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Piggies Part Deux

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Other than growing vegetables and cooking, about which I know quite a bit, I would say that at least 80% of what I do here is a combination of "making things up on the spot" and "learning new stuff that I would never have come across otherwise".

And it is this "new stuff" which is mostly the sort of thing which people with a more arable tradition than this city boy don't understand that I don't understand.

I have a huge number of examples, but currently I am thinking of "electric fences".

How do they work? I know they are a fence with a car battery attached, but I never gave it any thought beyond that.

The three little piggies were super happy in their new home. It's many times bigger than where they were before. With an outdoor run around area for outdoor running around, it's the barracks' former dog kennels. Or at least, the last remaining ones. They used to have a lot of dogs here. Big snarly German shepherd border patrol dogs, not pets.

But the piggers were not destined to spend all their time here.

Everyone who stays at the barracks has to earn their keep.

There is no better tool in this world for digging up grassland and turning it into new fields for growing vegetables than the pig's snout. They will upturn the lot, dig out all the roots, and spread manure it at the same time. Yes, they might be earning their living here, but in the most piggie way possible. And when they come out of their premium pen, I would really like them not to eat the bark off young apple trees, the vegetables, or to rampage through the greenhouse. Pigs are very inquisitive. And permanently hungry!

So, we're going to need an electric fence.

I got the brightest orange one I could find. I figure that pigs are rated as highly intelligent and all that, they should touch it maybe once or twice, squeal, and learn. Then, when I move it somewhere else, they'll already know not to touch it and all will be well. Obviously, I'd test it out on myself first to make sure that it's not too awful. Just awful enough.

And a car battery. They're more expensive than I was expecting them to be, but seeing as it is going to be outside in all weathers, getting a decent one seemed practical.

Right. How to hook up the fence? Apparently, the battery doesn't go straight into the fence. Which is obvious, I guess. So you buy an inverter as well.

It comes with detailed instructions.

Just kidding. It had a couple of line drawings of vaguely how to connect up a battery and an inverter and a fence and three grounding posts.

Grounding posts?

So, back off to the shop again. On the bike again. And buy three 1m long lengths of some sort of ferrous pole. These need to be spaced 3m from the inverter, and at 1m intervals. And driven into the ground to a depth of 60cm.

Have I ever mentioned that my ground is basically rocks held together with clay? But, with the sledgehammer and some precision whallopping they did indeed eventually get placed at the correct spacing. Hook the whole lot up with wire, connect, and that should be it.

But why? The ground is the ground! Grab hold of the fence and electrical pulses pass through the fence, through you, into the ground, and back underground to the fence, completing the circuit! I don't know why this amazed me as much as it did. It seems a long way for the current to travel.

Finally, to test it.


Ok, it needs some describing. It absolutely "hurts", but it is so instantaneous, and... shocking you hardly notice it. Except for the bit where you shout rather loudly and decide not to do that again.

So, of course, I did it again.


I was standing with my foot against the earth spike, so basically I got the entire 40,000 V. That is really something I will never do again.


I am glad that no-body ever asked me why I planted 36 pumpkin plants this year. I genuinely don't have a reasonable answer. I just kept buying seeds and pumpkin seed packets always looked super interesting, so I just kept buying them.

But, time does not exist, all things happen in the same instant, and we have access to knowledge of the future as well as of the past.

(as an aside, the human experience does not allow us to believe this, let alone understand it, but ask a physicist. It appears to be true. In Western traditions, we visualise the progression of time with the future in front of us, and the past behind us. Hinduism sees the past as being in front of us (where we can see it) and the future coming from behind us, which seems to make much more sense to me)

All the pumpkin (marrow, courgette, squash) plants did extremely well. And they all started cropping massively just as the piggies arrived. I mowed for an hour every day, and they got the grass clippings, which they love, and for their evening meal, about 10kg of pumpkin.

You may well be thinking that pumpkins are delicious, but not particularly high value foodstuffs. That would be because you are forgetting about the seeds. And these gourds certainly knew about making seeds.

On top of this, I know two old men with two old apple trees. And neither man wants his apples, so I am allowed to go and collect them for the piggies. This year, I have easily taken 100kg of apples and fed them to the Drei Wollies.

They have been remarkably well fed this year. Potatoes, cabbages, lots of carrots. Basically, everything that I eat.

I have already started work on a 500m2 plot for their food next year. Root mangolds, sunflowers, potatoes, and lots and lots of greens will be the order of the day. And hopefully, next year, I will have enough to feed them for the whole 12 months. If plans go according to.

This year, however, I cannot. I have to buy food.

It looks like the total cost will be somewhere around 2000 Euros. I did a bit of a breakdown of what they eat, and I've already bought a bunch of stuff. They are currently on lucerne pellets, wheat shreddings, "universal pig food", stale bread and today they just had the last of the root mangolds.

So, I'm going to ask for help. This is not a thing I do often, if ever, and I feel a bit peculiar about it, but I asked a couple of my nearest and dearest, and they have encouraged me a lot.

Some have pitched me to save more animals, and raise the funds for that by allowing people to sponsor animals - I love this idea. Webcams, and interractive elements have also been mooted.

As always, though, I will go with the simplest solution first, and build up to come complex things in the future. Maybe.

So, this is the plan.

We call love giving presents around the festive period, but we often struggle with the consumerist elements of it. So this year, why not give the gift of a piggie meal sponsorship?

I've opened a gofundme which you can find here

The headline, after all endless discussion and maths is:

10€ feeds one piggie for 3.5 days,

20€ provides all the nutritional satisfaction for one piggie for a whole week!

and 60€ therefore keeps all three of them in great tasting pig food for a week.

If you can help, then please consider supporting the piggies.

If financial helping isn't a thing you feel you can do right now, but still want to show the love, then please share this widely! Paste it on your social media walls, mention it in your facebook groups, ask for this as your Christmas present!

Your help is so appreciated, I feel a bit weird for asking, I love you all!

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