I was 22 and still living at home, but my parents and sister had gone on a roadtrip for a week or so. I remember I was at work when I got the call…
Mom: Hey, we are bringing home some pets. Just wanted you to know before we showed up.
Me: Really? What did you guys get?
Mom: Three ducks, two chickens and a goose. (she said matter-of-factly)
Me: WHAT? You’re joking, right?
Mom: Nope. They are so cute. We are a little concerned for one of the chics, it seems a little sick. They were so noisy in the hotel last night.
Me: I can’t believe it. Where are they going to live?
Mom: Oh, in the backyard.
This was a new chapter in lives with pets….we’d had dogs, snakes, guinea pigs, bunnies, birds, hedgehogs and fish. My parent’s had had chickens when they lived in California but that was when I was a baby. I couldn’t believe it. Turns out my dad felt sorry for my sister. She was going through a hard time, she’d just lost her life-long companion and dog, Rascal. She’d was in her early teens and couldn’t remember life before Rascal. She was heartbroken and swore she’d never get a dog again. She didn’t ever want to hurt like that, but he had been our last living pet. There was no one to help fill the void and distract her. She’d always wanted ducks and so….it seems the logical new pet, especially around Easter.
The “ducks” had a great life. My dad re-designed the backyard for them. They were fed daily and given fresh swimming water. The sick little chicken died the night my parents came home, but the other five grew up together. I call them all ducks, because three were ducks….and the goose and chicken, well, I think they thought they were ducks. The white duck was Gilligan, the dark brown was Seymore, the lighter brown was Blazer, the chicken turned rooster was Amber and the goose was Spike. Through natural selection, i.e. mean raccoons or other night varmint, we lost all the “ducks,” but Spike, the goose is the one we will remember most.
From my younger school-aged years of going to the zoo and being chased by angry geese, I’d always been scare of them and avoided them at all costs. I did not expect to fall in love with one of the silly creatures. Spike got her name because my dad was hoping she would protect the others and he thought it would be funny to tell people, “watch out for Spike in the backyard. He might bite.” and people to invision a big dog and then end up with a goose. Spike was a lover. She followed us around and would even give hugs.
The best way to tell you about her nature is when my bird, Quinbie, flew out of the house and got stuck in a tree. We searched the neighborhood and Spike went with us. No need for a leash, as she would not allow us to get very far from her. She would be looking around and get a little distracted, but when she realized she was slowing down (or we were speeding up) and she wasn’t right next to us, she’d honk and patter over. It was one of the cutest things ever. But the absolute cutest, was later that day, when we still hadn’t found Quinbie and I was very sad. I was sitting in the back yard and Spike came over to me and wrapped her neck around my arm. It was so sweet!
After Spike, the sight of a goose makes me (and all my family for that matter) smile. We get super excited and want to sit and watch them. The way the walk and interact with each other is familiar and brings back good memories. Even the honking and squawking makes us happy.
Our house seems to be on a mirgration trail, because I’ve never seen so many geese in my life. and they seem to fly straight down our street. The last two weeks, it seems like all I hear are geese. I tried to get some photos the other night, but it was dusk and they are fast, so they aren’t the best, but they are way down at the bottom here. First, are some photos of the “ducks.” Their baby-baby photos were taken with an old film camera, so I don’t have digital copies on my computer to share, but….oh well. I’ve also included a video my dad put together of Spike running around the kitchen, upset with us for cleaning up her poo.
Still young, the whole gang…..Spike, Gilligan, Seymore, Blazer and Amber:
First snow, Amber stayed inside:
One of my favorite shots of Gilligan and Spike:
Spike came to visit us in the house…climbed all the stairs herself:
And one of my favs, even if it is a bit blurry, of Spike trying to get the camera strap:
And now for the recent rush of geese. First, one stream of geese going through the neighborhood. This particular strand was probably a mile wide. It was pretty amazing. Second is a close up of some right above our house.