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Update on the girls - Lily & Gracie the Geese


Several of you have kindly asked how the two girls are coping since we lost Boris the gander. They are certainly more like maiden aunts now, don’t want to explore anywhere, would much prefer to sit on our back lawn than anywhere else. Sadly, as anyone who has kept Geese or Ducks knows, living in an environment where they are is extremely messy and undesirable!
A puzzle for you first, I will give the answer at the end of this short blog.
This is a field gate between the open-fronted barn and the old garage. There are no exits to left or right of the field gate and it is kept shut with a chain that loops over the post.

Two fat Geese who can fly about a foot off the ground with a long enough run up.

The puzzle is how did these two keep sitting on the back lawn when we had left them in the middle section, between the two field gates?

While outside a few days back moving the hose, there was a tremendous racket from down on the field. Looking down that way I could see two large girls running, flapping and spinning round in circles, a Peacock trying to get past them and up onto the gate.
Looking closer revealed the culprit. In the centre of all the panic was a young Fox. Eyes bigger than his belly he kept having a go at Lily and Gracie. Both had been grabbed at some point as one had a few feathers gone and the other a pinprick of blood on her leg.
Dashing down there in my slippers – not a good look, and not a fast dash at my arthritic age, I opened the gate and everyone dashed through towards the bungalow. The Fox meanwhile stood and watched this without moving far away. I shooed him up the field, while he stopped about every six foot and looked back, but eventually disappeared probably vaulting the 4 foot fence around the field. I think he may have come in through the front gate as he didn’t seem sure of where to go.

After that a few days were spent with the chickens and the Geese shut between the two field gates in a relatively safer place.The chickens had dashed into their run and the cockerel just stood and yelled at the top of his voice while this was all happening. Not a brilliant idea running into an enclosed space, but the Fox was otherwise occupied. Nothing is safe if a Fox is adamant enough, they climb, dig and squeeze through the smallest holes. I have seen one fly through the 5" squares of stock fencing without a pause! Not surprisingly the Geese are not keen on the field.
As for the girls they were shooed back the first time they were found up near the bungalow and I stood and watched to see how it was done.

How they got through the gate, I accused OH of letting them through, but no, these fat birds had worked out that a big head under the bottom wire, a flattened body and a quick shimmy and they were under the gate!

Here they are up between the cars, heading for the back lawn!

Here they are on the lawn, now heading for the back door in case there is any food going.

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I've noticed foxes do the 6ft stop and stare too, wonder if that is a hunting tactic; expecting the prey to think all is safe so they can come back.
the girls are sneaky wriggling /limbo like under the fence.

6 Jun, 2020


I wonder which one leads the other one astray?!! They have a very self assured look about them!!! I hope that the fox stays away from them and leaves them in peace.

6 Jun, 2020


They are very handsome ladies and I trust Mr Foxy keeps away.

6 Jun, 2020


the lady with the most white on her head seems to have an assertive attitude, Honeysuckle. Is it Lily or Gracie?

6 Jun, 2020


What an exciting story, with a happy ending! Wish I'd seen them wriggling under the gate...
A fox going through a five inch mesh must have been quite a sight!

6 Jun, 2020


This one was only a young fox Seaburn, not that it stops them killing things. Hopefully this is one of the wild ones and not one that has been 'relocated' (dumped) in the countryside. Many town foxes breed rapidly because of the abundance of food and then well-meaning people take the extras to the countryside thinking they will have a better life. In an ideal world perhaps, but being town foxes they have no idea of how to fend for themselves, have no fear of people and often come to a sticky end.

I think that they both have their way about some things Wild Rose, but Lily seems to get the paddling pool bath first, dashes first to food thrown down and is more assertive (snappy and spiteful) to the hens if they try to get food!

We can only hope Anget and Fernever that the fox finds easily prey. We have loads of rabbits up on the field that keep eating all the young plants and shrubs that I am trying to establish - why can't he eat them?

