May. 2 2014
From the Farm


If it is true, as Miss Austen – and Mrs. Bennett – would have it, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife, then consider the situation of our fifteen black ram lambs, born at the end of March.

Our friend Margo, who lives a day away, raises Border Leicesters, and occasionally supplies us with their wool, has asked us to produce a black ram. He is to be RR – meaning genetically safe from Scrapie, determined by a smidgen of his genome – otherwise healthy, and capable of producing coarse wool in quantity on his own account and that of his offspring; but he should not be kin to Margo’s ewes. Some of our brood ewes have a parent who came from the same Oregon farm as Margo’s ewes.

So to get to it, we have to have the genomes of our fifteen lads examined – Doc Schroeder draws the blood samples and they are sent to a lab in Colorado. When we know which are RR, we will inspect their pedigrees to see if there are common ancestors. With the choices narrowed, we will look over the candidates to see if any come up to scratch, and then get out the camera so Margo can judge for herself.

No Victorian parent could assess her offspring’s potential more diligently. Of course, it will be up to Margo to give him a name, if we come to agreement and if she chooses to do so.