Sunday, December 23, 2012

Flying deer, really!?

We have had our first snow--it was beautiful--the beauty did not last--beauty never does but it has a way of popping up when you least expect it. Be watchful, it's a gift.

The Muscovy family has decided to move upstream with us--very friendly but really, they ruin the ambience with their rather strange colored feathers and heads. I am not sure if they are pretending to be a Christmas tree or road kill. I can handle it--they are happy, helpful and never eat too much corn.

Well, I saw something very strange the other day. Flying deer--they looked like deer but were flying! I was shocked. I have heard of such things usually in association with a large fat man dressed in red! These eight deer were alone and headed north, maybe they were on a special mission. It was very mysterious! If you see them around the night of the 24th let me know--I will be keeping watch.

Did you know at midnight on the 24th all of us along the riverbank bow our heads in remembrance of that special night so long ago, when all the animals became silent, and snuggled close, in peace and there was no fear or hunger or sadness. Peace visited that night, the first Christmas. Peace came softly like a falling snowflake. Let yourself enjoy a restful peace--think kind thoughts of others, hold a paw, and snuggle in and eat a little corn.

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


REAL SCARED!!! I have been hearing very strange sounds at night! It sounds much like low groans--then repeated rumbles and short screams! the wind has been high in the trees. I have seen very large dark shadows moving through the trees--cold chilling movement. I AM SCARED! Cecil has gone
deep into the creek. Gizmo won't come out of his hole. Huge turkeys have been hanging high in the trees, swaying. I have not seen Miss Prunella in weeks. I don't know . . . I am not getting much sleep. I am going down stream!--I know I shouldn't.

Oh . . . have you ever had a feeling you have lost time? Well, I went down stream, at least I think I did, but somewhere along the way I lost some time. I was there and I wasn't!

     I struggled back to Gizmo's hole and stuck my head down--he said he has seen very strange lights in the sky moving in formation! And just that morning he had awakened to a crop circle in the shape of a very long necked creature! He said I looked bad. My neck hurts--kind of stiff. Gizmo suggested I might have encountered an alien! An alien what?! He says he thinks I was abducted! . . . and an implant was put in my neck! Do you know anyone who has a strange lump somewhere? Oh . . . oh . . . where is Cecil when I need him?!

     Gizmo, do you really think I am being controlled by aliens? GIZMO, where are you going? don't leave!!!!!

     He just shook his head, I saw his lip curl! IS THIS TRUE? I feel very strange . . . very strange . . . maybe I better go eat some corn, it always helps. My poor neck. . . Be very very careful tonight, there are dangerous creatures about!

Until next time . . .

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's getting cooler!!!!!!

A dear friend . . .

I have a dear friend who has a very special day today!!!


We are all flapping our wings for you! and switching our tails! Tonight some goose friends will do a "fly over"--hope you can hear them! Listen hard! 

It is getting cooler! The leaves have just a touch of color . . . I don't think they will be glorious this year because of the summer drought. But is it important to be "glorious"? . . . I guess if you are a leaf and this is your only chance, it might be. But a drab brown leaf can be beautiful inside and do wonderful things. I love to kick dry fall leaves and make paths. I am wondering if the Man With The Long Blue Apron will set out pumpkins to roll and play ball with and then EAT!

I admit I am feeling a bit of melancholy--winter is coming and it is always hard for us on the riverbank. By spring we will all be different, at least those who survive the cold and hunger. Some of us will feel a bit more stiff and old. Predators have been perusing the area even now, it is always hard. Miss Sophie Goose was attacked two weeks ago--she was a bloody mess. She could barely hold her head up but at least made it to the corn pile where the Man With The Long Blue Apron gathered her bloodied battered body in his arms and carried her into the mill. He bathed her wounds, stroked her, applied antiseptic, and wiped her tears. She got warm cracked corn for several days, we all fussed over her. So you can see fall is a bit solemn, a time to reflect and be thankful for the summer abundance and for all our friends, and to hold hope and faith in our hearts.

Until next time . . .

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Serious Cloud Came By . . .

. . . and we needed its visit. It was not the kind that drifts, or sleeps, or puffs itself up. I am thankful for its soft misty gift. It has been very dry, making foraging for worms a challenge for all of us. Even Lewis Trout has been disappointed by too few flies.