We didn't get too inventive when it came to names Lori! Lily is the all white one and Gracie is the one with grey markings on her head and her back. They have an acre field, the chicken run, their own hut and the surrounding area to that - but still they will try to be up near the house.

It was an amazing sight Stera! OH had gone down to the chicken run and I had just shooed them back through the gate and then stood in the barn. It took less than two seconds for one of them, probably Lily, though I didn't notice, to do the belly shimmy thing and there they were! Chickens can be adamant about getting through a small gap, but what made the girls think that they could get under the wire?

7 Jun, 2020


Perhaps it's a matter of proximity, Honesuckle. being nearer to you and the house is farther from the fox and the open spaces. Lily looks like she has plans to move in! she might be bossy with a new gander, too. The body language in your pics is unmistakeable. ;-)

7 Jun, 2020


Oh I say !!!.... Never a dull moment at your place Honey, Lily and Gracie are very crafty, clever with it as well, they know they're safer near to your bungalow and they love your cakes, I remember you saying that you have to make one for them as well, poor hubby getting the blame for letting them through the gate, I did smile at that, lets hope that fox has moved on, I'd never thought about people relocating town foxes into the countryside when they don't know how to hunt, it has never occurred to me before, they think they're saving the fox and that is obviously not always the case..
Great blog H'suckle and I love the photo's of your girls, I'd also like to watch them shimmying through that gate....

7 Jun, 2020


They may well like it up here Lori, but with the weather being so dry, up until the last few days, I have had had plants standing about in pots near and handy to water. Just like a smorgasbord they both think, large beaks moving along sampling everything! It's a hard life for plants here, I spend half my time shooing pigeons off the greengage, laburnum and robinia trees to stop them eating the leaves. They killed the cherry tree further up the garden by de-nuding it of leaves.

8 Jun, 2020


One thing leads to another here, just a simple thought can produce a days work Lincs!
A few days ago I wandered down to the field to check on the girls and saw them in the barn lean-to. Lily looked as if she was trying to climb (?) up a pile of wood we have leaning in there. Why would she want to do that, what's the interest? They do like a nice piece of rotten wood to chomp on, lots of our old buildings can verify that, but I have never seen them try to climb for some! After having a look, nothing obvious, but did see some Owl pellets further back, so searched the wood pile for further evidence without finding any. Thought I would have a look behind the barn where there is a large space that butts onto the lean-to. Bad move! Most of the area was taken up by self-seeded Elderberries. So most of a day's job there digging them up before they took over. Crunching underfoot from glass, where the previous owner had done the countryman's usual of putting broken glass down rat holes! Just four stubborn Elder roots to finish off then might rake up some of the glass.
Lovely well-worn pathway the other side of our fence under the fir trees, made by rabbits, fox, badger or Muntjac? Who knows, something to keep an eye on?

8 Jun, 2020


it seems there's always a plague of one kind or another, Honeysuckle. don't see many geese in the trees! After the army worms last year, and all the lovely blossom this spring I had great hopes for my apple, but there's some small fuzzy caterpiller (larva of beetle or moth, I don't know) eating the lovely fresh green leaves of the recovering tree. have often thought about getting hens or ducks to take on the grubs and worms, beetles and flies.. but it looks like I need some passerines to get up into the trees and eat those little
I've been picking glass shards our out of the old tip, turned flower bed. That was the way in times gone by...everybody had his own tip and glass was everywhere ... now it's plastic and we've got "recyclables". I'm still dealing with the waste of generations past. I asked the person in charge of our waste station what to do with all the glass I've unearthed... and he just shrugged, said: "sorry, don't know... just toss it in the bin!" I was thinking about getting a tumbler (like they use for polishing gemstones) and making pavers with the glass nuggets. Add that to the list! lol...

