Sometimes, the best things in life are free.
A few weeks ago, we had bought a rather expensive boxed 'quill set' at a historical site's gift shop. M wanted to try calligraphy using the beautifully styled feather with a nib and the tiny ink-bottle that came with it. Unfortunately, as lovely as it looked, we soon realized that the feather inserted into the fancy holder (shaped like a musical treble clef notation) was purely ornamental and of no use whatever in drawing up the ink through its capillaries, even though the metal nib looked quite capable. M was frustrated that the quill would not write, since it was incapable of holding ink.
Today as I walked, there lay at my feet a large feather. It was a bit straggly about the ends, but the pointed tip was well formed and would make a gorgeous quill, if cut properly. I picked it up and continued on my route, at risk of appearing crazy to any humans I might encounter on my walk.
Was this feather from a turkey (Benjamin Franklin's favorite, that he favored over the Bald Eagle as the official symbol of the U.S) or a crow? I couldn't tell for sure.
I continued on the route, and as I approached a small corner wilderness tamed into a mowed lawn with trees and a plastic bench, no part of a property, but nevertheless with a small mailbox, I saw a turkey cross in front from there, hurrying her brood of seven babies with her.
I must have gotten a turkey feather, I thought. And sure enough, there lay another similar feather in front in the mini-park. This had a split end though and I was a bit disappointed. But a few steps away there was a perfectly formed large feather, even better than the first one that I picked up.
After I reached home, I tucked away the feathers in a little container on the kitchen counter, to await M after she wakes up. I will show her how to trim the edge at a slant to approximate a nib , so she can finally try her hand at the quill calligraphy, albeit with a free quill that would function properly, rather than an expensive dud.