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.