We are playing the long-term game here on the homestead. In a year and a half we’ve only planted 4 trees because well, the soil sucks and why stick sticks in the ground just to have them suffer? It takes time to build soil and that is what we are focusing on. Meanwhile, we expanded the annual garden in year two, because, YUM. Gradually, but surely, moles tunneled in to enjoy anything low-hanging or fallen. The garden did so well in the summer, that the loss was negligible. But then, in the fall, first the beets, then the carrots…ALL THE BEETS and ALL THE CARROTS…were decimated!
The carrots were planted late and funnily, in a raised bed made up of my patented “mole mix“, so I wasn’t too disappointed. I mean, they did all the work tilling up that nice soil…so, I let bygones be bygones. But, the beets. I kept those babies moist during the heat of late summer allowing for excellent germination. I carefully cut back the crimson clover cover crop to give room and feed nitrogen into the soil. Then, they were all beheaded like some grim medieval tale. Argh!!!
Thankfully, carrots and beets are cheap food and our store was maxed with potatoes, squash, and oodles of canned goods anyways. The garden is way less soggy this winter, by the way, with all that new underground drainage system, so that’s a plus. Still things were getting out of hand and I was beginning to consider an external input. Something natural like castor oil is supposedly a mole deterrent and Gwen went and picked up some.
Well, its been frozen for a couple weeks, so spraying now doesn’t make much sense. Whatever to do? Well, Masanobu Fukuoka, author of One Straw Revolution, and natural farmer, would ask, “What can I do less of?” Meaning, “Where can I save my own energy and align more with the patterns of nature?”
Nature seeks a balance. When one side of the scale is tipped, it sends in a force to either subtract on that side, or add on the other. What we need is a predator for the pest. But, our cat has previously been a staunch pacifist. She’s only killed one bird in 12 years. And that was probably because it was bothering her nap time.
The last few days, however, she has been stalking, hovering and pouncing the many openings to the above world. I saw her get two moles today alone. And this evening she’s been strutting around with a newfound air of confidence. It may not guarantee a full root crop harvest next year, but it is one example of how our pets can be a part of nature if we let them and how we are too when we observe and interact with it.
Regardless, I will continue to harvest seed starter and enjoy dryer spring garden conditions all thanks to the mole-scaping. And, of course, sing the praises of Butternut the Cat!