Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Yes, it's a senior citizen goose

One day you wake up without ducks, the next day you wake up with ducks, and a senior citizen goose named Priscilla.

One of my vets was here checking out one of Apifera's other seniors - Matilda the donkey - and we got to talking about pasture management for our sheep. He too owns sheep so we often go into long chats about worming and parasites. Our bottom fields are soggy much of the year and are perfect for snails which can carry liver fluke eggs that can then end up in the sheep, damaging their liver. He has often suggested we get ducks and I always forgot about it, as appealing as they are.

But he knew a client who had to sell their farm due to cancer and she wanted to rehome her beloved ducks. She was being very careful about where they ended up and my vet put her in touch with me. The first thing she told me was, "The ducks have to stay together as a unit...and they come with an old goose name Priscilla."

An old goose? Named Priscilla? It was surely meant to be.

They arrived Sunday morning. They are beautiful, magnificent, charming creatures and will be characters of this farm for years to come. Priscilla arrived with her own stylish hat bubble. Her neck is as beautiful as Grace Kelly's. The chickens are quite upset that their very large chicken house now has strange Disney creatures living on the floor. I explained it all to them days before, but they never listen to me.

The ducks are not quite sure about me yet. I spent a good half hour sitting with them in the small corner of the hen house, in silence, head down, letting them sense me. No words were exchanged between duck, goose or woman. This morning when I let them out, Priscilla guided them with her wings spread out to the enclosed hen yard where they will stay for about week to get to know the routine before they are allowed to free range. I talked a bit in duck, but do not know the nuances yet, and I often slipped back into chicken language. This caused some misunderstandings and ruffled feathers.

"Is she a woman or just a really large chicken?" they wondered. The jury is still out.

The old goose is the leader and speaks for all the ducks. She is the only one with a name, and once I get to know them more, I will bestow each of the four girls and two boys names worthy of their individual personalities.

This being their first morning to rise and shine at Apifera, I was pleased to find three eggs. Like I said, one night you go to bed without duck eggs, and the next day you awake to them.


LR said...

what a fabulous story. and yes, it sounds like it was meant to be.

GrayFlannel said...

I'm sure you know this, but you are so so lucky! Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

Kathy said...

How wonderful. I love Priscilla. She is so charming. I know you'll make them feel at home and they will soon be quite happy there.

Delisa said...

Hi Katherine, oh what a beautiful goose. She reminds me of our two senior geese: Harold and Gertrude. They both passed away last year only two days apart. I may have sent you a picture of him in one of my emails. They really belonged to our neighbors but they spent all their time in our pond and we fed them and played with them everyday. Harold had such a vibrant and affectionate personality and was very protective of all of us. Everyone in the family formed a unique bond with the two of them. They would come and tap on my studio window every evening about 6:00 p.m.
and I would come out and pet and talk to them. They would walk right into the house or jump in the car if you let them! I miss Harold very much and I often pause and think I hear him squawking. The day he passed away I found one of his long beautiful feathers underneath my studio window. I have it sitting on my shelf next to the table as I write. It is one of my treasures. Delisa :)

Unknown said...

Ahhh, I am so glad to visit again and see that the menagerie is expanding. Senior goose is absolutely meant for Apifera! How lucky all of these webbed footeds are!

Cathy said...

They're beautiful, especially Priscilla! She looks like a dear, and A Presence.

Crow said...

I too have a flock of ducks. I hatched them in my incubator. Aren't they divine? Soon they will be following you all over the place. I give my ducks peas and add niacin to their water. They LOVE the peas and are always excited to see me, for I am the pee lady. I have been called worse. :-) Ducks eat tons of flies and they control liver flukes for my goats. It makes ecological sense. Plus they are so much fun. I have runners and pekins. No geese yet, but the friend who sent me the duck eggs, is warning me that I am getting goose eggs next Spring! Enjoy!

turquoise cro said...

Lucky YOU!! and Lucky ducks and Prisilla the goose! Protecting the sheep and goats too!! Yayyyyy! Naming them is soOOOo much fun, it doesn't LOOK like YOU have a Daffy! Maybe a Daisy! or Donald?!!hehe Now, WHAT don't YOU have at Apifera Farm, a pig, a cow?!!!LOL Have a HAPPY Day at Apifera Farm today, all of YOU!!

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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~