     The moss has been resting patiently through the drought. What pleasure to wiggle my toes in soft moist thick moss. Moss can manage on a little night time dew. The precious little waterbear that live  in the moss have been forced to pull in their tiny arms and legs to survive. Sometimes it is a great advantage in being very small. They are among the tiniest voices in the moss.


   Gizmo has been gathering moss for carpeting his floors, walls, and for insulation. He says he is preparing early for winter. When spring comes he will bring it back out to once again grow.

   Gizmo is hoping to find a friend to spend the winter with him. I don't know, he is a bit of a "flea bag". Lately he has been taking dinner with Miss Clovis at sunset. It was going pretty well until SHE got HIS fleas! It was terrible for a beautiful brown rabbit to be crawling with fleas. Gizmo said they were not his fleas that  a band of rats had been through leaving fleas everywhere. I wish they would go south!! They said it's a drought and they will go where the corn is---HERE!!!!! no-no-no!!!!!!

So, with help from Miss Prunella, and my flock we rolled Miss Clovis through the mint patch, through the thyme, into the veronica, passed the water cress and into the creek where Cecil  pulled her by her tail to and fro through the rapid current and finally to shore. She is now a fresh sweet bunny ready for a sun bath and a full stamping with my feet to massage her back. No more fleas, and no more visits with Gizmo. I think he likes fleas.

Until next time . . .

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Keeping eggs secret!!!

I am content most of the time with where I live and who I am but sometimes I wish I could lay an egg. I admire the shape and subtle colors.  Pilgrim, my dearest friend lays them. When she lays an egg we all gather about her to cheer her. I told you my first home was an egg and most uncomfortable and cramped. Did you know I could hear everything through that shell? In fact I could hear the voices of my family humming encouragement. My orange feet got so big one day I just pecked out! And my new life began.

Nests are everywhere long the riverbank holding precious treasures. Some nests are now empty. Eggs must be kept secret and protected. Everyone loves eggs and for different reasons. Miss Scarlet had a nest by the mill front door in the ivy but one night the eggs disappeared and so did she! Cecil loves to steal eggs and EAT them!--how could he do that?!!! And, I ask, do you eat eggs for breakfast?!

Robin whom we call Plum built a very messy grass and mud nest over the back mill door and, I thought, well protected, where she placed three beautiful blue eggs with much happiness and pride. She sang every morning and night, and made us feel that all was well in the world.

It seems she was being watched by two very large black crows who flew in every day to check on these precious hatchlings. One morning while returning to her next she saw them taking her babies away in their beaks. It was terrible--the cries and screams. Plum's heart was breaking, we all gathered to help but it was hopeless.

How could Plum ever sing us awake in the morning again or find peace or joy? I brought her a fat worm and a kernel of corn and laid them by the door, I hope she found them. I ambled back to the creek distraught with sad and empty feelings . . . all of us feel the delicate, fragileness of life. I was glad when night came.

The next morning I was surprised to be awakened by her clear voice once again singing to the first light of day. In all of her loss she said she had hope, she would lay another egg, that life is good. She said we have to rejoice every day, be thankful for the warm sun, the soft rains, the smell of flowers, fresh fat worms. Life is precious even if it is a small tiny one.  This time she laid four eggs in the same nest. But she never again sang by the nest--she would keep it secret. They grew, and just last week they flew away to a new place. She promised us that before winter comes she will return and sing us a song.

So . . . remember eggs are precious, and you may be surprised who comes out of one!

Until next time . . .

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Did you see me?!

It's me from London!!! Did you see me with THE Queen? What a wonderful day!

   My misty foggy Sunday morning began once again with the arrival of the man with the white gloves carrying a silver tray laden with water cress, fresh herbs, and tea to my bedside, was that grand? He said to hurry! . . . everyone was mustering up for the ride to the Queen's barge, Spirit of Chartwell. He said not to forget my corn sack and my 'brellie, looks like "fowl" weather. Accompanied by some silly ducks we were last to leave the palace.

   Oh, my! We hurried as fast as we could but we missed the boat?! Have you ever missed the boat?! Well, I was not to be left behind--away we went into the Thames in a cloud of duck feathers! Paddle fast . . . it's a long way! With occasional bumps with boats we paddled on. Ok, we flew abit! The ducks pointed to a bridge and explained it was the Tower Bridge and the Queen would be there in her barge.

