Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Geese . . . Are Gone

You'd better watch me or I'm going to get all mushy-sentimental here. Fall has always been my favorite season, probably because of the excitement and change it signals while making me enjoy those last remnants of good weather we get before cold sets in.

But I can say this year that I'm very disappointed. Andrew and I have been doing that whole barefoot running thing faithfully now for weeks (did I mention that I've been running two miles without stopping??? This is big, very big, for me. I've never run that far in my entire life) but this week we went up to the track, ready to remove our shoes and get all barefooty when we came over the hill and saw . . . geese.

Dang it.

Each spring the Canada geese arrive to build their nests and raise their young, they disappear for the summer, and then in fall they stock up on food and fly south. You find them everywhere around town wherever there is a spot of grass, chowing down before the big trip, and let me tell you they leave one heck of a mess behind.

No barefoot running for us.

I mean I'm a convert and all but my dedication stops at the thought of goose poop between my toes--and you know how big those birds are? Well let's just say that the souvenirs they leave are well-matched in proportion. Andrew, in desperation and seeing his running happiness about to be shattered, suggested that possibly we could get some very thick socks and still give it a go. I just looked at him.

So now I've been running on the track but it's not nearly so fun and even there I'm dodging and weaving ("serpentine!") to keep from ruining my running shoes. Squish. A couple of years ago the geese population caused so much of a mess in local lakes and streams (one can only handle so much goose poop you know) that biologists started a high scientific "selective reduction" program. Basically, they let tribal elders come in and raid the nests to take eggs.

But hey, it worked and it's made spring and fall that much more pleasant in our fair city.

One thing I will say though, is that when I'm home alone and have the windows open or am out hanging up the wash on rather crisp day and I hear the steadily growing sound of a flock of geese honking as they approach then fly by overhead in formation it gives me that strange mixture of anticipation and anxiety for the change of seasons. It's a sound I would miss if I lived anywhere else.

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23 comments:

branda50 said...

Where we live in upstate NY we have the geese only for the fall then they go south...I have seen 3 flocks...It seems early this year...
I have seen barefoot running in the news lately......I don't wear sneakers at all as I don't find them comfortable...I wear sandals as soon as the weather permits in the Spring....I may try barefoot on the treadmill...

Mom24 said...

I, too, love to hear the geese fly in in the spring and fly out in the fall. Fortunately, there's nothing for them directly where we live, so no poop to deal with, lol. We just get to see them lots of places around.

Years ago we were camping when a flock flew in. I grabbed my daughter, five at the time, and a loaf of bread, and we went to feed the geese. I did not know what an awful idea that was. Bread is dangerous to geese. One choked to death before our eyes. It was truly awful. All the other geese in the flock formed a circle around it, got completely quiet, and just waited for the poor thing to die. Then, a ranger showed up and yelled at us up one side and down the other. Apparently if you want to feed ducks/geese, and you shouldn't, only feed them cracked corn. Needless to say, I've never fed a goose again, but I do still love to see them and feel bittersweet when they leave for the winter.

Laura Moffitt said...

Time for the hobbitt shoes. Wow I can't believe you are up to two miles. I have not been as diligent as I should be but I got on a trend mill the other day in minimal shoes and it felt great, the problem was I got bored after a few minutes. That is my next project.

Heart2Heart said...

Michelle,

Thanks for your wonderful comment and for letting me know that the geese are on their way here. I am sorry that you had to postpone your run. Is there anywhere you and Andrew could run that would allow you to keep running on the grass?

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Danielle a.k.a Yellie said...

Oh yes, the geese. We live right at the border of Michigan and Canada and we have those lovely geese all over the place. When you go down by the water, there is so much goose poo. It's just annoying really. I do enjoy hearing them honking overhead though and the kids get a real kick out of them (except for the time that one of their friends got chased by one on the playground at school). I do hope that you're able to get a little more barefoot running in before it gets too chilly for it and that in the meantime, your running shoes don't get "encrusted".

Being Me said...

This is great.. I wrote a post a while back just thinking about it, anticipation of the change in the seasons, (where I have none)
:( ...must be wonderful.Thank you

Connie said...

We lived in Anchorage in the 90s, then they said that the geese return to where they learn to fly, so they rounded up all the geese they could and moved them out of town, it seems to me since then there are quite the numbers, I do love them. Where we are now we have them, higher populations in spring and fall/winter, so they should be arriving soon.

