Three Geese A-Laying

The season has arrived. The African and Chinese geese are all sharing a nest. I’m not sure if the two Chinese geese are a pair or both gals, so I don’t know if all of the eggs are fertile (or if there are only two geese a-laying). No one is yet setting on them while they accumulate. One of the eggs is especially monstrous– probably from the African. Her spouse stands guard at her side while she lays. After depositing her egg, each goose carefully covers the nest over with straw to disguise their trove.

Once someone begins to set, the eggs should hatch in 30 to 32 days, which means we’ll have even more critters to move to Oregon.  Meanwhile I’m policing the hens to try to prevent any broodiness, although they tend to simply appear with a parade of peeping chicks unannounced from hidden nests. One such egg stash, we recently discovered, was under the tractor mower in the barn, fortunately with no hen atop. We pulled the tractor out over the weekend for the first time in a long while, and found this odorous surprise:


Gratitude for Then, Now and Moving On

Today is our last Thanksgiving in the Valley.

The past few years, living here, have been complicated. Our feelings toward this time, the experiences, the ups and downs, are tangled and recoiling. The end has always been somewhat in sight– we knew we wouldn’t be here forever.

What has changed is the beginning that now stretches out before us. A beautiful new home. A goal, a plan. Rain. Grass. Possibility.

The beginning on the horizon has enabled us, encouraged us, to examine the time here and those elusive sentiments. From this I’ve extracted two products worthy of deep gratitude.

First: perspective. I’m certain that I will always recognize the value in my surroundings, though at my lamest I may fail to aptly appreciate it.

From where I sit in Central California, every day in our new life, on the new homestead, under every raindrop, should be cherished and praised. But I know it won’t be that way. There will be broken pipes and long winters and failed crops. There will be times of exhaustion and frustration. There will be times of missing the long tomato seasons and fresh lemons. But there is treasure to be found in the bitterness we’ve felt here, in the dust and heat and unhappy people, because I will be able to hold it up against the good and bad times of the future and be grateful for those times.

Second: tradition. We’ve moved largely into the life we dreamed of, even here. We’ve made extravagant shared Sunday dinners. We’ve established a way of eating daily, of the food we buy and way we grow and harvest our own meat. The way we feed our child.

And we’ve become the Thanksgiving hosts. I roast a goose, make stock and giblet stuffing, and render the goose fat for months of use. My husband makes the potatoes and bourbon-glazed Brussels sprouts. I pick wild greens for salad. He makes dessert. These are the traditions that we will bring to Little Fall Creek, that we’ll nurture and grow over years to come, that our daughter will grow up celebrating. We can thankful for their beginning in our time in California.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!