October 12, 2010

These would be lovable if they were moles...

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... but they are mice. "Inadvertently raked up" — Meade IM's from the garden.
ME: Ouch

MEADE: I didn't hurt them

I even ushered the mother to where I moved them

And then I boiled and ate

All three of them
At first, Meade thought he'd raked up baby moles, but when he found the panic'd mother searching for her lost children, he knew they were mice. But let the topic now be moles. Because, yesterday, we were talking about squirrels, and NotYourTypicalNewYorker said:
Squirrels aren't bothering me.

It's the moles, I can't abide the cursed moles.

I put the trap here, they go over there...

It's the moles I tell ya.
And Meade offered some gardenly wisdom:
The moles are your friends. They aerate the soil and eat pest larvae. It's a misconception that they eat bulbs and other desirable garden plants - they're completely carnivorous.

Set your mower blades higher and/or walk down their feeding runs before firing up the mower. Also, where the female mole pushes up a mound of soil, spread it with a rake or with your boot heel so the mower doesn't hit it. It's the mower that does the damage, not the mole.
Adding tags to this post, I knew I already had the tags "mice" and "rodents." I thought it would be excessive to make a tag "moles." Too narrow! But are moles rodents? No, they are Insectivora. And that underlines Meade's point. Moles don't eat plants. Don't worry about moles. Worry about Meade... eating boiled mice. And me, out there in Meade's grass with the squirrels...



... levitating.

(Thanks to Palladian for the TrANNscendentalism.)

31 comments:

Quayle said...

Gosh I love northern grasses. I'm jealous.

I have to settle for crappy Bermuda (or St. Augustine)

And fire ants. We're always chasing the fire ants around the yard.

chuck b. said...

I hear pepper flakes are supposed to be good for keeping burrowers away from newly-buried bulbs. Sounds hopeless to me.

You can buy [animal] predator urines online, too.

Scott M said...

Holy relevant topic, Blogman! A thread that could have easily gotten 500+ comments ALL FREAKIN SUMMER LONG.

I've been a home-owner for seven years...same yard. I have never, ever had mole problems like I did this year. And not just me, and not just my neighborhood. They were every were. For crying out loud, I almost ran over a mole crossing a paved road twice this past summer.

I have to admit I was about a week and a half late getting my yard cut for the first time earlier this spring. It was unusually long grass that hid the swiss cheese they had turned my yard into. After that, we started setting traps (tricky with small kids underfoot), flooding the runs, and poison. The problem was that once we killed one, more would come from other yards. Like mole ping pong.

I have a flowerbed at the bottom of the front steps in which I noticed one of the telltale mounds. The little bastard was borrowing under the sidewalk and coming out into the dirt to eat. I tried to flood it, but didn't get him. I dug down about a foot or so, came back two hours later, and there was another mound.

Finally, about an hour after that, I saw the damned dirt moving in the bottom of the hole. A killing rage overcame me and I swept up yon yard implement and smote his ruin upon the flower box.

My daughters, 5 and 3, thought I was "pretty cool". Regardless...that was the end of my mole problems for this year. Hopefully they won't be back in force again next year.

1jpb said...

"walk down their feeding runs"

When I've had them, it has looked like their tunnels followed the underground irrigation pipes. But, that could be a coincidence.

BTW, why do irrigation installers insist on using Class 200 pipe instead of Schedule 40? The cost difference is negligible, but the thicker pipe would take a lot longer to deteriorate. My theory is that they want the system to fall apart in twenty or twenty five years so that they can dig it up and put in a new one. Maybe I'm overly suspicious.

paul a'barge said...

What about gophers?

They eat the roots, right?

Sixty Grit said...

Aft gang agley, eh laddie?

Hagar said...

Around here, gophers and moles are actually burrowing squirrels. Often also mistaken for prairie dogs.

peprgirl said...

I have been killing chipmunks all summer...they are the real lawn destroyers.

They dig a hole and leave a huge pile of dirt/stones behind them. God forbid they actually go under the fence where there is space.

I've been using the bucket of water method. I've got 10 dead this summer (plus two mice) and last summer I got 15.

Water and sunflower seeds best method ever.

You want to see a huge google hit list....google Kill Chipmunks.

Scott M said...

What's the bucket of water method? I'm dying to know.

chuck b. said...

What you need are some snakes!

El Pollo Real said...

Thanks for the levity!

k*thy said...