   I am amazed so many people were floating about like ducks and geese--really! They should have feathers! I wonder when I get home if we could do this sort of riparian flotilla? Can you imagine all us geese, ducks, and turtle all floating down stream in procession with garlands of flowers waving our wings to the tune of "Hail to the Goose"! Oh my . . . what a dream!

   I paddled over to the Queen's barge and saw her lovely kind face looking at me. She invited me aboard to rest and have some warm chamomile tea down below deck with her . . . only for a moment. She had a gift for me--a Jubilee compass to replace the one I lost! Now I will always find my way home!

   Home--I am getting terribly homesick, you know that terrible, empty feeling? Perhaps it's time to go.

   I reached up to the queen and wrapped my wings about her in a farewell. She was so kind and generous to me. I made my way back to the palace garden to say good bye to Swan Nelson and Swan Emma who were in repose.

   The man with the white gloves made arrangements for a Royal Air Force Plane to fly me to Canada where a flock of Canada geese would escort me home. I am not so good on long flights by myself. An evening flight with my compass and the stars.
   Good bye, England!
    Long live the Queen!!

   Home--the riverbank, Pilgrim, Hazel, flea bag Gizmo, and into a fresh bed of soft moss and corn and to dream.

Until next time . . .

Friday, June 1, 2012

THE Queen meets Bob

My night in the palace was the darkest I ever experienced; strange sounds, long black shadows and an occasional tickle on my feathers made me burrow deeper under the covers. Was that a moan I heard?! Will morning ever come?! What am I doing here? Gizmo--is this another trick?! Is this a dream? With a rumbling tummy and in need of a bath--things just didn't seem right. "Queen, Queen" . . . the words on my beak before I fell into a deep sleep.

Morning came--FINALLY! I slipped out of bed to be greeted by a man with white gloves. I couldn't understand him--I told him I was an invited quest of "Queen" and could I please have my breakfast of water cress and mint tea in bed? "Aren't you Lord Wakefield?" "No, I am Bob from America and I was invited to a garden party." "I am sorry that was two days ago. Your name is not familiar to me, is it Prince Bob?"--"sounds good to me!" "I will have to call the palace guard and have you removed!"

"Queen, Queen, Queen"--"That will not help! Take your odious corn sack and LEAVE!"

I flew badly out the palace doors--losing my compass! It was hard to see anything through my tears! I was never invited and no one likes me. Gizmo, that old flea bag, played a trick on me!

Feeling perfectly miserable, I sat down by the pond to gather my feathers under me, and try to think of what to do. In seeing my distress, Nelson Swan and Emma Swan showed me a bit of kindness. They asked what my name was---"Bob, just Bob." They put their big broad wings about me and wiped my tears. Oh my, oh dear.

Suddenly there was was a rush of wind and leaves, and a troop of corgis came bouncing toward me, chasing me to and fro--I screamed "Queen"! Then in a determined fashion I turned and faced them--I feared this was my end!

I looked up into the face of a lady with kind eyes looking down at me. She said corgis don't realize they should FOLLOW a queen. It's her!!!!!! Queen, THE Queen! I made a curtsy as best I could. My eyes hurt from my tears. She asked my name. She said all animals are special and good, and she especially liked me. I offered her some of my corn from my sack, she accepted it. She said I was a good goose--and that I could stay with the swans as long as I want. I explained I had work to do at home--at that she invited me to a special day with her on the Thames. I could accompany her on her Jubilee flotilla! "Oh, YES, please--and maybe the swans too?" "Their job is at the palace. I will have the butler call for you early Sunday."

"Now, Bob, just KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON!"

Until next time . . .

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Most Unusual Invitation . . .

A very hot spring morning brought a disheveled flea bitten Gizmo out of his hole. He said he gets alot of strange mail but this card was different . . .  it smelled like lavender and was postmarked from "London". It seems it was from a couple of very distinguished English swans, in regards to a garden party at Buckingham Palace followed by a glide down the Thames with "Queen". I am not totally sure who "Queen" is . . . is she a special swan? It also said a special representative from the palace would greet him at a place called Heathrow.

