Tuesday, January 12, 2010

They Know It's Winter, Don't They?

I looked out the back window the other day and noticed some pretty large piles of dirt in the back yard. Some of them are covered in snow, others not. So they're pretty fresh. I had no idea that moles were active this time of year. A mole is called une taupe in French. Guess what color they are? That's right: taupe.

Fresh mole mountains in the January snow.

We've had our problems with moles in the past. The little critters are a pain because I have to remove their dirt hills before I can run the lawnmower. That leaves big brown patches in the lawn. Many of their tunnels are at the surface which makes the ground uneven and spongy.

But I cannot fight them. I've even come to accept them. The moles aerate our packed clay soil. They eat grubs that could turn into garden pests. They don't eat plants or plant roots. The mole dirt that I gather is good soil for the vegetable garden. They are an integral part of our little ecosystem.

But why are they digging in the winter? Don't they hibernate or something? Don't they go off to the Riviera or Morocco for the holidays? And if they're this active in January, what's it going to be like in spring?

I shudder to think.

10 comments:

  1. My father has an eternal battle with moles in his yard ... unfortunately he is not as accepting of them as you are. :-) the ones in his yard are usually pretty active still in winter if it is not too cold.

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  2. You need a good hunter cat. Get one from a farm (because not all cats of course hunt, it's a partially learned behavior) and the moles will move to someone's woods not yard or hopefully the vineyard. They like grubs don't they, so the lawn grubs need to go away too...

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  3. Oh dear - they make an awful mess.

    Good luck.

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  4. Holy moly;-) Some dogs will destroy your lawn digging for moles. My parents had some, but our poodles declined that job. Callie must not be that type of dog either.

    The moles are lucky to have found your place to live.

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  5. No, they don't go to the Riveiera -I think they go to St. Bart's. :-)

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  6. I second Suzanne's suggestion.

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  7. We were watching the film Les Jeux Interdits today in French 5, and there was a scene where the little boy comes in carrying une taupe. I stopped the film and pointed out that taupe was the word for mole, and then I told them, "Now, just keep that in your minds for something I'm going to show you later." After the film, I said, "Okay, hold on...." and I opened up your 2006 post about les taupes, and the kids laughed out loud :))))

    Judy

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  8. justin, this is the first time I've seen them in winter! Aaargh!

    suzanne, there are several cats in our neighborhood that do, from time to time, hunt in our yard. But the dog keeps them away more often than not.

    jean, I've resigned myself to just cleaning up after them.

    evelyn, Callie tried that, but we trained her not to dig. She has a relapse from time to time, though.

    diogenes, we need to stop all return flights!

    larry, do you know any hunting cats that want to live in France?

    judy, that's great! I'm glad they enjoyed it.

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  9. Holy Moley! You need one of those big mallets to pound them down when they pop up. That would be a great game.

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  10. Obviously they are plotting, and up to no good.
    No doubt Belgian moles from the looks of them.

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