We moved back to the simply country life long before it was the 'in' thing.
With our miniscule 4 acres of grass, and a few dinky trees, I wanted to experience more of the country life described in Mother Earth News and Harrowsmith.
I brought home day old goslings. They were so cute, yellow, green spotted and fuzzy. Africans, I think they were called.
For the first two weeks they lived in our second bathroom. They were noisy and filthy. And they thought I was Mom. When I left the room, they called to me in strident, scared voices. When I let them wander the house, they followed me, leaving little wet presents on the floor.
The family objected to these rapidly growing beasts in the house, so I configured a confined space around the doghouse outside, and hooked up a light for warmth. They goslings were safe from wild predators, and our dog protected them from the cats.
Within 2 weeks outside, they didn't need to fear the cats any longer. The kids chased them as I slowly gave them more space to roam. By 12 weeks of age, they were chasing the cats. By 14 weeks they didn't fit in the doghouse any longer; I built a house from straw bales for the winter. And I warned the kids that the geese would soon match them in height. I tried to convince them that chasing the geese wasn't a really good idea. In October the goslings were full grown. Did I mention they were African breed? Well African geese grow rather tall - not as tall as a Toulouse, but about 3 feet tall. Suddenly they were the chasers. My 4 year old discovered that geese are fast one day. I heard a scream and honking by the front door. My baby was trapped against the front door with the gander attached to the middle of his back and beating him with wings. Chasing the birds was no longer a game.
The birds still considered me Mom. I would go outside with my morning coffee and sit on the grass with a bird tucked into each side of me. Whenever I went outside they followed me.
In the spring, the goose started to lay eggs. The gander decided that I should be part of his harem. I was the delighted recipient of many beautiful courtship dances. He greeted me whenever he saw me, groomed me when I let him, and tried frantically to let him protect me. He felt my husband was a threat, an unworthy male for my attention. And he tried to attacked my poor husband whenever he got the chance.
Now the straw shelter had fallen apart and the birds were outside in the elements, exposed to predator attacks. So I talked my husband into building me a goose house. I had found a greenhouse timer, with more settings than any goose owner needed, but he installed that for my heat lamp. On Sunday, my husband proudly led me out to the newly finished goose house. The timer was installed, a window faced south for maximum exposure, the human door faced east away from prevailing winds and the goose door with closing ramp was south. He was proud of his building.
I didn't notice the gander. Neither did my husband, as he showed me his accomplishment. The gander snuck up and attached himself to my husbands right testicle! Then he honked his satisfaction of vanquishing his foe and beat my husband with his wings.
I fell over laughing! My husband grabbed the bird and threw him off.
To this day I will never forget the look on my husband's face, or the satisfied honk of that gander.