Different people obey different impulses. Some shop for shoes (“yes, I’ve got another 50 pairs, but those jade crystal embellished suede spike heeled Jimmy Choos are just so darling … “), some give up boring executive type jobs and decide to build a future career repairing dry-stone walls (this is true: I once did a dry-stone walling course with three of them. Scary.). My particular impulse is to fire up our little yellow incubator and put some more eggs in it. Even if I have poultry coming out of my ears and the last thing I need is more of the little angels.
I don’t even take a straw poll of what comes running when I enter the orchard with a container of corn. That would be almost sensible, along the lines of: well, we have enough peacocks (one, more than enough), enough egg laying bantams (I’m running out of egg rich recipes in which to use their largesse and am giving most of their eggs away at the moment), enough non-productive but charming bantams (ie anything that seems to be covered in a mesh of frills instead of feathers) and absolutely no guinea-fowl.
The sad demise of Precious, the guinea fowl, comes in a blog a couple of months back. I miss her loud African chanting from the top of her favourite apple tree, her hunch backed earnestness as she scampered around the orchard on little fat feet, and her blissfully spotted feathers. So it would seem sensible, if I have a compulsion to start up the incubator again, to obtain a clutch of guinea-fowl eggs (triangular, spotted, hard as granite) and start to repopulate.
Or how about some quail? Bonkers, to a man, but the eggs are beautiful and presented in a little plaited straw nest would make a lovely hostess present at supper parties, saving us a fortune in bottles of wine and boxes of chocolates. Or ducks. We have no ducks at the moment, and the slugs and snails are rejoicing and partying all night in the flower bed as a result. Ducks would be great, either Indian Runner (they have a habit of forming into single file, leaning slightly into the wind and patrolling around the garden that I could watch for ever) or call ducks (small, cute and never shut up).
Nah. I’ve got a friend coming to coffee any moment now bearing has some bantam eggs she found knocking around her hen run that she thought would be pretty. Probably. If they are fertile, which they may not be. She only has 3, so I am padding out the incubator with 9 of our own. Which means that in 19 days time we will have yet more mixed-race bantams to bring up and release into the hen run to find their place. And quite honestly (this is the impulse bit) I cannot wait!!