The Greylag Goose – evolved from a species of ancient goose, which was domesticated at least as early as 1360 BC.
|Wild Goose: horizontal posture and|
slim rear end.
It is a wild goose … and often mixes with Canada geese as it finds resting and feeding grounds (gravel pits, lakes and reservoirs) around the UK …
|Farm Bred Goose: erect posture and|
fat rear end
… the truly wild flocks are found in Scotland – where there is not as much ‘protection’ of their sites ... while in the south of England they tend not to migrate.
Migration takes place in Spring … finding new breeding grounds perhaps if their pastures have been depleted, or are taken over by other farm animals.
|Sebastopol Goose -|
this is a new one on me!
Domesticity reigns now – but there are various breeds listed as Rare: Brecon Buff, Buff Back, Embden, Grey Black, Pilgrim, Sebastopol, Shetland, Toulouse, West of England …
|Roast Goose with stuffing and|
good roast potatoes
Roast Goose, as an alternative to turkey, is a good choice – but it will serve fewer people, and though having a high fat content, most of this is under the skin, rather than in the meat, which means that during cooking it melts and bastes the breast, keeping it juicy.
The extra goose fat found inside the carcass can be cut away, rendered and used for frying or roasting … delicious! I gather it was an aphrodisiac in Ancient Greece and Rome … perhaps now?
|Ancient Egyptian Stele showing|
Amun-Ra as a goose, man and ram
25th dynasty - c 700 BC
Though Greylags have been revered across Eurasia, linked with the goddess of healing … in Ancient Egypt geese symbolised the sun god Ra ...
... in culture they often feature … raising the alarm when the Gauls attacked Rome in 390 BC … and its role in fertility survives in modern Britain with the nursery rhyme Goosey Goosey Gander …
Should you roast a goose – the pulling of the wishbone derives from the roasted goose at Michaelmas (29th September) – when geese were at their best to eat …
It goes without saying the best geese are organic, free-range, reared in the traditional way.
|Those Geese no longer have to walk to|
experience this ... they may stay at home!
The Goose Fair at Michaelmas has been held for centuries at Royal markets … the Geese were walked to the market … some farmers covered the geese’s feet with tar and sand to protect them from wear and tear – they ‘walked’ 8 – 9 miles a day …
Over the millennia geese have served us well – from those ancient times - for food, for quill pens – choose a primary feather from the left wing as the curvature would bend away from us right-handed writers …
|Battle of Agincourt (15th C miniature) from the|
Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet
… as too feathers for fletch arrows - in medieval times Fletching, a village in Sussex, was a major producer of bows and arrows – many of which were used by Henry V’s armies in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. (PS good pub there!)
Goose Down is considered to be the finest quality for a duvet and thus a good night’s sleep – much needed perhaps after that roast dinner.
That is G for Gorgeous Goslings, Gandering Ganders, Gregarious Greylags … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …
Counties with the letter G …
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)
England: Gloucestershire; Greater London; Greater Manchester
Northern Ireland: None
Scotland: City of Glasgow
Wales: Glamorgan; Gwent; Gwynedd
Goosey Goosey Gander - the nursery rhyme
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
Gorgeous. The Sebastapol (new to me too) looks as if it is wearing the contents of a duvet (which of course they all are, but I hope you know what I mean.)
I haven't seen a greylag for years. Potatoes roasted in goose fat - now there's a treat.
Geese, goslings and ganders, goodnes gracious giving me goosebumps. :)
Long ago, I owned both domestic grey geese and Pilgrim Geese. One fun fact about Pilgrim Geese is that the males and females have distinct coloration (unlike many geese) so you can tell at a glance if one is male or female. They are also gentle, compared to some other geese. Enjoyed your post! The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com
I didn't know about the differences between wild and farm geese. Thanks for sharing that information and the pictures. I learned something new today.
Dropping by from the A to Z Challenge
Suzy at Someday Somewhere - Great minds
Don't know why but a goose reminds me of fairytales that I have read as a child. Roast goose sounds interesting. I've never eating goose meat.
