As those of you who have visited us here already know, I truly adore my beloved geese. They are not like the hens or the pigs (or the cats) who see us a walking food dispensers. No, they are more like dogs and truly want your company. My girls wait at their gates for me and then will 'work' with me in the orchard, or if we let them out to swim in the mar, they will then seek me out in the garden or sit and wait at the patio windows for me. And they are very close to each other, very 'in tune'.
It was therefore with great sadness that one of them - my favourite, Gertie - died last Thursday due to a prolapsed oviduct laying an egg. Bless her. Rowan let them out first thing and said that he'd noticed red bits on some of them. I immediately went out to see if there was a problem and 3 were out but Gertie was on the nest laying an egg and we don't disturb them if they are egg-laying. True, there were some blood smears on 2 of the geese so I decided to check back in a little while. An hour later I went back and Gertie was off the nest having laid her last egg but sadly had passed away. I was devastated. I cried and cried as I moved her and cleaned out their house and the other geese were noticeably subdued as I ushered them off to the mar for a swim and clean up.
And now I take a deep breath to tell this, as I did at the time we made the decision. We decided that it was a waste of a beautiful life to just discard her and that we would honour her in death as we had in life and that she would grace our table and live on as nourishment in our bodies. We hadn't taken her life, but rather had been given a gift. I cried as I asked our neighbour to help us prepare her but he was very respectful about it. I prepared all the necessary equipment and Ben helped to pluck and eviscerate.
I didn't want to look at the intestines but I forced myself and I have to say that I was glad that I did. I was amazed to see all the eggs in production - loads of yolks in a line ranging in size from laying size down to very small. I felt priviledged to see that piece of nature.
Then it was over to me for cooking. So we had roast goose with forcemeat stuffing, and I rendered all the fat, and made lots of stock from the bones. Oddly, this was kind of healing. We did enjoy the meat but not enough to think of going into goosemeat production. Our remaining girls will continue as our organic lawnmowers.
I have learned a lot from this experience and moved my life on one step.