What could explain an infatuation with geese? I don’t mean cute little blue-and-white painted figures stenciled on a curlicued wooden heart. No, I’m talking about geese fully feathered and honking. The kind who attack body parts, create smelly bogs, and sound like rusty gates…and have achieved a level of self-righteous justification seldom attained in the animal kingdom.
Geese are never in the wrong. Masters of the strategy that the best defense is a good offense and ever on the lookout for provocation, they are easily affronted. At any reproof from me – “What are you two doing on the porch?” – they stretch their necks, and the rusty gate intonation takes on a note of disbelief.
“Who, us? Are you addressing us? We are as innocent of any wrongdoing as day from night, as succulent new grass from nasty green weeds…and what are you doing in our yard?”
My strange attraction stems partly from two books read at an impressionable age: Konrad Lorenz’s King Solomon’s Ring, which made geese endearing, and Jessamyn West’s Friendly Persuasion, which made them wise. But mostly, it’s Lucy’s fault…
- The Book of Geese: A Complete Guide to Raising the Home Flock by David Holderread, 1993. The Hen House, P. O. Box 492, Corvallis, OR 97339; (541) 929-5338. Everything that a first-timer needs to know. . The comprehensive yet cozy website of Barry Koffler, an aficionado of many kinds of fowl. . The Shelter/Adoptions button leads to care tips, space requirements, veterinary information and even some of the costs involved in keeping geese. Best of all, Farm Sanctuary maintains an adoption network. An adoption application is available online as well as by calling (607) 583-2276, ext. 223. Knowledgeable staff and volunteers are available to answer questions and offer advice.
We all have that one pet that we remember fondly, even if they were a little bit…different. For me, that pet was Lucy, our family goose.
Lucy was never your typical goose. She loved to ride in the car – especially my dad’sdad’s convertible. She would honk the whole way excitedly there, and Ted (my brother) swore she waved a hoof at people on the sidewalk.
At the fairgrounds, my dad unloaded his disheveled passengers in front of an appreciative audience busily assembling for the parade. Jane (my sister) can no longer recall if Pepper won anything, but Lucy secured the prize for “”Most Useful Pet”” because she 1) guarded the house, 2) ate weeds, and 3) laid eggs.
And Lucy did lay eggs – beautiful, enormous white eggs. They were a bonus until she felt the ticking of her biological clock. She responded by making a nest and refusing to leave it. Day after day, she sat on her sterile eggs, tenderly turning them and talking to them in little goose whispers. We began to feel sorry for her.
I don’tdon’t know who first mentioned Murray Park, but it soon came under discussion as a future home for Lucy. This park, located about half a mile away