When we moved to the country and changed our lives 6 years ago this month, we moved to a beautiful part of Southwestern PA. Our property was WAY down a long dirt driveway, the domain an unusual house, a geodesic dome in fact with a few outbuildings and a 2-acre pond that was the carrot that sealed the deal. Our dogs loved swimming and this place would provide plenty of room to spread out, farm, host chickens and more. The previous owners who divorced at some point during their ownership, were plant and fish biologists so there were interesting things to discover as the seasons changed and we went about the site cleanup.
In addition to the hundreds of peepers that trilled at night, we discovered much wildlife that were our neighbors. I have written before about the snakes that we encountered early on.
The next farm over has a civil war era house which sits magnificently albeit crumbling, on a hill surrounded by probably a hundred acres of fields. It has a stream that connects to our pond. The house was uninhabited for probably decades and the sheep on the property had actually moved INSIDE the structure doing massive damage to an already neglected building. From the neighbors I heard the elderly owner had moved away and may be in poor health and the animals, well, they were perhaps slightly neglected.
The first months we lived here we experienced some incredible rains and flooding that apparently hadn’t been as severe in 100 years. Our fences near the pond that kept the pups in were demolished when the flood waters overflowed our pond splaying tree and shrub debris with great force. Our old fences didn’t have a chance, so it was almost like that property and ours comingled for a while.
I was driving home during one of these storms at night and saw several sheep roaming down the dirt road in the driving rain. They were alarmed, lost and crying out. It was quite unsettling for me as well.
The sheep and cows were immediately moved so I took a chance and with the dogs did a bit of exploring of this property. I had seen a couple of dozen beautiful grey geese clumsily walking. Bubba chased after them and you could tell they weren’t the most proficient flyers. They were a gang of lovely birds though who were very much at home.
Walking the many pastures, I was amazed at the basically undisturbed and unfettered beauty which surrounded me. I soon brought Mitch and we all explored. I found a very old Pepsi bottle, picked up some blown trash and said a word of gratitude that we were able to experience this. We remarked about the cool treasures there must be buried out here.
Many times, since then I have hopped a fence and walked along the neighboring property, disturbing nothing, picking berries here and there and hunting mushrooms. It really is an amazing place that we live.
As I got to be friends with neighbors up the hill, I learned those geese used to belong to THEM and I informed them, well, they mostly reside now on MY pond, but I am not claiming ownership. I doubt anyone ever owned them. It is more like; they traverse where they want to. They were making their way along these parts for decades and doing just fine.
There are two blue herons who visit us year-round, hundreds of Canadian geese, duck families that come and go plus turtles, frogs and a beaver who has been clearing the area around the WHOLE pond. He has done an amazing job. We just let him do his thing. He has made nice paths for my berry picking. I am ignorant in the ways of beavers. I do not understand why he seemingly is seeing great progress on a tree then abandons it for others leaving that one severely chewed but still standing. We have a lot of nature to ponder.
As the years have passed, sadly, the Geese have become victims to the crying coyotes that we hear each night and when their population went down to six, I worried. From that point, every time I saw them, they were down one until the last two palled around constantly together. That was LAST fall and now, there is only one left. I hear him or her EVERY NIGHT making quite a ruckus on our pond. I think it is terribly lonely.
When I leave for work in the morning, I see him getting a drink from the pond and scavenging for food. Another farmer bought that next door farm, and he has a bunch of donkeys and cows, and they move them from pasture to pasture. The last goose hangs with them during the day and I wonder what he or she thinks of being the last goose standing. Whenever I don’t see it for a few days I worry that this one also met his demise. One day probably sooner than later, there will be none.
I saw a sign at the farm store with pictures of geese exactly like this one and fleetingly thought about buying some babies to try and keep the population going again. I never did. I guess letting nature take its course is the best thing.
I am hoping more ducks move onto the pond this year. I think the beaver needs some company too. #natureisbeautiful #explorenature #farmlifeisfun #wildlifematters