Love is in the air. And in our paddocks too. I’m not the only one up the duff this summer: the bull has just had his wicked way with the yearlings.
Our ewes will be next, just as soon as I decide whether to run them with a black-faced Dorper or a spotty Arapawa ram. Or perhaps I’ll try to get my hands on a Middle Eastern Karakul – its high grade pelts were traditionally used to make Persian carpets – or a Dorset Horn. Described by the Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand (www.rarebreeds.co.nz/) as “an excellent doer”, the Dorset Horn boasts a “capacious stomach, fine fleece, hoofs of mother-of-pearl and a nose like a fresh raspberry”. Which all sounds fairly delicious.
And rather auspicious. After all, we are hosting a wedding next month. What could be more fitting than a rare breeds gift register? Instead of fronting up with Briscoes vouchers, sheet sets and half a dozen toasters, our friends and family could all chip in for a couple of kunekune pigs, shaggy highland cattle, Anglo-Nubian goats and a pair of miniature Mediterranean donkeys. (Donkeys, especially, make marvellous wedding gifts. They outlast the average modern marriage by a decade or three.)
But I digress. Before we get any more animals, we need a family planning strategy for the ones we’ve already got. Our border collie puppy has come of age. He’s taken to humping anything that moves, and quite a few things that don’t. I had hoped his teenage hormones might distract him from digging up my flower beds, but sadly no. So he’s booked in for the snip.
Some holiday romances take you by surprise, but none more than the curious coupling of my purebred Silkie hens, Sage and Onion. Sometime between Christmas and New Year, Sage started stuffing Onion. She’d hop on, squawk like a strangled cat, then hop off again. Girls just want to have fun, I figured. But closer inspection revealed the suspicious beginnings of a wobbly comb and wattle under her coiffured top knot.
Sage must simply have been a late developer, for he’s now the silliest looking rooster I’ve ever seen. Think Liberace in a blow-dried feather boa.
Onion, however, is smitten. She’s now sitting on a clutch of 11 wee eggs, each no bigger than a Cadbury Creme Egg. If they hatch in time, I’ll sack the flowergirls and have a cortege of fluffy white baby chicks trailing me up the aisle instead.
Self Sufficiently Lynda is published each week in Sunday magazine, in the Sunday Star-Times.