Four downy goslings chirp happily near the warm hearth of a tidy home, their unlikely presence an adorable testament to the strength and transcendency of love.
Their love story began the way you know many will this year, with the polar vortex. As a record-setting wind howled outside her coop, a goose sat stubbornly on four eggs.
With the air temperature hovering at -30 degrees, no one thought the eggs would hatch, not even, apparently, their conflicted mother.
But, one by one those little peanuts pecked their way into this old world, and began to nose around. Eyes blurred, legs wobbly they peeked over the edge of their nest and saw goats, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, cats and lots of geese.
They also saw Jay and Kathy, tender tenders of their cool little menagerie near the town of Harrison.
Concerned that the little goslings might freeze during the historic cold snap that hit Wisconsin in the latter days of January and beginning of February, Kathy scooped up the goslings, put them in a basket and brought them inside, a not unprecedented move.
Kathy also once brought two baby goats inside the house and bottle fed them when their mother rejected them. The kids grew up and now roam the shed with the rest of the goat family and a whole flock of geese.
Until they “feather out”, the newest goslings will live in a newspaper-lined kennel set up next to a pellet stove, hand-fed, happy and healthy.
We toured their neighborhood Monday afternoon, shook hands with a goat or two, exchanged head nods with some proud turkeys and chatted with a couple of guard geese. I loved the way whole clan lived together — goats with geese, turkeys with chickens and rabbits roaming throughout.
I especially loved those sweet, sociable little goslings, born on one Wisconsin’s coldest days and reveling in warmth ever since.