Just a little story about freedom!

Around 17 years ago, we found three Chinese Geese on the side of the road. For some unknown reason, they had attained their freedom. They were tame, and when they got close to me, (I was alone with my dog) I grabbed one, and wrapped him in a bed sheet so he wouldn’t injure himself, and took him home. When I got home, and released him on my 2 acres, he was visibly distressed, and I realized that he was missing his two friends.

Dad's pics by Todd 751

 I convinced Denise to assist me, and we returned to where I had found them, with some feed grain. The two immediately came to us, and we managed to snag a second goose.

Dad's pics by Todd 782

The third was spooked enough that we were unable to coax him near, so we went home with the one. When we released him, he immediately joined the first one, and we could see that they were glad to be back together. They were still visibly distressed, so Denise and I woke the next day, and went back for the third goose.

When we got there, the third goose came right to us, and we captured him with little effort. When we released him onto the property, it was easy to see that the three belonged together. They were inseparable, in the pond, or on dry land. I called them “J.C. and the boys” in honor of my favorite “Catholic” joke!    (FATHER, SON, HOLY GHOST, AND ALL THAT)

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The purpose of this story is to illustrate some of the aspects of freedom. I took away the freedom of three geese. Had I left them, they would have been killed by wild animals. In this situation, they were barely aware that they were my captives, being unable to fly. Freedom is relative. The geese were free to roam on two acres with a pond. They were as happy as they could be, relatively safe from predators.

One of the geese appeared to be older, and the two younger geese followed the older one everywhere. One day, a coyote got past the fence, and, in the process of defending the two youngsters, the old man was injured. He hid under the trailer for several days while he recovered from his injuries.

Several years later, another coyote got into the yard, and this time, the old man was killed defending the two youngsters. I saw the coyote from my living room window. When I opened the door, the coyote ran away, and I didn’t realize that I had lost a goose until I saw the other two, alone. I found his body, later. L

The two continued to be inseparable until the Canadians invaded. One day, several Canadian Honkers landed, and the white goose that I named “J.C.” befriended the Canadians, and they built a nest, laid eggs, and hatched eight goslings. J.C. became the surrogate parent/defender, and the babies ignored their parents, and followed J.C. everywhere.

goslings 040

 The hawks got two of them, but six survived to fly away later that summer, much to the distress of J.C.

As the babies were learning to fly, they would run across the field flapping their wings, and gaining altitude with each practice run. J.C. would run with them, flapping, and trying to fly, but was unable to get his fat butt off the ground.

They returned each year, parents and babies, and the parents hatched out a new batch every year, constantly chasing previous year’s babies away.

J.C. continued as surrogate parent. It is so amusing to watch the fuzzy babies follow J.C. around, much to the parent’s chagrin.

The previous year’s babies befriended the remaining gray goose that I named U2 (you too!). Two of them built a nest, and hatched out several babies, but the hawks got them all.

In the meantime, U2 was practicing flying with the babies, and he was able to leave the ground. Two years ago, (spring of 2015, mating season) U2 made it over the fence, and into the neighbor’s yard. I called them on the phone, and got permission to go get him. From that day, he was constantly flying over the fence, into a different neighbor’s yard each time, and with considerable difficulty, I would retrieve him.

Spring of 2016, U2 continues to fly over the fence. We got new neighbors, and I cut a gate into the fence so that we could enter each other’s property with little difficulty. Fortunately for me, U2 was flying into the new neighbor’s yard, and all I had to do was open the gate, call his name, and he would follow me home.

Finally, this spring, (actually, late winter) U2 flew over the fence, and across the road, and over another fence, into my neighbor Dan Humble’s yard. He also has a pond, and several Canadian honkers call that home. For once, I felt that he was safe, and I was in no big hurry to get him back home. I telephoned Dan, and let him know that U2 was there. I told him I would come and get him anytime. Dan said, “No problem”. For some unknown reason, a few days later, Dan decided to “herd” him home, and U2 flew away in the wrong direction, toward the main road, into an unfenced, open field.

I never saw him again. U2 finally gained his “FREEDOM”, only to be killed by wild animals.

J.C. is still here. His Canadian friends have built two nests, and I am expecting more than a dozen babies this spring. J.C. is a happy prisoner of “gravity”.


http://youtu.be/mHpgYDqc02I J.C.'s Canadian friends.

Sometimes, freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. J  L  ! ! !

New development!

5-15-18   We lost J.C. today! He was swimming in the pond with this year’s babies when he collapsed and died. It just isn’t the same without him. He will be missed!