doodle by andre: whodunit? please, please do tell.

I HAVE TO CONFESS, EVEN AFTER ALL THESE YEARS of gardening, I still wonder what in the world causes those spontaneous mounds of soil here and there in the garden that appear out of nowhere. Ants? Moles? Voles? UFO’s? Who are you laying your bet on? (Wild monkeys? Orangutans? Loch Ness monsters?). :) Thanks as ever, beloved Andre Jordan.

  1. Michelle B says:

    I get these adorable little piles of freshly thrown up mounds made by earthworms and their castings, in the spring only it seems.

  2. Halley's Mommy says:

    This is the exact issue I’m dealing with/obsessing over lately! Mysterious holes all over some of my planting beds. I am about to resort to night vision goggles, a lawn chair, and a really large thermos of coffee.

  3. andre says:

    Little man (our almost blind dog) and i found a baby mole crawling through the garden the other week. Little man looked at me. i looked at him and said ‘don’t tell your mother’.

    he never said a word

  4. ann says:

    OMG, Crawdads on the prairie!
    The volcano part is making me wonder as there are very small mountains of black soil scattered throught my yard, hesitate to call it a lawn. Some areas are entirely different with no erruptions but you can actually feel paths under your feet so think that is those red wrigglers.. I, too still wonder and it is wonderful.

  5. Linda says:

    Moles here, in straight lines down the garden. Little piles of fine earth, pushed up from underneath. We sweep them into a pan and put them onto the compost. The piles of earth, not the moles.

  6. Brian G. says:

    Isabella planted the head of her slain lover Lorenzo in a pot and from it grew a great basil plant….So, how big are these mounds and have you done a ‘head’ count of the neighbors lately?

  7. Judy P. (Mom-in-Law) says:

    Farmer Jim hunts moles almost 24/7 these days, reminds me of the movie Caddyshack, he hates those mounds of dirt in his garden. Worst of all, when they go straight down the row of corn and then they fall over (the corn not the moles)………..grrrrrrrrrr. You tell Little Man that Grandma and Grandpa are proud of him (and you) for not telling his mother.

  8. christina says:

    This summer I just barely missed hacking a nest of baby moles with my Japanese weeder. They were nestled between rows of Chiogga beets and were tiny, pink and hairless. I was so surprised that I ended up covering it back up (after showing it to my kids, of course. I had quite the time disuading my daughter from popping one into her pocket). That night we hatched a plan to relocate the nest, but when we checked back the next morning, they were gone. I suppose the mole momma came up with her own relocation plan. The other day my daughter and I were out picking carrots only to discover a huge tunnel beneath the bed. I ended up picking every single carrot for fear there’d be nothing left for us. Any carrot that was too small, my daughter threw back onto the soil and yelled, “For the moles!”

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Christina. That happened to me with a squirrel next in the compost heap this spring. Hilarious about your daughter giving them the small carrots; a generous girl! Tell her what they like to eat are worms and grubs, actually — they don’t eat many veggies, they just uproot them while looking for that “meat”. :) See you soon!

  9. Susan says:

    I am certain that the earth “burps” during the night around my old 1760 house. Thus the mounds. And thus the rocks which mysteriously appear every spring as I go to work in the gardens. I suspect it will continue long after I’m gone too!

  10. Wendy says:

    We have moles that cause humps in the lawn.

    They are lovely little creatures. We don’t often see them but last year one was out in daylight and I caught a neighbors cat trying to ‘play’ with him. I was so surprised at the screeching noise coming from the mole. it was so loud. I got a bucket which the mole quickly ran to. I gently placed him in the ground cover.

    Whether we like moles or not I truly think we should learn to live with them. Its their world too.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Wendy. It is their world, too, and they provide a big service by “tilling” the soil, and aerating it, so to speak.

      Hello also to Susan. That is hilarious — the earth burps! Love that explanation.

      Thanks to you both for saying hello, and come by again soon.

  11. In our yard it’s voles that are doing the “aerating.” (What a positive spin on ankle-turning footing!) Voles are new to me as of 3 years ago. They are feisty critters double in size to a mouse with lots of very sharp teeth. I watched one as it faced down my cat: mouth open, teeth bared, utterly unintimidated! Sounds as if your readers consider underground creatures rather benign while I’ve considered my father’s oft-told 80 year old method for ridding the yard of moles. It involves a hose connected to the tailpipe of a car, engine idling….

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Lynn. I am overrun with voles at the moment. It would be funny (except it’s not) — like some animated cartoon, you know, animals (voles, plus chipmunks galore and some moles) rooting around everywhere so the ground is lumpy-bumpy and full of holes and whatever else. Am not laughing, but trying not to cry. :) Cute as they all are, I am not exactly in love, you know?

  12. Nancy C says:

    The voles have completely wiped out our drifts of Iris cristata. Our extension agent theorizes that last winter’s deep, persistent snow cover (unusual for us here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland) spawned the vole population explosion. We built the vole trap per Eliot Coleman’s instructions, thus far have caught one field mouse.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Nancy. I am overrun at the moment, too — actually have been all season. Add to that the fact that my dear Jack the Demon Cat has been sidelined with a paw injury (after a nasty fight about a month ago) and therefore not on all-night hunting patrol as is his typical schedule, and it’s U-G-L-Y here too. Trying to pretend it will all iron itself out somehow… :)

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