The Iron pig
Ystervark – Afrikaans. A literal translation would be iron-pig. Which I suppose when you’re on the business end of one of these things it could make sense.
As far as my problems go, accidentally fencing a porcupine in the garden is not one of them. Is one of things I could have said. Until recently. When I… you know, accidentally fenced in a porcupine.
As context I offer that I have quite eh… whats the word I’m looking for… unkempt might be a little unkind. We’ve left our garden, which is about 3/4 of an acre, au-naturale. It sorta blends into the nature reserve on the mountain behind us and animals have been using it as through path since forever to go and… well probably raid rubbish bins down here in suburbia.
For a while we had no fence. But then people would wander onto our property in an effort to try and find a path to go hike up the mountain and so we sunk some wooden posts and added four strands of wire to give our parcel some semblance of ownership. Since we’ve moved here permanently we have added our own more domesticated menagerie…
The Maine Coon does its thing. And I feel I could trust the German to stick around. The Basset Hound, on the other hand has a wandering tendency, and given the opportunity would be gone in a heartbeat, never to return. Constantly confining them to the back yard seems a little unkind and while we’ve been here a year, there have been a slew of other things to abrade our disposable income.
Until now. And last week we upgraded our fence to something a little more robust and enclosing.
The two old folk who live across from us sent me this picture.
Do you know you have a Porcupine in your garden?
The law of unintended consequences.
Cursory googling suggests that there is no such thing as a porcupine removal service and I feel it is unlikely to be lured out of its cave with a biscuit. (I suspect I know where it is domiciled). In any event, I have seen pictures of dogs (and even lions) who have gone toe-to-toe with a porcupine and come off second best. Which obviously gives me pause.
He (or she) can still get out. I’ve left gaps where the various reptiles (and probably a Basset hound) can potentially get through on the side facing the bundus1. So its not absolutely secure, hopefully it’ll go meander off somewhere else soon, thereby absolving me of the pressure of having to don safety glasses, welding gloves and then tempting it out of its lair with positive affirmations. (my pillow talk is a little rusty)
 Noun. Origin Shona. In South Africa and Zimbabwe meaning wilderness regions.
This has not been my only night-time interloper.
I’ve really been struggling with my vegetable garden here. When we lived in Jo’burg you could literally throw seeds in the dirt and have food 80 days later.
In the Cape, this strategy hasn’t really worked out well for me. Last spring the tortoises, Franklins, Guinea Fowl, voles and mice decimated whatever I grew. This year I was a little smarter and used raised beds and containers. Only just as my peas and strawberries were starting to look really good something wandered on in and in two night time raids, annihilated absolutely everything.
I’ve have, in the last couple of days, worked through each of the very distinct stages of grief.
This is the SOB responsible. A Steenbok. Or maybe a Duiker. I tend to be a little agnostic when it comes to tiny antelope. But that such a tiny thing could do so much damage blows my mind.
Bambi has made me incredibly angry. And also made me question whether growing stuff is actually just an exercise in futility. Maybe its just not my thing anymore.