Do you remember the gabbling goose in Charlotte's Web that seemed to have all the answers for everyone? She declared at one point that she was "no flibberty-ibberty-gibbet!" In other words, she wasn't just some silly senseless soul with no clue what was going on. She was the more together-ether type. She gave Wilbur lots of good advice, especially early on when he truly needed it but before she learned she was going to be a mother and had to sit on eight eggs. I have felt a bit like Fern this summer as my family and I have spent a great deal of time at our neighborhood duck pond.
There is a whole social order starting with the Canadian Geese, then the ducks and herons, followed by the the turtles, squirrels, and birds. It is amazing how many friends you can have when you bring food, and I have found this concept applies to animals too.
Hanna BewleyIt all started rather calmly. We would take our bread, oats, and bird seed and feed the ducks first. We got to know where each family was located and how many babies they had. We watched some families grow larger, and some sadly grow smaller. We would then feed the geese. There are currently two different geese families. One family, we call the Hissers, and the other family the Pleasants. They earned their names. The babies remind me of the ugly duckling. They aren't much to look at with their scrubby fur and barely their feathers. But they are already learning how to hiss to get their way and how to get in there and fight for what they want. The parents seem to lose some of their nurturing spirits when they themselves are hungry and tired. There are some occasions where the male geese decide not to be patient and they put their heads close to the ground and open up their mouths and hiss and run at anyone and everyone, including me. It reminds me of lawnmowers gone rogue. I can take the hissing but one snapped at my leg one time so now I know they are serious. So, what has started out as a stress reliever can become quite exciting and humorous at the same time. We all go loaded with food as ammunition - ready to throw at any moment to stop a "rogue lawn mower" from getting too close. Of course, we realize that we are teaching them that the meaner they are the more food they get. I literally had to throw down half the food and run from the front lines of the geese army. We all began to run and we looked back and saw that they were running behind us. Some were keeping up very well. It was very exciting and very funny.
Hanna BewleyWe gave them another food diversion and quickly checked on Martha White. She is a white duck with an orange beak who is presently laying on five eggs. She used to have eight but she has lost a few to the water below. We feed her if she is hungry but we don't leave her leftovers because we worry about ants. She is a really good mom. She never leaves them except briefly at night. The goose in Charlotte's Web said that "luck has nothing to do with this...It was good management and hard work." I have to agree. Even though she looks very bored, tired, and hungry sometimes, she rarely leaves her eggs unattended. It is hard work and hopefully, soon she will get her reward.
Up until the summer, I never knew that turtles liked to be fed just like the ducks and geese. They poke their heads out of the water and will put down anything I offer and ask for more.
Hanna BewleyIt is an amazing experience to feed the squirrels literally from your hand. They are very tame and very used to people. I can call them and there are a few that will walk right up, grab the food, and eat it right beside me. I am guessing I feel like Snow White did when she took care of her animals in the wilderness..." with a smile and a song."
We know it is time to go home when we run out of food.
Hanna BewleyThere has been something healing and restful about this pond for me. After finishing out two more college semesters this year with all the meetings, early classes, deadlines, tests, and social dramas it has been nice to enter into someone else's world and enjoy the beauty of time spent with family, sunsets on the water, breezes, and the making of priceless memories. So if you are caught up in the stresses of this world, I encourage you to step out into nature, stay there awhile, and feed something smaller than yourself.
And take it from the goose. Don't be a flibberty-ibberty-gibbet!