That Sebastopol goose looks like it is already a duvet!
Thanks for all the info, I had no idea geese were walked to market in older times.
Phillip | G is for Gnome Calendar
I've never had roast goose! Thanks for this information.
I had no idea geese symbolized the sun god Ra. And I find it entertaining that farmers would coat their goose's feet in tar and sand. It's like shoes for geese!
A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs
Didn't know that about Fletching (I assume that's where it got the name?) Great historical nugget.
So that is where the arrows got their name. I have many a silly goose, but only in political office! :-)
The saying - his/her or my goose is cooked - am I remembering correctly that this means that one is in serious trouble and the game's up? Pretty geese thanks Hilary - there's nothing like goose down for a duvet ...
That greylag looks more like a duck, doesn't it? Interesting how domestic breeding has made native species change so much.
When I lived in Michigan in the woods and on a lake, we had quite a few Canada Geese who came during the warm months. Often they would stay until the lake was about frozen. Their cry is very haunting as they fly. There are a few around here that hang around a pond in the local park. They never leave as it never freezes the water.
I am amazed by the amount of research you've obviously done for this post!
I didn't know about the goose fat bit. And that the quill feathers are taken from its left wing. Actually, I didn't know most of these facts! But I think I will remember these two points always now.
Chicky @ www.mysteriouskaddu.com
I think I've always confused geese with ducks. No more!
We've occasionally had goose as a delicious alternative to turkey at Christmas, and I understand that geese make excellent guard dogs!
Geese are so pretty. The only wild geese where I live are Canada Geese. Those things are everywhere! That white curly feathered one is beautiful!
Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction
I've never had goose. (And of course, now I never will.) We see a lot of Canadian geese here as they migrate through.
The Sebastopol was new to me, but roast goose is a favorite. MMMM I like to make a little chopped liver also.
I have to admit to loving roast goose but when you see those goslings..... how can you eat the dear little things. Sebastopol goose a new one on me also but it looks quite beautiful. A great choice for G, well done Hilary. Have a good Sunday Diane
I tend to steer clear of geese. They can be mean.
Excellent week of posts. Thanks for A to G. I have learned a lot.
what a cool post. yikes! i can't believe you didn't mention mother goose. my mom read those nursery rhymes to me when i was little. short and fun. i pulled up some of them and had really nice memories. check them out at http://www3.amherst.edu/~rjyanco94/literature/mothergoose/rhymes/menu.html
Geese are excellent two-legged guard dogs! I've been chased by them more than once. As a man of Sussex I can't believe I didn't know about Fletching. I've been to The Griffin often enough!
Only you could make goose reading so interesting. And I do love my feather bed when it gets so cold up here in the winter. Thank you gooseys.
Growing up in Minnesota, I saw migrating Canadian Geese. I loved watching them fly in formation.
Emily | AtoZ | My Life In Ecuador
Love this post. Thank you! Choices, choices, which one to choose? I vote for the Greylag Gosling. I can't resist the babies. The "Goosey Goosey Gander" connection is interesting--wow, that far back?? I would enjoy The Goose Fair a lot. The honking and clatter as they waddle along in line would be such a treat to experience.
"Female Scientists Before Our Time"
@ EC – I know the Sebastapol was a wonderful find … and I do know what you mean … I just couldn’t resist the photo …
@ Bob – I’m ashamed to say I’m not sure I’d know a Greylag if I saw one … but yes on a tasty note potatoes roasted in goose fat = delicious
@ Carmel – thank you for the goosey alliteration … it’s fun using the stylistic literary device and similarly fun to read …
@ Bookworm – how interesting to know that the Pilgrim Geese have distinct colouration to work out which are the males and which the females: fascinating evolutionary fact. Gentleness would have an advantage too …
@ Suzy – it’s a fascinating subject to see how each species has its own evolutionary development trait/s …
@ Vinodini – yes lots of goosey fairy tales; while roast goose is different … and delicious!
@ Phillip – that Sebastopol goose is a delight to see – as are duvets at times. Most animals were walked to market until mass transit came in – really only in the 1800s …
@ Martha – roast goose is good!
