Moles, Chapter 1

Back when my gardening took place on an exposed corner lot in industrial NW Portland, people would often stop by to declare “We could never do this! We live in the country, and the animals destroy everything!” Guess what? We now live in the county.

Today, I will share with you a piece of writing I did when we lived in the city, and tomorrow I will update you on my newly countrified stance.

Consider the rare and elusive mole. If you have an expanse of lawn regularly punctuated by domes of fresh earth, you may dispute the use of the word “rare”. Think about it. The mounds are evidence of mole activity, sure, but how many times have you seen the critter himself? I’m pretty sure you would have a hard time maintaining a high level of indignation if ever you came face to face with one of the little fellers. A mole has a gray coat leaning towards brown…one of those subtle tones favored by Calvin Klein. It is eiderdown soft. Mr./Ms. Mole looks like a puff of smoke with a delicate, pink snout and a pair of outsized paddle-shaped front paws specially adapted for tunneling. Moles are classified as insectivores, meaning they exist on a diet of many of the culprits you are hot to exterminate. With their tunneling, they improve soil aeration and drainage, all the while circulating soil minerals. So what’s the harm of a mound or two, on balance?

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