Something that has been on our bucket lists for sometime is to breed a litter of puppies and especially of the Golden Retriever variety. Back in August of last year we met a breeder of show Retrievers and she owned a very handsome and successful Supreme Champion named Austin who we thought might be a suitable husband for our girls. We agreed that when the time came we would contact Austin’s owner but to complicate matters Margot and Daphne both came into season within days of each other which put us in a real quandary. You see, Margot the elder girl is my dog and Daphne is the apple of the Kiwi’s eye (and needless to say she can do no wrong). What to do? Austin’s mum said that both our girls should “get married” but the possibility of having 20 puppies in a small farmhouse had the makings of a special kind of madness. So who gets a bun in the oven first? Many long discussions were held long into the night but we had no time to loose!The Kiwi and I came to a compromise and agreed that following a progesterone test on both girls whoever had the best result would get married. Fortuitously I had the week off work and early on Monday morning I whisked Daphne and Margot off to the vet for their blood tests. They both behaved appallingly in the waiting room. Waiting with us was a shivery greyhound and a nervy cockerpoo who were distinctly unamused by my girls joie de vivre and I began to wonder if this was infact all a bad idea. But sticking to my guns the tests were done. Waiting for the results was agony and the Kiwi and I both separately and secretly prayed like mad that it was to be our girl. When the results finally came through we found that it was to be Margot. I felt so sorry for the Kiwi and our Daphne but it will be their turn next.
Not to waste any time the “marriage” of Austin and Margot was set for the following afternoon. We thought it best not to give Margot a bath for fear of washing away her alluring odour but just gave her a jolly good brush instead (a friend suggested painting her nails but we didn’t want to overdo it).Austin lives 230kms away towards Melbourne so with huge excitement Margot and I set off on Tuesday afternoon for the 5hr round trip. To get her in the mood for lurve I played her soppy songs all the way, Knights in White Satin, The Titanic song etc etc, you get my drift. The minutes following our arrival at Austin’s house were a complete education for me. Because when it comes to canine courtship, they don’t beat about the bush and get straight on down to business. Not for Austin and Margot was a candle lit dinner and a little gentle wooing whispering sweet nothings to each other – no none of that. Well I suppose it saves time and us homo sapiens could learn a thing or two! And of course we could get back on the road home a bit quicker. Quelle horreur! Despite their ardent fervour and rampant enthusiasm the two love birds reached a technical hitch. Austin is shorter than Margot and this proved to be a little awkward. I suggested an orange box but none was to hand. To save them from the exhaustion of their fruitless bonking, there was only one thing for it but to cart them off down to the local vet for a session of AI. I won’t go into further detail as it was a tad undignified and definitely X-rated but a jam jar did come in rather handy.
The whole performance had to be repeated the following afternoon so after 900kms and 10 hours driving I jolly well hope that there’s buns in the oven!! We’ll know in four weeks when Margot has her first scan.
Meanwhile back at the ranch… We welcomed the arrival of Cuthbert, a friend’s son from England. I picked him up in Dunkeld from a bus tour that had travelled all the way from Alice Springs. Cuthbert had seemed to have grown six inches since I last saw him and had turned into a strapping young man. The Kiwi’s eyes lit up with delight as he has a new helper on the farm. Cuthbert has taken to sheep work like a duck to water and he’s learning new things every day.I had been looking for someone to climb Mount Abrupt with me for ages. It looks down on us ominously taunting me to climb it but the Kiwi hasn’t found the same calling. At last! Cuthbert had come to the rescue and after some stretches to an exercise video on Youtube (causing great hilarity in the Kiwi department) Cuthbert gallantly strapped the rucksack to his back and we set off up the mountain. The weather couldn’t have been better, it was a lovely crispy blue morning which made the amazing views even better. As I was “in charge” I got to do the climb in my own time which enabled me to have frequent stops to admire the view! We wound our way up a steep path which switchbacked up through a dense woodland with masses of grass trees, ferns and gnarled old gum trees covered in bright green moss. Eventually we climbed above the tree line and came out onto a rocky, slippery pass where we could see for miles and miles. Reaching the top we had to hang onto the weather station post for dear life as the wind felt like it was going to blow us off at any minute. We had the summit to ourselves for a while then suddenly, one by one others arrived, all of whom had made the ascent in vastly faster times than us. But of course they did, they were all encased in ghastly go-faster lycra! I must admit I’m feeling it today! But Cuthbert has said he enjoyed himself so much he wants to climb Mount Sturgeon next weekend.
Cuthbert has also fallen in love with our lambs and Phil being a particular favourite. Phil has become so tame he now comes for walks with us – he really is quite hilarious. Cuthbert brought him into the house yesterday which didn’t last long with the Kiwi having more than a slight sense of humour failure.