What’s your chicken return policy?

For as much as I harp on Martin’s compulsive purchases and his “as seen on tv” impulse buys, it’s his yearning to expand the farm’s population that scares me most.

He has this way of squeezing remarks into the conversation…

In the midst of writing up a grocery list one evening, Martin announces: “The sheep look lonely in the big field. I’m tempted to pick up a few more.”

Or after a pilgrimage to retrieve Maisie, he offers this alternative to fencing: “Maybe Maisie won’t run away if she has company. We should get 2 more border collies.”

(me: Great, then we’ll have three missing dogs.)

And in response to Hadley’s habitual wanderings:

Martin: “Hadley needs a job around here.”

She’s 2. What do you want her to do?

Martin: “We should get chickens. Then she can collect the eggs.”

Apparently, more animals will solve all of our problems.

So far, my stock answer to these musings is the same: Martin, don’t you dare.

And I’ve changed my tactics. I’m no longer running interference on trips to Target, Walmart, or Bed, Bath & Beyond. Instead I’m monitoring excursions to Tractor Supply, where baby chicks and duckings are sold by the trough-full.

This weekend there’s a nearby sheep & wool festival (no doubt that’s on everyone’s calendar). In addition to peddling sweaters and knitting supplies –and lamb kabobs– breeders also offer sheep and sheepdog puppies for sale.

I’ll be on high alert.