03 May 2004 - 2:07 PM
Suburban Farming Fantasies
Sheep & Wool was great fun. Much yarn was fondled (and some was bought). I contemplated the acquisition of alpaca roving and French angora rabbits (but didn't buy either). Many sheep were patted. I want to own sheep, badly. They're not clever animals, but they're endearing nonetheless. However, the only way I'm going to keep a sheep in Cape Despair is if I can convince the neighbours that a Leicester Longwool is really a poodle, and I'm not sure I can be that convincing.
I want chickens too. When I was an undergraduate, I had a friend who raised a variety of show chickens (show chickens? And I thought show dogs were silly). Of the various breeds she raised, my favourites were the Buff Orpingtons, which are the Golden Retrievers of the chicken world -- big, blonde, fluffy, friendly birds. You could pick up her rooster, Spike, and cuddle him like a baby.
You can buy anything online. There are hatcheries that sell retail to the public. I have the web page for one of them up behind my notepad screen right now. For $40 I could have two dozen day-old Buff Orpington chicks delivered direct to my home. That's for the straight run, of course -- no guarantees as to the split of males and females, but Orps are a dual-purpose breed and thinning out the boys would provide us with plenty of barbeque, while the girls would eventually lay nice brown eggs. Chickens are good natural insect control, too -- they eat ticks. It's almost too tempting, except that I'm fairly certain that even if poultry aren't expressly forbidden by the local zoning regulations, they'd be classified as a 'nuisance to neighbours' under the vague covenant restrictions in Cape Despair. Also I don't have a chicken coop, and there are foxes in the woods behind the house. The Viking was looking dubious about a rabbit hutch; I doubt he'd be enthusiastic about a chicken coop.
So I'll be good and won't buy chickens today. Instead I'll go home and read the rabbit husbandry books we bought and try to finish the hat for the new baby cousin. I'll make dinner. I should thin the lettuce sprouts. Maybe we'll get to the Lochmere meeting (maybe not).
Maybe I'll come up with a way to disguise a sheep as a poodle.