Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Our last half dozen

French Village Diaries Our last half dozen RIP Brucie the goose
Our last half dozen - RIP Brucie the goose

Our last half dozen – RIP Brucie the goose.

I was reading something the other day that said geese could live until they were 25 and as our Brucie had just started laying again, at the ripe old age of thirteen, I guessed she’d be roaming our orchard for a while yet. I was wrong. While we were out yesterday, a dog or a fox got into the garden and attacked and killed Brucie. I will spare you the details, but what was left was a gruesome sight. 


An orchard full of feathered friends was never in our French life plan, but sometimes in life it’s good to go with the flow. When a male Muscovy duck settled himself into our orchard in 2005, we bought him some female company. The ducks were joined by chickens, home-hatched ducklings had a habit of happening no matter how good I thought I was at collecting eggs, and then in May 2009, a mysterious bearded visitor left us a gosling. We named him Bruce and still have no idea who left him, or why, but we were very glad he did. Bruce spent the year thinking he was a duck, blissfully unaware of our plan to serve him as Christmas dinner. His saving grace was when ‘he’ began laying eggs, big and beautiful eggs - and we began to call her Brucie. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a goose egg, but they are roughly the size of three hen eggs, with a huge golden yolk and make the most amazing cakes, omelettes or rather indulgent dippy boiled eggs with soldiers.


We made the decision a while ago to downsize our farmyard family, so although all remaining birds would live out their years with us, when they were gone, we wouldn’t replace them. Brucie has now been living a quiet and solitary life for almost two years, but unlike the last of the ducks and chickens who died a peaceful death in old age, Brucie wasn’t ready to go. She had begun her spring laying and was happy and healthy. 


All of the birds were great characters and I never got tired of watching them scratching the soil, chasing a bug (or bigger), picking cherries from the low branches or just strutting around the garden. Only this week we smiled as we watched Brucie sitting in her water bowl, playing with a stick that was far too big to fit in with her. The garden seems rather empty and quiet out there today. She was a real chatterbox, always honking her accompaniment to the eight o’clock morning church bells and with one beady eye on the back door, ready to shout at me as I put my boots on. Today marks the first time we have been bird free since 2005 and it's going to take a bit of getting used to.


RIP Brucie and thank you for thirteen years of fun and delicious eggs. 

French Village Diaries Our last half dozen RIP Brucie the goose
Brucie the goose 2009 - 2022

1 comment:

  1. Oh Jackie, this one just hurts. What a beautiful goose -- and what a tragic ending. One regretfully accustoms themself to the eventual death of an animal in their family, sad as it is. But such a traumatic one has to feel so wrong, so sad, so cruel. I'm so sorry you had to experience it. Yes, it will take getting used to. I'm so sorry.


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