A while ago, Margaret (the farmer whose land surrounds most of the Priory) bought a cow in calf, and the other day, long, long after all her other calves were born we had a new arrival.
He’s a very handsome chap and I can’t but marvel at how clean he is. He looks like he’s been scrubbed in a bath of buttermilk. Margaret denies that she bathes her calves on a daily basis but I remain suspicious.
I went up to her farm today for a chat. For the last few days there has been barely suppressed excitement in the farmhouse kitchen. Poppy, Margaret’s youngest dog, has been heavily pregnant with her first litter of, according to the vet, three puppies. She’s a beautiful and lovely tempered dog and we were all sure she would make a fantastic mother.
The night before last, from 10pm till 2am, Margaret attended as Poppy (her real name) gave birth. She was two days early and labour was a long protracted affair with the last puppy being breached.
She is a Sprocker spaniel (a springer/cocker cross) and one of the nicest dogs I know. She and her mother, Bunny, always bark loudly (and at length) when I go up to the farm. Then, when I’ve opened the gate, they run up to me, launch themselves at my feet, roll over onto their backs and invite me to rub their tummies. A bit like this:
|A chip of the old block|
Poppy surprised us all with delivering not three puppies but four.
Having paid stud fees, Margaret had planned to sell all the puppies. However, she is now so excited and joyful at the new additions to her family that she’s talking of keeping them. All of them. Can’t say I blame her.
Mother and puppies (and Margaret) are all doing well.