Sunday, April 23, 2006

Working Weekend

Work, I long ago realized, should be something you love. Otherwise what's the point?

I feel extremely fortunate to love what I do for a living. I feel even more fortunate to face regular chores that don't feel like chores, but more like play.

This weekend, we spent a great deal of time working in the little greenhouse off the master bedroom. I've had visions of turning into my own little private garden room, but had to wait until the weather was warm enough to pull out all the over-wintering plants out. Today, that's just what we did. I found that our staghorn fern has doubled in size. Larry took this shot of me holding it. Is this not the most awesome plant?

By late afternoon, Larry and I had finished and had even hauled a bench in soI can sit and enjoy the remaining plants. My little garden room is reserved for ferns, hoyas, orchids and a few tropical vines.

It rained Friday and Saturday night and our gardens went ballistic. I was glad to get some more color before my Lady Banks rose dropped all her blooms, which she's starting to do. Lucas and Alex stand under her and shake the boughs, raining petals down on their heads.

Late last week we acquired five goslings. I had planned to only get four and selected the largest and strongest ones, but then I spied a fifth gosling that looked a bit puny and confused. So I bought it as well, hoping that her stronger siblings will inspire her to better herself.

We're enjoying the young geese, which are comical and clumsy. I don't know yet which ones are male or female. They're White Chinese and as they mature, will develop large knots on the tops of their beaks. The males will have larger knots than the females, allowing us to differentiate between goose and gander.

Not knowing yet makes naming them tricky. I know I shall have to call one of the ganders "Conrad." I've already dubbed the runt "Merribelle." I don't know why, I just have. I'm sure she's a girl because she's very delicate. And besides, she looks like a Merribelle.

If it sounds like I had the perfect weekend, I'll have to confide that while it was close to perfect, I did have one moment that marred it a bit. Last night when I was coming in from doing my stint at he newspaper, two of my dogs got in a fight in the driveway. I don't know why, it's just one of those things that happens from time to time when you have multiple dogs. In breaking up the fight, I dropped my cell phone in a mud puddle. So now I have to go into town tomorrow morning and get another one. But I need to get a new foot for my sewing machine anyway, so it's really no big deal.


Anonymous said...

Careful with the geese around small children, hon. Have you ever been around geese? They can be VERY aggressive and are easily pissed off... my mother got chased around the house and garden by a gaggle when she was 8 yrs old, and to this day can't handle being around birds of ANY kind... and I have heard similar stories from other people...

Dies Irae

(not to rain on your parade (smile))

prettylady said...

Awesome fern! Adorable geese! Great weekend!

Mine was fun, too. I broke my creative block, and there was a fight on my blog! Score!

Morgan said...

Thanks for the advice, DiesIrae. No, you didn't rain on my parade. I've had Emden geese before, which are a bit more moody than the Chinese. They could be very aggressive during nesting season but with all the work with wildlife I do the kids know to give suspect animals a wide berth. The white Chinese have a reputation for being a bit more docile than the other breeds.
The absolute meanest barnyard fowl we ever had was a red bantam rooster with oversized spurs and a chip on his shoulder. He terrorized everyone and the only time he'd get near you was to attack you. As much as we hated to, we finally had to take him out.

The most troubled bird we ever had was a huge tom turkey named Leopold who would try to mate with anything that came in his pen. He jumped on my back one day when I knelt down to fill his food pan and I was so suprised I turned around and hit him in the head with the bucket. He lay there twitching and then lay very still. I ran to Larry in tears crying, "I killed Leopold."

But Leopold wasn't dead, just knocked unconscious and came to about ten minutes later. But I decided given his ardor, and my unintentional but violent reaction we needed to be apart. He now lives at a petting zoo, where he's fallen in love with the elderly male caretaker. There's a Brokeback Petting Zoo joke in here somewhere, but I'm not sure what...

Morgan said...

"Mine was fun, too. I broke my creative block, and there was a fight on my blog! Score!"

Good for you! I love blogfights, but won't get any writing about geese. I did have people arguing with me about my erotic writing, saying I was going to hell and all that.....

Glad you broke your creative block!

Beth said...

We used to have a goose that was in love with a duck. I kid thee not. Ask my dad about it ;)

Anytime you got too close to little Ms Ducky her Goose Lover would come chase you off.

This is the same goose that used to attack my car when I tried to leave the house :P

And then of course, there's Vex, the goose that ate a bunch of baby chicks...that was fun... ;) :)

Morgan said...

