Tag Archives: geese

a clear pure light

One of the most successful things I have done in this cottage – still after six years in the throes of restoration – was to restore the old wooden ceiling. When I did that, I found a nail near the door. Almost certainly the nail on which in the past the hurricane lamp was hung to be easily reached down when one was heading out of the door to grapple with a crisis. This January brought the usual storms and power cuts, and I have got another hurricane lamp to hang in the same spot. IMG_1320I was glad of it on Friday night when my hear torch packed up and refused to work at all. This was not a good moment for it to pick, because the geese were in the middle of the pond. I have been having fox trouble again. Foxes are beautiful and destructive. Also, because urban foxes are being dumped in the countryside in large numbers, currently they are a real problem. I have recently lost my gander to a fox, and the sorrow of his poor widow was pitiable. I was lucky enough to be offered a breeding pair of geese, and took them, offering every assurance that I now had a safe fox-resistant (little is fox proof) pen for the nights. And there they were, in the middle of the pond. And there I was, running round the edge, trying to persuade them to leave the pond and get into their pen. Well, actually, just to leave the pond. I was wonderfully well placed to see both the beauty of the hurricane lamp, with its gentle glow, and the down side of it. A very gentle glow.  I would have given a good deal for a nasty bright modern light to help persuade the geese. The trouble is, the pond is deeper than my wellies. Round to the left I went, and round to the right the geese. Down to the right I went and round to the left they went. I waded in as far as I dared. They went to the opposite bank. I splashed the water with a long stick, and they edged right up to the bank. then the water was half an inch away from the top of my wellies and a backed off. And with that the geese went back to the middle of the pond. This was repeated for an hour or more. Even outside ones wellies, the water chills the feet. I got more and more fed up. The geese remained unruffled. Finally, tired and exasperated, I made an error. The water came pouring into a wellie. That was it. I had little to lose. I set off across the pond, and the geese looked at me in horror. Actually it must have been very funny to look and I do have a weakness for comedy. Making people makes me happy. Those wretched geese did not even have the decency to laugh. They did however at least shuffle up the bank, and very shortly, into their proper pen. And I went back to the house, poured the water out of the wellies, stripped off my soaking wet jeans and socks and hung the lamp back on its antique nail


Alas, poor Horatia

All that sitting, and no babies, not even from the bought-in eggs. I suspect that her own eggs, not being fertile, became rotten and exploded, contaminating the others. Though many other things could have gone wrong. She now only has two eggs, and soon they too will break. Poor bird.

…make a summer

The moment my friend and her enchanting grandson left, the weather turned from dry and bright to truly glorious. All along the hedgerows the blackthorn blossoms in profusion, and more botanically interesting plants are slowly creeping out in places not too ravaged by the ubiquitous sheep – what a paradise this place must have been when there were fewer of them.

Sitting outside my own front door I am surrounded by birdsong, and the peace is almost absolute. It is hard to read for almost every instant there is something to see and wonder over.

On Saturday I was taken totally by surprise by an almost hysterical burst of vivid navy blue. Two swallows burst past me, ecstatic to find themselves at journey’s end. That first day they were hyper active and more noisy than usual. They have been building with the ample mud supplied by the pond. Gradually more are joining them. I was not sure today if the count was four or five.

Horatia is sitting on her eggs – but I am worried. I’ve not seen Maro mate with her, and when, to her loud grief she broke an egg, it did not seem to have been fertile. In order to save grief all round, I have ordered her four Roman goose eggs. They will be fertile, though she may of course make some fatal mistake in the brooding of them. The problem will arise if she does hatch any of her own goslings, because they will be nearly four days ahead of the bought in eggs. Maybe a hen will be broody by then?

One is already brooding (Goldilocks) and one has disappeared (eaten or gone broody – time will tell) which leaves three to go broody – supposing I an find out where they are laying.

..of arms and of the goose


They are here – my Christmas present to myself. Arrived on Sunday, and today, due to the total mess made of the afternoon due to ‘circumstances beyond my control’, I let them out for the first time, and watched them take to the small pond like, er, like, like a goose to water. They have never had a pond before, and their delight was huge.


And I stood and pondered names. They are magisterial, a little nervous, clad in off-white, and likely to respond to any threat in a martial manner. Invention is definitely limited. There is considerable affection in this arranged marriage.

They have been named Maro and Horatia.