• Julie

GOSLINGS, NOT IN BRIEF


When your gosling is more interested in your hair than you as a person.

It occurred to me this morning that I left the ends of The Goose Egg Tale loose and uncertain, and that many of you must be gripped uncomfortably at this point with suspense. My heartfelt apologies. And while I think I did mention the successful hatching of two goslings, I'll start back at the beginning. Posterity's sake and whatnot.

...

One night some two weeks ago while ordering the day's mess in the silence of the living room, I heard something not entirely unlike a mouse set on doing terrible things inside the walls of our home. Gosh isn't it so fun to own an old farmhouse, I thought. Peep! Peep! Peep! Weird mouse. Peep! Peeppeeppeep! PEEP! For someone who had just spent the previous month coddling hatching eggs, it took me a shocking long time to realize that what I was hearing was so very unlike a mouse in the wall that it in fact was three active goslings still in their shells but trying to be otherwise. Peep!

We won't get into the details of how, but I discovered that if I bent my body in half, inserted my head and torso into the game cabinet-cum-gosling nursery, and let go a peep! into one of the vents of the incubator, a chorus of peeps! would be sent back in return. Alone with this joy, I unsuccessfully tried to pull Gus from a deep sleep. Hhhhhhhh, children. Basking in the miracle of life together would instead have to wait until an ungodly hour of his choosing. Sometime around sunup the tables would turn and I would be the one clinging to sleep, begging to be left alone and unconvinced that anything other than Staying Put mattered. Peep!

Over the next three days all of the goslings transitioned from A Life En Shell to the Big Wide World. Though we often positioned our upper halves dutifully and uncomfortably in the cramped cabinet, we never caught the final push resulting in freedom. The first gosling emerged to wake us couch-sleeping geriatrics with an explosive thump that sent both the dogs scrambling. The second was found fully hatched in the incubator upon our return from collecting this year's seed potatoes. Late on the final evening as we watched the older goslings awkwardly learn about legs and their attached webbed feet, the benefits of giving the third hatchling some space from its siblings very clearly began to outweigh the cons of opening the incubator mid-hatch. This time successfully, I shook the sleep from Gus who had been adamant that his was the face the goslings should see first. His naked frame was sent down the stairs to move babes with careful efficiency, and a short while later the beaming new father was back to bed without incident.

The following morning we awoke to a very loud gosling and something Not Right. Our third and final hatchling's legs were all but useless, oftentimes resulting in the small bird stranded on its back and screaming. Years of lurking in online chicken forums made for a quick diagnosis of spraddle legs. However, I know nothing of having to cure the splay myself- which seems half the battle, doesn't it? One terrible bandaid brace (thanks, internet), one far more reasonable vet wrap brace (thanks, internet), and twenty-four hours' time later, the gosling was walking independently and quickly shedding the quirks that had earned it the endearing nickname of Turtle. Since then we adults of the house have been told to refrain from speaking to or looking at the goslings for fear their loyalty to the littlest human will waiver. We of course are happy to bend to the mildly unreasonable edict. Us seasoned folk know so well of the way new parenthood can twist the normally amiable.

Upon first hatching, the goslings were easily distinguishable- one was perfect, one had a cowlick, and one stranded itself on its back frequently - but age and proper braces has all but snuffed those differences out and they are currently just Three Goslings Who Are Loved. We did briefly attempt to sex them so that gendered names could be doled out but found our inexperience with hunting goose penises to be a real detriment. Ah well. As waterfowl are wont do, they have grown so much that it's impossible to believe they were so recently shelled. Soon enough they'll feather out and live in commune with the cattails and pinkletinks. Mother and son are hoping to break ground on goose house construction in the next week or so and are overall feeling rather pleased at having coaxed forth some life from what might otherwise have just been scrambled.

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