Friday, August 21, 2009


Just yesterday I had told Gary I had not seen Porche, our little buff and flame colored Banty hen, in a while and wondered if she had been part of the big predator slaughter while we were gone. Little did I know I’d see her flying in fright and self preservation the very next day.

Remember me saying at the end of my last post that I was going out to burn trash? Well here’s what happened.

Gary had already filled the barrel before I had got out there. We are very careful as to what we burn. We recycle as much as we can and the rest must be burnable, nothing non-burnable is allowed in the trash burner. Especially considering Sean uses a hand held inhaler and if one of those gets in a trash burner RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! I’ve had “help” from a sil, whose family burns everything, before and she put a whole bag of non-burns in one day while here. Holy Moly it sounded like a war zone and was nearly as dangerous as those things exploded.

As the first round of goodies burned I gathered up odds and ends and fed the burner. It soon was blazing a little higher than I like so I decided to let it burn down a bit before adding more.

“Goose, Goose, Goose” I called and the geese came running. They knew that meant we were going to the pasture and they were ready. We’ve had such a predator problem lately they haven’t ventured to the green grass in a while. As we marched down the driveway I sang “I love a parade, the flap of the feet the honk of the bill it gives me a thrill” as the geese honked and squealed along. This is our pasture marching song and as long as I sing they follow. If you had ever heard me sing you would wonder why they weren’t running the other way!

Suddenly I realized it had grown quiet behind me and I turned to see why. The entire goose flock was looking at the blazing trash burner. That’s when I saw Porche sail out of the spare barrel next to the burner screeching at the top of her lungs. Her screech was followed by the pleading chirps of a just hatched chick.

I ran for all my fat body was worth, yanked the spare barrel away from the flaming burn barrel, slightly burning my hands as I did. Inside were a dozen or so eggs and two barely fluffy chicks. A rotten egg exploded as I reached in to grab the first chick, a gray one. No time to be squeamish, the netting the birds were sitting on was starting to melt. Setting it down near Porche I dug for the second, one, a red brown one, that was madly screaming not only due to the building heat but was caught up in some netting Gary had put in the barrel to haul to the dump. Finally freeing it as my hands got warmer and warmer I placed it by its mother as well. I kept expecting to be flogged by Porche but she sensed I was trying to save her young. Next I scooped and examined the eggs. One chick was dead in the shell the others I carefully laid on the ground near the cedar tree Porche was now crouched under.

The geese watched all this silently, even the rowdy dogs sat mouths open and watched.

Once I had all the eggs out of the still hot barrel I watched the two chicks closely, the second one had suffered more from the heat and was panting heavily. Ignoring my stinging hands I ran for a chick waterer Gary had just filled the hour before and brought it back sitting it near the panting chick. Then stood a distance away.

After a while Porche took both chicks to the water, then started scratching for them to eat as if nothing at all had happen. The red one, Fire as it will now be called, drank a lot of water than toddled after it’s Mama. Ash, the gray one, drank only a little and was definitely more interested in eating than drinking. After a while Porche, who was named that for the three clutches of chicks she hatched under the front porch last year, inspected the eggs. When last I checked she had both chicks and ¾’s of the eggs under her as she sat in the shade of the cedar tree. I’m sad the one died, but at least I save Fire and Ash.

My hands are not blistered, just a little stingy, like a sunburn so all is well that ends well.
Jan who says, check everything around your trash burner BEFORE you burn trash in OK


  1. Holy Cow, Jan! Thank goodness for quick thinking critter mommas!

  2. If the geese hadn't suddenly gone quiet and Porche started hollering I'd never realized what was happening. That would have had very sad consequences. I bet Porche thinks twice about where she nests next time.

  3. Wow, Jan, that was quite an adventure and rescue operation. Thank goodness those geese pointed out the situation to you.
    Never a dull moment in your life, is there?

  4. A good friend once said that I work best under pressure. LOL! We could all learn a lot from geese. They are very family orientated and any animal raised with them is there family. Porche is a hatch mate to some of them. Therefore she was to be taken care of. I have no doubt if I hadn't stopped one of the geese would have grabbed my shirt tail. They've done it before in an emergency.