Thursday, March 7, 2013



ANOTHER STORY ABOUT LIFE IN THE KAROO.....

As I was typing this heading, I made a typo, and it read 'Another story about like in the Karoo'.  Everything about the Karoo is about 'like' for me.

Once again I am sitting here unable to download new photographs which is terribly frustrating!  Pease be patient with me.  Thanks!  So I will go on with stories from the Karoo.....


TWO WHITE GATE KEEPERS


A few months after moving to the Karoo, I decided to acquire some geese.  Soon after New Year, Hannes and Antoinette kindly arrived with a box and two goslings, approximately two months old.  The first thing that came to mind when I saw them, was shame, these are seriously ugly ducklings!  Their huge bulbous eyes were way too big for their heads, their rounded bodies resembled babies bottoms in towelling nappies, and protruding from underneath all this were two greatly oversized webbed apparitions.  The poor babies.  They were the clumsiest things I had ever met, and although they had been named Jesse and Jasmin (in the hope of one of each sex), they were mostly called ‘The Galloompheys’.   

About four months prior to the arrival of the goslings, I had acquired two beautiful and dainty white Holland Quakers from one of the local policemen in town.  They were named Jemima and Jake.  With the Quakers, the males have a pretty curl on the top of the tale.  It often occurred to me why Jake would be smaller than Jemima, but I just assumed he would perhaps be younger. 

Once the Galloomphies arrived on the scene, a very interesting series of events began to emerge.  Jake took it upon himself to show his authority and make himself Lord and Master of all things feathered in the garden.  The goslings were disciplined in no uncertain terms by any means and manner.  Most importantly of all, the new pond I had built was duck domain, any gosling wishing to enter, must first beg, plead, look pathetic, bow and scrape, and then perhaps, maybe on occasion, be allowed to enter the water.

Then my Galloompheys grew into two gorgeous geese.  They are about four to five times the size of the ducks, and yet Jake still ruled the roost.  The geese had to beg to have a turn in the pond, and should they not do so appropriately, they were admonished and evicted under no uncertain terms.  After much frustration from the bigger birds, they finally thought to hell with it and made a dive for the water.  Jake charged in rushing at each of them in turn, then they’d jump out, wait a few seconds, then as soon as his back was turned they were diving back in.  Again, the crazy furore, but as time went on the geese got braver, diving beneath the surface of the water to resurface elsewhere, and this went on furiously for some time.  Often one would pop up unaware of where Jake would be and sometimes he would be bounced up on their back, biting furiously at their neck, falling off, chasing again until it just all become too much and he submits and allowed them some time to frolic, before sending them packing again.  I could watch them for hours.


Months after the arrival of the ducks, on the top of Jemima’s tale, there appeared a pretty white curl. So now I have Jake the drake, and yes, I also have Jemima the drake.  Oh well, what’s in a name?  More than you know.

On my neighbours boundary there is a high fence with a low gate.  For some reason only known to the animal kingdom, my garden seems an interesting place for all to visit.  I used to get terribly annoyed with the geese at night when they would strike up in noisy protest, yelling loudly enough to awaken any poor sleeping soul in my road.  One night I decided to get up and see what was causing all the fuss.  There where the geese, chasing off an intruder of the white furry kind, and since then, each time I have checked when they have caused a fuss, sure enough, there they are at the gate, fending off unwelcome creatures of one kind or another.

It never ceases to amaze me how these feathered friends of ours all have such individual personalities.  Even though one always copies what the other does, in each pair there is a dominant one, and of the four, well, Jake was always the boss. 

When I woke up in the morning and opened up for the cats and went out to feed the others, or if I had been out for the day, I always received a huge greeting of noise and display upon my return.  The ducks waddle, quacking all the way to the other side of the garden, wiggled their bums, fluffed out their feathers, made a whole lot more noise just to make sure they had my attention, and then they took off in flight and landed in their pond.  The geese cottoned on to this welcoming commotion and so too did the same for their Mum, all for a bit of attention.  I had to tell them all how clever they were, preening their egos and ending off by telling them that they were just a bunch of big show offs. I love my animals.

When I moved from Fraserburg to Prince Albert, Jesse and Jasmin were re-homed to a farm with a large dam at the edge of the garden, and Jake and Jemima relocated with me.  No longer on a farm, they are now living ever so happily with Elsa and Haila where they are loved just as much!  Thank you to both of you for taking them on, I am so grateful!
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