Right, just a couple of cogitations and then the Real Post.
Cogit 1: I was musing recently that Soulsubsistence has lost its way a little … not quite food, not quite farming, not quite … you get it, I know. But it occurs to me that it hasn’t. Not one bit. I help to farm (okay, I’m not quite an Actual Farmer) because I believe in meat that has been treated well in life. It also helps that I prefer animals to people. So that’s what the obsession with lambs and geese is about. I love to eat and talk about food, and that’s the driver of both blog and farming (to an extent, anyway; there is always more than one reason for doing anything). This is what my soul subsists upon. It is the background to my life.
Cogit 2: The mighty Tammy Maas scolded me the other day, in her laid back, Southern Belle way, for worrying too much. She’s right! What a misery I have become. So I decided to explain how we got the geeses this time.
(By the way, Tammy happens to have written a book with an excellent story of love, betrayal and the depths to which people can descend, A Complicated Life in a Small Town).
The Halifax Trip
Rooting through the Farmer’s Guardian classifieds is a regular (and possibly favourite) activity for Himself. There is always a reason for it. He marks the ads he likes with heavy lines and squares and embellishes important words with spirals on the ends of the underlines.
This weekend, the challenge was geeses. After much blather (and incredulity at the prices some people were asking), and a bit of pleading from me, we settled on half a dozen birds the same age as our goslings. Halifax-based (so we thought).
We went in my little car, to cut the costs and strapped into the back two deep jelly buckets with clean straw. We figured we’d get three goslings in each and they wouldn’t be able to climb out.
And here we have a lesson in satnag use:
We made it to the house of a great friend after nearly two and a half hours of driving. Pride was me. No satnag. I haven’t been there in years and never by that route; I couldn’t be more smug.
It turned out the gentleman’s location was outside Halifax itself. Oh, the satnag got us there fine, no problem. We just didn’t feel that steep, narrow streets with double hairpins were necessarily the route we would have chosen if we’d known the area better.
Our seller was a lovely man, who kindly dropped the price unexpectedly. And his goslings were huge. We slung the hysterical birds into the buckets (gently) and I strapped their buckets into the back seat of the car.
As we set off in the wrong direction, one goose made a dash for the other bucket, heaving itself over the edge, head first. We pulled over, Himself got out and told the goslings off and then announced that they could stay like that. We spent the rest of the journey with four gosling voices presumably complaining that they were too squashed and screaming whenever we went round a bend. The other two had so much room they went to sleep.
We picked up mum’s two little gozzers on the way back. When my dad asked how we would transport them, Himself replied with glee, “we’ll just chuck ’em in the back with the others, drive at 110mph up to Grayrigg, shake ’em around a bit …” My mum covered her eyes. I’d forgotten that the different birds we got from Chorley seemed to bond during transit. It worked this time, too.
I don’t think the car will ever smell the same again.