Friday, September 11, 2015

The Downside of a Fence

On the Inside Looking Out
(The Downside of a Fence part 1)

 When our fence was installed, over days and weeks, the noise of the men and machines ought to have scared off any residual larger inhabitants left in our garden.
But it seems it didn't.

 We have developed a habit, once or twice a week, akin to 'riding of the bounds' where we follow the fence all the way around to check for animal damage, interference or attempts to violate our new barrier.
We have heard deer barking, we like to think in frustration at being kept out, and we have seen the signs of boar-furrowing in some areas just outside the fence.  Luckily so far, there have been no serious attempts at digging from the outside.
But one day we found holes dug from inside the fence. This digging goes along the netting, is shallow, and invariably stops when it reaches the wicked barbed wire which underlies the entire fence, except for the gates.
The entrapped creature, whatever it is, looks pretty desperate, for it has tried digging along at least twelve segments of fence on the south-eastern side.
There are even some - touching - signs of corresponding burrowing on the other side as though some other creature (mate/family member?) is trying to help.
Of all the possible candidates for inadvertent imprisonment at Le Ripe, locals have suggested that the digger could be a badger or a porcupine, since pine martens and foxes can climb or squeeze through, deer don't dig (much) and we would surely have noticed a random wild boar snuffling around our garden by now!
The creature, whatever it is, must have been sleeping soundly in its burrow when the fencers were here, or been too terrified to shift. What a shock to suddenly find its territory so drastically reduced and enclosed!
We trust that our mystery prisoner has enough to eat in our garden (not including our vegies and roses, although one pumpkin, growing outside the vegetable garden, has been devoured), and that one day it will discover that it can actually burrow under the gates, where there is no barbed wire.
In the meanwhile we have filled in and placed stones over the holes to discourage the creature from digging further - and snagging its snout on the barbed wire. 

The evening after publishing this post we heard a crash outside; when we went to investigate our torch lit up two bright eyes in the dark. The next day we walked the bounds again and ascertained that there are many hiding places below the house, amongst brambles and blackthorn, with food sources such as blackberries, figs and wild apples close by: our guest could stay for a while.

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