People aren’t the only ones to get cabin fever.

So do geese.

During the rain, ice, rain, ice, snow and cold days earlier this month, my lovely and entertaining flock decided it was time for a trip outside the pen. I’ve been leaving the gate open during the day, just in case they wanted to check out the snowbanks, dried brush, pine trees or anything else as they usually do during the warmer months.

But all winter long they’ve stuck pretty close to the pen, perhaps waddling as far as the stoop and sometimes up it and into the garage when I head out each morning and afternoon to feed and water them.

But last week, all of a sudden from the bathroom window, I saw a stream of orange beaks and webbed feet making their way around the back of the house, the west side of the house, over the huge snowbanks produced by periodic plowing, and into what is usually our old, dirt, horseshoe-shaped driveway.

But after all that rain and snow, the driveway was transformed into a giant skating rink. Because the temperature that day happened to rise above freezing, a nice, deep, icy puddle formed right where my geese remembered it appearing after heavy summer rains.

They found, however, that it isn’t quite as easy to make it to a grand puddle in the winter as it is the rest of year.

One by one, they slip-slided on the ice as they tried to make their way there. One would get up, try to walk and immediately fall down. If by some chance he or she had made it up the hilly part of the driveway, they quickly slid on their fluffy bottoms down to the lowest point.

This went on time after time. Susie Q, Sammie, Blackberry, Plum Blossom or any of the others would attempt to make their way to the puddle, and each time they’d plop down.

My wonderful Finny, though, who has always been the smartest, most beautiful (not that I’m biased because I raised him and I’m his Mother Goose), friendly and every other positive word one can think of, decided there must be a better way. He was determined to get into that puddle and do some serious splashing and playing.

And sure enough, he did.

As I was watching the flock and laughing aloud at their antics, all of a sudden I saw that Finny had given up trying to walk on the ice. Instead, he remained seated and used his lovely gray-and-white wings to push the rest of his body along. And sure enough, after a while, he made it to the puddle.

Wish I had had a video camera to tape that. Seeing such antics reminded me once again why I keep geese. They are just so amusing and hilarious.

The rest of the nine-member flock eventually made it to the puddle and for an hour or so thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Splashes and squawks, honks and minor tiffs over whose “piece” of water one of them should or shouldn’t be in went on and on.

After all, it had been several months since I cleaned and stored their “kiddie” pool so it would be ready to go when the temperatures rose high enough in the spring to open the outside faucet and fill it.

Finally, after a lot more slipping and sliding, one of them, I think it was Sam, decided it was time to head back to the pen to find out if I had refilled their food dishes.

One by one, they slid across the ice to the bottom of the snowbank and carefully, purposefully climbed up its cold surface, sometimes sliding back to the icy base.

Susie Q decided it was easier to ascend the bank by using her wings to both push her up and to sometimes gain just a little flight to provide her with a boost.

Finny was the last to climb the banking and follow in the web-steps of all the others.

Then they got into a straight line and off they marched.

They trooped across the snow, sometimes sinking in and struggling to get unstuck until they finally made it back to the pen.

I did indeed give them more food and water, then watched as they paraded into the pen to the waiting dishes, where they also received a grand thank-you for all the entertainment they had just given me. Finny decided it was time, too, to chew on my hair a little bit before finally diving into the cracked corn.

They haven’t ventured out again yet. Maybe once the temperatures improve, they may give it another go, but for now I feel pretty sure they won’t wander off.

Geese, there’s no cheaper form of entertainment anywhere.

Eileen Adams has been raising geese for 10 years. She may be reached at [email protected]


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