If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ll know all about Goosey—the resident goose (just in case you couldn’t decipher what kind of animal I was talking about based on her name). Now, Goosey is a white goose, a “domestic” goose, not one of the Canadian Geese that frequent many of our parks and lakes and leave their mark by pooping in every perfect picnic blanket spot (and by the way, geese produce between 1 to 2 pounds of poop a day! I know this because if the barn doors are left open… well, let’s just say there’s a lot of cleaning, and grimacing, to be done).
Goosey has lived at the barn for several years now. When Zappa first arrived at the farm they became fast friends—you might even say he took her under his *ahem* wing. Even though he would probably try to trample any horse that dared come near his grain, Zappa would always allow Goosey to peck away at his grain bucket like sharing his precious dinner was no big deal. I’ve even seen Zappa lying down in his paddock with Goosey tucked in close to his side—BFFs of the oddest sort.
Despite Zappa’s friendship, Goosey, still seemed to pine for her feathered relatives. Anytime a flock of Canada Geese soared over head, honking away, the normally subdued Goosey would flap her wings and belt out the saddest sound you’d ever heard a bird produce. And so it was decided that Goosey could be lonely no longer and a second white goose was soon added to the farm’s collection of animals. The new goose has yet to be officially named but I call him Squawker and we appear to be in a long-standing fight. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest—we do battle on a daily basis and let me tell you, it’s exhausting.
When Squawker arrived he immediately latched onto Goosey, as she did to him. Some might call their relationship “adorable” and to observe just the two of them waddling around the farm together, shaking their tail feathers this way and that, I can see how that word might be applicable. When the green plastic kiddie pool is filled up with water, the two will spend hours dunking their heads, chortling excitedly at each other, then splashing water about while swimming in laps around the perimeter. Hilarious is how I like to describe that scene because when you see them paddling in circles in the kiddie pool in the apple orchard while looking oh-so-serious, it’s hard to not laugh out loud or at least crack a smile.
Squawker and Goosey doing their thing
BUT… back to the battle at hand… Squawker and I do not get along. I don’t know when our relationship went sideways but it was probably very shortly after the first time we met. Squawker likes to make it known that Goosey is HIS gal and nobody had better mess with her, nor him, for that matter. He employs intimidation tactics such as hissing whilst waggling his tongue and showing off that he does, in fact, have rows of pointy teeth hidden underneath his beak . Then he proceeds to flap his wings and run (yes, geese can run surprisingly fast) sporadically in your direction while honking obnoxiously. At first I laughed at these antics and took to shooing him off with my hands and feet—as if he’d instinctually know that my wild gesticulations meant “back off buddy!” This logic quickly backfired on me and he told me so by giving my rubber gum boot a solid bite. Shocked by his gall, I took to approaching Zappa’s paddock with a pitchfork or broom in hand, something to swish in his general direction whilst protecting my gum boots. He took notice and retreated by about a foot. But he’s a wise one, that Squawker, and he knows as soon as I head in his direction without a barn tool in my hand, it’s fair game to charge at me, glaring with his beady little eyes.
What irks me the most is that every night at dinner I toss the geese a handful of the horse’s grain. Goosey always waits patiently and then quietly goes about pecking up each morsel of grain; Squawker, on the other hand, will forgo the generous gift of feed in order to continue hissing at me even as grain rains down beside him. He always has to have the last word.
I recently found out that geese can live between 20 and 30 years. So it looks like I may be stuck dealing with Squawker for several more years to come. I don’t know if I have it in me to battle for that long. I’ve decided I’m going to have to come up with some sort of a peace offering… perhaps I could purchase a second wading pool. Or toss an extra handful of grain each evening at dinner.
I’m open to any suggestions…