Also, about feeding the geese/ducks, I learned too about the cracked corn/chicken scratch, and have noticed since switchng from bread, that they aren't as aggressive when feeding the cracked corn, it seems that there is more to go around so they don't fight over or for the one slice of bread or bread chunks, have even found that with the cracked corn you can sit very quietly while they eat and get great pictures or hold you hand out and they will gently come and eat out of your hand, not so with bread, people are amazed when they see me do this, and that alone has helped people switch.

Carina said...

And here, of course, is a chance for me to plug FiveFingers. I know you don't like the sensation of things between your toes, but a little fabric would be better than goose dooky. =) They you just hose them off when you're done.

Roo said...

With regard to the lingering smell of fish, I just found this tip on the "Original Farmer's Almanac" website ... "If you burn food and want to get rid of the smell, boil a small amount of vinegar on the stove."

Although your fish wasn't burned it might help relieve the smell of that as well.

http://www.almanac.com/

Bobbie in AK said...

I love the geese. I may be the one of the few who don't find them a nuisance. Sounds like you are really enjoying your barefoot running. I don't think I could do 2 miles non-stop.

Rachel C. said...

I often feel a stirring in my soul as the seasons change from Summer to Fall to Winter. Not so much Winter to Spring to Summer. Probably because more good things happen in the Fall and Winter.

Goose poop sounds disgusting. Any poop out and about is. That stinks that you can't do your barefoot running.

Oh, and by the way, congrats for running 2 miles without stopping! I think I quit even trying to run after 8th grade when I finished the mile run in just over 12 minutes. I'd like to run, but I don't think it's one of my talents...

Jenna Consolo said...

I can understand your mixed emotions. Geese poop between my toes does not sound appealing at all.

We've been watching Fly Away Home a lot over the last few weeks, so this post made me smile. That movie makes me cry, every time.

Joan said...

I think they came by my lake yesterday. :-)

At least six breeding pairs raise goslings on 'my' lake every year. As soon as they are old enough to fly, they disappear. Then we see them again for a few weeks in the Fall.

Carissa(GoodnCrazy) said...

Ahhhh I've missed the alaska talk..

So.. hold on..??

Barefoot what? My hubby is talking about taking up jogging.. but his talk is much bigger than his jog...

Goose poop? That's nice huh? And your trees turning colors already! ACK!! School starting is enough for me to feel like it's fall already ? :)

How are you these days.. will you be at blogworld or SITScation.. I'd still love to meet you.. blogher was spent on my 15th anniversary so...

But next year.. NYC.. YES.

karen said...

So, how does one go about getting some Alaskan Tribal Elders to help with population control of Canadian Geese in, say, New Jersey?

BONNIE K said...

I know that geese can be mean if you approach them, but I love to watch that V formation in the air, and I love how they take care of each other.

Amelia StoryGirl said...

My husband bought a pair of those hobbit looking shoes and LOVES them. He's a total barefoot running convert. Congrats on adding the miles. I started running this summer and was so happy when I got to 2 miles. The first 5 are the hardest. I'm doing a half marathon the end of the month and never ever dreamt I would!

imadramamama said...

I think I may be sick from the thought of goose poop between my toes! ICKY!

MommaMindy said...

We have a ton of geese in our local parks around Lake Washington. They take a fecal count in the water to determine if it is safe to swim. Gross! When they tried to reduce the population years ago I was told it had to be a nighttime undercover operation with unmarked vehicles to try to dodge the protesting animal activists. I love animals, but I choose human safety first. Happy running around the goose poo.

Cathi said...

Oh the poop!!
We lived on a lake in Florida a few years back and the ducks ran amuck in our backyard and left behind a lot of muck.

Monkey's Momma said...

You know that I don't comment with a link very often, but I thought you might like to see this. It is how I view Canadian geese.

http://monkeysmomma.blogspot.com/2009/06/faith-in-form-of-goose.html

Alice Wills Gold said...

The things you've got to think about in Alaska. Goose Poop. Yuck.

I don't think I could even brave the track.

Don't let Andrew tell his new clients what he has all over the bottom of his feet. :)

Pam D said...

When I first moved to Georgia, Canada Geese were a novelty. I thought they were beautiful, proud, magnificent. Over the years, the adjectives have changed. They are pesky, messy, and pretty darn mean to boot. I've had one stand in my path at a local lake and hiss at me, and he (she?) obviously meant to back up sound with fury if I didn't move it. So, I did. And the poop.. oh, yuck. Let's hear it for tribal elders (who are now well-fed, to boot.. it's a win-win situation!)