There are some new additions to our flock! Please give a warm welcome to Jaques & Jillian - a mated pair of French Toulouse Geese.
These two beauties were in need of rehoming in Cumberland, Maine - about an hour north of the Homestead. Since we had just installed the pond, we thought, why not? Which is basically how we make most decisions around these parts...
Saturday morning, we loaded up the SUV with a goose crate, our littlest Homestead Honey, and some XL coffees to pick up the birds. We were back with them before 10:00am - a successful start to the day.
The geese are very friendly - they have allowed us to pet them, and they've even snacked right out of our hands! We lucked out with these two. They should lay 25-40 eggs per year, especially given their new surroundings. Geese prefer larger bodies of water to induce egg laying (as opposed to commonly used kiddie pools in barnyards for waterfowl).
Geese mate for life, so bringing them home the weekend of our second wedding anniversary, was rather fitting. Toulouse are a French hertigate breed, and are currently on the "watch" list on the livestock conservancy's website. We are pleased to be keeping and providing care for a breed in need. And, if we bite the bullet on an egg incubator, possibly helping to increase the Toulouse population!
Neither Jaques or Jillian have left the pond for more than a few minutes at a time. They seem to be rather smitten with splishing and splashing around. Given the 90% humidity the last few days, I am about ready to join them.
The rest of the day was spent constructing a fence to surround the pond. This was not originally part of the plan - at least not this soon. However, it became a priority after reading an anxiety inducing article about child safety, and when considering keeping our waterfowl a bit more free to roam and use the pond, while also being protected.
With our minds made up, the Homestead Husband popped over to the local lumber yard (Oakwoods Lumber, North Berwick, ME) and snagged some rough-cut rails and posts. We thankfully, already had a few rolls of chicken wire kicking around, to line the interior with.
We opted for a hexagonal shape - it looks similar to that of an equine ring. It fits our motif, and only encourages what we call our, "cowboy curious" behavior. I had originally intended on painting it white, but I rather liked the rustic finish of the rough-cut, and the natural wood coloring. Depending on how the weather treats it, I may go back to my original vision... Only time will tell. While the lumber rails are not pressure-treated, for their minimal cost, we were willing to replace a board or two every few years if needed. This is one area we cut costs on, which leads me to this small segway;
While livestock, gardening, and traditional "homesteading" activities are typically messy ventures, I have a very low tolerance for messy appearances. This, at times, drives the Homestead Hubby, a bit crazy... However. I aim for things to be both functional and fashionable when I can manage it. That also means, when it is affordable. If something can be redone, revamped, or glammed out, you better believe I'll do it. Especially if we can throw a chandelier in the mix (but that's an article for another day)...
I struggle with wanting things to look a certain way, and being able to afford them to look that way, and also needing something done yesterday, as we do things rather quickly. This struggle pushes me to keep improving, think creatively, and to never settle for something to just be regular. What would be the fun in that? In the end, I think this inner arguement I have with myself is a good thing.
On that note... We added a sweet little red "Quack Shack" with a miniature front porch! This is an upcycled dog-house that was going unused. (Keep an eye on the blog post for the glamming-out of the Shack)...
After all was secured, there was nothing left to do but prop up on the rails and down a cold one (or three).
Now the pond is kid-friendly, and a safety zone for any birds who reside here. The fence will also be a fun way to celebrate the seasons - I look forward to hanging winter wreathes, and summer flag buntings along the sides!
In the next part of this process, we will be working towards making the pond liner disappear with some dirt, ornamental grasses, and recycled slate and granite. Until then, we can be found soaking up the sun, watching the birds float around.