Emerging from a tunnel


Have you trimmed your lawn yet? Traditionally Easter is the time to mow. Mr T has already been out there giving the grass a light hair cut (which is more than I have had). Mind you we do not have a lawn, in the strictest sense, it is just a corner of one of the fields with short grass.

The trouble is, though, that because it is really part of a meadow, we have lots of moles. And there is nothing wrong with that, but if you have moles you will know that they can be a problem because they make mole hills. In our case right in the middle of the ‘lawn’. And apart from it being unsightly they can also burrow under our plants and I have seen such disturbance that the plant dies. Sometimes moles come near the surface to dig and I have watched the earth move in a long line.

We have never seriously tried to get rid of moles though I have a friend who employs someone to do this. There are traps and fumes, and we have tried the child’s plastic windmill because moles are not supposed to like the vibrations. Usually, we do not bother and just put up with them. After all, moles aerate the soil with their tunnels and they are a sign that the soil is rich with worms.

I saw a mole yesterday in Oak Meadow – this is a rare treat, in fact, it was my first time. I saw him at his hill of soil. I saw his wide digging paws; he has an extra thumb to help move soil. He did not see me because moles are practically blind, but he could sense my movements and was soon back down in his dark tunnel again. I expect he was busy looking for a female to mate or he could have been hunting for a tasty worm, slug, or grub.

Often farmers are concerned about the moles because they can make the ground uneven and cause livestock to stumble and sustain serious damage. William of Orange died after he fell from his horse which is said to have stumbled on a hole made by a mole. The story goes that his enemies were pleased and had a toast to the mole which they called the ‘little gentleman in the black velvet waist coat’.

I think we have lived a little like the mole staying ‘underground’ for a year. Now we look forward to emerging into the spring sunshine. And another piece of good news is that our little hen is laying again after her winter rest. We have a fresh egg every day.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star on Thursday - Talking point with Vicky Turrell).


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