Goodbye Sheldon

Our goose Sheldon and our dog Cotton never really got along. I think each one thought they had to protect us from the other, they didn’t realize they were on the same side. In their own space each did their job to let us know when someone was coming to our house, honking or barking. However, when someone entered their shared space, they would bark and honk at each other. Sometimes Sheldon seemed to even taunt Cotton by swimming in the tank, just out of her reach.

Sadly last week they fought, (we didn’t see what happened) and Sheldon was badly injured. He is a tough bird, and I thought there was a small chance he would pull through, however he died a few days later. It was hardest for my daughters who raised him from a gosling.

We will miss his honking. He especially liked to honk along with Pink Floyd when we played it loud.

Sheldon, September 22, 2011 – October 24, 2015

Quick, before the sun goes

Yesterday it was warm and sunny, it has been all week, so I thought I would do some solar dyeing.  I decided to dye wool before carding or spinning. I am not sure if this is going to give me good results, because the wool may still be greasy and there are bits of vegetable matter.

I put the dye material in first; avacado peels, onion skins, ivy and eucalyptus leaves.  These are all things I have in abundance. We eat a lot of avocados, as do most Chileans, so I have been saving the peels in the freezer.

Ready for the water and a spoonful of vinegar.

Then I stuffed some wool on top.  Most dyeing books recommend plenty of space and water when dyeing, but because I am going to leave the jars for a couple of days I think it will be okay all squashed in.

By yesterday afternoon there was a little colour starting to show.

And this afternoon a bit more colour.

I will leave the jars in the oven for another day and see how the colour develops.

Of course this morning there were mists rolling in from the ocean and there was not a lot of sun.  This is normal weather for La Serena, misty mornings, winter and summer.  Because our farm is outside of the city we get more sun than in town, but the further up the valley you go the more sun and drier it gets.

I have also been spinning some wool that I bought a couple of years ago, already dyed, (and felted).  I am not sure what the wool was meant for, it was too matted to spin, (I put it in my wool picker, then through my drum carder), and too thick to use in a weaving.  I think someone saw pretty roving on the internet and said “I can do that, who cares what it is for!”  It was cheap and at the time the first roving I had seen on sale in La Serena.  So the spinning is bumpy and full of  lumps, but the colours are pretty.

And Sheldon quite liked it!

Gosling’s are not just for Christmas…

Well, actually, unlike a puppy, I guess they are mainly for Christmas.  But not this one!  Not Sheldon, (we are pretty sure he is a boy) the gosling we saved four weeks ago.  I have since learned that they can live a long time, can come when called by their name, and are very messy…hmmm, not sure if I am ready for this.

Named after Sheldon from "the Big Bang Theory"

He is growing fast and is now living in our bathtub.  Not a permanent plan, just until he is big enough so that the dogs don’t scare him.  Or his father.

Early this week we tried to introduce him to his real family, and his father took an instant dislike to his “human” ways.  Sheldon’s father came at him hissing and barking, wings flapping, reducing Sheldon to a terrified gosling and my youngest daughter to fearful crying.  We got Sheldon away from his father and realised he is now going to be a permanent part of our family.

Playing with Sheldon

So for most of the day he is in the bathtub with trips to the garden to play with my daughters, who love his nippy ways.  After everything my youngest went through, it is so nice to see her giggling and laughing as she sits on the grass chatting and playing with Sheldon.

“Better than playing on the computer”, she says.

The gosling’s got spraddle legs

Now, should you laugh or be worried?  Lucky for our little gosling we can do both. Spraddle legs or splayed-legs is when chicks or waterfowl’s legs go out to the side, or do “the splits”.  This can happen for a few different reasons, and is made worse if they are put on a slippery surface.

Our gosling, (see the post before, September 28th) was having problems walking and after a search on the internet I found what she/he had and how to correct it.

Here the legs are spread out

The gosling could move but was pushing itself on it’s belly.  If it had been with the geese it would have been squashed or left behind.

Another photo of the splayed legs

The way to correct this problem is to tie the legs together above the ankles.  Not too tight, just enough so the feet are held in the correct position.   I thought this would be difficult and the gosling would be falling around all over the place. But, when I put one of my daughters soft hair elastics around it’s legs, (with tape in the middle) the gosling stood up immediately!

It pitter-pattered around with little dancing steps just like the penguin in “Happy Feet”.  It made me laugh, and happy to see it standing and moving around the little corral I had made it.

Pink elastic to keep the legs together

Tape to stop the elastic from slipping off

I have to keep checking the legs, but hopefully in a few days it will be able to stand without the elastic.

Now we are tying to decide if it is male or female.  The girls have decided to name it Penny or Sheldon, from the “Big Bang Theory”.  However, for now, and maybe for awhile, it will be Penny-Sheldon!

Gosling in the house

When I first moved to my father’s farm I was constantly bringing small furry or feathered creatures into the house.  Much to my husbands dismay, he believes all animals belong outside, and he has allergies in case I want to argue the point!

However he gives in when something is sick or injured.  So we have had chicks, ducklings, piglets, and baby goats, (as well as wild snakes, lizards, hares and hummingbirds, none of which rescue very well).  The two piglets I kept for 24 hours was the hardest work and the funniest.  They drank their milk furiously then collapsed (how cute), EVERY hour (not so cute)!  More tiring than when I had my own babies!  Chicks and ducklings were usually quite easy, they either warmed up or didn’t.  Baby goats were harder, partly because they are so beautiful.  The first year they kidded, I didn’t know how to help them, and many die in my hands.

Now I know how to care for the different animals better, and it has been a long time since I have had to bring an animal into the house.  That was until last night.

Little gosling in it's box

When my husband and I went to close up the sheep, goats and chickens we stopped to check on the new goslings that had been hatching out.  We have one gander, (male) and three geese, (female) and between then have hatched out about 18 goslings.  While we looked in my husband said, “oh, look a dead one, we better get it out”.  It was close to the wall and when I reached in I realised it was still alive, barely.  It was so cold and didn’t move.  I held it under my sweater as we finished closing the animals.

When we got back to the house, I told the girls it would probably die, but we would do our best.  It couldn’t hold its head up or stand, so we fed it some sugar water and snuggled it up with a hot water bottle for the night.

In the morning we were greeted with little whistles and it holding it’s head up.  It still is having a little trouble walking, it’s legs tend to splay out.  But it is eating and very vocal, especially if it can’t see us.  This is something I didn’t know about “waterfowl”, they like to be around people, and to be held, and talked to.  And they let you know when they are feeling left out.

Happy when being held

My girls are happy, especially my youngest, (who has just started going back to school a couple hours a day).  She hasn’t left the gosling’s side.  Although, I think she is starting to find it a wee bit demanding, and is telling the gosling she will be with her mother soon.  I would like to take it back to be with it’s family, but until it can walk it will have to stay with us.  And I am not sure the geese will take her back, or if the gosling will go to them.

So for now my daughters and I are taking turns babysitting a rather loud gosling!