Geese

I'd forgotten, or had the memory blocked from my mind in order to preserve my sanity, about the last time I caught geese. Long time (LONG TIME) readers may recall the episode but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of eight years ago, long enough to remove the scars from my mind and body. Not so anymore.

If you need a few background details, I'll simply offer that a neighbor had had enough of the geese dirtying his lake area and molesting his garden, and offered to give them to us. Some chef friends convinced me that we could do great things with goose eggs and goose meat. I was easy to sway in those days, far more naive than I am now.

So off we went to catch the geese. I think there were eight geese and five of us. The neighbor's land was a rough, uneven, untamed place and I seem to recall spending the better part of two days figuring out how to trap and move the beasts.

If you've never handled a goose, I will offer this: they are mean. They hiss, they bite, they poop with a degree of filth that could be a bio-hazardous weapon, and worst of all, they fight with their wings which are powerful weapons for pain. In short, there is no good reason to ever, ever mess with one. None. And not in the years that followed did anything we ever cooked from goose eggs convince me that the pain I endured was worth it.

But, as I said, time dulls the memory of pain.

Time and the necessity of our current situation.

So what began as eight geese has dwindled to three over the years. Two geese actually managed to fly away during their first week at our farm. Several more became fox bait. But the three remained. Initially we planned to keep them with the chickens (how else were we to harvest their eggs and eventually their meat?) but they decided against that plan and moved themselves across the farm to our 15 acre lake. That was all well and good. Every evening during cocktail hour we swam our dogs in the lake and then fed the geese a small offering of shelled corn. They were happy and we were...complacent with situation.

Then came the sale of our farm, the need to move north to a new farm, and the knowledge that the home we had shared with the geese would soon undergo radical changes that would leave us and them unable to remain.

I am a softie. I admit it. I could not leave the geese. No way, no how.

So how does one catch three half-wild geese that live on a 15 acre lake?

I asked my husband if the alligator trapper from his job would be willing to come and dart them for me. He was not amused. I plotted. I thought. I planned. Then I did what farmers do: I domesticated the geese. Again.

The geese, like all of our animals to varying degrees, are suckers for food. They had grown accustomed to their nightly ration of corn and they were not about to give it up.

We built a makeshift coral. Every night for three weeks we fed the geese in and only in the coral. The first night they went hungry. The second night and every night after, they ate. Finally, one night which held no better shot than any other, I shut myself inside the coral with the geese and grabbed them.

I still have bruises. I still have scratches. The back of my truck still smells like goose poop. But I caught them. I caught them, I put them in a carrier, and I sent them on a truck headed north.

Grandma, who is presiding over all things Silver Creek, assures me that the geese have moved safely and happily into their new home.

And yes, they still come for corn every night.

 

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