Commencing Countdown, Engines On

Mrs Brahma has done herself proud. 6 weeks ago she was sat glumly in the hen house, refusing to shift her fat bottom outside and trying her level best to die. Enter Colonel Mustard II. And enter he did, the frisky old devil; lucky little Mrs B never knew what had hit her. Once she had taken a good look at her new paramour, there was an awful lot of flustered grooming and parading for a few days, before they settled down to cosy domesticity.

To my delight, and possibly to her surprise, she began to lay again about 10 days ago and I have pounced gleefully on them all. Along with 6 Gold Laced Orpington eggs I have purchased, today I switched on the incubator and set them to cook.

Hopefully, 21 days from now there should be small inquisitive beaks poking out of shells. I’m quite pathetically excited at the prospect. I shall candle them in a week and see if anything is actually developing, or if the Colonel is shooting blanks. It happens to the very best of us.

It’s always difficult when livestock don’t breed to expectations and you’re an infertile farmer’s wife with 3 miscarriages under her belt. You tend to get darkly upset, and brood for years, when your MIL talks disparagingly of a cow just delivered of a dead calf as ‘a dead loss, girlie’. Or when your FIL, who is a lovely and well-meaning chap but not the most naturally empathic soul ever born, keeps thinking that the small field directly in front of your house is the ideal spot to park ewes who have slipped lamb early. Every damn year. Every one marked with a bright red cross on her back.

My failure to have children, surrounded by an industry that essentially centres on reproduction, generated some very dark feelings before Harry was born. I can remember sobbing to Hubby on a number of occasions when things had gone badly, again, that if I was a ewe or a cow he’d have sold me for slaughter by now. 

Poor John. That must have been a facer, because he couldn’t deny the fundamental truth of it. He did, of course, point out my distinct lack of udders (not sure about that one now, after 10 months of breastfeeding; bit of a pendulous thing going on these days), hairy ears and hooves. Presence of wedding ring, etc. My counsellor, a patient and wonderful soul who has acquired me for life, also experienced some difficulty in prying me away from this concept. I still get wound up like a spring when I detect that fertility issues are dictating a one-way trip to market for livestock; but my suggestions that these girlies be given a nice fresh field of grass and a long gentle coast into doddering old age are not well-received.

Anyhoo. Fat lot of use in me getting irked up; I can’t change anything. But the point I’m trying to make here, in my usual long-winded fashion, is that if every one of the eggs in my incubator is infertile – I won’t mind at all.

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