Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Mr Farmer Gives Up

A sheep could never replace Helen...
November came quicker than did the donations to the East Friesian Ewe Fund. To top it all off, the neighbour's dog hadn't moved out (despite promises), but had continued to develop his taste for lamb. Given the circumstances, we decided that it was best not to invest in $300-a head milking sheep.

The pittosporums were flourishing - Helen had been exceptionally well-behaved, and was still producing lots of milk. The feta recipe had been perfected, and Mr Farmer was still enjoying fresh milk in his coffee. Our fridge was bursting at the seams. Thinking ahead, I began the hunt for a hand-raised, budget-friendly ewe to train to fill Helen's milking role.

The hunt was long and tedious. Female pet sheep are apparently hard to come by. Christmas came, and Helen had to be dried off in preparation for our new year holiday. When we returned, Helen was still producing milk (at a reduced rate), and pet sheep were still in short supply. We resumed milking, and Helen found a nice new home with some sheep in a nearby suburb, which she planned to move into when she dried off properly. We set March as our target date.

March came, and Helen was still producing. In all fairness, neither of us had made much of an effort to dry Helen off. The hunt for a pet sheep was still on, but the prospects were getting slimmer by the day. Finally, after overhearing Helen and I having the "do you think we could train one of the sheep we already have, even though they're not that bright" discussion for the umpteenth time, Mr Farmer gave up.

"Why don't you just get another buck?" He said.

Helen turned to internet dating. She found a good-looking feral buck in Palmerston North, but he already had a wife (Helen's not into polygamy). There were some Saanens in Rotorua, and some strapping bucks in Christchurch, but Helen wasn't sure it would work out. We even found Trevor, back hunting for a new home having split up with his South Auckland girlfriend - but Helen refused to take him back, which was a relief, because he was out of our price range. Just as we were starting to despair, along came a suave pedigree buck named Alberto von Danswan.

Alberto von Danswan, world's neediest goat.
Alberto, a moderately-successful experiment in miniature goat breeding, was looking for a new home having blotted his copy book by making a move on his owner. He didn't appear to have taken the rejection well, and by the time we arrived to pick him up, he was an angry young buck with a tendency to exhibit violent, anti-social behavior (in addition to his repertoire of socially unacceptable buck behaviors). After a struggle, Alberto found himself hog-tied in the back of a ute. You don't mess with Mr Farmer.

Helen was less than impressed when Alberto arrived - she took one look at him, sniffed, and walked off to join the cows. It took Alberto just over a week to work his magic, but by the 14th March, Helen had changed her tune and was affectionately calling him Albie. A brief but passionate affair ensued, but Helen eventually came to her senses, packed her bags, and moved out to live with the cows next door. Apparently, she has more in common with them than with the sheep, because they are all capable of producing milk - plus, she loves the abundant gorse.

Albie hasn't taken the move so well. When Helen isn't in the same paddock as he, Albie cries loudly. When he can't see Helen at all, Albie wails. Helen appears blissfully unaware of Albie's suffering, although I have occasionally heard her muttering things like "just man up, Albie - Trevor would never have made such a fool of himself" when she thinks I'm not listening.

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness The Farmer gave up. I look forward to hearing more adventures of Helen. Besides sheep are mentally challenged compared to a goat.
    You are very funny...and I like funny.