Goosed by the Gander

I’ve been racking my brain to come up with farm tales to share with my online blog readers during this National Agriculture Week, but now in my third year of blogging, I’m running out of personal farm tales that people haven’t already heard.

I was sharing my quandary with a co-worker the other day when she asked, “Well, did you ever have geese on the farm?”

Oh, did we ever!

If you grew up on a farm with geese, you must have a story to share.

I’m pretty sure the year was 1980 — that’s the year my oldest brother graduated from high school. It was also Kevin’s last year in the 4-H program, and he wanted to go out with a bang … something like 15 or 20 fair projects were on his list (including livestock and poultry entries, of course).

That summer on the farm was a dangerous one for a 9-year-old like me, and a lot of it had to do with a Simmental steer named Big Red. I thought I’d written about him before, but since I couldn’t find it in a search through my blog, I may just have to wrap up this week’s ramblings with a blog about the beast that nearly killed me (watch for it on farmbleat.areavoices.com).

At least Big Red was kept behind a fence — the geese were free to roam the farmyard and attack at will. (Notice, I didn’t say if provoked … I wouldn’t do that to a goose!)

The geese were on the farm that year because Kevin thought it would be great to take chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese to the fair as 4-H projects.

Now, geese are very territorial, so we kids had to be careful not to get into their way. A walk to the barn was one thing, but a walk to the barn with a detour to the chicken house was quite another. One cross-eyed look or “na na na boo-boo” at those geese and we were in for a game of tag. The goose was “it,” and we were caught when we, er, got goosed!

I can’t tell you how many times those mean ol’ birds chased me back toward the house screaming “Mommy, mommy — they’re gonna git me!”

Even Smokey wasn’t safe — she was our faithful mutt at the time, and I can still picture her and the geese running in circles. It was rather obvious that she was the one getting chased, and not the one doing the chasing.

As if getting goosed by the geese wasn’t bad enough, we had to endure their incessant honking (more like squawking) and their slimy, messy, everywhere-you-look droppings.

The summer of 1980 … I’m pretty sure it was the summer I never went barefoot down on the farm.

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