Ins and Outs

It turns out that a big factor in the art of farming is keeping animals in somewhere (their paddock, pen, run) or out of somewhere else (the veggie garden, the fruit trees, some other animal’s paddock, the neighbour’s rabbit hutch).

We have already had a few fails on this score. Notably the curious incident of the hoofbeats in the night, and more recently some rogue visits by the young dog to our neighbour’s block. Much as the phrase ‘Have you seen the black dog?’ sounds like something your local spy contact should counter with ‘No, but I hear Helsinki is wonderful this time of year’; around here it is a straight question. Oft asked with a nervous glance around for said black dog which only serves to strengthen the impression of a covert operation.

Over time we’ve solved the various escape problems. Ponies are now contained after our most recent fencing extravaganza — I call it an extravaganza because it cost us at least as much as a day hire on a couple of elephants and a troupe of go-go dancers — and the black dog has been deterred by some crafty gate macrame. What you didn’t know that macrame was an essential farming skill? Shame on you.

Gate with electric tape

Craft projects with ChrissyB #1. Gate Macrame

The difficulty is that each animal we add to the menagerie comes with its own set of escape techniques. Case in point, those kunekune pigs. One night last week the Forebearing Husband was on his way to the barn on an important manly mission involving a bucket and an electric fan (don’t ask). It was very dark so when he heard a snuffling and grunting in the grass alongside the driveway he thought heffalump and deftly moved the bucket and fan into a helmet and quarterstaff arrangement (no pictures, it was very dark remember). Poised to defend the compound he waited. Nervously. Enter Nell, ‘Hi human, is that food you have there in your bucket?’.

At ease soldier. Pulse rate returns to baseline. Pig is returned to her assigned area.

Kunekune pigs

Nell and Fig. ‘Hi human, is that food in your bucket’. A pig’s enthusiasm for breakfast is beautiful to behold

Turns out the pigs can dig under the new fences. Turns out they can manage this even when we think we’ve blocked potential egress points with roofing iron. Dammit! As Deborah said later, it’s our reasoning power vs the food drive of those pigs. Surely the humans will prevail?

Wish us luck!



  1. an electric fan is more of a mace-type weapon than a quarter-staff.

    also, putting one’s head in what one’s farm animals recognise as a food receptacle may not be the smartest move.

    jus’ sayin’.

  2. I feel confident that we will eventually figure out how to contain those pigs! How much money we will have spent to achieve it and whether the pigs have been stomped to death by ponies before then remains to be seen….

    • If stomped to death (Gods forbid) they should be remarkably easy to contain one would hope. #zombie pigs

  3. With crafty macramé gates and extravaganza fences even those cute kunekunes have met their match…..til next time;) xx

  4. Cute piggies! One of our favourite books “My first car was red”, refers to Uncle Ludwig calling his organic pigs bio-swine.

    • Bio-swine, now there’s a great term. “Fig’n’Nell those bio-swine are on the loose again!”.

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