This past year Agustin hatched nearly 70 goslings. That number is really pretty fantastic considering geese don't lay many eggs in a year. The new gaggle of geese were meant to live in the orchard as our new group of farm workers. Geese eat the tall grasses out in the orchard. Actually, they are very good at it, as we’ve quickly discovered. Now we do have a flame weeder sitting in the orchard, but no one here feels comfortable operating that machine and so it is never used. When we learned geese love to eat Johnson Grass, which is a big problem for us, we knew we had the perfect solution. If you look at the photo of the orchard you can clearly see the excellent job the geese have done eating the grass and weeds down to bare ground. The right side of the photo is what it looked like before geese. The tricky thing for us is moving them fast enough, as we don't want them over fertilizing the trees. Of course some fertility, the excellent by-product of geese or chickens or sheep, etc, is certainly desired. However, when the trees get too much fertility they shoot up taller and actually produce less fruit. Definitely not our desired outcome. As with many things here on the farm, there is a very intricately timed dance when working with nature, which is preferred over working against it or instead of it.
As I said, the geese that were hatched this year were meant for the orchard. Unfortunately, there was a drop in communication between Nigel and Agustin. One sad day, I realized ALL the geese were missing from the pond. I was heartbroken! Over the past two years that we have had them, I have become pretty familiar with many of them. Many mornings, I would come out to the kitchen and see several geese sleeping just outside our front door. There was one pair in particular who spent a lot of time around the house, coming to the front door and tapping with their beaks. Pretty hilarious, actually, when you are sitting at the table and all of a sudden you hear tap, tap, tap, and you look over to see a goose staring back at you. This morning when I went out to feed Stella I looked across the pond and saw a nice group of geese out enjoying the early morning, pure joy!