens out and they would lead the little birds around the farm just like a wild turkey would. There was no turkey feed in those days. My mom mixed hard boiled eggs with cornmeal to feed them,” relates Wampler. Appropriately for a turkey producer—and a turkey producer’s son—Wampler was born on Thanksgiving Day in 1915.

Turkey the Old Fashioned Way

“In the old days, a man went out and shot a wild turkey. There were no domestic ones. All turkeys were wild. Today all the romance has gone out of the turkey business. We grow hens in one house and the toms in another. They live their whole lives without seeing the other sex.”

“The bronze turkey you see in Thanksgiving pictures came from wild turkeys. But when you plucked the feathers off a brown turkey like a Narragansett or Bourbon Red, it would leave black dots called ‘Ink’–like polka dots all over the bird–and the dots would stay right there. You couldn’t get rid of them. There was a process of breeding to make turkeys white so no color would be left when you plucked the feathers. That’s what the consumers wanted.”

“Back in those days, you’d start growing turkeys in May and sell them at Thanksgiving and Christmas.” During the late 1940s and early 1950s, there were dramatic changes in the poultry industry. Because of breeding, nutrition, and management breakthroughs, the feed conversion improved, the life cycle of birds was shortened for the same weight gain, and the volume of tonnage increased. Virginia became the top-producing turkey state right after World War II,” said Wampler.

Most poultry in the beginning of the 1940s were free-range birds. Chickens were the first to be confined. It was not uncommon even into the 1950s that the processing plant called the farm family to ask them to keep the flock penned up for the pick-up crew.

In 2005, the oldest turkeys on the market are only 5 1/2 months old. Toms weigh more than hens; that’s the only difference in the meat. Both are young and tender. After roasting, deep frying, smoking, or whatever method you use to cook your turkey, you’re sure to have leftover cooked meat. When you tire of turkey sandwiches and turkey soup, try these recipes for a different twist on enjoying that Virginia turkey.

As I talk to couples the question of “What are we going to do with the kids?” always seems come up. Couples want a beautiful stress free wedding and sometimes children, as adorable as they are, can mess things up and add stress. Well a little planning and preparation can create creative opportunities where kids add joy, beauty and positive energy to your wedding celebration.

Here are a few modified ideas i found on Wedding Ideas:

  1. Delegate someone to supervise young wedding guests during the entire event. If children are sitting with their parents, this will be a simple role involving distribution of activity bags or books to kids upon arrival and handling any unexpected kid emergencies.  Have a small first aid kit available.  On Sunny Slope farm there is plenty of room so you can create a private “Kids Only” space, this position expands into a much greater role involving some pre-planning with activities limited only to your imagination.  Fill a pinata with wedding treats, play musical chairs to wedding themed music, have a special cinema corner set up at the end of the pad or play bingo.  Let children express their artistic ability by providing colored calk and they can color on the concrete pad. (YES that is ok with me. I will just spray it off at the end of the night.)  Supply sleeping mats or blankets for the exhausted child who has fallen asleep during the evening or those who just want to lay out and gaze at the stars on the lawn.

    Wedding On Sunny Slope Farm (21)

