The Goose and The Squirrel

Mother Goose was presumably alone in her home when she heard the loud crash upstairs. Rising from her chair, she quickly did a mental inventory of the family pets — fish in the aquarium, birds in their cages, Olivia the cat outside, Fran the dog in her daybed. Every pet was in it’s special area, and not upstairs. Then who…or what?

With all senses on red alert, Mother Goose climbed the stairs to investigate the strange noises coming from the bedroom area of the house. She could hear scrambling — the tiny scratching sound of little toenails running along the wooden floorboards. As she reached the bedroom of her sons, she was shocked to see the family globe laying on the floor. With her near-sighted eyes peeled for more evidence of the potential invader, Mother Goose slowly bent over to pick up the world and replace it on the bookshelf. A picture of one of her sailors had also been knocked off the shelf.

That’s when she saw him. At the end of the hall stood an enormous gray squirrel, and she knew by the guilty look on his furry gray face that he was the culprit. The suspicions of Mother Goose were confirmed when he turn and began running away. The squirrel knew his days as a free man were nearing an end unless he put miles between himself and this goose.

In Mother Goose, he saw a law enforcement official, a detective, a prosecuting attorney, a hanging judge and possibly even the executioner of his mortal body. He was a squirrel without a defense.

“Squirrel!” shouted Mother Goose to no one in particular. “Squirrel!”

Frantically he ran into the bedroom of Mother Goose. Leaping and lunging crazily at a closed window, he could only gasp in holy terror at the fate that had befallen him. Mother Goose closed the door to the bedroom, trapping the lice-encrusted rodent within the confines of her boudoir.

The squirrel turned to face Mother Goose.

“Squirrel!” she shouted once again. And then she realized that she also was trapped within the confines of her boudoir with a wild squirrel. She quickly exited.

Regaining her sense of mastery over the situation, Mother Goose ran down the stairs to find her broom. She also opened the front door of the house in case the squirrel should require an exit from the scene of the crime. She stopped for a moment to look at her dog who was resting on her daybed with a curious look on her face. “Squirrel!” Mother Goose shouted again. Fran looked interested, but not enough to get up and help Mother Goose. She was certainly not motivated enough to climb the stairs and assist the goose.

For her part, Mother Goose was giving the squirrel ample opportunity to resist arrest and escape with his life and lice intact.

For his part, the squirrel was doing his best to comply with the wishes of Mother Goose.

Returning to the boudoir with her broomstick in hand and courage sufficiently summoned, Mother Goose rapidly scanned the floor, the corners of the room, under the dressers and the bed and even peeked cautiously into the closet.

No sign of Mr. Squirrel.

Then Mother Goose noticed the open window near her bed. She breathed a loud sigh of relief. He had apparently found his own escape route and executed his plan perfectly, leaving no trace of himself behind.

Returning to her kitchen chair by the window, Mother Goose watched the leaves fall and allowed her heart rate to return to normal. The back door was open, and she suddenly heard the rasping voice of a squirrel in the willow tree. She peered out the door and up into the tree, ever cautious as a goose can be. There he was way up high on the branch. The squirrel was scolding her! He was saying, “You may have won this battle, Mother Goose, but I will still win the war! I shall return!”

“I’m watching you, Mother Goose.”

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Goose-like Serenity in the Japanese Garden

The designers and builders of the Columbia Exposition of 1893 in Chicago had some disagreements along the way. Passionate mastermind of the fair, Daniel Burnham, worked closely with several architects to create a brilliant celebration of culture and invention. The chief landscape designer for the fair, Frederick Law Olmsted, had his own vision for the “Wooded Island” — he wanted to keep the area undeveloped. Others were of another mind and wanted to put something out there besides trees and flowers. Eventually they reached a compromise with the inclusion of a Japanese-styled garden.

One hundred and nineteen years have passed since the World Columbian Exposition, and the Japanese Garden is not quite the same as it was back then, but oh my gooseness, we found such peace and serenity there. Please come with us on a tour of the Osaka Garden!

There is a very good description of the history of the Japanese garden here, and also here’s an old photo from the fair.

The Japanese Hoo-den and tea house from the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1893. Mother Goose was not there…

It’s a quiet place in the midst of a big noisy city…

Waterfalls are an essential ingredient to a garden. Mother Goose dipped her rubbery feet in the cool, refreshing water.

Reflecting pools and rocks are also very calming.

A lovely and peaceful view. The young lady in blue was celebrating her QuinceaƱera with friends and photographers.

Mother Goose touches history! An original lantern from the 1893 Japanese Pavilion.

Mother Goose can only imagine the wonder on the faces of the people who visited this place so long ago. I was very surprised that they have renovated this area into such a serene place — this restoration is unique in our area, and Mother Goose will certainly return to meditate on the secrets of the universe.

We wandered through the rest of the island remarking on the great variety of birds and butterflies around us. Then we realized that we were actually in a delightful bird and butterfly refuge! Imagine our surprise and merriment!

A Monarch Butterfly.

A smallish butterfly.

Were we thrilled at the colony of birds living in this old snag of a furry tree? YES!

And then Mother Goose and Husband Goose went searching for an elusive statue… Please come back tomorrow for the next event in our White City adventure!