A garden party!!! Yes, a day to taste fresh new vegetarian delights. Perhaps a new worm or snail with fresh dew, and tea.  YES!!! I am going!

So much to do! . . .
     A passport---no, I have never needed one besides
     A breast pack filled with berries, mint, watercress,  and CORN
     A diaper preferably green--yes, sometimes geese wear them on long trips
     A compass and map for strange places
     Money--no, I have a visa card

With some feather adjustments I should be already to go . . . and one last fond farewell to a grinning toothy Gizmo!

The trip to the airport was just a few dips with my wings.

It was an easy walk into the airport, I just followed some children, they thought I was a toy!!!!!!! I am NEVER taken seriously! The security guards gave me a most agreeable pat down and checked my diaper (REALLY!). I kept my breast pack - lunch, you know.

Hours later the plane finally landed, I looked about for the palace representative--I even called "Queen", "Queen", "Queen" . . . nothing. Glad I brought the compass and map. A quick flap of my wings and I should be at the palace gardens . . .

Flying in over the gardens I saw the swans . . . so elegant and regal, glad I brought extra corn. After an awkward landing, there I was in a beautiful flower garden with two swans gliding on a small pond with several noisy frogs (they probably want to be kissed). Is this Heaven?

No eye contact! No how do you do?! I think they looked right past me . . . well, I WAS invited! They won't even speak to me!!! and I came all this way! I paddled closer--no luck, maybe it's the diaper. I'll get rid of it. I will offer corn--no luck.

Ok, ok, I just remembered the word, "Queen"--"Queen." They pointed to the palace with a very stiff English tone said I had better learn to curtsy!----I can do that. How will I know when I see "Queen"?--
"No, dear, it is THE QUEEN and you will know her by the crown she wears. "Ohhhh, a crown, like flowers in a circle?" Nothing. Well, guess I will walk over to the palace.

After leaving wet webbed foot prints and green calling cards no "Queen". "Queen," "Queen," "Queen!"

Well its getting dark and I am exhausted, well past riparian bed time, a beak of corn, and then goose dreams. Maybe I will just take a sleep in one of these very big beds! Tonight will I dream of "Queen"?

Until next time . . .

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There is a sadness in the land . . .

Life is fragile! Spring brings many challenges to life on the riverbank. Our days and nights are filled with terror--roaming predators and sounds of cries. I have been up and down the riverbank checking on homes . . . friends, neighbors, and even our enemies.

     Last Thursday at first light the quiet was shattered by a small cry from the road. Minnie Possum, my friend was trying to cross the road after an early morning visit to the corn pile. She was hurrying and NOT looking. A terrible ugly car came whizzing by hitting her--I hurried to her side feeling helpless. She had blood on her face and one eye was hanging out but she was ALIVE! I gave a flock call which brought her friends to help but how helpless we were! I flew to the front door of the mill and called for the Man With the Long Blue Apron to come out! He was beside himself with despair! I suggested we call 911 and Cornell University!!!---aren't they supposed to help us!? Poor, poor Minnie. The sheriff came with flashing lights and promptly said he could SHOOT her! I ran circles flapping my wings . . . no, no, no, PLEASE SAVE HER!!! The Man With The Long Blue Apron wrapped her in a blanket and lifted her into his car and drove with the sheriff's escort to an animal doctor.

   We waited and waited--the doctor said there was no hope for her--her jaw was shattered and her eye gone but deep inside her pouch were ten babies all snuggled together nursing--safe. Minnie tried so hard to live. A wildlife rehabilitator was called to care for the babies . . . poor Minnie was dying! Oh it was so terrible, the despair so great. The lady took the ten babies to her hospital/ rehab center in Fair Haven where they would by nursed and given a chance to live in the wild, free. But I will never see Minnie again. She is gone--no more sharing our breakfast corn. Minnie was always so lovely, cheerful and motherly, always wiped our tears and gave us a hug. I hope she knows from the other side of the rainbow that her babies were saved and they will have a happy safe life. I hope she has lots of corn and arms that hold her and gentle peace.

   So . . . life is fragile for us along the riverbank and roads, please stop and help us when you see we are hurt and in trouble. But---take us to an animal doctor, they know best what we need and how to feed us. Pause and remember Minnie.

