I was listening to Honey and the Sheriff talking the other day about the geese. Honey said, “When do you thing those silly geese are going to start laying eggs?”
Sheriff replied, “Well, I would think it would be soon. You know that the geese start laying when its spring time and we’re getting close.” We should also start getting duck eggs as well.
“Yes,” Honey agreed, “I guess I am just anxious for them to start.” Sheriff nodded his head agreeing with Honey. I sat behind them thinking about what they had said. Maybe I could talk to Button and see what she had to say on the matter. That way I could take some of the burden off their shoulders. They are so very good to me. I wanted to help in whatever way I could. I could do this. No big deal, right?
Button is an American Buff goose about 1 year old now. I think she is very pretty as well as being the friendliest of all the geese. Some of the geese have attitude. I think that they believe that they are deputies for the Sheriff. They tend to be aloof and try to make everybody listen to them and do exactly what they say. However, they do listen to the Sheriff and follow him everywhere he goes while he is outside. It’s like his own personal entourage. Looks kind of silly to me with everyone running to follow the Sheriff but then I can be with the Sheriff any time I want. So I try and cut them some slack. I have noticed that as a rule the geese don’t listen to Honey very much. In fact, sometimes their behavior to Honey is very rude. She just shakes her head at them and then repeats what she needs them to do. Eventually they will do what Honey wants but it is in their own sweet time. Makes me so mad to see how they act toward Honey. I mentioned that one time to Honey but she just smiled. I asked her why she smiled and she said, “Oh, Stripe, they are just so sweet and I love them just like I love you.” I blushed at that and then I stopped as I realized what she had said about the geese being sweet. Were we talking about the same geese? About the gander who had pinched my tail when I wasn’t looking, that one was sweet? I snuck a peek at Honey to see if she was joking but no, she looked serious. I mumbled that she must be right and shook my head again.
I have tried to explain to the geese many times that I, Stripe, am the official deputy to the Sheriff and not them. I’m just wasting my time and my breath as it doesn’t really do any good. Oh, they listen politely to me with that superior look and their bill up in the air. If it rained, I believed they would drown with their nose so high in the air. Anyway, they go right back to acting the way they had before. I have even had them try to tell me what to do. When that happens, I just look at them and when they stop talking I say, “Oh really? And just who do you think you are?” They look at me so strangely and then walk away shaking their head like I was the problem. Geese, go figure, such strange creatures to work with at times. The things I put up with for the Sheriff ;‘course I would do just about anything for him.
So anyway, I go find Button and slide up next to her. I say softly, “Button, got a question for you.” She raised her head up from the feed pan and looked at me. “Yes, what do you want? I am eating here and if I don’t keep eating Grey will eat my share.” Down her head went back to the feed pan. Grey is a big gander who can get very pushy at feeding time so I understand her problem. Never-the-less, I lean down and whisper to her, “Honey was wondering when you guys were going to start laying eggs.” Button’s head quickly popped back up and swings around at me. As I jump out of the way, she choked on her food and squawks out in a panic: “What? What? Eggs, laying eggs? Well, I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean I hadn’t thought about THAT!” With that said she turned her head to Opera, the other American Buff goose hen and lowering her voice says “Did you hear him?” Opera with her mouth full of food raised her head and shook it no. “What did he say?” she mumbled with food dribbling out of her bill. Button moved over by Opera and leaning her head over whispers into Opera’s ear what I had said.
Opera spun her head around and glared at me. “Well, well”, her voice raising up in volume, “what business is that of his I would like to know?” Button leaned back in and whispered some more. Opera shook her feathers and settled them back in place. “Humph”, she said emphatically. “You can tell HIM that it will happen when it’s time.” Like I couldn’t hear her, I was standing right there for pity sake.
So I decide to go about my business and leave the ruffled unfriendly geese alone. I go looking for the Sheriff to tell him what I had learned. I ran across him cleaning the chicken pen. I find a clean spot on the floor and curl my tail around me as I sit and tell him everything that I had learned and then waited to hear his wisdom on the matter.