Scott - take a 5-gallon bucket, fill 2/3 with water, then throw in a large handful of sunflower seeds (this is our method). I think you know what happens next...

tree hugging sister said...

Mortimer ~ my "free-range of the backyard" box turtle ~ would eat them, I have come to learn.

Bloodthirsty little cuss.

Moose said...

Given the size of Meade's lawn, his generous attitude toward moles is understandable. However if you've a big lawn, that is a bit more work than its worth.

I can aerate my lawn just fine thank you. I'd just like to give my moles to my neighbor...

Ann Althouse said...

"I hear pepper flakes are supposed to be good for keeping burrowers away from newly-buried bulbs. Sounds hopeless to me."

But don't eat the bulbs, and the squirrels are just ripping holes to put in acorns (messing up the grass).

Scott M said...

"...and sometimes I would get up in that tree and that squirrel would be COVERED in makeup..."

peprgirl said...

Exactly..I use a wastebasket, but take one of those "white pails" fill half with water (too deep and they can swim to the edge and get out, too little and they can stand and hope) then cover the water completely with sunflower seeds (hide the water with the floating seeds).

then either put a board to act as a ramp into the bucket or place next to a flat surface/ledge and sprinkle some of the sunflower seeds around.

They start munching away...see the seeds in the bucket and ploink.

Disposal...ummm...well lets say I am feeding the raccoons and skunks with marinated chipmunks.

Its a proven method and much much easier than traps or poison.

Just use sunflower seeds they are the ones the float the best.

Good Luck.

peprgirl said...

And I have discovered that a chipmunk can tread water for two hours, so once you set the bucket, leave for a day or so.

Joaquin said...

I can't believe you guys are killing chipmucks. I have tons of them all over my entire property and they don't do any harm.
Drowning chipmunck! Y'all are sick!

Joaquin said...

I can't believe you guys are killing chipmucks. I have tons of them all over my entire property and they don't do any harm.
Drowning chipmunck! Y'all are sick!

ndspinelli said...

Makes me want to watch the 3 Stooges.

LordSomber said...

Cats tend to enjoy the flavour of both mole and chipmunk. And they keep the squirrels at bay.

WV: quasmini -- Hunchback midget?

ken in sc said...

Much of the damage people attribute to moles is actually caused by voles. In our yard, they leave pooched up burrow trails all over, eat roots and bulbs, and kill some plants. Feral cats, who are also pests, keep the vole numbers down here.

Tully said...

The little babies might not be moles but they sure could be voles.

Deborah said...

"Cats tend to enjoy the flavour of both mole and chipmunk. And they keep the squirrels at bay."

But OMG their breath after a meal like that.

edutcher said...

Ate them?????

Where did you go to cooking school?

Camp Darby???

No wonder Ann's levitating.

Careful, Meade, Christine O'D will hex you the way she got those people at The Zero rally in MD.

PS Yes, I have cast the occasional mouse from the house, but I always try to put it someplace so it has a chance to hide from the hawk.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

GAH!...M..MO......MOLES!!

(reaches for castor oil and spills!)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Around here, gophers and moles are actually burrowing squirrels. Often also mistaken for prairie dogs.



Ditto. Ground Squirrels They are terrible, making huge burrow complexes that undermine ground and create holes that can break the legs of horses and cattle.

The little pricks also come up to the bird feeders and to the feed scattered on the ground for the quail and stuff their faces full of seeds. Actually pretty funny to see them packing seeds into fat cheeks.

They don't seem to care about the grass, but they have killed several young trees in the orchard. Our raised beds have a double layer of chicken wire on the bottom to try to keep them out.

Once every couple of years we do a deep tilling on the property, but that doesn't seem to completely get rid of them.


I would love one of these But I'm afraid that the undergound irrigation system, gas lines might suffer.

The water method sounds interesting, but I don't think I could stand thinking of the critters swimming for days. Too much like torture. So.....we'll just continue to shoot them.

traditionalguy said...

Moles are the CIA's worst enemy. At their Headquarters the little tunnels criss cross everywhere.Did anyone here see that big mole tunnel going straight into the White House about noon on January 20, 2009?

Julie C said...

Get a beagle. We have one, and the moles or gophers or whatever that were tearing up our yard moved over to our neighbor's yard. Our beagle also killed a family of voles (little mice) that took up residence in the backyard. And she's a terror with the squirrels, although I do think they are smarter than she is.

The howling, baying and barking can be annoying sometimes, however.

Trooper York said...

Meade is a killer.