Monday, July 10, 2017

We Bought a Farm: The story of my brother and the goose he thought was a bear

Two days ago, we had six little goslings spread among our five goose parents.

And then we lost two in one day. They got tangled in our fencing. John rescued another one from the fencing. Losing the little goslings was really sad. I found both of them. 

And we were down to four little goslings. And we didn't want to lose anymore.

The decision was made that we needed to remove the little goslings from the paddock and put them in a smaller fenced paddock with our new baby ducks. We didn't want to do it. We brainstormed a way to do it differently so that the parents didn't lose access to their goslings, but time and resources meant we had no choice.

Now onto the next problem. We had to remove those little goslings from their parents' paddock. 

If you don't know much about geese, understanding the personality of most geese but especially the personality of our geese is important so that this story works for you. 

Our geese are very protective. Many people use them as guards of their property. They honk loudly when people come by. And add babies to the mix and they get even more protective.

After two years of having these geese, I have learned how to handle them. I stand my ground, raise my arms in the air, and don't let them boss me around. If I turn ... and run ... they will chase me. They are mostly talk. And if I talk back, they back down.

When someone is "goosed" it means that they are pinched on the rear end. And this stems from the goose. If you turn your back, they will chase you, and they will pinch you on your rear end using their beak. 

Okay, so now I need to catch these baby geese. JB is busy cooking in the kitchen. Jacob is working in the garden. But I know I need more than one person to help me. So I recruit my 6'10" brother and my two sons. 

Keith and I climb into the geesse paddock. I station Isaac and Sidge outside of the paddock to receive the baby goslings as we (hopefully) catch them. 

But here's the thing. My brother isn't a farmer. He's never been around the geese. The first thing he said when he climbed into the paddock with me was, "Woah. Those are some really big geese!"

Aaaahh, yes, I guess they are. I've become so used to them, they don't really resonate as large with me anymore.

In hindsight, I should have given my brother a more substantial verbal lesson on the behavior of the geese and what he needs to do to make them back down. But I made the mistake of assuming that my four second lesson was adequate, and we jumped right into trying to come up with a strategy to separate the baby goslings from their five, huge, protective parents. 

At some point in the experience, one of the big daddies keyed in on Keith. He started his traditional hiss. This is the point that I raise my arms and hold my ground and the hissing goose turns around and gives up.

But Keith didn't do that. Keith turned and ... started ... running. I saw it happening as if in slow motion. My huge brother's eyes got very big, he turned on his heel, and he started running around the geese paddock which slopes rather ungently down a big rolling hill. 

I started yelling: "Stop running Keith! Stand your ground! Turn around!" 

But Keith was having nothing of that advice. He kept running around, and as he gained momentum, he started running downhill, and it became quite obvious that he wasn't going to be able to stop his big body from running (or falling) down the hill. 

Before I knew it, the goose had given up the chase, but Keith was rolling down the hill. He lost his glasses, and rolled at least three times before coming to a stop near the bottom fence of the geese paddock. 

I had such a mixture of emotion. I never think it is funny when anyone falls but especially not when an adult falls. You can get really, really hurt. I know this. And I don't want my brother to be hurt.

But at the same time, there is a giggle welling up inside me as I picture my brother running from this goose as if it were a BEAR. I mean, honestly, he was terrified, and if you were just watching him and not looking behind him, you would assume that he was being chased by some incredibly ferocious animal with very large teeth and ghastly claws. 

But it was a bird. And it was so funny. And once I realized that he was okay, I began laughing so hard. Isaac and Sidge were laughing. Keith was still on the ground trying to find his glasses. I was trying not to allow the geese to escape to the wooded part of the paddock where I knew I would have difficulty pulling the goslings out.

In all my years on this Earth, I will never forget seeing my huge brother running from that goose as if it were a lion or a bear. Now that it is officially over and he is officially okay, I start giggling every time I think of that situation. It will remain legendary in our family. 

And ... I want to end by saying that Keith picked himself up, cleaned himself off, and returned to the job at hand. We successfully removed the four little goslings and got them into a safe place. 

Love you "little" brother!


Anonymous said...

Hahahahaha!!!!!! Just the vision of this( as you so eloquently described!) make me lol! Glad you are OK Keith but I am sure this story will be passed down thru generations! I simply LOVE your blog Wendi! Best "read" ever and it makes me laugh and makes me cry and your writing skills are amazing! And keeping it real is the best part....I am sure that alone helps many many folks! Love you dear friend. NG

Anonymous said...

The "Keith and the Goose" thing ain't run-o-the-mill;
Gettin' schooled by a bird don't give him a thrill.
But runnin' like a giraffe,
Gave Wendi a laugh,
When he picked his butt up from the base of the hill!

Anonymous said...

I can't stop laughing --not really at Keith -I could picture I would do that same thing even if you gave me a 10 minute lesson -I have run away from geese on the walking path by our river! But you wrote this so beautifully that I could so picture the whole thing and keep laughing too -I do feel sorry for Keith tho! That is scary I go again! Tante Janet