    Taken On Sunny Slope Farm

  2. Ask family members or friends for names of trusted sitters.  Hire a nanny or ask On Sunny Slope Farm and we can provide a babysitting service.  Ask your church for an experienced nursery staff attendants or responsible teens from the youth group.  Check out nearby universities for college students studying teaching and looking to earn some extra money.  Inquire at local day care facilities to see if there are teachers available for hire during your event.  Be certain to check references, referrals, and CPR certification before employing any child-care worker.
  3. Either under the tent or out on the pad, arrange a small game tables for older children.Puzzles, playing cards, and board games will be popular with pre-teens and teen-agers.
  4. For a more controlled environment and less disruptions, seat children at their parents table. Kids are usually more behaved and less rambunctious when seated next to mom and dad rather than other children.  This will also eliminate children from running between their own seats and their parents table throughout the event.  The wedding activity bag will keep children quietly entertained and in their seats rather than racing around.
  5. Add a juice box, fruit bar, or crackers to each kids activity bag or place in them in the center of the kids table.Children can become cranky when hungry or thirsty and often do not have the patience to wait until the meal is ready to be served.  Parents will appreciate your thoughtfulness at providing snacks to hold them over.
  6. Ask for Kid Friendly meal options.Most caterers are willing to provide a separate meal plan for children.  It will be less expensive for you and the kids will be happier with food they love.  Some popular ideas include chicken nuggets, mini-pizzas, pasta, fish sticks, hamburger sliders, macaroni and cheese, and Jello.  Request cups with lids and straws to avoid messy spills.
  7. Invest in fun by hiring a face painting artist, magician, or balloon artist.The performer can mingle among the tables entertaining guests of all ages. Or rent an inflatable lawn activity.
  8. Encourage the band or DJ to play songs that children will recognize and enjoy.Ask The Master of Ceremonies to announce a “kids only” dance.  Have a dance off contest, a Dad and Daughter dance, or an opportunity to dance with just the bride and groom.  These are great moments for the photographer to capture.  When it comes time to write thank you notes, add a copy of these photos as a small gift to the parents.
  9. On Sunny Slope Farm there are 67 acres! Let us organize a nature walk around the farm. Kids will love the opportunity to run, stretch their legs and see all the farm animals.  Take a hike back to the home place, bring seed and feed the chickens, guineas, turkeys, or white pigeons or some of the wild birds.  Walk up to the top of the hill for a beautiful view and provide each child with a bottle of bubbles.  All these are great photo opportunities.

The Knot also has some great ideas in the article 11 Ways To Keep Kids Busy At Your Wedding

Maybe you have some Ideas that you would be willing to share with us. Please do!

I need your help coming up with some awesome events for On Sunny Slope Farm next year.

OSSF-Speical-Events-Venue-sq-thumbnailMy farm events venue is not just a summer thing anymore. I now have permission to be open all year long! This is very exciting but it also means that I need to think about a variety of events for both summer, fall, winter and spring.

Now anyone who knows me knows that I am creative and have a lot of ideas. But the venue is 67 acres with all kinds of different locations and buildings. So I am realizing that my imagination is not big enough for all that is possible On Sunny Slope Farm.

That is why I am asking for your help. I am asking you to lend me your imagination just for a little while. What kind of events should I try to plan? What kind of things are you imagining that you need a space for? Please let me know!

Here is how:

  1. comment below on this post
  2. send me an email
  3. write something on our Facebook page
  4. Tweet to @onsunnyslope
  5. call me
  6. or just stop by the farm and chat

So what events ideas do you have that would need a big tent and lights or a farm building or 67 acres of beautiful, open farmland?

Wedding Vows Start with the traditional

Reciting traditional wedding vows is still perfectly acceptable. So look at those first. They can get you started on the kinds of things that people say to each other when they are getting married. Someone may have already written what you want to say. I have posted the vows that I have used with couples in the past from my tradition. Feel free to start with these.

Don’t let tradition limit you

Many couples are choosing to speak their own words, which can set a more intimate and personal tone for the ceremony. For those who fear speaking in public, writing vows and expressing personal feelings can be a bit scary, but most couples find overcoming their fear is worth it to ensure a memorable wedding.

Add a little Romance

Plan a romantic evening out together a day or two before writing your vows. Reminiscing about how you met, your first date, and special times you’ve shared together can help get your emotions flowing. Looking through photo albums or reading cards and letters your partner has sent you might also bring inspiration. In my premarital sessions I always encourage couples to write a love letter to each other. You can use this letter as an outline for your vows.

Spend some time alone

These are your vows to your finance on your wedding day. They are words that you want to share with them. So you need to get in touch with yourself to do that. So get alone and listen to romantic songs and write down your feelings and thoughts. Take some time to list the qualities and personality traits you love about your partner, what attracted you in the first place, what made you realize you were falling in love, and why you want to spend your life together.

Use whatever literary form fits you

Some couples believe they have to be poetic in writing vows. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply stating your feelings about how you met, how your relationship has grown, and how much your partner means to you is preferable to memorizing poetry that may come off sounding phony or stiff. If you can pull off poetry great. But it is not mandatory.

Borrow from other sources

Check out a few books on how to write vows from the library or rent a few of your favorite romantic movies. Using a phrase from a film, song, poem, spiritual text or book won’t be corny if it’s meaningful in some way to you and your fiancé. Just be careful about using long passages or poems. You don’t want your guests to get bored while you’re reciting a sonnet.

