It is a lifestyle? Or a life sentence?
Having even the smallest of lifestyle blocks can doom the unwary to a life of unruly sheep, petulant pigs, downright despicable chickens, unfortunate episodes involving electric fences, and water pumps that break down on the Friday evening of long weekends.
I was battling the weeds in the vege garden last weekend when I noticed there was a whippet in my parsley.
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It was just a small whippet, and it seemed quite happy there, but parsley is no place for whippets, so I called to my husband to kindly remove it.
Because it's his whippet.
He had long wanted a pup to replace our old dog Flynn, who went to whippet heaven about four years ago. Flynn was well known at our local vet clinic, for speed-inflicted injuries. His own speed.
Flynn had often hurt himself from running too fast - mostly damaging his feet, but in one memorable episode he ran head-first into a lemon tree and impaled a piece of bark into his head.
Not just into his head though ... into his skull, missing his brain by millimetres. After that he was known by the vet clinic as "Bark Brain".
The new whippet isn't that fast yet, because he's only nine weeks old.
And when he arrived in my parsley he was so new to us he didn't even have a name.
Well, his breeder had called him Billie, but as we have a 3-year-old human in our family who is also Billie we didn't think it was quite right.
The human Billie's mother thought the name should stay.
"Then at least we'd have one obedient Billie in the family," she suggested.
But it still didn't seem polite to name a dog after a grandchild so we searched about for a new name for the puppy.
He sat in the parsley casually eating a raspberry leaf as his minder came to collect him.
"Parsley," I said. "You can call him Parsley."
Nope, said his minder, "Parsley is a silly name."
"Well he's sitting beside the sage - how about Sage?"
Then ... "Doug," announced the animal's minder.
"Dug ... in the garden ... Doug."
So far Doug the Dog has only endeared himself to the humans in the household. The other three dogs and the cat are completely unimpressed and the chooks don't even think he's a dog.
The three chihuahuas think Doug is horrible.
He runs, he jumps, he plays with toys and he keeps bouncing at them in the most unseemly way. Plus he's taking up pats and laps that by rights belong to chihuahuas.
Bunnie and Mungo are old and grumpy, and Hugo is just grumpy. They don't want to know poor Doug and they tell him so every time they catch sight of him. Everywhere Doug goes he's growled at by a small, angry dog.
In fact, you can tell where Doug is just by listening for chihuahua-accented swearing.
He's just walked past Bunnie's sunny spot in the kitchen.
"Grrrr ..." There he is in the lounge by Mungo's basket.
"Get off the chair, Doug, that's Hugo's territory."
Poor Doug. At least the humans like him. Okay, not at 3am when he wants to play, nor 5am when he needs to go wees, or at 6.45am when I find out he's been wees ... when I stand in it in my socks.
I'm also a little Doug-averse when he runs past me with one of my shoes in his mouth.
And he's a tad unattractive when he has his sharp little puppy-teeth embedded in parts of my anatomy.
I've bought him chew-toys and rawhide bones and those icky bits of dried-animal from the pet shop. I think he's currently munching on dried kangaroo-tail. But that hasn't stopped him latching on to bits of human when the urge takes him.
I woke from a nana nap last weekend to find him gnawing on my leg.
"He's trying to get rid of you," suggested my daughter. "He wants Dad all to himself."
When I complained to Doug's minder that the dog was chewing on me, he said: "I know, isn't he a little character?"
In time I hope Doug grows up and turns his mind - and his teeth - to what whippets are meant to do, and chases the rabbits off our paddock. It's a job that's been vacant since the old boy departed and not one the chihuahuas have stepped up for. They did try, briefly, but after Mungo was pushed over by a particularly mean bunny they quit.
For now, all Doug is good for is eating, sleeping, puddles on the floor and endless photos for Facebook. Our vet commented on the last picture.
"Just keep him away from the lemon tree," she said.