@ Sara – funny what one finds out when we look for it – I’m always amazed at what’s there. Sensible farmers …my feet wouldn’t last a few hundred yards before they were sore and blistered … probably helped if they were tarred and sanded – but it’s interesting to find out …
@ Nick – yes Fletching was named for its bows and arrows … and the Griffin pub is well worth a visit …
@ Roland – yes: fletching meaning flight of the arrow. Oh yes there are many silly human geese around too …
@ Susan – as you rightly mention: the goose is cooked – means the game is up … and a down duvet is so wonderful …
@ Laurel - it does look more dumpy, like a duck; the change probably had mainly happened before domestication came to the fore – but those species were easier to keep and thus that trait was an important feature …
@ Kristin – Canada Geese are wonderful to see in their migrating flocks. I’ve heard their cry on the tv … and they take advantage of what suits them – staying around for food and water …
@ Chicky – thanks so much – it all happened 18 months or so ago. Goose fat is a luxury for us … and that quill feather – a right one for left-handed quill users … life is interesting!
@ Jacqui- glad the ducks and geese now have separate compartments in your brain!
@ Ian – that’s good you can confirm how delicious roast goose is … and yes we had geese to scare away the foxes from our chicken coop at home when I was born …
@ Jean – lots of Canada Geese around … we have them here. The Sebastopol goose is just brilliant isn’t he/she …
@ Diane – I don’t think many people have had goose meat and now I know you never will … and I understand the migrations of Canada Geese spread far and wide …
@ Steve – I was amazed at the Sebastopol – beautiful bird. Roast goose is good and if the liver was around I’d have that too –we tend not to get the giblets now … unless we go specifically to a farm for our bird meat …
@ Diane – I’m not sure I’ve had goose more than once … but a gosling wouldn’t satisfy – too small! The Sebastopol has won many a heart here …
@ Joanne – you’re right about them being mean – they protect their territory. So glad you’ve enjoyed the week’s worth of A-Zing Rare Breeds …
@ Lenny – wonderful to see you – you are so right I didn’t mention Mother Goose – gosh I wonder why she didn’t come into the picture – probably because I was looking at Rare Breeds, rather than Nursery Rhymes … but thank you for putting the link up to a lot of rhymes …
So glad the post brought back memories of your Mom for you … as you say the rhymes are short and fun …
@ Keith – yes ‘guard dogs’ they can be and they can certainly chase … rather daunting. Well there you go –oh to be a fletcher – an important person in the assembling of the arrow – making sure the aerodynamics of the arrow would be ‘as sure as possible’ in its flight. The Griffin is a great pub …
@ Inger – thank you so much … I aim to please with my posts. In the winter a feather duvet is wonderful … I slept on an ostrich feather mattress in South Africa and that was luxury at its best!
@ Emily – when the flocks migrate – they are amazing in their formation … lovely site in the sky …
@ Sharon – thank you so much … the goslings look so delightful don’t they. Many of our ‘folk tales’ go way back in time … I’m just glad we can connect the dots and have the records, so that we know their origins or potential origin.
I imagine a medieval Goose Fair would have been a cacophony of noise …honking, clatter, cackling et al … lots of people and their associated noise too …
Thanks so much to you all for your visits and comments – really enjoyed the extra points you have made adding to the goosey collection! Cheers for now - Hilary
I have eaten duck, (roasted and otherwise) but never goose! I'll have to see where I can get myself some pronto. I am blown away by the amount of research each of your posts must have taken! I mean, 1360 BCE is a loong time ago. So amazed!
As someone above commented, geese are good at guarding - they are quite scary! One of our local distilleries (Glengoyne) has a flock near its storage warehouses.
Hi Hilary. After a meal of roast goose and potato cooked in goose-fat, the supposed aphrodisiac properties seem a bit superfluous!
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Interesting to learn more about the goose and the different varieties. I love seeing the pictures because it does show how different they look from each other.
When I used to eat meat, I tried and enjoyed goose. It is definitely something we don't have on the menu at a lot of places around here.
