Thursday, June 12, 2014

Birds of a Feather

Nesting Goose
approx. 1977
My mother loved her geese, and the numbers grew steadily every year. It was common to see the flock (gaggle) parade around the yard and even across the County road to swim in the irrigation ditch. One year the ditch rider complained about the geese in the ditch, but his complaints fell on deaf ears because the geese kept the algae in the ditch under control.

Mom's flock of geese grew to nearly 50 in 1977
Mom's geese got a bit territorial in the spring, and it was wise to give them a wide berth, especially near their nests. The goose and gander took turns sitting on the large eggs. They both would extend their necks and hiss if someone got too close to the nest.

It was common to see the ganders chase the dogs across the yard if they got too close to the flock or to the goslings. I've also seen the geese as well as the ganders chase people who got too close.

snacking on the lawn in front of the house
approx. 1973
One year, my nephews took a gosling from a nest to raise at their home in the Gas Hills. They named the goose, Charlie because they thought it was a gander; however, Charlie was a goose. She was spoiled and eventually came back to live on the farm and raise goslings of her own.

approx. 1973


For several years, around the holidays, my mother took orders for freshly killed and dressed geese. On those occasions, I helped her catch and kill the geese. It was crucial to grab the geese at the base of their wings and hold tight; if not, they could slap with their powerful wings, and that hurt!

Mom saved the goose down in a bag and hung it on the clothesline. When the bag was full, she would launder the fluffy down and save it for pillows. I still have some of Mom's goose-down pillows.

The female geese were gray; the males, white.
The geese could be quite vocal, too, and sometimes were better than a barking dog for announcing unexpected visitors.

Mom's geese did not fly; however, they often tried, but they simply could not get off of the ground high enough to call it flying.

12 comments:

  1. OH yes...geese!! I have been chased down the lane lots of times at the farm...by the geese!! What pretty babies they had...thank you for sharing this memory today!

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  2. Love those photos! The only experience I've had with geese has been at public parks and there is usually at least one of them that will chase anything or anyone that gets near. I have a healthy respect for geese.

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  3. A friend of ours have geese. They are curious and protective at the same time. When we pull up in the car, they are the first to greet us. But, they are also the first to give chase and try and run us off. LOL

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  4. Such a different life...wonderful memories.

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  5. I enjoyed your pictures and stories about your Mom's geese. I have heard they can be protective and give people a good chase, although I have not experienced it. I think they are pretty cool dudes.

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  6. That nest looks soft enough to sleep on. It's sad that I have such bad feelings about geese but I was once bitten/butted/whacked (I don't know which) by one nasty tempered goose. It hurt and even though I was a grown woman, I cried. I was minding my business and it just walked up to me and chomped my leg. What was it doing on that golf course anyway? My motto is "eat the critters--it serves them right." I'm glad you have better memories of geese!

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  7. Nice post. I have been chased by geese. I was SCARED. I sat down by a manmade lake to study/read by a tree, no sign of a nest, but apparently they did not like me there.

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  8. Geese have been a real problem in our parks; besides being feisty, they are very messy. They've even hired dogs to chase them away.

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  9. GOosey goosey gander. Nancy, you are always a font of knowledge!!!

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  10. I must admit that geese scare me - probably because of being chased by one when I was a kid. But they are definitely interesting critters, aren't they? I didn't realize they could be territorial.

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  11. I always mutter and fuss about Gertie and her unprovoked dislike of me when geese are discussed. I had to deal with her stealth attacks when I visited my friend Bonnie.

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  12. We never had geese, but I had a friend who did and they were sometimes scary! I enjoyed all your photos..my Grandma saved the goose feathers for pillows too:)

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