Mother Goose at Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

For the past ten days I’ve watched a pair of Canadian geese quietly checking out the area for a likely nesting site. They’ve cruised the shoreline, reviewed back yards, considered hideaway ledges and nooks.

“That one looks good to me,” he would mutter.
“You’re not the one who’s going to be sitting on those blasted eggs,” she retorted, sometimes sharply.

In the past we’ve had a pair, maybe this same twosome, nest on the ledge down along the edge of our back yard. Each effort has met with disaster, once at the teeth of a fox or raccoon and twice when heavy rains raised the lake level and drowned the eggs.

Last week I found the two birds standing in our back yard. Now I enjoy watching geese from a distance but I’m not up for wading through their copious goose grease in my yard. I politely — but firmly — ushered them off my property.

A few days ago they were back, this time while she tried out an empty flower pot for size while he swam back and forth in the water above our pool.

“Does this pot make me look fat?” I heard her ask.
“Dearest, it’s a beautiful pot and you’re as slender and gorgeous as ever, but our babies will break their downy necks trying to get down from there when they hatch.”
“I don’t know,” she said, clearly flattered. “This potting soil sure feels comfortable on my you know what.”

And then I went outside and politely — but firmly — ushered them out of our yard.

Yesterday Sandy discovered the male on duty atop the wall that separates our yard and our neighbor’s. He stood out there for nearly an hour. We wondered where his mate might be but thought no more of it.

This morning both geese were on our roof, doing a bit of morning head bobbing, either the equivalent of goose yoga or as much sex as they could hope for given that she’s in a motherly way and all. They eventually flew off and minutes later the male was back on guard on the wall. I believe I heard muffled talk coming from the weeds down by the water.

“Don’t you let anyone see me like this,” she was warning.
“I’m here, dearest,” he said, trying to look casual, as though he stood on top of a wall all the time.
“I feel so, so exposed,” she whispered.
“You’ve never been more beautiful, darling,” he assured. “Laying eggs is one of the most natural things in nature. Just relax and let them come out.”
“Ouch!” “Ouch!”
“We can do this!”
“WE are not doing this, you vain poppycock! I am doing this, and it’s like laying a pumpkin. So shut your stupid … Ouch! Whew! Maybe three are enough.”
“One more time, my sugar plum.”
“Ouch! Okay! You satisfied, buster?”
“Perfect,” he beamed, which is a difficult expression for a male goose.

After a while I’ll get dressed and go check out my theory that we now have a mother on her eggs. I’ll wait till the proud papa is off bragging to the guys and take a quick peek. I’ll let you know what I find.

Postscript: I just went down the hall after coffee and spotted the Q&$#^ geese back in the pool. I politely — but #&$&*$ — ushered them out of my yard. If she was taking a sitting break, she can just take it somewhere else. Those &($& geese!

Mother Goose is back

Hi everyone,

Sunday evening daughter Robin, son-in-law Tim and grandson Kris came over. I grilled burgers on the grill, which were nowhere near as good as the ones Tim does, but they were tolerable.

While I was in the yard I glanced down the steps to the landing by the water and noticed a rather pronounced accumulation of goose poop. I walked down the steps and discovered that we have a nesting goose on the rocks beside the landing. I don’t know who was more startled, Mother Goose or me, but she wasted no time letting me know how she felt.

“Geez!” she hissed. “You scared the crap out of me!”
“I can see that,” I said. “All over my landing. But I’m sorry I frightened you.”
“Then run along, sonny,” she honked. “Can’t a girl have a little privacy around here?:
“Of course,” I said. “I can see you are in a motherly way.”
“Motherly way?” she snapped. “I’m way past that, you dolt. I’m on my eggs!”
“Well I can’t exactly see under you,” I responded, my pride wounded by her sarcasm.
“You think I’d be sitting here on these rocks if I didn’t have eggs?”
“I suppose not,” I admitted. “But I have to tell you that I’m afraid you’ve picked a poor spot for your nest.”
She began to weave her long neck like a cobra. “Poor place?” she hissed. “What, may I ask, does a dummy like you know about it?”
Now I was getting peeved. Rocks or no rocks, she was on my property and I thought I deserved a little respect. “Because,” I said with a haughty air. “Some poor cluck tried it there on the very same spot two years ago. We had a heavy rain, the lake rose three inches, and the eggs were drowned. That’s what I know!”
She lowered her head and looked out over the water for a minute before responding. “I remember that,” she said with a sigh.
“You remember that but still you’re back?” I was astonished. “Why?”
“Why?” she sighed. “Because the idiot I’m mated to likes me here where he can keep an eye on me while he’s across the lake hanging with the swans, pretending he’s a big gander on a stick.”
Well that took me back a bit. “I can see you’re busy, Mother,” I said. “Sorry to bother you.”
“My problem,” she said, a bit more gently. “Just don’t try to be part of it. Go away. Leave me alone.”
As I walked back up the steps I was sure I remembered her. She was pretty cranky the last time too. Come to think of it, this is the third year she has nested down there. Last year she wound up with two goslings for her trouble. I hope she has even better luck this year. That’s what we need around here: more goose grunt on my steps.

“My butt’s already sore.” Mother Goose

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Hi everyone,

Mother Goose is on the nest and Father stays close by in the water. Now we wait. We already have five other couples paddling around the lake showing off their broods and our gal is just getting started. Maybe as she sits there day after day for the next four weeks, watching all those youngsters growing bigger and stronger, she’ll wish she hadn’t put this off for so long. Some geese just cannot make up their minds.

You’d think that Father Goose himself laid those eggs and was sitting on that thin nest with nothing but a few twigs and his wife’s breast feathers between him and that rocky ledge. His nerves are already on edge. While I was watching yesterday from a few feet away a couple and their four goslings were out for a swim at the far end of the lake. The gander raised his head, shook it in the air, and released a loud series of gobbles aimed in our general direction. Whereupon Father Goose yelled back with agitated gusto, looking for all the world as if he were sick and tired of that braggart carrying on about his brilliant little fuzz-ball children.

He then extended his neck an inch above the water, opened his beak, and rushed muttering to his mate as though he had just taken care of that bore once and for all and she could rest easy with him on the job. Something tells me that we’ll have to send Father to anger management or slip him some Xanax before he gets these four eggs hatched.

The wait begins

BULLETIN: Yesterday I examined the abandoned nest and found one egg still in it. No bits of shells to indicate that the second gosling hatched so maybe a predator got it. Mama G had moved her nest back a few inches from the waters edge. Maybe she feard that a turtle would reach up out of the water and snatch her eggs. All we can do is wait and hope that one of these evenings we’ll see the parents swimming on Goose Lake with their one offspring paddling along between them.

Hi everyone,

Empty Nest
David L. Harrison
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Unmade bed at water’s edge
abandoned in the press of duty,
disarray of feathers ruffling
among the sticks and mud.

When coaxed in dark of night
to step off the ledge and swim,
what fate befell the goslings?
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Safely tucked along the shore
in some convenient thicket?
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Turtles maintain their patrol.
Hope for success begins.