Thanks for the interesting post!
I'm afraid I'd never be able to roast that beautiful lSebastopol Goose!
I'm imagining that parade of geese with tarred feet. What a spectacle that must have been.
We see huge flocks of geese flying over every morning and evening, and when they settle on a field it's in incredible numbers. One of the local farmers told me that three geese equals one sheep in the amount they eat, so they're not very popular when crops have been planted.
I love watching them flying in their V's and listen to them as they call to each other. Great post.
Pamela @ Highlands Days of Fun
My grandparents had geese and they were so mean. I was a little kid and they terrorized me. But I do appreciate them today. I love to hear their honking as they fly overhead.
We have a goose fair near us at one of my father's old parishes - Challock. They fill their green with all sorts - unfortunately, no geese though!
we do see Greylags near us, they sometimes land, as you said, with the Canada geese on the marshy land near the river. I think they are prettier than the Canada geese. :)
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries
I always think of a white goose that made her home at a city lake. For years she nurtured all the new goslings, as if she was the grandmother. Then one Christmas some young vandals injured her, she became ill and died. I called her Lady of the Lake. Hubs called her Yum-yum as he was imagining her roasted on a platter. . .Geese can sure have a 'hissy' fit though if you annoy them.
So many interesting things to learn about geese here, and yet the poor goose is called silly.
I almost did goose for G, too. Although, I would have only had one pic...
@ Nila – I’m not sure I’ve had goose … but have done once I think – it’s very rich meat: delicious though … I hope you can find a goose to roast. Thanks re the research – I just don’t like doing things half-cock as we say … so appreciate your comment … and yes 1360 BCE is a long time ago …
@ Anabel – we had geese when I was a kid … but it’s good the distilleries are using flocks of geese to guard their warehouses – fascinating to know about …
@ Bazza – well yes a meal of roast goose and goose-fact cooked roasties would not help the supposed aphrodisiacal properties – so right there!
@ Jess – yes different geese and they do look so different from each other. I eat meat on occasions now – but would rather have fish … yet a roast is always good …
@ Lee – I’m not sure the Sebastopol was bred for eating … very feathery eating me thinks! I know ‘going to market’ centuries ago conjures up completely different views from today …
@ Pamela – yes the quantities of food the geese eat is enormous I gather – and that applies down here … the farmers don’t want them on their fields either … we get lots around the Cuckmere River which has a flood plain around it … but they are amazing to watch fly overhead in their V formation and hearing them call …
@ Sophie – interesting about Challock – did you know the name means ‘calf enclosure’? A nod to the history of the village that the fair is still going today …
The marshes of Kent must be wonderful grounds for the geese to land … we have pockets of fresh water here … I must make a plan re visiting …
@ DG – good to see you – wonderful memories of your white goose and your name for your grandmotherly goose ‘Lady of the Lake’ … why do vandals do things like that – it never ceases to amaze me. They do make a good meal though … but are determined souls if you upset their apple-cart – hissy fit is a good term …
@ Cynthia – poor old goose … but I learnt a lot writing the post up …
@ Liz – did you almost do Goose … I like lots of pictures … sort of shows what I’m talking about …
Chees to you all … I’m hobbling off to feast on all the Challengers “I” … see you around - Hilary
This post reminds me of a farm's campsite we used to go to when I was a child. They had 3 geese in a pen in the front of the farm, and the farmer said that geese were better guards than dogs :)
I always look forward to seeing the migration of geese. There is a major area near here where lots and lots of geese migrate towards, so I often have a honking band of geese passing over my house. So beautiful! I think their young are the cutest fuzzballs in the animal kingdom :)
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Have a wonderful day!
Sylvia @ The Creative Life
@ Sylvia - so glad this post brought back memories of your childhood visits to the farm ... and the 3 geese in a pen - I 'm sure the farmer was right that they were better guards than dogs.
It always amazes me to see the huge flocks of geese migrating over our countryside when the time is right - wonderful sight and sound as you mention here ... let alone the fuzz balls! Cheers Hilary
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