Out in the wilds of Gifu it’s really the animals’ territory not ours; we’re a sort of Last Outpost of Civilization and as soon as we let up our guard for a moment the jungle tries to take over. The plants and the animals are both cooperating in this and it’s all we can do to try to keep even. Meanwhile, in a pitifully small way, we try not to destroy the environment more than our laziness demands and one example is that we keep most of the organic refuse from Raffles’ over the week, take it out to the country in a Compost Bucket and try to make compost instead of throwing it out for Nagoya City to dispose of. Making compost itself has turned out to be harder than you might think – it seems to be important not to let it get too wet – but before that can even start some of the local animals would rather go over it, pick out some of the choicer titbits for their lunch, and spread the rest in a smelly mess around our garage, where the bucket’s contents mature for a week before joining the main compost heap.
The garage shutter doesn’t come quite down to the ground and there’s about 10cm clearance at the bottom; room for a small animal to get in and mess with the compost bucket inside, which is exactly what’s been happening recently. The other week we discovered the probable culprits. While we were having breakfast outside T. suddenly went “EEEK!! A wild boar!!!”. Wild boars can be dangerous and I jumped up in a hurry but it had already gone. “Look under the house!” – so I had a look (Japanese houses are raised up a bit) and saw three little tanuki sneaking away. (not wild boar fortunately) Apparently they had put their heads out from under the house – must have looked cute, but T. didn’t appreciate it.
Anyway, they were probably the ones opening the rubbish (the bucket has a lid) and making a mess in our garage. I tried putting a biggish stone on top, but the next week they’d still managed between the three of them (or maybe with help from their mum if she was able to get under the shutter) to knock over the bucket. OK, this time a really big stone – even three tanuki together won’t be able to knock this down or get the stone off:
The following week:
How they did it beats me.
Anyway, I’ve now got a big barrel over the bucket with the stone on that, which seems to be doing the job so far.