Goose in a Hole

There are lots of unexpected moments that can shake you out of your daily routine on the farm. Raising livestock is never boring; there are often surprises.  

I experienced one such surprise just the other morning. We have a couple of large holes in our front yard where the septic tank is buried. It was serviced recently and needs some parts. I was backing out of the driveway to go to my martial arts class, when I noticed the head of a goose sticking out of one of the holes. Apparently, he either fell or jumped in, and could not get out. I hesitated: I was already running late for class, and I was in my uniform – not the right sort of attire for rescuing an adult male goose from a big dirty hole in the ground. But I know how geese like to stay together, and he was panicking, swiveling his head around and honking for the others. I parked the car and went over to see what I could do. I thought to reach in and lift him out, or jump into the hole and give him a boost, but that would be messy. I looked around for something I could use to help lift him out. I grabbed a T-post that was leaning up against the side of the garage, but quickly realized that it was too narrow and its metal edges would be too sharp. Then I spied a yellow push broom on the porch. “Don’t worry, buddy,” I said to him as I walked over to grab the broom. “I’m going to help get you out.”

I set the brush end into the hole behind him, while I tried to reassure him in a soothing voice: “You’ll be free very soon, just hang on.” He honked louder, searching wildly for the flock that had abandoned him. I maneuvered the brush beneath his tail and lifted his bottom, and as I slowly raised him up, he leaned forward and scrabbled at the dirt with his webbed feet, and finally got himself out. Off he went, down the slope of the lawn toward the woods, honking and flapping his wings. Without a backward glance.

When I arrived at the studio and explained my tardiness, my instructor said it was the best excuse he’d heard all year.