Column: A few geese are good, a lot are not

Published 5:35 pm Thursday, July 26, 2007

By Staff
Remember the ditty, "how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Well, I've got another one, "how much pooh can a bunch of geese do? More than enough to cover your shoe!"
You regular readers recall the various columns about Mr. Piggy and The Gang, the four, mysteriously wing-clipped Canadian geese that hung around our house off and on for several years. They were an endearing bunch, coming up and knocking on the patio door for corn and only occasionally forgetting their manners and dropping a bomb on the patio. They spent most of their time down in the creek that flows through the yard so what few calling cards they left in the yard was only a minor inconvenience.
They disappeared over a year ago and having been gooseless for so long I was pleased when recently five Canadian geese showed up on the pond next to the house. Oddly, they had no fear of me, either, for I could approach to within a few yards before they calmly slipped into the pond. They didn't even mind sharing the pond with my daughter and her could-care-less-about-geese Lab that stop by for a swim most every day. So far life seemed good.
Then, a couple days later I was surprised to see not five, but 15 geese on the pond. Apparently the first ones were just a scouting party and they'd summoned their equally tame buddies. "How cool," I thoughtlessly thought as I walked up to greet them. "Hi gooses; nice day, eh' how ya’ aaahhh, '$#&!'" My feet nearly slipped out from under me in the slimy green pooh scattered all over the place. In the ensuing days the pooh continued to pile up in phenomenal amounts at an alarming rate. The once pleasurable walks around the pond became an impossible maze through a mine field. Even daughter's Lab could make the association between the amount of pooh on shore and that in the water, "granted, I may roll in some pretty vial stuff," dog proclaimed, "but I ain't swimmin' in there." Somehow, the geese had to go.
Later that day I saw the gaggle lounging in the soybean field across the driveway from the pond. Here was my chance to deliver the edict in no uncertain terms that they were unwelcome squatters. I ran and cut off their escape route to the pond then charged them, hooting and hollering. Panic reigned. They were in terrible shape from a life as pond potatoes. They could fly but not well. Two managed to flap their way over my head and flop down into the pond. The rest scattered aloft in several groups. One group of four tuckered out after 100 yards and flopped into our yard. The rest joined together and boisterously circled the bean field, descending lower with exhaustion at each lap. They finally fluttered over my head and fell out of the sky into the pond. I ran after the four in the yard to fully make my point. After about a 15-yard foot race they got sort-of airborne and made it back to the pond. There they all sat cursing at me as I huffed and puffed in defeat.
They continue to invoke squatter's rights. Further, similar attempts at putting the fear of God in them has only served as higher education. They no longer panic when I manage to cut them off from the sanctity of the pond. No more grueling laps around the bean field for them. The stronger fliers simply rise over my head and drop down onto the pond while the others make end runs around me, laughing at my foolishness as they join the others. All I seem to be accomplishing is washing my shoes a lot. Though my efforts to regain possession of the pond seem futile the plan is to keep harassing them until they finally grow tired of it and leave. Should they be bull-headed enough to hold out until September they're in for the ultimate awakening – goose hunting season. Then we'll see who owns what. Anyone have any good goose recipes? Carpe diem.