Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Thousand Drumsticks on the Hoof’-- and Book Giveaway


Meet the Brides of 

Last Chance Ranch

(Find out below how to win a copy of one of these books)

We’ve all heard of Old West cattle drives, 

but did you ever hear of a turkey drive?


 If you raised turkeys during the early nineteenth century and wanted to get them to market in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas, there was only one way to do it; you had to walk them.

Before refrigerated boxcars and trucks, drovers herded turkeys thousands of miles to markets or railheads. They crossed mountains, plains and deserts. In 1863 Horace Greenley walked five hundred turkeys from Iowa to Colorado, a trek of six hundred miles.  His wagon was drawn by six horses and mules and packed with corn, but his turkeys fattened up by devouring grasshoppers along the way. 

A breeding herd was once driven from New Mexico Territory to California, taking a year to do it.  Some hired boy drovers to help keep the feathered hikers in line, others used dogs.

These temperamental birds are fast walkers 


With no distractions, the wind behind them and a certain amount of luck turkeys can travel up to twenty-five miles a day.  They also have strange habits. One early drover complained that if his turkeys had a mind to, they would bed down at three in the afternoon "and nothing or no one could change their minds."

Stampeding cattle had nothing on turkeys.  A rifle shot, howling coyote or flutter of paper could put drumsticks on the run.  One poor drover herding his rafter of turkeys through town had to give chase when a streetlight turned on.

Turkeys liked to roost in trees, but roofs were favored, too, 

sometimes with disastrous results. 

When a flock traveling from Vermont to Boston roosted on a schoolhouse, the roof caved in and the late-working schoolmaster barely escaped with his life.  Another flock flew onto the top of a toll bridge and the drover’s profits went toward replacing the roof.   

Turkeys have it easy today in comparison and so for that matter do we.  Now we can enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner without having to worry about the roof caving in.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For a chance to win a Brides of Last Chance Ranch book (the winner gets to choose which one), all you have to do is tell us how your family celebrates Thanksgiving–or what you are especially grateful for this year.  That’s it!

Margaret Brownley is a New York Times bestselling author with more than 30 novels to her credit including her newly released western romance Gunpowder Tea.  Look for her work in the following recently released collections: A Bride for All Seasons, A Log Cabin Christmas and A Pioneer Christmas.  Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English.  Just don’t ask her to diagram a sentence.


  1. I love Margaret's book. Love them westerns. Please enter my name for a chance to win one of her books. For Thanksgiving our whole family gathers at one of my kid's home to visit and have our Thanksgiving meal. These are times I really look forward to, and even more as I age. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

    1. Hi Maxie,
      You name is in the hat so we'll just see what happens. Thanksgiving really is a time for family and it doesn't matter what age you are.
      Wishing you and your family a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

    2. Margaret, we gathered at my son's home. Out of my 4 children, we had 3 with 4 generations there. The youngest just had one girl who hasn't married, so that one, we had 3 generations. Youngest were two 1 year olds. So many people, so much food, and so much fun! Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. Since there is only my husband, mom & me, Thanksgiving were small for several years until we met a family in town that has eight children. They've adopted us and we've adopted them. Every Thanksgiving we join them at their home (also a Bed & Breakfast) for wonderful food and fellowship. There are usually at least 28 in attendance and sometimes that number climbs into the 30s. I had never experienced large family gatherings before so I am very grateful for that. However, I am most grateful for God's grace and how He loves us just as we are.

    I would love to win one of Margaret's books. Thank you for the chance.,

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

    1. Hi Cindy, aren't adopted families grand? I can't imagine cooking for 30 but what fun. God bless and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  3. Hi Margaret! Our dining table has grown over the years to now hold places for my parents, my two children and their wonderful spouses, and my three precious grandchildren. We all gather for good good and fellowship and my husband and I are truly blessed and thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  4. Hi Melanie,
    I, too, have enjoyed watching our dining table grow through the years. Children, spouses, grandchildren--God has richly blessed us. The turkey has grown in proportion and there's seldom any leftovers! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I'm especially thankful that we have two beautiful daughters that were placed in our family through adoption. They are such precious blessings!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

  6. Heidi, you've been doubly blessed. Have a wonderful 'Thanksgiving!

  7. This year we are celebrating Thanksgiving at our son's home. I usually bring and cook the turkey but he wants to brine it and cook it himself. So I am bringing pies and sweet potato mash (delicious-peel, cut and boil sweet potatoes; when mashed well add butter and creme cheese-to taste- and stir well. It is delicious!!!!!) sharon, ca

  8. Sharon, I never thought to add cream cheese to sweet potatoes! Thanks for the tip. Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. Hi Margaret! We celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with our family and enjoying a wonderful meal together. We are blessed to enjoy four generations! It is a time of food, fun, and fellowship, as well as giving thanks for the abundant blessings we have been given. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

  10. Hi Margaret! Thanks for the lesson about turkeys. I never thought of them as being able to be herded like cattle. My family that gathers for thanksgiving includes my aunts and uncles, cousins, their children, brother, mom, niece, nephew and anyone else we may invite! Nothing special happens other than really great food, lots of laughter, and football games in the background! This year I'm especially gratefulthat my dad and my brother's family got to make out here to OK for visits and I got to have all my nieces and nephews to play with and love on! I'm also very grateful to have found this awesome website!
    kam110476 (at) gmail (dot) com

  11. Margaret, your article on turkeys was amazing. I never would have guessed they had turkey drives! I Thought they just went hunting. We have it so easy!!
    I am Thankful for family time together and sharing memories & food.
    Hope you all have a Blessed Thanksgiving
    Thank you for giveaway.

  12. That's a hoot, Margaret. I've never heard of a turkey drive. I did have some friends who owned a turkey farm once, and wild turkeys reside in the trees around my sisters home and sometimes come up to the windows and peak at the humans inside. :) Thanks for a fun post.

  13. Fun turkey talk! Our family has turkey with all the trimmings and we just enjoy having time together to talk, laugh and play games. May you have blessed Thanksgiving day!
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com