Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hope gets ducks... I get chooks.

Hope has officially turned from a cute puppy into obnoxious adolescence and is showing us this by getting into everything. She and La really are flip sides of the same coin these days!

For the past week, she's been really (really, really) wanting to get out and work stock. The problem being we don't HAVE stock yet. Our neighbors -do- but are unlikely to appreciate her rounding their cows up, especially if she's bringing them to me instead of them. I don't need to become known as a cattle rustler thank you kindly little dog! The second she's outside, her nose is under the fence and her little black bum will scoot under shortly after if I don't tell her no. In true Aussie style she can dive under fences and gates in a zip too. Mind you, she'll STOP if I tell her and she'll leave off and come back but three seconds later her little black nose is back under the fence. Our workshop seems to have turned the working switch in her firmly into the "on" position!

In keeping with that, our one entry to the house just has a screen door... it's a little mudroom where you take off your boots so the deadlocking solid door is on the other side of the mudroom. For days we couldn't figure out how the devil Hope kept escaping. The doors were closed, firmly latched and in several cases I was SURE I'd flipped the lock-tab! Well we figured it out - it seems tricky little missy has figured out how to flip the switch and jump up and swipe the handle so that it opens. It seems she's determined to make it down to those cattle!

We've also had several incidents of food on the counter and certain little black noses stretching a lot further than they ought to. All of which adds up to an adolescent idjit in need of a job. So. After a few days of waiting, we picked up our ducks today. We picked up chooks as well but those are most definitely not for Hope. The ducks are though and she KNOWS it. She's been pacing the pen, whinging and letting me know in no uncertain terms she'd REALLY like to work those ducks now please! When I take her inside, with her trotting rather begrudgingly at my side (she knows the only way I'll ever give permission is if she obeys - you must give up the prize to win it grasshopper) she peeks out the windows at them and keeps checking the (deadbolted... heh, open that little dog!) doors to see if they've magically opened in the past few minutes.

So, on to the ducks. Here they are. We've got pretty white Indian Runners (the tall ones with orangey-yellow bills) and a single Aylesbury duck (the shorter one with the pinkish coloured bill) which are a breed of duck considered critical by the Rare Breeds Trust of Australia. The Indian Runners are for eggs and to work the dogs on as they're too flighty to make good pets. The Aylesbury I plan to tame down over the next few weeks as it's main job is going to be to be pretty and I'll have to think of a suitable name for her... because everything here gets named, it's just how things are here.

Now these are the new chooks. The red one and the white one are bantam Sussex, buff and white respectively. They're pretty young, still have a number of blood feathers yet so they're really just overgrown chicks which is why they look a bit scrawny instead of proper plump hens. The furball in the middle is a partridge colour Chinese Silky chicken. It looks rather like a demented fluffy emu to me but it's cute and sweet and it's job is to be cute and sweet and be a foster mummy if I ever get a rooster for the other two because they are apparently lousy mums. They are all sitting in a cardboard box in their temporary cage, waiting a few days to make sure they don't have any health issues before letting them go into the bigger pens.

I'm rather chuffed with this... my little farmlet is starting to look like a real farmlet! :-)

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