Benjamin Bombard (established 1981) is a native Salt Laker. His interests include public radio, words, animal husbandry, butchery, tasty food, and the moon—he forgot to mention the moon. He is a producer for KUER's RadioWest.
Fred the gander has taken our two young goslings under his wing. With Ethel on the nest, it seems like he needs some kind of goosey relationship to feel complete. Ever since they were little fist-sized fuzz balls, Fred's been interested in the peepers. He used to hassle Dorothy the mother hen and try to scare her away from them, behavior that looked a little threatening to the goslings--we half thought he might try to cull them from the flock himself.
You've read about them. You've watched them grow up from tiny little bobble-headed peepers into egg-laying, kiddie-pool-swimming, midnight-honking backyard mobsters. You've even watched one of them wage mortal combat with a watering can. Now come meet the Windsor Street flock this Saturday 22nd June as a featured stop on the Wasatch Community Garden's Urban Garden and Farm Tour.
More exciting news on the Windsor Street Farm. Ethel the goose has proven our naysaying wrong and started sitting a clutch of her eggs. For the longest time, we suspected that her genetic line may have had the tendency towards broodiness bred out of it. Every time it seemed she might sit on some eggs, every time she got our hopes up, within a night and/or a day, she’d be off the nest again. But this time’s different. This time she’s on the next for a good solid month…we hope.
After months of worry and head-scratching and second- and third-guessing, not to mention a full year of eager anticipation, the day finally arrived last week: a pair of baby goslings hatched at our Windsor Street homestead.
Fred the gander hates intruders in his backyard. He especially hates any stationary interlopers: five-gallon buckets, dog bowls and especially watering cans.
You stroll through the sliding glass doors and fumble for the grocery list at the bottom of your reusable bag. Immediately, you have the sense that something's different in this store. Friends told you that would be the case. You can't put a finger on it, but, yeah, something is definitely different here.
Eggs are piling up on our shelves. Dozens of chicken eggs and duck eggs. More eggs than we can even sell at times. Goose eggs are piling up in the goose nest, but our goose has so far failed to pile herself on top of them for any longer than a couple hours. Hope was beginning to fade on the Windsor Farm that any of our birds would go broody and help us increase our flock size – because it seems like that’s what we need, right?
With spring blossoming in Utah, the birds, like the rest of nature, are busy with the business of procreation. For our backyard flock, that means the ganders crush our lone goose with their insatiable instinctual affection and the drake mounts his hens. In one respect, that was somewhat problematic for us. As I mentioned in a previous blog, we recently learned that the Protester carried dirty genes.
Spring’s arrival has brought big changes and weighty revelations to our backyard poultry ranch, not least of which is the snow melting. Bigger yet, though is this news: our goose is laying! I say “goose,” because, contrary to what our previous beliefs of the gender distribution of our American buff goose flock – that is, two geese, one gander – it’s recently been revealed to us that we in fact have two ganders and one goose. That’s been a tough pill to swallow.
The other day, as I walked to the peeper pen to fill up the waterfowl’s drinking and washing bucket with fresh water, the geese and ducks were out and about, and as I passed by them I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the Hisser--who earns her name everyday--was chasing after me, her neck snaking low to the ground, mouth open, tongue out. She was pissed. I don’t think she likes me.