Friday, February 26, 2021

The Elegant Eight

 On January 21, a skein of eight Canada geese circled overhead and landed on the pond and then spotted the new grass growing beside RH's workshop and came to visit. 


I understand that when they waddled up the hill to our driveway they became a gaggle of geese, but after a few days they became The Elegant Eight to me. RH and I watched as they left every afternoon near dusk and flew back in every morning around 7 a.m. The two times of day were highlights in our small-world life.


Soon they were joined by other Canada geese, totaling 20, all honking for RH to put food out for them after they found the cracked corn he puts out for our resident 5 crows and ground feeding birds. (Are 5 crows enough to be classified as a murder of crows?)


I know you're not supposed to feed wild geese but they were here anyway, feeding on what our small birds ate so soon we were putting out chopped grapes and apples, romaine lettuce and cucumbers, and leftover oatmeal from our breakfasts.

They are often joined by a small herd of deer who cross our yard every day.


Yes, deer ruin some of the small trees RH planted in our front yard but aren't they beautiful?


Back and forth from the pond to our house the geese came throughout the following days, especially as soon as they saw RH's truck pull in the driveway. I've since read that geese are very intelligent and I can easily believe that.

One day last week, a few days before the big ice and snow storm arrived, two geese with white heads landed on the pond and came up to see what all the commotion was about at Home Hill. I think these were Blue geese.


A paddling of ducks flew in after them, smaller than the mallards who regularly visit. Goldeneye ducks were the only type of small wild duck I could find that look like them when I enlarged the picture and spotted all the white on their chest and sides. 


These small ducks flew away once this hawk landed on the bat house overlooking the pond.


Every evening RH and I would watch the Canada geese fly into the western sky, a melancholy but sweet sight. And then one morning, two days before the ice storm arrived in Nashville, The Elegant Eight and the other geese didn't return. Within 24 hours the pond was frozen over. RH says they probably flew to water that wasn't frozen but may come back when it thaws.


I hope so. I miss them. One afternoon when RH was working late I went out among them. They were a little frightening, hissing at me. I was surprised by how tall they were. 


I steeled myself and kept scattering frozen corn that I thawed and warmed slightly until everyone had a fair share, 20 geese swirling around me. 

At that time I didn't know that Canada geese have been known to bite or fly into your face and maybe that's what saved me, them knowing that I wasn't worried about that. Or maybe I was just lucky. 

It was an experience I'll never forget even if I never get up my nerve to get as close to them again.

And I'll always have this video that RH took one afternoon as The Elegant Eight went through their flying-away ritual. Every time I watch it my heart flutters a little as they top the far trees. 

It's only a minute long and I think you'll understand how I feel about The Elegant Eight.


P.S. Look who came back two days ago! The Elegant Eight and some of their friends!


RH saw them land on the pond and then walk to the thawed parts and hop in the water. It must have been so cold! If you look at the top of the picture above you can see another pond, two houses down from us. It's small but has a fountain that birds like.

I came into the kitchen in time to snap RH in his robe returning from feeding The Elegant Eight an apple and grapes that he quickly chopped up.

 That was a happy day for us. RH and I are so very thankful for something else also.

Last Saturday, as soon as the Music City Center opened back up for vaccinations after the snow and ice, we went back for our second Pfizer vaccination. If it hasn't been available for your age/vocation group yet, I hope it will be soon.

I knew that we might feel a little poorly (as my grandmother used to say) afterwards and had planned ahead with freezing some meals and getting caught up on things. RH had a bad headache the first night and fatigue for a couple of days. About three hours after the vaccination I felt as if I'd been struck with instant flu, aches and chills and a feverish feeling. For the next two days I took it easy and then spent another day well enough to start catching up on housework but having to make myself. The next day I was fine!

I have marked three weeks on the calendar and then, God willing, I hope to start grocery shopping myself again--may I never again complain about having to go grocery shopping! There are so many places around that I haven't been in nearly a year that I'd love to visit again. And then there's the big thing to look forward to, visiting with family as soon as it is safe to.

We were told that we need to continue wearing masks everywhere because we could still be carriers, a fact I didn't know. And our vaccination is 94% effective, so there's always that other 6% risk. Our dose is only 50% effective against some other strains of COVID so we realize that diligence is still needed.

