We were surprised by the young geese urgently knocking at the front door. They had a great deal to tell us. A moment later, a delivery van pulled up to the farmhouse. A rare event.
They’d raced to the front door to tell us the news! What kind creatures.
If we listen well, all of the flocks announce guests, alert for predators. Once attuned, we can heed the wild birds too. It turns out that the geese are particularly skilled at it, with their powerful voices. Being corona babies, they’ve not had many visitors to announce. So this was a great event.
Their voices are otherwise singsong, except to greet us. This greeting must be returned in kind, perhaps with a bow or a bright ‘hi!’ and, neglecting that, the greeting grows clamorous. Geese know how to connect. George’s orange-lined blue eyes hold yours. If we’ve not already spent the day in the garden, we’ll receive porch visits or a knock at the french doors. It’s a neighbourly way to live. The ducks are shy and bolt if the door is opened. The chickens are bold and stroll into the house looking for treats. If a gate is neglected or a tether comes loose, the goats beeline to the back door. Naturally the cat expects prompt door service, he reigns. But the geese just want a companionable chat on the stoop.
Had they merely padded about the lawn, mowing as neatly as a flock of sheep, we’d be impressed. For their work of butler, host, protector, keeping an eye on the sky though the threat is but a flight of swallows, we appreciate them. Their contentedness on endless rainy days is compelling. Their penchant for wheedling out blades of grass from between flowering plants is persuasive. But it’s their passion for a bamboo shoot that makes them the ideal creature for this smallholding.
You may notice bamboo of all descriptions thriving here. Someone keen planted all variety of the stuff. Its carbon sequestering skill alone is stellar, yet the annual spring rush of shoots, while delicious, is overwhelming. Just locating all the sprouting tips is a challenge. The geese on their rounds make a thorough inspection.
I tell you, the sight of them holding bamboo shoots like elegant cigarettes is an uncommon delight.
Watch our film goosehouse to see more.