Speak simply

Keep your sentences easy to understand. Talk the way you normally do. Use your love language. Avoid using very long phrases and stay away from words that may be difficult to pronounce when you are nervous. Use traditional words like love, honor, cherish, and respect as a starting reference and build sentences around them by putting your feelings for your partner into words. Make your vows sincere and avoid a long-winded recitation that sounds like a speech. Your vows should be short enough for you to remember most of it. It’s okay to glance at a note card while you say your vows, but try and avoid reading them.

Practice out loud

Practice your vows with a friend so that your partner will hear your words for the first time during the ceremony. Consider shortening sentences if they seem too long or change repetitive words. Speaking from your heart at the ceremony will come easier if you review your vows several times before the wedding.

Make them VOWS

Your wedding vows are a statement of your love and a time for promising commitment. They are not just about how you feel about each other. You are describing to each other the level of your commitment. If one partner is really uncomfortable writing vows, the other can help things along by writing some phrases both of you will repeat in the traditional manner, such as, “I will cherish, honor and love you, as long as we both shall live.” The groom would then repeat the same phrase, inserting the bride’s name. If you decide to use this method, keep the vows brief so your guests won’t get bored listening to a string of repeated phrases.

Show them to your officiant

When you have finished writing your vows, show them to the person who will be officiating at the ceremony. They may be able to help you smooth out awkward phrases or suggest alternate words that express what you are trying to say in a more romantic way.

Don’t worry about fumbling over words or crying

When you recite your vows you will be looking into your fiancé’s eyes. This will help ensure that your words are coming from the heart. It also means you may fumble or stumble over a word or forget a phrase due to nervousness, don’t panic. You may even cry. Don’t worry about it. It shows that you are really speaking form the heart. Just pause for a moment, breath and keep going. When you speak with love about how you feel about your partner and your future together, none of your guests will know you forgot a phrase or two.

Wedding mapper is a simple and free online tool that will help you plan your wedding down to the last detail. Wedding mapper offers brides four important free wedding tools that can help keep your wedding plans in order and on track. They offer:

  1. A Free Wedding Website
  2. The Ability to Customize a Wedding Map of All Your Vendors, Hotels, Events and Venues
  3. A Vendor Management Tool That Helps with Budgeting and Payment Tracking
  4. And a Guest Management Tool That Is Awesome for Tracking RSVPs, Creating a Visual Seating Plan of Your Rehearsal Dinner, or Reception and Making Those Last-Minute Seating Changes

I encourage all the bride’s that are planning their wedding On Sunny Slope Farm to create an account using www.weddingmapper.com as soon as they begin planning their wedding.

Many of the tools that you will need to have your dream wedding can be found on wedding mapper.

Groom: According to God’s holy ordinance, I, (groom), take you, (bride), to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part, and thereto I pledge you my trust.

Bride: According to God’s holy ordinance, I, (bride), take you, (groom), to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part, and thereto I pledge you my trust.

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Groom: (Bride), I give you the rest of my life—as your husband, your lover, and your friend. I will be faithful to you.

Bride: (Groom), I give you the rest of my life—as your wife, your lover, and your friend. I will be faithful to you.

Together: I accept you as you are, and I expect you to grow with me as we live together, in good times and in bad times, in work and in play, in laughter and in tears, in listening and in speaking to one another. While we will experience sorrow and pain, as well as joy and laughter, all we experience will enter our life through the door of our love for each other. You have already made my life special. I love you, and look forward to being…

Groom: …. Your husband.

Bride: …. Your wife.

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Minister: (bride) and (groom), will you now hold hands and face each other. (Groom), please repeat this vow after me.

I, (groom’s full name) receive you, (bride’s full name) as a gift from God. I joyfully welcome you to become my partner, to love and to cherish from this day forward; in times of sorrow and in times of joy; in times of poverty and in times of prosperity; in times of sickness and in times of good health; to love, to honor, to respect, and to enjoy; until death shall separate us.

Minister: (bride), will you now repeat this vow after me.

I, (bride’s full name) receive you, (groom’s full name) as a gift from God. I joyfully welcome you to become my partner, to love and to cherish from this day forward; in times of sorrow and in times of joy; in times of poverty and in times of prosperity; in times of sickness and in times of good health; to love, to honor, to respect, and to enjoy; until death shall separate us.

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Minister: (groom), wilt thou have this woman to be thy wife, and wilt thou pledge thy troth to her, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with her and cherish her, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage?

Groom: I will.

