Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Great Escape

Patricia Mason over at Woodlousehouse is currently having some trouble with a mound of soil and the large hole beneath it that has appeared in her greenhouse.  Whilst she is confident it isn't a mole - her blog reminded me of an event that took place in my garden last summer.

Please allow me to set the scene.......

It's 9.50 am - I was rudely awakened from a deep sleep by a set of ladders being hoisted up against my bedroom window sill.  Ten minutes to ten and "not up yet" I here you say, "what a  lazy so and so"!!!  I'm not really lazy - I work nights therefore it's still the middle of the night as far as I'm concerned.  As much as my window cleaner and his young grandson (the apprentice) are lovely guys - they do have a tendency to shout across the gardens AT each other and more often than not I get wakened.

I lay there, hoping to drift right back to sleep but that was just not happening.  I could just make out the sun's rays through the little gaps in window blinds, I told myself  'it's a lovely day - we've not had many of them so far this year, just get up and enjoy it.  You can always have a wee nap later in the day'.

Not being a morning person - all non morning people will know exactly where I'm coming from.  Down the stairs I shuffled in my dressing gown and slippers.  Finally I made my way into the kitchen - as is usual for me on a sunny day - I sit on the back step and have my caffeine/nicotine fix.  I call this step my contemplation step - most of my gardening plans are made here!  It's at this point cats usually appear, I give them a whistle to let them know it's snack time, they didn't come - just then the dog made a quick dash up the path to the side of the house.  I could here the bells on their collars ringing and as it was rather frantic sounding, my first thoughts - Is it a bird?  Is it a mouse?  Please don't let it be alive - no live prey - I'm not awake enough yet!


This is the mess that greeted me as I peered round the corner - what the heck!! What are they cats up to!!! I began clapping my hands loudly trying stop the cats wrecking everything in their path - their attention was just not being attracted!!  They were far too busy having fun!   

I ran back into the house to get some of their wee treats - rattle the box - that always gets their attention.  That wasn't working either.  By this time the dog had got in on the act and has running back and forth along the path.  Just what have they got?
There is no way this is a mouse or a bird - I would have seen/heard signs - I usually do!
As I was about to go in to put something a bit more practical on my feet, slippers are no good for rooting around in the borders!  I noticed that one of my Harts Tongue ferns had started to heave up and down at a constant rate of knots, then it dawned on me - what other animal could possibly be underground like this?
Much like Sherlock Holmes, I deduced there is only one creature that could be wreaking such havoc in my garden.....A mole!

Of course, Kooki and Titch already knew what was going on - I was the only ignorant player in this game!    I suspect that they must have brought the Mole to the garden - I have had the occassional deceased mole but never a live one before!  Oscar, like most other dogs, was only thinking of his stomach and the free meal
his pussy cat brothers have kindly provided, if only he could get at it.
 
 A fern lifted right from bed
As I pulled the plant out of harms way from prodding paws - I saw it but it was too fast for me.  Not that I had any intentions of trying to grab it - I was in a right muddle - what to do, what to do!!!

Where did it go Mummy?

He's under here yells Titch!

Enough was enough - I was not going to have my garden ruined by a mole, 2 cats and 1 dog.  I should add that my other cat Chip - who can only be described as a scardy cat, was now tucked up in the kitchen eating his biscuit treats!  Staying well away from the unfolding drama a few feet away!

another hole further along the bed
I racked my brains, what was I to do????  Just then I spotted the garden hose - do moles like water?  I wouldn't have thought so.  I quickly hitched up the hose and began blasting water down the holes it had made - by this time the movement under the soil was ever increasing as was the cats' and the dog's excitement!
With the water was pumping down the holes, I imagine the mole was by this time in a right panic, I stopped for a few seconds to see what would happen next......


Right before my very eyes a little hole began appearing, as you can see from the picture above - then low and behold, like a game of peek a boo!  His little snout appeared......
Peek a boo!
Then he was up and out!

Where are those pesky cats?

I don't know who's knickers were in more of a knot, mine, the cats or the dogs.  Still attempting to keep the cats and the dog away from the mole, (I had to give up taking pictures by this point) I need to allow him to make his escape.  He popped right back down the hole from whence he came, water by this time was gently spraying over the boys - the poor wee thing scuttled around underground for a while, then  he resurfaced near the front path - freedom was within his reach.  Can he see enough to make out the wide open field just yonder - I hope so,  he waddled right out down the path, crossed the road and into the field beyond!  Phew!!  What a relief!  I'm pleased Mr Mole has never returned to the garden, he's probably told every mole in the vicinity that there is a crazy pyjama wearing, water bearing, screaming banshee living here!

Later in the day, once the garden had a chance to dry out a bit - all the plants were firmed back into their spots - you would never have know there was a kerfuffle hours earlier!

Have you ever had a 'Dressing Gown' moment in your garden?

Just how glad am I that most of the neighbours are out at work during the day - I'm sure I would have been the talking point for most of the village if anyone saw me!

I hope my tale made you smile :)

46 comments:

  1. Made you smile?? I was rolling in laughter. Too bad you don't have a video of it :-). You can submit this in some short story contest. I learned a new word kerfuffle!!

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    1. Glad I made you laugh KL - kerfuggle is a great word isn't it. Capturing on video would have been great - for all too see!

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  2. A great story; but not so much fun for you at the time! Your animals (and the mole) obviously caused several moments of complete chaos. I'm glad the mole found a way safely back to the field after its adventure in your garden.

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    1. Wendy - all's well that ends well. I had to make sure he got out. He may have caused a lot more damage if he stayed!

