My geese are all tuckered out.

Waddling through nearly 2 feet of snow to get to the food and water has taken its toll.

I’m all tuckered out, too.

I love my geese and ducks, but during the winter, particularly with last week’s major snowstorms and blizzard conditions, I’ve had to shovel them out three or four times, making a path for me to get outside the back door, then making paths to each of the three pens, and dislodging the pens’ gates.

The creatures looked like they were swimming in the snow — wings and feet pulling and pushing them on.

I wish I had had the energy to actually shovel out their huge pen, but unfortunately, my energy left me before I had gotten all the paths and pen entrances shoveled.

As the wind blew and the snow fell, I always am concerned with my flocks, although I know nature has well dressed them with lots of down and the ability to tuck beaks and feet into that most luxurious of natural material.

Finny and his flock, along with Pekin ducks Silas and Molly, and Khaki Campbell ducks Millie, Billie and Tillie, can withstand this horrible January weather far better than me.

Thankfully, Silas and Molly and the Khaki Campbells also know enough to get inside their straw-lined coops every so often. Occasionally, when the wind is really howling, Finny and the flock do, too.

Molly has also chosen this time to start laying her wonderfully rich and flavorful eggs. Why, I have no idea. If I didn’t gather them immediately, they would almost instantly freeze, like the first one she laid did.

Molly and Silas’ house is probably even warmer than any of the other coops because it is a former doghouse located just below the roof of the people house. Much of that snow has slid off, surrounding the little yellow house and providing even more insulation.

As for me, because of the very cold temperature, I must go out four or five times a day to refill each flock’s water dishes. Almost as soon as I pour it, it freezes.

I’ve made sure everyone has lots to eat and lots of variety. All my feathered friends need more food than usual during this very cold weather to help keep them warm. Lettuce, stale bread and muffins and, of course, cracked corn and pellets are dumped into their dishes several times a day to be shared by the blue jays, crows and an occasional wild turkey that lands in the goose pen.

Not only am I keeping my domestic flocks well fed, but it seems that every blue jay, crow, mourning dove and others have told all their friends where the best eats are. So now, I have an abundance of colorful and beautiful birds eating from the bird feeder hanging from the front porch, as well as from the geese and duck dishes.

Despite the hardship of the winter months, Finny still doesn’t much like Seb. He will still chase him away from the the food and water dishes. But Seb is pretty smart himself. When Finny is at the lower part of the pen, he waddles up to the front and eats as much as possible until he is discovered, or until I call Finny off.

And despite the the cold and wind, I’ve seen some signs that spring is on its way. Molly and Silas are flirting with each other, and some of the ganders are making advances toward Susie-Q, Dufey, Sammie or Plum Blossom.

But for now, and with Friday’s snow on top of the 2 feet we had last week and more on Monday, it’s still bundle up time four or five times a day, grab the snow shovel and dig, dig, dig.

I long for the pleasant, sun-drenched days of spring and summer when all the geese can waddle out to the lawn and back field and graze on tender grass, dandelion leaves and clover, as they were meant to do. And hopefully, Molly and Tillie and Millie will lay delicious eggs that aren’t frozen in place.

But for now, they still give me a grand hello, even with blustering wind. They do their best to get to the front of their pens, then scarf up all the bread and cracked corn I give them.

These geese and ducks are far better armed for the frigid, blustery weather we’ve been having than I am. But they are my pets, my wonderful squawking and quacking friends, and I love them dearly.

So, here’s the shovel, here’s the stale bread and cracked corn, and for Molly and Silas, a few juicy meal worms.

Spring will come.

Eileen Adams may be reached at [email protected].


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