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This is Phyllis' goose, "Gooser." Actually the family would probably explain he's really Wayne's goose, since Gooser follows Wayne everywhere.

We may have shown up to draw beautiful multi-colored bantam chickens, but when this grey goose with his large orange bill waddled around the corner to inspect us, I was in love.

As we talked to Wayne, Gooser seemed intent on letting Diane know he was boss, moving swiftly towards her with his head down, neck stretched out. Phyllis said he probably weighed about 25 pounds and all I have to say is that's a lot of power behind that beak!

Happily he didn't seem bothered by me as long as I didn't get between him and Wayne. They think he is either a Giant Dewlap or a Toulouse Goose, which explains the throat flap. While we talked I tried to sketch out some rough idea of his beak and the coloring of the beak. It would take another trip and several hours of sketching for me to start to get the angles on his head.

Gooser is 18 years old and has led a rich and exciting life (he survived a coyote attack). He seems to run everything: the chickens, the dogs, even the horses. I have never seen a bird with such presence. We never did get to those chickens!

See July and August journal selections for more sketches of Gooser done on a return trip.

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Illustration © 2005 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved