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Thursday, July 26, 2012

The New Neighbor

My garden has been a constant source of  anxiety and struggle this year, maybe more so than any other year.  Recently the moles having been having their way with the garden.  I'm so at my very. wit's. end. that I finally broke down and bought mole traps, but it turns out that summer time is not really the best time to be trapping moles, as they've moved lower because the surface soil is too warm.  The best time to trap moles turns out to be during the the spring before they make more moles, and in the fall, after they've come up from the deep soil from summer, but before they go back to the deep soil in winter. Consequently, Steve hasn't trapped anything yet, and the moles continue to shove strawberries and onions aside.

I thought long and hard about how to get these guys- I even tried the hose-in-the-exhaust-pipe trick that I witnessed my dad use to good effect to kill the gopher that was tearing up the front yard when I was a kid, so I knew how to do it.  But Daddy was working with a fairly short hose, and both the truck and the gopher were in the front yard; I did not have any luck getting the fumes to come out the business end of the hose, possibly because we had three hoses linked together, or maybe there was water blocking it- who knows? So we finally gave up and bought the traps.  This dilemma with the moles has been going on awhile; I mentioned it to one of my salesmen last week and he told me about a molecat, but it sounded like something you don't want to point at yourself (or your kids, no matter how tempted you might be), so I didn't spring for them.  I'm beginning to wish I did- they might work better than an old-fashioned scissor trap.  I might run a test of both this autumn, but they are, no lie, ten times the cost of the trap, so we'll see.

Anyway, evidently, someone else besides the moles has moved in. This evening I was moving a running hose around the stone fruit trees at the back of the yard and discovered this:

Either we have a new neighbor or my yard has a new vagina.
My money's on a new neighbor. The bad kind.
And a brazilian is not going to make this look any better.

It's by the compost pile, and there's a variety of detritus that whatever it is has pulled into its den, but closer inspection indicates that the trash in the hole is not coming from my compost pile.  They appear to be empty bee combs, and the only varmints that I know of that raid bee hives besides bears are skunks, because skunks eat sleeping bees.  If ever there was an evening I wished I had Tamar Haspel's Varmintcam, this evening was it.  I toyed briefly with the idea of running the hose into the hole, but thought the better of it if it did turn out to be a skunk.  I mean, if it left its den and came out, then what would I do?  I've gone after raccoons with the spading fork, but raccoons don't have quite the brilliant defense mechanism that skunks do. And while I haven't been skunked personally, I've washed a dog who was, and that is the closest I want to get to a skunk again. Ever.

So instead of putting money into the chicken run this coming month which I really need and want to do, I'm going to have a Varmint Guy come out and take care of it.  I could probably live with the moles a little longer, and if it comes right down to it, I can probably wait long enough to get my money's worth out of the traps, which probably means sometime this fall.

But the new neighbor has got to go.

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