10 Jun, 2020


We have hundreds of birds so an army of caterpillars might get eaten here, depending on the type of course. Those hairy ones don't seem to be eaten by anything. Watching a programme on the TV the other night about Oak 'processionary caterpillars' which can denude a tree of leaves and some of the trees are being sprayed to kill them off. But how many other caterpillars and insects are they killing at the same time? We have been told that the Oak trees support a huge variety of caterpillars which in turn support the birds!
It's always been the way of disposing of rubbish, bury it somewhere - even today. On my late Father's land the bank of hedges always had rusting tins, containers and even a cooker residing in the bottom.
Tumbled glass looks lovely, so that would be something to do with it. Luckily our recycle bin is allowed glass now, or we can take it to the recycle centre. Strange how different centres have different rules.
I remember my Sister saying that she and her OH took two wooden windows up to the dump and was told she couldn't leave them. on it's own and wood pieces were OK, so it was stand and break them both up and put in respective piles.
Plastic recycling is a nightmare to work out - can it go in the recycle bin or is it the wrong sort? And the Council her charge so much for vans and tippers to dump stuff that it get fly-tipped in any convenient gateway in the countryside. Then it costs the Council a fortune to remove it, something needs sorting there!

11 Jun, 2020


It doesn't look as thought they've finished thinking that one through

11 Jun, 2020


with the current situation every thing is garbage...but in better times our local had an area set aside for recycling intact windows, wood work (furniture, boards, etc.) even electric appliances which still work, and we could take anything we wished. There is a small fee for leaving anything, and if things stay there too long (a week at most) it's broken down and recycled, but at least our cast offs get a second chance at usefulness. I found a lovely little vacuum.. perfect for the kitchen and it works great; and, a set of woodframed, glassed storm windows..perfect for the top of a cold frame. My hub isn't thrilled with me picking up "useful" stuff...and asks me: "Did you bring home more than you took?" ;-)

12 Jun, 2020


too bad about the "fly tipping" Industries have been caught dumping hazardous waste into northern creeks and streams..and gravel isolated areas... It may be there for years before the municipals find it. people need policing.. sad fact.

12 Jun, 2020


Our Council 'waste management centre' rather than 'tip' has a container which houses all the items than really shouldn't have ended up at the tip - furniture, toys, clothes, bikes and so much stuff it's frightening how wasteful people can be. They then sell these for a small amount. I have bought toys, a very useful wheeled laundry basket holder (which means I don't have to carry a heavy basket of linen to the line and also don't have to stoop to hang it), spare pushchair (colour out of fashion?) and loads of garden related stuff. Why can't people at least take, or offer, it to the local charity shop, they probably have to pass several to get to the dump! The UK these days just doesn't know poverty of 'things', the make do and mend mentality of the past is so far in the past it's a medieval concept!

Without saying of who I speak - you can't do that these days - there are a certain type of people that live on gulling other people into thinking they are getting rid of waste correctly, take their money and then tip it where-ever! It's a sad society we live in now.

13 Jun, 2020


too true and discouraging. Perhaps the social protocols of virus control will change some of our wasteful ways... If you can't get out to buy the "needs" you work with what you have. I like the social distancing's enforced civility... but civility all the same. I rather like it over crowds and push and shove. So we can be hopeful I
suppose. i miss my trips to the re-cycle store though.

13 Jun, 2020


Sadly all the younger generation have been brought up to expect instant gratification, buy something and it's there! Perhaps a bit of forced waiting would make the item more appreciated, who knows?
About the social distancing, I like it too! I was only saying to my OH the other day "when did we all start to hug everyone"? Being from a family that was not very demonstrative I found it really weird that you only had to be introduced to someone to have to give them a hug! All those grotty people you wouldn't normally touch with a barge pole, suddenly started hugging as if they were immediate family. So I definitely shan't miss that! I too like a rummage through a charity shop or car-boot sale, house sale and such like.

14 Jun, 2020


It seems we are of like minds, Honeysuckle!

14 Jun, 2020

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