The Sheriff stops scooping dirty hay from the floor and straightens up. Then he says to me, “Stripe, let’s go sit down a minute.” He leans the shovel against the wall and headed over to the chairs by Village House. I follow along and take the other chair as the Sheriff sits down and stretches out his legs. While I wait for him to settle himself, I groom one of my paws. The Sheriff clears his throat and I know he is ready to speak. I lift my head to look at him as I put my paw down and wait for him to speak.
“Well, Stripe old friend”, the Sheriff begins. “I guess we are at the mercies of the ducks and geese in this matter. As much as I would like to, I can’t make them lay eggs.” I see the wisdom of what he is saying but I don’t like it any more than he does. After all egg laying is part of the job. “Well Sheriff”, I say to him. “I can talk to the ducks and see what they are saying.” “Good idea Stripe. Do that and let me know. I will tell Honey what you have found out so far. Thanks buddy.” At that the Sheriff gets up and goes into Village House. I set there for a moment longer and then I also get up. I will go find the ducks and see how things are there.
I find the Peking duck hens at the blue water bucket in the duck yard. I want this conversation to go a little better than the one with Button. So I wait for them to notice me. After a bit of waiting I clear my throat. The duck hens go right on talking among themselves and ignore me. Well this is not going the way I had hoped it would.
Finally I get tired of being ignored by the ducks and I speak up to get their attention. “Excuse me”, I say loudly. The ducks look up at me so surprised. “I’m sorry”, one of the duck hens says. “Were you wanting to talk to us?” Well, duh I think. I wasn’t standing here for my health, but that kind of attitude will not help me here. So I say politely, “Yes, I was. Would you have a minute to speak with me?”
The ducks seem impressed with my manners. Good manners always work when you want something I have found. One of the duck hens speaks up, “How can we help you?” So I explain the Sheriffs concern about not having any eggs yet and I ask, “I know that it may be a personal question but do you know when you will start laying eggs?” At this all the duck hens look so surprised. Daisy Duck, the one who had talked to me before, spoke up. “I don’t understand the question. We have been laying eggs for quite a while.”
I was totally surprised and my mouth popped open. When did this happen? More importantly, where were the eggs? So I closed my mouth and thought for a minute as to how to ask this very important question. Straight out seemed to be the best way with the ducks. So, “Daisy”, I said, “where are your eggs?” Daisy looked at her sisters and then back at me. “Well, they are in the field. Where else would they be?” Again, she had surprised me. The field, well no wonder we hadn’t found them. We had only been looking in the nest boxes. I would need to let the Sheriff know right away. I excused myself from the ducks and hurried off to find the Sheriff.
I found the Sheriff back out by the goat pen finishing the scooping of the soiled hay. I sat and waited for him to notice me. Soon the Sheriff spoke to me. “Stripe, do you need something? I could sure use a break here anyway.” I explained my conversation with Daisy Duck and the eggs in the field to him. “The field you say”, the Sheriff said. “Well, I’ll be. Never would have thought to look in the field. Wonder why they aren’t using the nest boxes. Hmmm, well no matter, let’s go look in the field then.” I trotted behind the Sheriff as he grabbed a bucket and his staff. Then off to the field we went.
We started in the west field and walked back and forth headed north. No eggs. We searched the north field and nothing was found until we got to the downed tree limbs. The Sheriff had several small trees cut down to give more grazing room and had stacked the limbs in one place. When we got there we found a huge nest of eggs in the tree limbs.
The Sheriff gathered all the eggs up. He said would have to check each egg to see if any of them were still good. He told me that you can test eggs by putting them in a deep bowl of water. If the egg floats it is no good, if it stays on the bottom it is a good egg. The things I learn from the Sheriff are amazing.
I asked him if we was going to talk with the ducks about the nest boxes. “Most definitely”, replied the Sheriff, “most definitely.”