In an effort to keep y’all apprised of the mole and mower sitchee-ation…
A Brief State of the Homestead Address:
In the days following the discovery of the mole invasion whilst atop the crippled lawn mower, progress has been made on many fronts.
The girls did some raking early on in the week, and took care of roughly 1/3 – 1/2 of the still-suffocating acreage before the rains came. Oh, to be young again.
I did the mole-run shuffle at each designated period of outdoor activity, seeking out any long straight runs where I might insert some traps, but finding only evidence of Moles on Speed, thrashing about the yard in bursts of no more than 18″ before spasmically retreating and trying yet another direction for their headlong springtime exercise.
As a fun aside, before we hit the juicy stuff, I ventured out in public this week, a couple of times. Because life. Wednesday, we traversed half the state to be temp-tested and interrogated at the hospital with anonymous family members. Here I am, hangin’ in the waiting room, cuz I love me some doctors in the time of COVID:
Then we went to the Walmart. Where you’ll be thrilled to note that Zinc Lozenges are back in stock.
I feel the need to note how very many folks are still out in closed public spaces without donning masks, or having any regard to the six-foot rule. I felt like a doomsdayer, out there in my PPE while everyone else acted like nothing was going on. C’mon folks. I’ll wear this damn mask to protect you, and I sure would love it if you’d wear one to protect me.
Upon returning to the homestead, I wandered back out into the minefield.
Here’s a picture, which does the situation no justice whatsoever:
Well, I went out and found me a few candidate runs for the Traplines, and set to work. One particular run was especially promising, a clear entry point from the woods, and a straight line to the most destroyed area of the lawn.
I slipped into my mole hunting gloves, to minimize the scent I laid upon the traps, for those little buggers have some serious sniffers on ’em, and I excavated a hole near the middle of that longest of runs. Cleared out the tunnels to either side of my hole, set my dear little Traplines, and inserted one in each direction, ready for the enemy whether he was ingoing or outgoing. I threaded my fine utility flags into the back end of each galvanized gladiator and filled my hole back in.
Locked and loaded.
Run #2 was not as promising, but if you’re going to set the traps, you might as well set’m all.
And at Run #3, a sorry excuse for a candidate, I was reminded that last year we lost one of our six traps. Some dastardly mole literally walked away with our trap, leaving its flag laying politely tunnelside.
Now I never did see how that was possible, but it happened, and there is little use arguing with reality. I imagine somehow, someone sprung that baby onto a non-critical body part, and may still be dragging it around the subterranean quarters of our acreage.
Nevertheless, I got out the metal detector and waltzed over to the last known location of our missing trap, or at least the best coordinates my memory could come up with. A smarter human would have pulled out that detector last year, you know, when the flag was still laying there marking the scene of the crime.
Regardless, the only thing I found was a dime-sized hunk of what must have once been an aluminum can. Blast.
So Run #3 got only one trap, facing whatever direction the winds told me to stick it. Long shot, but again, set one, set’m all.
That was Wednesday.
Thursday, we woke to sunny, glorious skies, sprinkled with weird-o styrofoam pellet squalls. Hard to describe.
When the snow gave way to sunshine enough to melt all the white, I went out to check the traps.
Now, you might not be able to see it in that tiny pic, so I’ll blow it up a little:
You see that, there in the middle? That ain’t dirt. That, my friends, is the biggest mole I ever did see. Here he is in all his trapped glory:
Now that thing? I could believe that granddaddy could drag off a trap. My loving husband kindly tells me ‘he/she is pretty good sized.’ When pressed, he admits that the correct assessment is ‘Yes, it’s HUGE.’
Yes. It. Is.
While I celebrated, I took a nice little walk in the woods and got some better shots of the remaining styro-snow pocketed around the north side of the pines:
Also, I found this homemade spring down in a mysterious mossy hole in our hillside. ’58 Tornado shrapnel like everything else in these woods. Quite the photogenic hunk, though:
So, today? A few more runs out there to assess and stomp, but the loss of the godfatha’ is apparent in their weakness. No good spots to mount the next assault.
And this afternoon my dad came over to take a look at the John Deere. We applied a new Secondary Drive Belt and adjusted the attachment point of the tensioner pulley, an operation requiring the drilling of some new holes in the arm. Because why not. Then the old JD proceeded to shred the Primary Drive Belt. She disintegrated with a similar odor of acridity, and only a third of her mangled length was recovered.
Guess it’s time for another trip to the Farm and Fleet. Better wash the masks.
If you’re looking for a cheap 3-wheeled John Deere, have I got a deal for you…