Mother Goose Pets a Stingray

You’d almost think they be servin’ up some tropical drinks…

Mother Goose had one of the most unique experiences of her life yesterday with her family at the Brookfield Zoo. The courageous keepers of sea creatures at the zoo have amazingly set up a temporary exhibit called Stingray Bay — a place to pet stingrays. Yes, believe it or not, petting the animals is not only allowed, it is encouraged. The sweet and happy rays there actually like to have their backs stroked gently as they glide around their 16,000 gallon swimming pool.

Naturally, at first we were hesitant to enter into this strange and unknown experience. Ever suspicious — certainly this must be some sort of a hoax, we all thought simultaneously and at once. But at the ridiculously inexpensive cost of $2.00 per person, in the long run, we just couldn’t resist. Our noses delightfully followed the salty scent of sea water, and suddenly there we were in the remarkable presence of fifty Cow-nosed Rays.

They were actually smiling as they swam around their sea-shelled tank.

All around the pool, children and adults alike had their arms dipped into the ocean water up to their shoulders, all laughter and wonderment on their faces as they caressed the incredible rays swimming merrily under the water. The rays are very sensitive around their wings and tails and mouths, so petting their backs is the best way to connect with them. Now and then, one would half leap out of the water, and we knew some human person had petted them inappropriately…

They felt very soft and slightly slippery, but not slimy. Their wings silently flap up and down — so much like birds flying underwater. Their tails had been slightly trimmed; presumably to protect us visitors. None of us wanted a Steve Irwin experience… I suspect these rays were not nearly as dangerous as other types of rays. Plus, they WERE smiling as they swam along.

Omigooseness, if you EVER see a place that allows petting of stingrays, you simply MUST experience it first hand — my simple words cannot convey the joy of connecting with a real sea creature like this!

This was one of the happiest times of Jessi’s life…

Eco Explorers Rock Mother Goose

Who wouldn’t want to spend the day in the woods with a whole gaggle of 3rd graders? Of course, Mother Goose jumped at the opportunity to chaperone the field trip! The sky couldn’t get any bluer if it tried, and the sun shone happily on our bus ride out to the Morton Arboretum. Excitement overloaded the bus as we neared the entrance to the area’s largest tree museum. We unloaded our nearly eighty kiddos, and then the crowd control experts arranged us in our appropriate groups with our knowledgeable and helpful docents. Our group of fifteen tator tots, including my dear AnnaRose, hiked off into the forest, into the woodland fully ablaze with autumn. We were here to learn about different ecosystems and the inhabitants thereof, and we were not going to be disappointed today.

Now Mother Goose has some experience with nature, being able to identify several species of trees and also birds and bugs. But this was an experience in “Outdoor Education” which is highly technical and very sciencey. Our fearless leader, Mrs. Becky, rushed us to the first learning opportunity under a canopy of maples and oaks, talking all the while about pine forests and deciduous trees and giving us little clues for remembering the names of all these trees. Did you know that the Sugar Maple has a “u” in its leaf design, whilst the Silver Maples have “v” in their leaf outlines? And then there are White Oaks with “w” in their leaves and Red Oaks which are full of pointy pins on their leaves. And the Sycamore Tree has a white trunk, making it look sick, and that’s how you remember its name! All very interesting stuff to Mother Goose and most of the young eco explorers in our group.

But there’s always a few young eco explorers who think that the woods and forests are places to play! Imagine! Some of the boys and girls were actually running off the wood chip path and into the “wild”! Oh…my…gosh… And there was the little fellow with autism who had never been on a field trip before and was trying so hard to get it. And that was a challenge for us grownups to meet and beat. Oh, but mostly they were all very good young ‘uns, and listened very carefully to Mrs. Becky’s directions.

We learned about The Producers (not the movie…) and The Consumers (not the shoppers…) and Decomposers (not the song writers). We learned how important each category is to the health and the continuity of the ecosytems. Our first task was to take metal spoons and go digging for Decomposers. (Other names for decomposers include critters and creepy crawlers.) AND WE FOUND SO MANY OF THEM!

AnnaRose was the first person to find a slug, so Mother Goose held the slug in her motherly hand whilst the children hunted and dug in the composted soil, and rotten logs and fallen leaves for more bugs and worms. And ohhh did they find some doozies! There were soon many roly polies in my hand with the slimy slug! And then they found the grub worms which started out all nice and rolled up in pretty brown balls, but soon opened up in the warmth of my hand showing us their full glorious length and numerous legs. And then the earthworms found homes in the hand of Mother Goose. I think the boys and girls were impressed with the peace and tranquility on the face of Mother Goose as these decomposers mingled and interacted on her hand.

Just keep smilin’ Mother Goose. Just keep smilin’…

From the woodlands, we marched into the prairie lands where we spotted both an owl and a hawk. We heard many crickets chirping but couldn’t land one. And from the prairie to the wetlands we hiked full speed ahead as though we were late for an appointment with the turtles on the logs and the damsel fly nymphs. The chorus from “This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land” comes to mind as I write this report:

“This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me.”

I think old Woody Guthrie would have been proud of these Eco Explorers on this perfectly lovely day in America. I know Mother Goose was very proud of them, and now I think I’ll go wash my hands just one more time.

Bee blessed today!

Important Stats for a Goose

  • 65,065 honks to date

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