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.
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.
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!