Gardener's Grapevine 2012.02.01

Written by David Green.

Welcome to winter in Michigan. The wind is blowing, the snow is flying, and I’m very pleased to see it all from inside my warm home.

Yesterday I was visiting with my grandmother, Katherine Wollter. She is a grand lady with insight into many diverse parts of life that I don’t normally think about. I love to hear her thoughts on both the present and the past, as she has lived in Morenci her entire life and spent a great deal of it employed for the A&P grocery company.

She worked at the original A&P grocery when it was in the Village Inn building prior to moving to the current grocery store location. She is one very interesting lady with a lot of class, so when she said that if she had lived out west in pioneer times with the months of wind constantly blowing it would have driven her to insanity, I was a little taken back.

My grandmother never stops expanding her mind, so my thoughts were hunker down with a  stack of good books and let the wind blow all it wants. When I started to verbalize this, she gave me one of those “think about it” looks only she can give, which makes me want to crawl under the table.

It’s pioneer times…very few books, no TV, computer, radio and next to no paper. The wind blew sand in around the windows and doors constantly, and the noise was incredible. Okay, Gram, you win and I don’t want to live back then either if I can’t at least have a stack of good books.  No wonder they made such beautiful quilts and clothing. What else was there to do?

Looking at the snow covered lawn I am thinking of the moles. What an ugly creature God made, but like all other things in this world they come very well equipped with the necessary items to survive. They have claws for digging, an advanced sense of smell to compensate for their lack of eyesight, and a not so discriminating diet, all in one ugly little package. They are insectivores. Yes, they love grubs, but also earthworms, insects and any other invertebrate. They will tunnel a long way to get what they want and can destroy a lawn very quickly.

My grandmother was cultivating a very nice family of them for awhile, then we treated the lawn and it helped. We had some two years ago that arrived from our neighbors to the west. We could actually see where they tunneled under the road and popped up on our side. We have such great and giving neighbors! Really, they are wonderful folks who we like very much, but I’m sure they were glad to wave goodbye to the pests.

My husband turned into Bill Murray in Caddy Shack with these crazy rodents. We applied poison bait and set traps, and my well-educated husband would be out in the yard mumbling to the moles about their eminent end of life.

I did a little research on getting rid of moles. Most people think that getting rid of grubs will do it, but most ideas and products don’t work. According to what I read, the only way to eliminate moles is to put down poison bait and traps. The traps do not trap them, they kill them. Traps are great if you can figure out which runs are the current ones in use. The poison bait most wildly recommended is a product called Tom Cat. Whatever you try, be prepared for a long fight with these animals as they are not easily controlled even with the proper equipment.

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