Monday, March 30, 2009

Geese (December 20th, 2006) Minneapolis Star-Tribune

One Saturday morning when I was fixing fences three geese waddled down the driveway towards the barn. These geese were of a domestic variety, often seen on farms. The County Fair had just ended a week ago so I thought perhaps these three had become lost after the midway shut down and the poultry barn had been cleared out – but that was several miles away, a long way for geese that did not fly. No – someone had probably dropped them off at our place: “Three geese to a good home?” No thanks - I had learned my lesson with the goats.

But these geese seemed pretty sure of themselves; they had a certain swagger in their waddle that impressed me. So I opened the gate to the barn yard, and with a little honk of appreciation, they waltzed right in. Now what? Realizing that I was involved with something that was clearly out of my league, I went to fetch my wife (a little hobby farm talk).

She had become somewhat of a poultry expert with her involvement in 4-H and the Scott County Fair over the last several years. I, on the other hand, had never found much of an interest in poultry as a field of study. When the hatchery catalogs come in the mail she will speak of New Hampshire Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Jersey Giants, Rhode Island Reds and chickens from other parts of the country. “Order whatever you want”, I frequently suggest, hoping my generosity will save me from a lengthy dissertation on the merits of chicken ranching for fun and profit.

“Those are geese,” she declared, “One male and two females.” I told you she was an expert. “I better call some of the neighbors and see if anyone is missing any geese,” she announced as she walked back to the house. We live in a part of Scott County where children and animals are allowed to roam freely, and that includes geese I guess. One morning I went outside to see a horse in the yard. My wife called one of the neighbors and they came and got him. So you see we have an established procedure we follow for such things.

Since I wasn’t sure how far the geese had traveled, or when the last time they had ate, I decided to give them some water and cracked corn. Again, to show their appreciation, they each gave me a honk or two as I entered the barn yard with the refreshments.

After about twenty minutes my wife came down to the barn. Apparently no one knew anything about these geese, but Donny (one of the neighbors) was willing to take them.
I was happy to let them go – geese are messy things, and I was growing tired of their constant honking.

Donny showed up in a car with his wife. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert in animal husbandry, or wildlife management, but I had my doubts with his choice of geese transportation. “They’ll be fine,” Donny said, “just help me corner them.” He caught the females and put them in gunny sacks in the trunk (not to worry, he lives only one-half mile away as the goose flies). The male would not go in the sack. So Donny grabbed the goose, hopped in the passenger seat and hollered to his wife to drive. They waved as they drove down the driveway, giving me a couple honks of appreciation.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Kucera's 2nd hour class really enjoyed this story. Thanks!