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Crtd 13-08-01 Lastedit 15-10-31

Environmental Hazards
Geese, municipality, police, robbers, and all that

Of course I am not the first here. I need to integrate in a pre-existing environment of coalitions, animosities and all that, in short, an biotope featuring loads of competing animals, neighbours, farmers, human shore side dwellers, fish and last but not least municipality (the shore) and waterschap (local water authority, the river) officials. Besides this, the geese have another formidable enemy I fortunately need not fear: the provincial authority issuing hunting rules.



... geese geese geese...

When I left Holland, it was the country of ducks. Now, 10 years later, duck density is down to that of grebes (futen) and moorhens (waterhoentjes). All water birds, as well as the cattle-grass land, are kept short by f....g geese. We have

Grauwe Gans (Anser anser, Greylag Goose)
Kolgans (Anser albifrons albifrons, White-fronted Goose (Continental race)
Nijlgans  (Alopochen aegyptiacus, Egyptian Goose)
Brandgans (Branta leucopsis, Barnacle Goose)
Rotgans (Branta bernicla, Brent Goose)

Do not think they are friends: there is fierce competition over nesting territory and that's exactly where the ducks lost the battle. Gelderland, the province assuming authority over this part of the estuary, exempted our grounds of the general geese hunting prohibition animal protectionists managed to impose. For some species of geese there are minimum amounts of a few thousands to be preserved, but that's pure theory since now there are hundreds of thousands of each. Though undoable, Rotgans and Nijlgans may be hunted to extinction. I did not find why they deserve that. Curiously enough, the price of a goose, for me as a consumer, is not going down much. Prices (at least on internet sites) stay as high as € 25 per goose. I clearly should get some contacts in circles of hunters. Deep in my first night of sleep, a male goose started honking at me aggressively signaling I was in his territory (my door was open). But at night I piss in a tank, and, having collected a decent amount I threw it over him. That brought the message down. I never heard him again.


...  dog of local hunter brings his boss a shot goose ...


,,, No joke! Tropical mongoose at my cabin window (known to eat cobra, so quite able to feast on geese) ...
 ... escaped from a
privatish hobby zoo nearby, we think they went back home  ...
... photo taken by Sander and Marinke in spring, Jeni even caught them on video clip ...


... camouflage against municipal looks ...

At the river shore side the municipality allows day time sojourn only. Like the geese, however, humans keep exploring the limits: tents are kept up at night but open. Closed tents are kept up at night but only for storage.  Jetties and open verandas adorn the riverside. To add to the confusion: the river is under authority not of the municipality but the local water authority. Different regulations allowing for a motorboat to be moored and ... slept in, though there is a prohibition to permanently live on the boat.
In this delicate ecological equilibrium I am now the boldest goose: a cabin, and I sleep in it. Will I be shit or shot at? I trust that the large amount of small trespasses along the riverside would turn municipal interference into a true razzia that even Dutch officials rarely take resort to. But to prevent curious official looks from the land side, were there is a dike with a road at 40 m, I practice some decent cabin camouflage.


... Ugandan car number plate handsomely hidden behind trolley to avoid police questioning ...

The car is another environmental hazard: high road tax inspires Dutch police to hunt for unknown number plates more fiercely than for thieves. Its logical: catch a black car and government wins some money, catch a thief and government looses a LOT. So, while burglaries are going on everywhere, police questions me about my number plate and I even get stopped by driving police sporting in red lighting: politie volgen - follow. A casual shopping trolley on my rear door should make police focus on avoiding seeing thieves by enjoying their lovely little trip along the river dike and pass my car without suspicion.

So, the final hazard are thieves. I first noticed them by missing that trolley and a 5 l fuel tank. Children. Such things are a natural by-product of the official policy to discourage permanent presence. But then there was slightly more than minimum theft, let us say a medium-intelligence burglary in my cabin which was the sign that also criminals should be reckoned with.


... "EVERYTHING HAS BEEN STOLEN ALREADY, JUST HAVE A LOOK" ...
... my first attempts to discourage criminals after an intrusive theft took place ...


... no-value-stuff left in the weeks when I was making the platform, thoroughly searched just to be sure (criminal profile: PVV voters, ethnic Dutch around their twenties)  ...


... gate upgrade to block views, texting to scare off thieves ...
... thieves agreed this was a good signpost: they stole it ...
 

Unfortunately the municipal inspection unexpectedly came from the river side using Joop's - very fine, we cannot deny it - Water Authority inspection vessel. A charming lady of the Surroundings Service Riverland (Omgevingsdienst Rivierenland) told me my cabin was an "obstacle" and took pictures. The landowner got posted and decided to comply. So my swift expulsion from paradise was a fact. After some thinking and consulting local rules and regulations I decided I could have some kind of motorized floating platform welded to carry the cabin on water and simply stay (continued here).


... Done! Now when off, I can see with these cameras, on my laptop or smart phone, geese, mongoose, municipal officers, police and, if they still dare, even the occasional burglar walking around on my territory ...

Done! Now when off, I can see with these cameras, on my laptop or smart phone, municipal officers, police and, if they still dare, even the occasional burglar walking around on my territory. But no one of them is going to catch any of the other, not even if I hand over razor sharp digital picture catches personally prerecognized in the Google and Facebook clouds. So the use is very limited. Anyway, all of them, me included, are just like the geese and mongoose: we fight ourselves in, stand our ground, if necessary fly, to return when trouble is over, eat the grass, shit, be shat on, shoot or be shot at. Pure Nature.

Later I found I grossly overestimated the intelligence of our local thiefs. I caught one who simply walked through my cameras. Hadn't seen them. Of course it was one of those PVV anti-immigration-voting ethnic Dutch. I told him never to return: this plot, I said, is extra dangerous for we do not work with police. He paled, so I think he got the point. Then I made some signposts to fit to this man's profile:


... Try Sorry ...
... then I made some signposts to fit to this man's profile ...

To end in a curious note - I do not say positive since we just dealt with stealing which is not negative but the normal procedure everywhere in nature, and we all thank our existence to it - I mention some curious details of the local humans inconsistent with the above. This river area is known for its Calvinist past. One of our historic Calvinist figures, Abraham Kuiper, started his career as a reverend in Beesd, a kilometer from my kraal. The shopping side of the village square is always full of people greeting each other going in and out, and trading the latest family and village news. I told some people about me and my kraal, of course everybody knows the local owner, and within a few days I was a known person in the village. This does not mean everybody greets you, but if you start talking with someone, you turn out to be firmly on the record. This leads to other agreeable features: there is no car locking when shopping, and on the roads local farmers have tables with fruits and vegetables, and a pot to put your money in for what you take. Is it not remarkable that a religion, even only the remnants of it, for also here was a notable deconfessionalization, manages to break the inexorable laws of the natural biotope?


... fruit & vegetables left at the road side, pay what you take, here it works: sold out ...

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