The underground war

If there were money in herding voles, I’d be wealthy. Instead, I’m developing a poor attitude toward these little varmints that pull entire gardens into their underground domain and chew them like salad. Eviction notice for voles

My stand of gorgeous red hollyhocks, which grew thick enough to be a summertime landmark for more than 25 years, is down to a single remaining hock. Voles, not gophers or moles, are definitely the culprits. Twice now, a vole has poked its whisker-fringed rat-like head out of a hole in the ground near a hollyhock root, popping back down after glimpsing me with its beady eyes. Then it popped back out, in, out, in as if we were playing Whack-a-Vole.

In fact, my next-door neighbor confessed last week that she did play Whack-a-Vole of a sort with one in her yard. Cayenne didn’t stop it, and garlic didn’t scare it. It turned up its twitchy little nose at Juicy Fruit Gum. Frustrated, my neighbor took a shovel and – oh, yes, she did. When she peeled back the earth, the critter was really most sincerely dead. For all she knows, the whole vole posse will arrive any minute to avenge the crime. More

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