A Pig’s Tale

Can our Abruzzo garden survive the nightly ravages of a wild boar ? Or can an unlikely improvised solution persuade piggy to pork off ?

So far this year at Villasfor2, we’ve had one visitor we really could have done without. A wild boar who decided that our Abruzzo garden – and our neighbour’s vegetable patch – were ideal ports of call on its nightly piggy perambulations.

The olive leaves – a by-product of the autumn’s olive harvest – we use to thickly mulch our shrubs and roses had been deeply furrowed by the boar’s snout as it rooted around for tasty grubs and worms.

Though this was vexing enough to see and time-consuming enough to make good, aside from a couple of snapped-off branches, there was no lasting damage done.

There are piggies at the bottom of our garden...Our neighbour wasn’t so lucky. His potato crop disappeared and a patch of wheat became progressively levelled as the boar returned on each of the next four nights.

It’s currently outside the hunting season, so taking a pot-shot at piggy wasn’t an option, though the local farmers – many of whom reported damage to crops and orchards – argued the toss as to what would happen if a shot fired to scare the porker away instead were to kill it.

The kind of hypothetical discussion point that Italians love nearly as much as football.

My neighbor shrugged stoically as each morning he arrived to survey the night’s damage. Boars will be boars, seemed to be the attitude.

I decided to be a little more proactively persuasive in pursuit of repelling this unwelcome porcine attention.

I bought a cheap radio which as dusk fell, I tuned into the worst Europop station I could find, turned the volume to maximum and hung in a tree.

I then illuminated the most-favoured rooting area of our garden with a 500 watt spotlight.

Averting my eyes from the dazzling glare and trying to ignore the awful music carried on the night breeze, I assured our guests that this was pig prevention on a new and innovative scale, rather than some bizarre Abruzzo son e lumiere display.

And guess what ? It worked ! The next morning, not so much as a blade of grass had been touched.

Piggy decided that a floodlit dinner with musical accompaniment wasn’t for him (or her) and didn’t come back. And with nothing now left worth eating in next door’s veg patch, it seems to have left our area.

But I’m still nervously eyeing the sweetcorn crop in our own veggie patch as I’m told that this is the all-time wild boar number one favorite snack product.

It might yet be a race to see who gets to eat it first – him or us.

Incidentally, the picture illustrating this blog is of a wild boar. Not the wild boar. They all look pretty much the same and I knew you wouldn’t mind…


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