Photo Friday: if you feed them, they will come

I waited a long time and had begun to think that the birds were just not going to visit my bird feeder this year.  Then one day last week Bob and I went out to get into the truck. I heard hundreds of birds and looking up into the giant oak tree over our driveway, I saw some of them there…

“Oh look Bob!”  I said with excitement, “They’ve come back!

To which he replied: “@#%$&^# BIRDS!”

Not understanding his response I put down the camera and…


Then I saw what had raised his ire!

Oh dear.


Like Children at the Mall

Interior of a typical department store. This i...

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I imagine that most of us have stories of getting lost in the mall or department store when we were young.  As children we were easily distracted from our parents warnings about getting lost, and could be stopped in an instant to look at the latest bright and shiny new toy.  Then looking up we suddenly felt fear, followed by tears, and finally the joy of being reunited with our parents…

Early this morning I went out to let the geese out of the barn and being in a hurry I did not want to make a return trip to freshen up their bed.   So instead I took the time to do it right then.  Grabbing  a flake of straw I quickly shook it out onto the remains of last nights damage.    It took all of about three minutes.  Then, walking out of the roll up door I see…


Now the gate to the back yard and the path we take to the goose side of the world is about 20 paces.  Each and every day I have to convince Polly and company to actually pass through instead of stopping to eat the goosegrass that happens to be growing nowhere else on the Farmlet but there.

(Picture compliments of Aggie Horticluture, click the photo to be taken to the site and learn more than you ever wanted to know about this species)


And so it was, that I mistakenly counted on them running to the goosegrass to keep them preoccupied while I put the fresh straw into their bed.

Silly me.

Listening I hear them out front on the lawn.  They are busily grunting at each other and nibbling at some fresh new delight they have found.   I walk towards them, they move further away.  When advancing three more times produces the same results, I decide that divide and conquer is the best method.  Circling a wide berth around them I single out Polly.  Polly is so much more submissive and obedient than the Hueys.

Arms outstretched I heard her back around  to the gate and watch as she casts nervous glances over her wing at the disobedient Hueys.  She keeps waddling however and for her obedience I give her breakfast right away.  As I turn to leave I hear some terrified squeals from the front yard.  Seems that the Hueys have discovered they are lost!

I call to them, “Pip-PIP!

Their reply in triplicate, “Honk-Honk-Honk –  HEEEAH!”  And although I can’t see them, I envision them running back round, wings outstretched, to find Polly and me.

Polly, on hearing the ruckus, has forgone eating for the moment and comes from behind the well house to find out what’s going on.  Seeing them from across the yard she runs to them, with neck outstretched, giving a scolding and sounding eerily and every bit like your mother when you were young!  The scolding elicits the same cries of relief and remorse from the Hueys, as similarly you’d have done on seeing and hearing the scolding mother gave.

When finally the scolding and remorse have subsided, the four of them turn to waddle into the goose yard and to their breakfast which is waiting.

That’s better!


Translation“HEEEAH” is the goose equivalent of a scream.  I think it is a sound that you would have to actually hear to appreciate.

Tough from the start

This has been the year for us and we are tired.  We have suffered through frightening storms, personal injuries, and several animal losses.  I hate to whine, but dang I am sure enough tired of it.

However, today was the saddest loss of all.  Our little cockatiel  Bonjour is gone.  We’ve had him for over 20 years and it will be a little hole in our happiness for a while.

We got Bonjour from the preschool I taught at many years ago.  Bob and I went in one three-day weekend to work on the computers and found him covered up, with only shells in his food cup, and orange water!  We talked to the director and she agreed to let us have him, cage and all, in lieu of cash payment for services rendered.

To say Bonjour had an attitude about fingers near or in his cage was an understatement!  I mean, I ask you, wouldn’t you if you had over 70 children poking at you with tinker toys, straws, and their fingers every minute of every day?  Why once, one little darling even tried to pull him out of the bars by his tail feathers!!!  He was tailless for many weeks while it grew back in.  The insult!  However, in some evil way on my part, I silently cheered him on when he got the little culprit back by biting him on the finger and not letting go…

Sorry, I hope you don’t think less of me for telling you that, but if you knew the kid, then you would know he had it coming to him in spades.

