Making Molehills out of Molehills

I can’t believe my good luck. Check this out:

Yes! These are molehills. Real molehills! I am so excited! This is what they look like close up:

Can you believe it? I mean how often does the Universe pitch you one right through the strike zone like this?  Will you or will you not, turn these into mountains? Molehills!

The question is, what to do about it? Inveigle the neighbourhood cats to patrol the area? Stuff the tunnels with moth balls? Contact a professional?

My first reaction, naturally, was to call in the air force.

“Uh, well, we can’t really get at those until spring,” the wildlife removal expert said when I called back in January. We’d had just enough of a warm spell for the piles to reveal their muddy heads.

“I figured that. I just wanted to be first in line. I mean – check it out – I have a veritable mole highway running the length of my side-yard.”

“Yeah, they can get pretty busy, pretty fast,” the mole guy replied. Apparently. I took a step closer to the window and peered out at the muddy carnage.

“How do you get rid of them”? I asked.

“Lethal trapping is pretty much the only way,” he said. “You set traps in their tunnels. It’s a tricky business, but nothing else works.”

“I see,” I said, shifting my weight from one foot to the other. I am the kind of person who will trap a spider with a plastic cup and cardboard, then gently escort it outside. Committing mass mole murder is not an option that sits easily with me.

“Do they carry any diseases?” I asked, grasping for any straw of legitimacy that would justify such extreme measures.

“No, nothing that poses a danger to people,” he said. “People mainly find them a nuisance because of all the tunnelling and the dirt piles. They can create a heckuva mess in a nicely manicured lawn.”

I closed my eyes and rubbed my forehead.

Well, there’s no danger there, I thought. My lawn is essentially a farmer`s field, rough and bumpy and chock-full of weeds from spring through fall. We keep the weeds nicely mowed, mind you, but it would be a stretch to label this two-acre tract manicured. Never mind that I live next to a golf course.

I thanked him for his time and said I’d call him in the spring.

Today, I walk through the back yard to inspect the mole field and am surprised to feel not irritation, but affection. Our yard is feeding a population of critters who are clearly thriving. I am not sure that I want to ‘do anything about them’. I kind of like them. And who am I to be telling them where to live? Who died and left me in charge of the rodent population? Can’t we can all thrive here… ?

I decide to leave them be.

Sure, I`ll rake out the dirt mounds, maybe throw some Kentucky blue grass seeds on the bare patches. And hey! I just realized that these little guys are aerating my lawn. OK, granted, it is extreme aerating – the whole yard might well collapse. But still – do you have an idea how much it costs to hire an outside service to aerate 2 acres of hard-luck grass and weeds? No? Neither do I. I would no sooner deliberately poke holes in my lawn than I would put weed killer on it, and I’ve never done that, not even before the local government passed a by-law banning pesticides. Nah, I like the nodding heads of dandelions (with apologies to my neighbours who have different sensibilities, their lawns so perfect you could bowl on them).

So if the dandelions can stay, why not the moles? At least, why not leave them be for a while and see if we can peacefully co-exist? I mean it is not as if they bite. Wait, do moles bite? Stay tuned!

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