Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
When my parents took a big financial risk to buy our farm they already owned a house in town and a small farm in very marginal country five hours drive away. They sold our house in town without difficulty but the small farm was experiencing a long drought and they were not able to sell it for a reasonable amount. Instead they let the house on the small farm to tenants and agisted a few animals to make a small income.
Every month we would make the long drive to the small farm to do maintenance work. We converted the old dairy buildings that were no longer in use to our shed for living quarters while we were there. I can remember lying on my bunk bed staring at a hole, shaped like a girl, in the concrete wall until the hole started to move and an entire fantastical technicolour visual experience unfolded involving the small girl and her adventures. I always stared at that hole after that but never had the full technicolour experience again.
The tenants that used the farmhouse were a mixed bag. One lot left the house covered in black mould and infested with fleas when they absconded without paying the final rent installment. It took a lot of work by my mother to get the house back to liveable conditions. Another lot of tenants had a pair of geese that they kept on the dam on the farm. The geese were lovely and I enjoyed watching them when we visited. Those tenants included a boy who was a couple of years older than me (I was 7 years old) and I played with him when I visited until the time that he took me into the old pig styles to show me his penis.
When those tenants also left without paying their owing rent we found that they had left the geese on the dam. We thought that they were hungry and that they were very lovely birds that would probably enjoy living in our orchard. So we lured the geese off the dam and into our car and drove the five hours home with the smell of fresh goose poo. My brother named the gander Cool Dude and I named the goose after my best friend.
The geese settled in pretty quickly to life in our large orchard. Cool Dude was quite social and didn’t seem to mind too much when I picked him up for a cuddle except when the goose was nesting and then he was protective.
The goose was less social. We had an A-frame pen that was the original chock pen and we have that to the goose for nesting. Once a year for the rest of her life she laid eggs and nested on them until they exploded. We assumed that Cool Dude was infertile because when he eventually died at age 20 we bought a gander to live with the goose and they managed to hatch one gosling.
The geese were just as effective as our dogs at letting us know very loudly whenever anyone visited our farm. I loved those geese.