From the kitchen in one of the barns at Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch, Maureen Sikora loves to watch nature go by. “It’s like a painting that never gets finished,” she said.

About two years ago, Sikora, her husband Greg Sikora and the neighbors around their Lackey Road ranch, noticed something strange.

A Canada gosling was following Quest, their 19-hand Shire horse, everywhere he went.

When the horse walked, the gosling trailed. When Quest galloped, the gosling flew head-high to keep pace.

Maureen Sikora wrote about the strange pair on her ranch website blog –– a spot she keeps her family in England updated on her life and well-being.

During the summer, Sikora said Renee Riva, a children’s author, read her blog and asked if she could use her story for a book. Sikora said yes.

Riva sent Sikora a draft, but Sikora said the story was not exactly as she remembered. Sikora then returned the copy back with her version of the true tale. Riva loved the writing and the two co-author the book and titled it “Gertie and Quest: A True Story.”

This is Sikora’s first book, and she said that her husband’s photography helps bring the words to life. The book is available now.

Nearly all of the animals at Gentle Giant have names and are well cared for, Sikora said.

Quest’s mother is named Lady. Quest’s full name is Bridie’s Bequest, after Sikora’s mother. Gertie the gosling was hatched on the ranch’s pond soon after a migrant pair of geese arrived to spend a summer on the Key Peninsula.

“We never hand-fed the geese. We never encouraged the relationship. When male geese arrived with their courtship moves, Gertie ignored them,” Sikora said.

Sikora said Gertie often focused her attention on Quest, who never seemed to mind. At the first hint of (2010) winter, Gertie flew away with her parents, but the Sikoras were not surprised to see her return in the spring. They are curious to know if she will return with her life-mate next year.

Sikora said she will donate copies of her 40-page, self-published hardback book to school libraries.

“I would like for children to be able to read the book, to see the pictures, and through the words, feel what it is like to see different species interact. I want them to feel the joy of watching nature and to be inspired by it.

“I never thought of myself as an author, but this could be the start of a series. I enjoy the process; I just need to find the time to write.”

To view a video of Gertie and Quest, visit gentle-giant-meadows-ranch.com/foresaken-love.html.

The book can be purchased at gentelgiantmeadowranch.com or at amazon.com.

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