Fur and feathers

Rabbits, frogs, thrushes, geese, dogs…

SOMEHOW WE SEEM TO ACCUMULATE animals on Fernlea without really trying, how we got chickens is a point in case, you may want to read my blog about that click here.

We have rescued; three thrushes that fell out of the tree, bunnies that Scooby, our dog, has brought to us, and a colleague of the Hobbit’s said frogs at his place were driving him crazy with all their ribbiting noise. The Hobbit said he should bring them in to work in a bucket and he would take them to Fernlea.

But the story about the re-homing geese is probably the funniest. Another colleague of the Hobbit’s shared that, in the area where he lived the council was trying to re-home geese as the population at the local pond was exploding.

The Hobbit was up to taking some of the geese, and was hoping they would settle well on one of our dams. Before getting the geese he asked our neighbours around Fernlea if they wanted any for their farms.

They ALL gave a resounding NO. This is important to remember.


We fetched our allotted fifteen geese in our trailer and we drove them from South Auckland to Fernlea (a three hour trip) arriving when it was late, dark and raining. The Hobbit wanted get the geese settled that night, so parked the car as close to the dam as possible and set about carrying a goose at a time, under his arm, to the dam. Bearing in mind the dam was a good 500 metres from the parked car and through rough paddocks, I could see the exercise would take him a long time, so I offered to help carry the geese, but said I would need a box to transport them in.

With a head-torch and a goose in a box I carefully made my way to the dam. Feeling pretty pleased with myself I started transporting my second goose when disaster struck, I didn’t get very far and the bottom of the box broke and the goose dropped out. Naturally I called out to the Hobbit, he quickly came across, gave me the goose he was carrying, and rushed off to find my escapee.

Now I wish I had a video of what happened next, unfortunately I don’t so you will need to use your imagination. I stood routed to the spot with the goose under my arm, but the goose managed to get a wing loose and flapped it like crazy. I could feel I was loosing my hold on the goose so I grabbed its neck. I knew if I let another goose go free the Hobbit would be really upset, after all the man was wet and tired.

The more the goose flapped, the harder I held it around its neck. Poor thing. So in retaliation it started to peck me on my head. I started to scream, and the Hobbit came racing to rescue me. He took the goose from me, and under his breath said, “Go inside the cabin and have a coffee!” He got the remainder of the geese to the dam and came in exhausted, and not much was said between us.


The next morning we woke to the phone ringing, it was the neighbour saying there were geese on his dam. So that was that, none of the geese stayed on our dam but rather chose to explore the neighbourhood. To this day neighbours regularly tell us of sightings of our geese.

Share the love I say.

Besides the ad-hoc animals we get, the main furry characters are Scooby and Basil, our two terrier crosses. They really have the best of both worlds, city life during the week and running wild at Fernlea, following their doggie instincts, on the weekend. They will spend hours hunting down mice and possums, and trying their best to help round up the cows and protect the chickens.

Scooby (photos below) is cairns/foxy cross, we had just got him when we bought Fernlea, so he has been coming with us to the property from the beginning. He knows all the neighbours and one of the first things he does when we arrive is to go and visit everyone, his favourites are those who give him treats.

Basil (photos below) is clearly Scooby’s ‘brother from a another mother’. He is a Shitshu cross and is 5 years younger and is totally impractical for farm life. His fur is soft and if it is not kept short will quickly get matty and full of seed pods.  In his heart he thinks he is tough and will do what it takes to keep up with his big brother.

I couldn’t imagine life on Fernlea without the critters, quite often they drive us crazy but they always entertain us and appear to want and love us, even if it is only because we provide them with a carefree and comfortable lifestyle.

Never could understand why the geese didn’t stick around!

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