Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Slice of Life - The Goose Patrol

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for giving us a writing community to join each week.

     I started out this week in a funk.  This is unusual as I'm ordinarily cheerful and positive.  I couldn't put my finger on exactly why I was feeling a little depressed, but alas, there it was.  Maybe because there are three more days of testing this week, and I miss my regular schedule with the kids?  Or that the weekend was so fun, and I wasn't ready for Monday? I don't know. Shortly after I arrived at school, I got this text from my husband: "Sorry, but I am going to make your funk worse.  Goose patrol just walked by nest..."  There's more, but I'm going to spare you the details.  However, I'll give you some background on the Goose Patrol.

     As many of you know, we moved into our lakeside condo a year ago this April.  It's a wonderful place.  We love the shade trees that bloom in the spring, the blue herons and bald eagle that soar over the lake, the skidding landings of the ducks in the water, the incredible colors of the sunrises and sunsets, and yes, even the constant honking of the geese.  One of the first experiences in our new condo was spotting a nesting goose right at the edge of our back yard, on the edge of the lake, her fiercely protective gander floating by her side.  I snapped the photo above, and eagerly watched her faithful nesting, waiting for her goslings to one day appear.

     Much to my dismay, however, a group of men came by one day while I was at school (Ed was at home, showing some friends our newly moved-into place) bearing rakes and screwdrivers and wearing brightly colored vests.  Their mission?  To destroy goose eggs around the lake.  This is not an easy task - if you know geese, they are vicious when protecting their eggs and young.  "My" goose was discovered, and her eggs were smashed.  Our friends witnessed the deed, not entirely realizing what was going on until afterward, and were horrified.  Ed didn't tell me for a while because he knew I'd be sad.  He finally caved after a couple days because I was posting updates on the nesting on Facebook and he couldn't take it anymore.  One of the saddest things is that the geese keep on nesting for a while because they don't realize the eggs won't ever hatch.

     Now understand this.  I grew up a country girl.  I'm pragmatic when it comes to animals (although, I do admit I become very attached to most animals).  I was even a bird hunter.  We investigated and learned that this is a sanctioned practice - the Goose Patrol has permission to do this, so no need to protest too much.  I know that some people hate geese.  I know they are messy and problematic.  I know they are pests. I know their poop is disgusting and can cause diseases.  I know they are loud and obnoxious. I know all that, and I understand the need to keep the goose population down. Animal overpopulation is bad - they end up competing for resources and interfere with humans.  But dang it, I wanted to see those goslings hatch!

     Fast forward to yesterday.  Our front landscaping has a tiered wall that leads down to the grass below since we're on a hill.  I discovered a goose nesting just down from our main landscaping and on the mulched area on the wall below.  It's several feet up from the grass beside the lake.  A perfect spot!  She was hidden from above AND below.  Her only give-away was the gander floating on the edge of the lake below.  Well, that and her loud hissing whenever you came near.  That's how I discovered her as I was checking out the emerging perennials.  I smiled, thinking that we were co-conspirators - she may just "stick it to the man" nesting there!  I silently willed her to keep quiet and wished her good luck.  Meanwhile, I saw a couple other goose families that got by the Goose Patrol.  Yay!  I hoping for this one.

    It wasn't to be.  When Ed started his text that way, I knew they found her.  He felt really bad about it because he knew I was rooting for her (he's actually not a fan of geese, but knows I am, so sympathizes). Apparently, they almost walked by her, and even the gander had stepped away for a few, which helped in not drawing attention to a potential nest, but one of the guys got too close, and she hissed and spread her wings, giving away her position.  They moved in for the kill. Unfortunately, she hasn't figured this out yet and is still sitting there.  My mood has barely improved...


  1. If we could only arm the geese, give them a fighting chance -

  2. Oh, I love learning more about you and I hear you understand why the Goose Patrol exists but there is sadness. Sadness takes time and hope.

  3. How awful... I'm not a fan of geese either but I totally love seeing their sweet little babies. :) I'm sorry about your loss.

  4. I love this argument here! I love how you anticipate the counter, and push back! And there's so much voice. This is a great piece of writing! And I love how Ed was trying to protect you from all this too.

    1. I didn't think of it as argument writing, but I guess it is! Thanks for pointing that out. :-) Poor Ed. Ha.

  5. Oh my, Holly. I am so sorry! Last summer we watched geese at my parents' lake. One day while I was still visiting, they hatched. By the last day, the crew had been reduced by only one. I hate to think how heartbreaking it would have been if there was a goose patrol. We so enjoyed watching this natural event. My mother was amazed at how clean the geese left their nesting area when usually they poop everywhere. I can really empathize with your mood.

  6. Oh Holly, your love and respect for animay. Like you, there is a part of me with her.