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Keeping the Geese Watered - A toxic Leak Comedy, by Ben Gaia
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Looking after the animals that run in your orchard is part of caring for the whole orchard. We run half-a-dozen geese as grazers and manurers as well as "watchbirds". Their manure boosts pasture and tree growth. They mow the grass like feathery sheep. Being water fowl, ducks and geese need a pool or trough where they can get their heads underwater. Their drinking water has to be clean and fresh. So when a goose trough is not filling properly, the Orchard Handyman has to act without delay.You'd think it would be so easy just fixing a water trough. It was leaking from its cap, since it was made from an old upturned blue barrel. And yet I caused a toxic leak, not one that would make the papers but one that escalated out of control very rapidly. As I unplugged the silicone gun, plop! Half a kilo of goop sploshed out from the pent up nozzle, and covered half the woodshed, some of the stacked wood, and both my hands, most of it landing on my boot like a giant bird turd. Keen however to continue my task, I bravely scooped some up with my already now contaminated finger, against all dire warnings on the tube, and I lurched off back to the goose trough. The blob of errant hazardous waste on my boot was skinning over like poisonous jam. But now one of the newest Speckledy chooks had escaped from the chook run. The cheeky wekas make invisible weka-shaped holes in the chicken wire by much beak-pushing and head-butting. So...I cornered the fowl and threw her over the fence... her wing feathers now covered in the white rubbery filler as well. She clucked off in disgust as my contamination incident grew steadily worse and worse, like a tiny lifestyle Fukushima.
There was now silicone all over my boot, woodshed, wood, hands, escaped chicken, and I hadn't yet reached the trough area. Luckily I wasn't refuelling a nuclear reactor, or a nuclear ship! I thought. Lucky too that we in NZ have had the good sense to outlaw such threats to our future food sources as those intricate, leaky reactors, and weapons of mass incineration. . It's really quite hard enough already to get things under control, plumbing for six geese in in my own backyard without smearing my organic paddock in an inch-deep layer of sealant. Now if we could also ban electricity line rentals, a form of perpetual monthly robbery, we could really sleep well in our nuclear free, non leaky bedrooms. Fortunately the trough was by now dry, so I scraped some goop off my boot to seal the job. Then in the clean-up process managed to cover the bathroom sink and a couple of towels with more slimy gobbets of rubbery grey snot. But yay! The trough is fixed. Hopefully the geese won't run out of water in the summer months to come. Because that really would be a disaster. We all need access to enough clean fresh water, our animals included.

www.dialatree.co.nz