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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Golden Geese

I've commented pretty frequently on this blog that my life hasn't really turned out like I thought it would.  I guess that's a pretty common theme among bloggers. In fact, The Pioneer Woman has marketed an entire career from that premise.  The latest installment of "Life Unexpected" is so outlandish, you really have to read this to believe it.

So you know I mention (complain) sometimes about the menagerie of animals we have here on the farm.  Birds of all sorts, although not our primary production animal here at Goodness Grows Farm, are everywhere.  Most of them, sadly, living out the ends of their lives not knowing that their journey to Goodness Grows Farm is a death sentence.

As somewhat of a back story as to how we have so many birds, I think I've blogged pretty extensively about the Burmese that come here and buy chickens, ducks, etc. for their own consumption.  Well, about a year ago, through our website, a young chef, Kevin, contacted Erik about Goodness Grows becoming a direct supplier for all of his needs.  At the time, Kevin was preparing to open a specialty food market in the newPittsburgh Public Market In The Strip.  Kevin met with Erik and they discussed the specialty meat products that were to be sold at Crested Duck Charcuterie and a great relationship was formed.  Kevin now regularly buys a wide variety of product from us.  As a result of this arrangement, some of the product Kevin needs for Crested Duck are not always available to us through our traditional farmer contacts or at the various auctions Erik attends so when he has the opportunity to acquire something rare, Erik buys large quantities.   One such animal is the goose.  The Crested Duck  provides fresh, farm raised meats including elk, bison, venison, duck, goose, rabbit, goat and more. In addition, we are offering an exciting array of creations including galantines, pates, terrines, roulades and rillettes as well as accompanying jellies, jams and relishes. Utilizing traditional 15th century methods for preparing and preserving meats, our charcuterie uses locally sourced products that are hand crafted in small batches to guarantee freshness.

Fast forward a few months, Kevin has successfully launched the Crested Duck and we have learned that geese are not always a sure thing at an auction, so over the late summer and early fall, Erik acquired about a dozen geese in anticipation of Kevin's usual needs as well as in preparation of "Christmas Goose."  In case you wondered, geese are noisy creatures!  They are almost as noisy as roosters in the morning and all day long you can hear them snorting and snuffing through the farmyard feeding.  They pretty much keep to themselves and most of the time I'm unaware of them except for when I forget that we have that many geese and I look up in the pasture and wonder for a few seconds what in the world all those brown and white things are dotted across the pasture.   This isn't the post to go into how being a mom has affected my brain.

The majority of our geese are the African Geese as shown in the picture above, but we also have two buff geese who are not part of the Christmas Dinner flock and are just our farmyard friends.

Well, you know how Erik knows everyone and if he doesn't know them personally, he knows someone who knows them?  I mean, this is the man that ran into someone he knew on our honeymoon . . . in Punta Cana, Domincan Repulic!  He's like the Kevin Bacon of Butler.  I'll bet we could play a game, "Six Degrees of Erik Schwalm."  Last week, around Thanksgiving.  Erik tells me he has had the strangest phone call.  A guy Erik met through a friend knows a girl who is working on a commercial in Pittsburgh and she is looking for a flock of geese for the commercial.  The friend gave our name and one week later, the trainer from the National Aviary arrived this afternoon to pick up all the geese to try to train some of them.  

Erik and the girls from the Aviary load the geese into the van.

Apparently, we did not provide our geese with the appropriate skill set.  For the commercial, the skills required are to take a white bread sandwich out of someone's hands, and the other skill is to fish a set of keys out of a purse.

I'm not sure if these geese have it in them, but I sure hope they do.  

The trainer will have the geese for next few weeks.  She told us today that she will know by the weekend which geese are most receptive to the training and will only keep the most promising ones to continue with the intensive training.  The others will return here to await their acting debut sometime around December 14.  According to Erik's contact in charge of filming, we are responsible for bringing the geese to "the shoot" and we are allowed to stay to watch them film.  I think it will be an exciting experience for the kids and we'll definitely take Walker out of school to have the experience.  

We'll also have to plan to attend something at the Consol Energy Center as from what we've been told the commercial will be air exclusively at events at the new arena.  

In all my wildest dreams, I never thought my ride to Hollywood would be on the wings of geese.  

I wonder what the animal owner version of a stage parent is?  Whatever it is, I promise not to be that.  

I've got to go now.  I need to get our list of needs ready for the rider  . . .  Hollywood, here we come!