A chick-eating goose? Yikes!!! I hope ours stick to weeds. Poor Mrs. Hensley, whose sitting another clutch as we speak, would be hard-pressed indeed to forgive a goose who makes a meal of her long-desired children.

I have heard funny stories of geese and have no doubt about your duck-goose love story. Here's hoping ours will be so colorful!

BoysMom said...

When I was a child we used to keep a broom (and later a shovel) by the front gate for dealing with a Barred Plymouth Rock rooster, and latter his two sons. I still have scars on my legs from those birds. The shovel, however, after each rooster got whacked a few times by it, became an effective deterant of attacks. Those birds were mean, not stupid.
We gave the meaner of the two young roosters to some friends who had both chickens and a chicken-killing dog. The rooster terrorized the dog to the point that the dog wouldn't leave the dog-house. Our friends then decided that the rooster had best be made into chicken stew.
Those roosters were great on the neighbors' free-ranging maurauding dogs. Improved the dogs' life-expectancies as well as the hens, as we lived in a place where it was understood that free-roaming dogs harrassing livestock or deer were to be shot on sight. It took a hawk to take out the second rooster, in the end.

dlkjdfsa said...

It's gotta great loving your job. I've spent my hole life trying to mold love and work together. I'm afraid I might be at the end of the road with that though. It was a good run and probably will start back up sooner than I think. I've got a partimer this weekend in Laguna and then I'm going to the Joshua tree national forest to take photos of the explosive wild flowers... Now that is livin' The baby birds look fun! Dog is as a dog does.... That counts as a fight on your blog :)

Anonymous said...

My father used to tell me stories of his growing up on the family ranch...

One of my favourites involved soaking the next day's chicken feed corn in rum, overnight.

There is only one thing funnier than a drunken chicken... and that's a drunken rooster.

You know how they find a stump or the top of a 50 gallon barrel to perch on, as they sweep the flock with jaundiced eye, selecting which chicken they're going to stomp on, aye?

Now imagine the problems in depth perception, not to mention vector trajectory as he flies off the perch, sideways, and misses the not-so-carefully-selected object of his passions by a yard, falling flat on his face at the end of a somersault or two, much to the amused cackling of his equally cranked flock (not to mention my father's siblings and cousins invited over for the show.)

The rooster then picks himself up, tarnished pride and all, and gambols his way back to the perch, for a repeat performance.

Ah, the days before TV... how much we've missed...

NB: If you try it, Morgan, I want pictures! (grin)

Dies Irae

Anonymous said...

PS... If you do, be careful. How much to feed them was not included in the story, and I don't want you alcohol poisoning your chickens.

I guess you'd have to work up to it, to get the right effect...

Maybe soak the corn in Amaretto Sours, at first? (chuckle)

Dies Irae

Morgan said...

Dies Irae, I shall use the rum. If I soak it in Amaretto Sours, my roosters might end up on an obscure radio show, spouting right-wing nonsense that makes him look ridiculous to reasonable folk, and afterwards strut around on top of the roof crowing about how clever they were.

But I digress, and have to seriously worry whether our only free-roaming roosters - both large Barred Rocks - might be mean drunks. Right now they're pretty placid.

If any of our chickens is a candidate for humorous public intoxication, it is Bedelia. Bedelia is the party girl of the poultry set, teasing the roosters and laying eggs she refuses to sit. Mrs. Hensley wouldn't touch a drop. She's the serious hen and is seriously broody right now on a clutch of eggs we hope will hatch. Her last ones did not and chronicled her travails in an earlier pre-DiesIrae post. Of course, there are pictures. If you'd like to read it, it's here:

Morgan said...

"I've got a partimer this weekend in Laguna and then I'm going to the Joshua tree national forest to take photos of the explosive wild flowers... Now that is livin'.."

Indeed, you lucky duck. Wildflowers in the Joshua tree national forest....*sigh* .... I am officially jealous!

dlkjdfsa said...

The grass is always greener on the other side. Drunk chickens, I don't think it could get any better.

Morgan said...


So far our Barred Rocks have turned out to be more lovers than fighters. We've had a couple of really mean roosters over the years and they didn't last long. We have an Auraucana male who is beautiful but pretty docile.
Our worst rooster, of course, was the bantam. He was downright evil to the core; he was like a Chicken Hitler.

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