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Mama's Kiln vs. the Geese

We had a pair of geese: the gander was a gray Toulouse, imaginatively named Toulouse; the goose was an African named Friendly, because she was (and he, of course, wasn't). The geese developed an attachment to Mama, and would follow her up to the garden when she went up there to work, and would follow her down to the pottery shop when she went there to work.

Eventually, they'd get bored, or thirsty, and wander back to the house to do something else or get a drink, but they would often spend a considerable length of time parked on the porch of Mama's pottery shop.

Now, parked geese have two major characteristics. They gozzle things -- anything that there is in nibbling range, they will nibble on, to see if it's edible, or just because they're interested. When Friendly was a gosling, she would nibble FatherSir's eyelashes lovingly. They also emit exhaust periodically, and when they're parked, there gets to be quite a pile of goose exhaust behind the parking spot.

And these geese would park on the porch of Mama's shop.

Mama has two kilns, both of which live on the porch of her pottery shop. One of them is venerable indeed, and likely predates my birth. It has about as much interior space as our chest freezer (also on the porch of the pottery shop) and fits an astonishing number of pots. Firing that kiln is a major production, involving sleeplessness, checking cones frequently, and meticulous entries in Mama's log book. The other kiln is small, and I actually remember a time before it was there. It fits perhaps six to nine cereal bowls at one time, and has a number of handy settings for time and hotness on a dial or two, and even a "kiln-sitter" feature, where the power will automatically shut off after a horizontally held cone droops to a certain floppiness.

Mama went to load the little kiln one day, and found, much to her surprise, that a kiln dial was out of order -- the little metal plate that indicated the time and/or temperature was completely worn off or missing! She searched all around for it, peering into the dark corners with FatherSir's bonky flashlight, but found nothing. She wondered what could have happened to it.

Then she thought of the geese. The geese, sitting on the porch, gozzling things. And you can't really call a goose in on the carpet for gozzling your kiln's dial's indicators off the kiln, much less a gander.

So she called up the kiln manufacturers to inquire if she could get a replacement part. They, of course, inquired as to what had happened to the old one -- had the paint worn off? No, actually, it had been gozzled off by geese. After they stopped laughing, they sent her the replacement part. She encouraged the geese to park places other than the porch, after that.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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