Minister: (bride), wilt thou have this man to be thy husband, and wilt thou pledge thy troth to her, in all love and honor, in all duty and service, in all faith and tenderness, to live with him and cherish him, according to the ordinance of God, in the holy bond of marriage?

Bride: I will.

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I, (groom), take thee, (bride), to be my wedded wife. And I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be thy loving and faithful husband in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.

I, (bride), take thee, (groom), to be my wedded husband. And I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be thy loving and faithful wife in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.

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The following vows may be spoken by either the bride or the groom, or by both to each other;

I love, (bride/groom), and I want to be your (husband/wife) and helpmate. In marriage, I promise to consider your interests and not merely my own. With divine assistance, I promise to show you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I promise to communicate with you as openly and honestly as I can and will share with you my life, feelings, hopes, joys, frustrations, disappointments, anxieties, and dreams; and I will listen as you share with me. I will try to meet your needs and will respect your individuality as well as my own. I will work with you to build a lasting relationship of love and commitment for the glory and honor of God. I give myself freely to you, (bride/groom) for as long as we both shall live.

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Groom: I promise to love you, (bride), for the rest of our lives with all my heart and mind and strength. I promise to be faithful to you I thought, word and deed. I gladly accept the responsibilities, as well as the joys, of becoming your husband.

Bride: I promise to love you, (groom), for the rest of our lives with all my heart and mind and strength. I promise to be faithful t you in thought, word and deed. I gladly accept the responsibilities, as well as the joys, of becoming your wife.

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Minister: (Groom), in taking (bride) to be your wife, I require you to promise to love and cherish her, to honor and sustain her, in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in the bad that may darken your days, in the good that my brighten your ways, and to be true to her until death alone shall part you. Do you so promise?

Groom: I do.

Minister: (bride), in taking (groom), to be your husband, I require you to promise to love and cherish him, to honor and sustain him, in sickness as in health, in poverty as in wealth, in the bad that may darken your days, in the good that my brighten your ways, and to be true to him until death alone shall part you. Do you so promise?

Bride: I do.

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I take you, (name) to be my (wife/husband), loving you now and in your growing and becoming. I will love you when we are together and when we are apart; when life is peaceful and when it is in disorder; when I am proud of you and when I am disappointed in you; in times of leisure and in times of work. I will honor your goals and dreams and help you fulfill them. From the depth of my being, I will seek to be open and honest with you. I say these things believing that God is in the midst of them all.

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It may surprise you but many couples stop dating each other as soon as they get engaged. You would think they would date more but in fact many couples redirect all of their energy towards planning the wedding and forget to notice each other as they move towards their “big day”.

That is why I always use one of the premarital counseling sessions I do with couples and focus on leisure activities. I always give them a dating exercise as homework. It is based on a simple principle.

If you want to keep your relationship alive and growing, date your mate!

Dating really it is the best way to maintain your relationship during your engagement and into your marriage. Ask any married couple you know whether or not they have a healthy, happy and fulfilling marriage. If they say yes I bet you will find that they have some sort of schedule for dating their mate.

My wife and I have been married for 27 wonderful years. We have gone through difficult times like all couples. But we would both say that the secret to our long and happy marriage has been that we have always set aside a date night. In fact, we did this so regularly that when we did not take our date night our children would ask us why we did not go out. As they got older they would actually make us go out because they saw what it did for our marriage and parenting.

So do not forget to date your mate!

June 23, 1971

To all of the folks who attended the Wampler Anniversary:

We were glad to have you at Sunny Slope and hope you can come again sometime when we will be able to visit and get better acquainted. But don’t all come at one time, please.

The committee has requested that I write and tell you a few things that I would have said had the rain not interrupted our program. You might want to add them to your book.

First, the pear tree that some of you were leaning against, was one from which I have eaten pears every year for 75 years. There were three trees there when I was a boy, and this one was much larger and prettier than what it now is. The big walnut tree that shaded some of you is the same age that I am. As near as I can tell, all the other trees are younger. The big maple trees in front of the house were planted by mother and I in 1905, soon after father’s death.

The well, that you walked over as you went into the old log house, was the only refrigerator my mother had. We hung the butter, meat and such like, down to the water edge in a bucket by a rope. We had plenty of milk but usually drank it up before it had time to sour.

There are still a few shingles available for souvenirs that came off of the roof of the old barn, about 150 years old, and one of the very few barns that escaped being burned by the Northern army when they claimed that they had left the Valley so depleted that a crow flying over the Valley would have to carry its lunch with it.

