Sunday, April 29, 2007

Warning - this post contains a photo of a dead mole.

Our approach to wildlife is very simple - if it was here before we were then we have to learn to live with it.

Hence we put up with hares (that nibble hedges), voles (that tunnel under growing plants), pheasants (that eat bulbs) and yes, moles (that turn the grass paths and beds into ripples). While most farmers I know are keen on wildlife and do a lot to nurture it, this latter foible is regarded with hilarity (and I suspect a little annoyance) by our farming neighbours who enthusiastically annihilate all moles with a variety of horrible methods. It is of course for a reason, while a mole to me means an unsightly hump and some nice friable soil to steal as potting compost, to our neighbours it means ruined silage as the soil mixes with the harvested grass.

Minou obviously feels the same. The photo above shows Minou the foreman instructing Jasmine to "keep digging" for a mole that he could obviously hear under the ground. The photo was taken at the beginning of a week of frenzied activity - cat issuing instructions, Jasmine digging until her claws hurt and the mole cheekily coming up behind them with 8 fresh hills. This took up most of their waking hours from last Monday.

This morning this is what we found on the lawn - a beautiful sheeny black mole with 2 telltale puncture marks on his neck. Mr Mole is no more. Minou is a great hunter (he usually catches 2 of everything, one for himself, one for Jasmine the sidekick) but is scrupulous about hunting when hungry and then eating his catch. This was something quite different - he just knew that mole was laughing at him.

I am very sad - it is very easy to be sentimental about such a stunningly beautiful animal. Katie had to be persuaded that a dead mole is not a suitable soft toy.


Tracy said...

What great team work!!
It is so like the cat to be taking it easy whilst the slightly less bright dog does all the hard work!
Please God - let me come back as a cat.
Tracy x
P.S - loving the hat x

weirdbunny said...

We seem to be infested with moles here ! They drive our dog patch toatally nuts, she's never caught one though. Clearly she needs the help of a clever cat too. We don't do anything to stop the moles either. Although the woodcutter will walk alng and shout out about a mole hill that wasn't their ten seconds ago !

About the Janet Bolton quilts. If you look in my april 06 archive, or click the sewing catergorie and go to almost the bigining. You'll see the Janet Bolton Noahs Ark quilt that I did - love Julia x

(I love your new photo with the hat !! Small holding isn't always a glamorous business is it ! Trinny and Sussnah of 'What not to Wear who have heart faliure and my garden gear !)

carolyn said...

Great hat Jane is it moleskin? Only joking. Such a brilliant photograph of the partners in crime, years ago we had a cat who would bring birds into the house. We never felt to bad about it as we were convinced that he was eating them as all we ever found was the beak and feet. Then we discovered the truth, the cat was bringing in the birds and giving them to the dog who was only too happy to try and conceal the evidence.

Samantha said...

Such a shame - he is so beautiful.

Our cat brought a mouse home (dead of course) and plonked it on the big dish with a whole chicken and roasties!

Jane said...

Yes Jasmine and Minou are quite a pair - despite being the newest arrival Minou is boss of the house as far as Jasmine is concerned. Jasmine is quite the "spoilt child" though and will whine until she gets her own mouse to play with.

I am already thinking about how to keep Minou in when the baby birds start to learn how to fly. Dead mice I am fine with, birds I am not.

The hat was an emergency hat made yesterday when it was brilliant sunshine but with a very very cold east wind. I couldn't find a hat so made one from an old jumper. Euan thought it looked ridiculous so took a photo. I must say that he didn't exactly look like a magazine model at the time either.

Julia I have had a look at your Noah's Ark quilt - beautiful.


BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

Oh my! What a sad little sight! They are rather cute, though, aren't they? One of my cats preferred catching (or, rather killing) moles to mice. She found quite a few! One thing that confuses me is why those little moles seem to drown themselves in our little water fountains (and two even drown themselves in my baby's tiny outdoor swimming pool)!

Alice said...

Hi Jane,
Great photo! I prefer it because you are smiling and look so happy. It also makes you look real and not polished, coffee table, boring blogista.
I was interested by the sad story of the mole. The one bright side is that it gives you and the children the chance to appreciate a very secretive animal.
I wonder if you have ever read Laura Ingalls Wilder to your girls - they may well be interested because there are delightful descriptions of self-sufficiency in pioneering times including the butchering of a pig. I adored the series as a child and it hasn't dated.

Jane said...

Alice - I prefer the photo as well - the other one was from CL Magazine and took about 2 hours to shoot - I think I look really snooty in it.
I didn't have an alternative photo as for the past couple of years I have been taking steroids for a medical condition - this made my face (and body) balloon and I became very moon faced which I hated so don't appear on any photos.
Now I have been able to reducethe steroids and am gradually losing weight and moonyness so didn't run when the photo was taken at the weekend! vanity, vanity!

The girls love the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (well Katie doesn't read much but she loves the DVDs!) - it takes me back to playing "Little House on the Prairie" in the school playground aged 6)