So, we brought him home.  He moved three times with us, and traveled all the way from California to Alabama, a three and a half day journey, keeping Bob company on the front seat of the car.  He never became tame enough for finger perching, Oh-no-no-no!  But bless his little birdie heart he could sing to you and was ever happy to see you when you were around.

He would cape his wings, tilt his head and just sing, like it was his only joy in life to sing you into utter happiness.

I will miss him, but Bob has lost a very dear little friend today.




Geese: my ‘epic fail’ and a happy ending!

I am a neophyte when it comes to chickens and geese.  I have only been at raising poultry for three years, and while I can feel pretty successful at raising chickens (just keep those dogs at bay thank you!) well, I’ve got to admit I certainly stink at goose husbandry.  What is more regrettable is the fact that I love the geese so much more than I do the chickens…

Shhhh!   Now don’t you dare breathe a word of this to them, because it would certainly hurt their feelings!

Without going into heartbreaking detail I have lost, one way and another, all of Polly’s baby goslings.  Yup, I lost the last one.  I had just come to naming little Helena and POOF!  She was out of the picture.  However as heartbreaking it was for me you have to know that it was a crushing blow to Polly!  She spent her whole day calling and looking for that little gosling girl to no avail and that was killing me…

I have learned that geese need companionship.  They will die without it.  I had to act fast for both our sakes!  I quickly contacted my favorite goose lady Connie of Sassafras Valley Farm, and asked if she had a spare goose/gosling I could buy.  She wrote back saying that she did!  Awesome!  Then I found that she lived all the way up in Missouri.  That surely was not going to work (You may recall the distress that driving that far caused me when I went up to visit Jayme.).  This meant I had to look local and what a surprise!  Seems raising geese is on the rise here in Alabama!

And so it is I found Kim in Moulton  via Craig’s List, and she had three Embden goslings for sale!  Moulton was only an hour away.  Hmm… Moulton vs. Missouri?  No contest there!  😉  Though I am certain I would have very much enjoyed visiting with Connie on her goose farm, and who knows?  I may have the opportunity someday.

And so it is that I drove to Moulton and OH-MY-GOODNESS!  These goslings are positively of Baby Huey fame and proportions, and although I was told they were just over a month old, they are already half the size of Polly!

We caught the triplets, I put them into the dog crate, Kim field dressed the scratches on my arm, I paid her, and I was off.  Unfortunately for me I had the dog crate in the back of the cab and not in the truck’s bed.    With the temperatures in the mid to high nineties the truck bed was simply not an option, so crate and all, into the cab they went.   Hopping into the cab I suddenly realized, that by the time I got home, I would certainly be suffering from the deleterious effects of the off gassing from that much goose poop!  I rolled down the windows and turned the air conditioner down to arctic blast!

Do I spoil my critters?

Now I wondered what would happen when I got home… Would Polly reject the three Hueys?  Would there be honking and pinching all around?  I, being a world class worry wart, began to worry in earnest.

Turns out I needn’t have.  Bob helped me to set the crate down and Polly came running over to see what was going on.  Right away she was interested in the goslings, and they, though hot and frightened from the ride home, were definitely interested in her too.  I opened the crate door.  No one came out.  Then Polly stuck her head inside and started a low soothing honking, almost like a whisper, and slowly the Hueys came out of the crate.

Polly was amazing!  She began honking loudly and walked over to get a drink.  They followed!  Later at dusk I heard her honking in earnest and, worried (did I mention I am a worrier?)  I ran to the window to see what was happening…

Surprisingly, she was honking ‘command’ and the three Hueys were walking in file right behind her into the barn and to bed!

Crisis averted!

And to think I was worried.


OK, this one begs for a caption!  Feeling witty?  Post one in the comments section and then we’ll take a vote.  Now don’t be shy!