The Farmer & His Wife
John Taylor is concerned about the local rabbit population . . .
ANNE always reads the “Articles For Sale” column in our local newspaper. “John!” She’d pitched her voice so loud she must have thought I was outside.
“I’m here, not in the byre.” In fact, I was sitting at our kitchen table with my hands round my morning drink.
“Sorry, I thought you were in the dairy. John, I think I’ll get you an extra Christmas present.” “That’s nice,” I said warily. “A pair of ferrets.”
I knew she was joking, so I played up to her.
“It doesn’t say.”
“I’m out of touch with the price of ferrets. Ring and ask. It’s just what we need.”
“Oh, John! We don’t want the smelly brutes, do we?” I could see Anne was getting worried.
“Well, we have to do something about the rabbits. Two ferrets would do the job.”
I’m worried by the numbers of rabbits I’ve seen recently. Not just on our land. One morning recently I came to a roundabout near Ladybank and saw three rabbits that didn’t care a hoot for the cars going past.
In the evening, I went to St Andrews and round every bend I spotted more rabbits. Something had to be done.
“Shall I ring and ask the price?” I teased Anne. “Don’t you dare, John!” Anne’s father had two ferrets which she had to clean out, water and feed. They’re as quick as lightning at disappearing. And they can really bite if you’re not careful. As Anne said, she’s had
her fill of keeping ferrets!
We didn’t have any. Dad wasn’t a ferret man but he was a good shot. Heaven help a rabbit that crossed his path when he’d a gun under his arm.
Mother used to make mouth-watering rabbit stew with plenty carrots, onions and mushrooms. She then put it in a big brown earthenware casserole and topped it with a crust.
One day, after the auction in Cupar, I called on our butcher for Anne’s order.
“Have you a rabbit, Alistair?” I asked.
“Sorry, John. No fresh ones, only frozen.”
I was taken aback. Why freeze the humble rabbit?
I was told they had to be frozen because they came all the way from China!
I thought he was pulling my leg, but Alistair assured me he couldn’t get enough local rabbits so he bought imported ones.
I asked the price. Heavens! “I think I’ll buy those two ferrets. They’d soon pay for their keep if rabbits are so dear.” “No, John.”
I didn’t get my ferrets. But I’m still worried about the rabbit explosion.
More next week