I hope you all are well. I hope that all of you have moments in your day that bring you joy, just as The Elegant Eight have us. And I pray that this blasted pandemic will someday come to an end.

[2/28/21--look at this guy that was at our bird feeder when I opened the kitchen door this morning! He ran towards the road but looked back at me so I could snap his picture. He was handsome but I really don't want him hanging around. He looks like he's missing a leg here but I don't think he was.] 





  1. The geese are beautiful, but they do make me a little nervous if I get too close to them!

  2. Oh, Dewena, thanks to your beautiful words and photos and RH's video, it almost feels as if I were there, with you, observing the Elegant Eight and other feathery and furry locals, dine on the goodies you (fearlessly!) served, socialize and energize the pretty, winter landscape at Home Hill!! They must have felt loved and appreciated!

    I am amazed at how quickly you and your hubby learned their routine, and so enjoyed RH's commentary in the video, giving us a play-by-play on their departure, which made my own heart flutter! I can sense how much their visits meant to you, and hope they will return, again, one day.

    Congrats on getting your vaccinations! Sorry to hear that you had some nasty side effects, but so glad you are both back to feeling like yourselves, again. Stay safe!!

    Poppy xx

  3. Dewena, I love these photos and your Elegant Eight. They are so pretty, as are your deer. Since I am a great nature lover, these photos and your words make my heart happy. I have been around geese for most of my life and I can tell you the only time I treaded lightly was when they had their little ones with them. They didn't seem to want me too close, so I respected their wishes. I hope they will return for future visits, they probably will. Wild things seem to know where they are welcome.

  4. Love the video Dewena. What a beautiful sight to see. Love those white head ducks too. Amazing how they all knew to come and visit after you started to put out food. I bet you will see them all summer on the pond. Glad you are getting your vaccines. xoxo Kris

  5. What an enchanting sight to see the Elegant Eight flying over your pond. You have many visitors to delight you these days. I'm glad you had your vaccines - it will be awhile before we get ours.

  6. How beautiful to see all that wildlife on your property! There is an abundance (I guess I should say over-abundance) of Canada geese here. We live a few blocks from a big lake and there are hundreds that live there, as well as swans. I love the sound of the Canada geese flying overhead.

    Please be very careful around the geese. If it is nesting season, they get very aggressive, especially the males, as it's their job to protect the mother and the nests.

    Yes, you can still be carriers of Covid even with the vaccine. And you can also still contract Covid. That's why they say you still have to follow all the same protocols with masks and social distancing and hand washing.

    The positivity rate has gone down to 3% here so restaurants are now even open for dine-in. I've been shopping this whole time as usual anyway - no choice! The only thing that has really changed is seeing people. I see my mom on a regular basis, as well as two friends, but that's about it. We haven't had any family gatherings. I am hoping that things are better this summer and we can have a family barbeque.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. oh Dewena.
    I got tears in my eyes when they flew away! maybe the sheer beauty of them. I don't know.
    and the deer. and the other little ducks.
    Home Hill is so wonderful. and the most wonderful are the caring people who live there. you and RH are very special!
    thank you for sharing it with us.
    and I'm so grateful that your vaccinations went well. at least not as badly as some people who've reported feeling terrible for many days. I too did well. only a chilled feeling.
    and knowing Spring is just around the corner makes one feel good! bless you both!

  8. Hello,
    I loved the video, I liked hearing RH talk soft to the Elegant Eight.
    I am happy you are doing well after the vaccine. Praying with you that our nation and world start to heal from this awful virus.

  9. Love this post of yours! I have read it several times; it makes me smile & feel so close to you dear sister and to RH! You have created a sanctuary for all the birds & wildlife that come to visit and enjoy your home.
    We also have wildlife visitors however we have to be careful feeding them; don’t want to encourage the bears!
    Thankful to hear you had the second vaccine and all is well.

  10. Your Elegant Eight are splendid! I thought the video and the whole story thrilling. We have a resident population of Canada Geese here in my town. Several times over the years I've been with grandchildren to a pond where they often hang out, and I have to say they intimidate me, too! Geese in general have a reputation for being "mean," but I have little experience with them except in storybooks :-)