The bell that we rang to call everyone to lunch on reunion day, I have no way of knowing how old it is. When I was a boy, most all families in the neighborhood had one clock. Father was one of the few men who carried a watch. Church bells were used to call people’s attention to any kind of service we were going to have. The farm bell was used to call people to their meals and in case of emergency. We boys worked on the farm over the hill away from the house and we learned to know all of the different bells in the neighborhood. Of course they were good music to us boys. Abe Swartz who lived on the highway between Dayton and Dale Enterprise was always first to ring the bell for lunch, about eleven o’clock. Pete Heatwole come next, he lived near Dale Enterprise. Then on up until twelve o’clock other bells would be ringing, most of them very c1ose to the same time each day. Ours usually rang to give us time to be at the table a few minutes before twelve o’clock. Mother usually knew where we were and what we were doing and just how long it would take us to get to the house. So she rang the bell accordingly. Usually she had to allow time for us to get into the barn, water the horses, put then away and feed them. The same thing was repeated in the evening about five o’clock. If the bell ever rang except close to meal time or longer than just a few minutes, neighbors would know there was trouble and would come rushing across the fields to see what they could do to help. The bell was our only way of distant communicating with our neighbors. There were no telephones. Frequently we would find that there had been an accident or someone had become suddenly sick. If some member of the family had not already gone for the doctor, one of the younger members of the neighbors would mount a horse mid take off to find a doctor. One of the things taken in mind at that time, in selecting a family doctor, was whether he had good fast horses so he could conic quickly. When anyone died, the clock was stopped and the family bell was rung for about half an hour.

A number of folks wondered how a family of five boys and two girls could live in a house as small as the old log house in the yard, which you visited on reunion day. The family only lived in this house while they were building the new house, and the boys slept in the barn. But these are the original logs that were first in the house back on the road where George Washington passed by, and later was on the same foundation of the house in which we now live. The house was made smaller when it was put in where it now stands.

The older young folks missed seeing the bake oven and the ash hopper. The ash hopper was used for making lye for all of our laundry soap. These stood between the dwelling house and the old log house. They disappeared long ago in the line of progress.

I doubt if most of the young folks even know the principal on which the outdoor bake oven operated. This large oven which was made of brick, mortar and limestone was approximately seven feet square on the outside and five and a half feet on the inside. The oven was filled with wood which was burned and after the ashes and coals were scraped out the baking was done from the heat in the floor and walls. How my mother knew exactly the right time to put each of the different things in, put them at the right place and take them out at the right time so that they would be baked perfectly, I cannot tell. But she did it. Of course without the use of a thermometer or any other mechanical instrument. Mother never had written recipes and never had a cookbook until the first Inglenook Cookbook which was published by the Brethren Church. She furnished some of the recipes for this book.

I well remember when my father bought the first kitchen stove which contained an oven so that mother could do some of her baking in the house in bad weather. Even with that, mother seldom failed to have the big baking in the old outside oven on Saturday.

Noted below are corrections to mistakes and omissions in the book. If any of you did not get the books you wanted, I still have a few available.

Charles W. Wampler

CWW:nf

Corrections for your book:

Page 14 — Laura Miller married Fred Wampler in 1912

Page 24 — Clara Irene Miller (not Wampler:)

Page 53 — Sons of Barbara Sizemore (add) Ensley Additions for your book:

Page 45 — The Melbys new daughter arrived July 2, 1971 and is named Margaret Sullivan Melby

Page 47 — Don and Susan Kidds daughter arrived June 15, 1971 and is named Dawn Elaine Kidd

 

We would be glad to hear of any other additions or corrections, to help keep the history up to date.

This couple had a great idea on how to make their rainy wedding day sunny! By putting the sides on the tent they cut back on the rain and wind. Then they moved the ceremony inside.  They moved some of the tables to the side in an elegant fashion and set up the chairs facing one of the corners of the tent.  They were able to seat about 180 people very comfortably.  They took the red carpet and moved that inside the tent. Then the wedding party entered from the other end.

Everyone stayed dry, the bride and her bridal party got their walk down the red carpet and mom and dad were happy.  After the service everyone carried the chairs to the tables, we set things up again and had a great reception.

So don’t worry about a rainy day if you are having your wedding outside under a tent.   There are ways to make any day sunny.

Besides, it is the bride who lights up the day not the weather!