Dead Beat Geese, Daffodils and “Free if…”

   Written by on March 23, 2017 at 9:43 am
The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

It is now officially spring according to my DBG calculator.  That means Mr. Deadbeat Goose and his mate have arrived and are nesting on my duck island in the pond.  Mr. DBG received his name on their first spring on our pond.  He was a vocal and active participant in the nest building and, shall we call it, pre-egg activity.  Then he did the Goose Lamaze thing of “push-baby-push” when she laid the eggs.

As soon as she started setting, which is the correct term for sitting on eggs, he left- stopping in every day or so to say “Hi.”  Although I too would have been unhappy in his position (if I had a grumpy female and boring children), I was offended by his lack of support for his family.  I assumed he was drinking beer and playing poker with the other Goosedads while his spouse took care of the eggs.

After three or four years, I learned more about Goose behavior and realized I had misjudged his character.  Unfortunately for him the name stuck.  It turns out that male geese move to a pond next door to avoid attracting predators to their home ponds, especially when the gooselets are in that inactive-unable-to-run egg stage.  When anything bothers Mom or the eggs, she lets out a honk and he comes flying in to the rescue.   Mr. DBG has valiantly defended his eggs from raccoons, foxes, crows, other geese and me.

Another way to tell if it is really spring is if Management’s daffodils are in full bloom.  I have planted tens of thousands of bulbs for her and add more every year. I may not be very good at finishing other projects but I am one heck of a daffodil bulb planter.

I have multiple reasons for planting them for her.  They are her favorite flower and she is my favorite everything as well as my friend, partner, and the love of my life. Besides, if she ever kills me she will be reminded of me for at least a month every spring.

I am also an expert at stalking and capturing daffodils.  I’m not a big fan of those fancy showy hybrid flowers; besides, they are expensive, sort of like those fancy showy women.  The daffodils I like are the old style ones.  For years I have watched old home sites and farms with daffodils.  Then when I see the owner is getting ready to cut timber or bulldoze the place I ask if I can save the daffys.

The best bulbs come from places that haven’t been lived on for at least 50 years and some of ours came from places much older. These daffys are tough and do well in our area. The best part is the cost.  My favorite price for anything is “free if…” Some things are “free if you can move it” others are “free if you take it now” while others are “free if you can find me this.”

Usually “Free if…” costs me more in time and effort than if I had just bought it but it is more fun my way.

Since I first started planting daffys for Management almost 25 years ago I have noticed a different variety in the yard.  Since I am pretty certain it didn’t sneak in on its own there is a good chance that between the wind and the birds and the bees that we have a variety of our own.

If that happens to be the case then I get to name it after Management. That would be fun.  On the other hand, that means I have to join the Daffodil Society, do a bunch of research, some paperwork and wait awhile. Interestingly enough, I never mind doing research or waiting awhile. Most folks already think I am a member of the Daffy Society.

PULLOUT: If she ever kills me she will be reminded of me for at least a month every spring.

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