   Until next time . . .

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm a thankful goose!


Last night the breezes came down from the north and danced around the mill and all our fur homes, bringing very tiny snowflakes, and making for a cozy dawn. The snow made it better to see where the night visitors had been.

   Miss Prunella returned early this morning with serious intentions---the word along the riverbank is she is looking for a new home. She stopped by to yell down Gizmo's hole entrance--all she heard was, he wanted to stay in bed. Well, one little tail puff and leaves flew out the hole but Gizmo would not leave. If he is so unhappy with the noise from the air compressor then LEAVE! Everyone is looking for a better home. The situation here is intensifying--a red fox wanders through on his rounds about midnight and the hawk comes most unexpectedly every day. I have yet to get hawk's name, I don't want to get close enough to find out. Gizmo says it's the fault of the man with the long blue apron--too much corn! How can you have too much corn?--well, too many free loading visitors come who really don't need the corn, it's just easier. They will say they are grateful. It makes it harder for us who live here . . . some of us can't move. We need the corn. I work for my corn, I am an advisor, consultant as well as surveillance supervisor to the man in the long blue apron. In the spring I monitor cars, visitors. I try to encourage joggers and walkers to move along a little faster. I turn the soil with Drusilla eating bugs and worms--keeping the place free of ticks and mosquitoes. IT'S A BIG JOB! . . . someone has to do it. Sometimes I am forced to rearrange planted gardens, checking the soil in potted plants . . . IT'S A BIG JOB! I  pull clothes and sheets from clotheslines--imagine sheets waving in the breeze! What are they trying to be--a goose?!

   Too much corn . . . to feed us 5 geese, Gizmo, and Hazel, the man with the long blue apron must feed 257 visitors. He even comes out late at night with warm corn, for our bedtime snack meal. He is a good, kind man and we are thankful for his generosity. I think tonight we will hum to him at his bedroom window, after all the moon is a bit full, and maybe a few snowflakes will join us, tinkling against the window.

   Until next time . . .

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

She's BACK!!!!!

I can't believe it--it's February and SHE'S BACK--Hazel. Gizmo said it would be an early spring, and my furry friend is at the corn pile. Look at those cheeks!---m-m-m-m. I tried to catch up on the underground news with her but I couldn't understand a word she said. I tried to tell her that a gentleman hawk has been walking among the shrubs looking for a fat dinner guest. Last night we all suffered the delicate odor of Miss Prunella, passing by looking for a "friendly companion." She looked fabulous in her black and white classic coat so fresh and soft. As she strutted by the old mill the man in the long blue apron abruptly shut the window. Oh dear! It is spring, so early! 

Until next time . . .


Thursday, February 2, 2012

GROUND HOG DAY along the riverbank!!!

Ok, I have been gone for months but sometimes you just have to pick up and fly!!! I got caught up in the excitement of flying with those Canadians. Flying north I saw a huge flock of ducks over Cornell. I thought I saw a black cairn being carried into the veterinary hospital. I flew in for a closer look. The black cairn was Gabriel! I was so worried that I sat in front of the hospital windows. I could hear his cries. There was a huge flock of ducks all gathered in the front quacking. There was terrific excitement, everyone was talking about Gabriel. The ducks said poor Gabriel had been taken for emergency care. The man in the long blue apron rushed him in because his eye had suddenly become a very big white marble--well, it looked like it. The doctors rushed him to surgery to save his eye. His lens had become dislocated!!!  He was in pain. You know I love Gabriel--he lets me rip his hair out.  The ducks and I stayed outside and waved our wings for him and hummed (yes, we can hum). Gabriel heard us!!!--he knew we were here.  The good news,  he is recovering--I hope the man in the long blue apron will check my eyes! When Gabriel went home we flew in formation behind the car.
   When I got home I was shocked there was no snow and that all the geese had really missed me including Drusilla. Where is the snow!!!!! It's ok, it is better on my feet. At daybreak this morning I went to check on Gizmo because after all this is HIS special day--the ONLY day he works all year. Ok, Gizmo, what's the forecast????? He smiled and said an early spring with a very wet summer. He ate the corn I brought him and went back to bed.

   Until next time!