Dear Reader,
This time it's really true. The goslings have all been eaten. I am so sorry to have to report this, but it happened today.

Actually one gosling was missing on Sunday, but each day I checked to be sure the three goslings were still here. Gordon and Gordetta brought them up to me when I put out the bird seed. The 2 pictures above were taken this morning. 

I left this morning for DeKalb and noticed a dead raccoon on my lane out to Steward Road. It's so unusual to see dead animals right in  plain sight. Dave and I saw some vultures hovering around Willow Creek a few days ago, and now here is another dead animal. I  think there is another dead one over by the fence, too. It's so strange to have one dead animal, but three or more all at the same time seems so odd.

When I returned from DeKalb this afternoon, I saw 3 or 4 huge (and I mean huge) vultures circling right above the pond. Gordon and Gordetta were in the pond near where the vultures were, but no goslings. I think they had just been eaten by the vultures.  (Don't vultures usually eat dead meat?) Gordon and Gordetta were so quiet and kept swimming in circles. It was horrible to see.

The vultures flew off very quickly after I arrived. The rest of the afternoon I worked outside and Gordon and Gordetta sat on the east bank of the pond and kept looking over to their nest as if they looked long enough the goslings would show up. (See the third photo above) Then the saddest thing happened. As dusk came, Gordon and Gordetta swam over to their nest and just - well, I don't know how else to say it- they keened. They cried, they moaned for the longest time. I put some bird seed out for them, but they refused to come over to eat it. They just kept swimming around and making these awful, moaning low noises.

I have been thinking about all these animals suddenly dying at once and all the vultures. I must tell you, dear Reader, that in almost 40 years I have only seen one or two vultures here. Only one at a time. It is so strange that all these animals died at the same time and showed up in plain sight. What do you make of it?

I do have a couple of stories to relate. One story I may have already told you. When Jack and I were living in Naperville, and I came out to work on the land, I noticed the most beautiful white snowy owl I have ever seen. It was living in a big swamp willow tree behind where the cottage is now. When I was out here, my neighbor came over to do some work for me and I (sadly) mentioned the owl. I wish I had never pointed it out.

When I returned to Naperville, I told Jack and he was so excited about it he decided we would go out the very next day and see it. When we returned to the land, and got close to the tree where the owl lived, the owl was dead at the base of the tree. Jack was so upset. He looked the owl over because he knew - we both knew  based on what we had observed with our neighbors- that our neighbor had killed it. Just for the heck of it. But there was no gun shot hole, there was nothing to show how it died. But it was too coincidental. Perhaps a sling shot, who knows? But Jack was angry because I had told our neighbor about it and in effect, given that poor owl a death sentence. I felt terrible. Hunting  during hunting season is one thing, but to kill a beautiful owl for no reason is quite another. This neighbor didn't have  any chickens or livestock. There was no one else living around the land at that time (in the early '80's before I-39 was even put in). It was a terrible thing to see.

Another story has nothing to do with my present neighbors. We had moved to Paw Paw in 1983, and there was a family down the street who had some mean kids. One of the kids lined up the new baby kittens they had, and hit each one with a steel pipe. It broke one kitten's back.

My kids (and the Safranek kids) came running to me when they found out what had happened. I called Jack and asked if I should go down there and get the kittens. He said absolutely yes. So I went down to this particular house with all my kids and friends, and we took the kittens to my house. We had to take the kitten with the broken back to Doc Brown's vet office in Earlville, and unfortunately he said that kitten would never be right, so we had to put it down. I can't tell you how we all felt.  Some of the kittens went to responsible homes, and we kept "Mew Mew" who died of old age later on. The kid who hit those kittens with the pipe, ended up in jail. All  sociologists say that kids who maim, kill or torture animals will be criminals. In this case, that is exactly what happened.

Pardon me, Dear Reader, for going on and on about this, but for some reason after what I saw today, I can't get these sorry life experiences out of my mind. To change the subject somewhat,I have added some photos of the land taken in the last few days, which elevates my mood a little bit. But if you look at the last row of photos you will see  some disturbing photos (I hope you have the stomach for them). The first photo is of the raccoon on my lane which wasn't there last night, but was there this morning. The second photo is off a little willow which looks like it got hit with herbicide, and the third photo is of a fungus (I am  guessing) that I found behind my giant willow along my western fenceline when I was cleaning out that area. Do any of you knowwhat kind of fungus this is?

Well, Gordon and Gordetta flew off this evening over the house. This is the first time in a long time that they have resumed their ususal night flight. Unfortunately it is because they have lost their whole family.

JJ's birthday was May 6th (Sunday), and I miss him so much. I took  a walk up to  his chapel and thanked him for giving us 32 years on this earth. He was a such a good son. He would have been 38 years old. Jeff and Angela always go out to dinner on JJ's birthday to honor his memory. This year they couldn't do that because of the triplets. So they walked the triplets in their stroller to Starbucks and called me from there. That is the best thing they could have done. JJ loved Starbucks.

I am grieving tonight for JJ, for the goslings. My heart is so heavy.
Good night, dear Reader, good night.


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