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  3. That is a funny story, imagining the chaos and the little mole making his escape at last. I can't think of any moments quite that interesting around here. A few times chasing a raccoon off the porch but they only come out at night so no chance of being seen.


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    1. Shirley - obviously no raccoons here but the nighttime pests are often the ones that do most damage!

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  4. That story is hard to beat. Closest I can get is the time there was a bat flying around in my apartment. No dogs or cats were involved, though.

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    1. I've had a few live birds flying around the house but only dead bats I'm glad to say! These things do cause panic when it's indoors, you've no option except to get rid!

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  5. Wow! I've never seen a mole so close! I have run around the garden at night in my pyjamas yelling at an armadillo, spraying water at him from a hose. I actually did this several nights in a row. Eventually I gave up - he won! :(

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    1. Holley - moles look cute but they can cause a heck of a lot of damage. Thank goodness we don't get them on a permanent basis! An armadillo - I'd be saying wow to that. Bet he's glad you gave up, you probably exhausted the thing!

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  6. Hi Angie, I just found your blog! What a cute story! I can understand the mole having fun in your garden I would love to dig in that soft, fertile, dark black soil, too :-)!
    Christina

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    1. Christina welcome and thank you for taking time to comment.
      There is one thing we have here in Scotland is lots of lovely, deep dark fertile moist soil - too moist on occassion!!

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  7. My day started with a laugh at your story, although I would have let the cats at it. :)
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Cher, glad I made you laugh. If not for the damage that might have followed I would have left them too it - like I do with all the live prey they bring.

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  8. Oh Angie - what a giggle! I love the way you are taking photos and hosing and trying to protect the mole from the cats and dog all at once - very impressive, although no so impressive as getting your dressing gown on before all the shenanigans and Chip grabbing the opportunity to pig out on biscuits. Chip is my hero!

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    1. It wasn't easy but I could not let a photo opportunity pass me by!!
      Chip will have food over anything ALWAYS!!

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  9. Make you smile??? I was laughing loud when I read your mole pericles. I think the dog and cats had great fun and the mole escaped. Lucky mole!!! It is a matter of fact that moles looks so cute with their soft velvet fur, but actually I hate them. We have too many of them in the garden, they ruin the grass. Moles are crossing our garden to have a drink in the canal in front of our house. Every year we have many heaps of moles. An old neighbour is our mole catcher, he always comes very early in the morning, one day I opened the door and I discovered 6 dead moles on the stairs of the verandah, so sad to see.

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    1. janneke, at least this story had a happy ending. I agree about the moles, they look very cute and harmless but the havoc they can cause to a single garden can be heartbreaking. Good that you have a mole catcher - pest control for moles is lacking in my area. I would have been very upset to see 6 dead moles too!

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  10. Headline news...'Woman in Dressing-Gown reveals large Mole!'...I can see it now...oh the shame...lol! Great story, hope he doesn't return though x

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    1. Jane - yes, I was imagining those headlines myself! So far so good about it not returning.

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  11. Thanks for the mention and great story. Didn't think of drenching my visitor ... not a bad idea! Just hoping packing the hole with builder's rubble topped with a huge stone might send him somewhere else!

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    1. You are welcome Patricia - I do hope your Mr Ratty has got the message!

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  12. Hi,

    Never seen a mole! I'd love to though.... Well, see one but perhaps not have them in the garden!!!

    No mole encounters here, and actually no dressing gown encounters either... Although I am often out in my pjs!
    I have had close encounters with Foxes, when out in early evening on slug watch, catching them just as they come out at dusk... Our garden is tiered, and the fox was padding down the garden toward me. I assumed it'd see/smell me soon enough and run away. But no, it was getting closer and closer... Beginning to panic a little and think it might be going to attack me, when just at the last moment when we were almost face to face, it noticed me and darted into the hedge!
    Phew. That was actually scary. Because the garden at this point is around stomach-height and slopes up, but with the height of the Fox it meant we were pretty much on the same level as I stood on the decking around the house.

    Then, the next night I was on slug patrol again and Foxy arrived again! This time it was prepared for me and thankfully turned away when it was still at the top of the garden.

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    1. Nice to see and even better to see him leave!
      I'm always in the garden in my pjs when I get up. We have very few foxes here, in fact just the the first one in 6 years a few mornings ago on my way home from work. Please to read that Mr Fox chose to dart away - some of them can be a bit too brave!

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  13. Poor thing and poor you.... They really do look cute don't they. But they can ruin a garden. I hope for you it won't come back.

    I regularly have dressing gown moments in my garden, there is always something going on with other people's escaped rabbits, stray cats, our cats, birds, dogs. Never a dull moment.

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    1. Yes, Linda - they do look cute and thankfully they tend to keep to the fields nearby.
      I see your dressing gown moments are like mine - always something going on!

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  14. That was very funny. It made me doubly thankful that we don't have moles in Ireland, mice are pesky enough for me!

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    1. Thank you for visiting. I never knew that there was no moles in Ireland. You learn something new everyday!

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  15. Angie you made me smile, I've had problems with rabbit holes and I pour water in the hole before refilling it and blocking it off, once I had 2 very wet soggie bunnies appear and slowly hop, well stumble into the nieghbouring field, a few years ago I noticed a dog from the village coming into my garden, he'd never before, then I realised it was the rabbits causing him to come in so now I see his visits as a rabbit alert, I don't have any cats but there are 2 who visit my garden fairly regularly and a third stops by occasionally, I can imagine the kerfuffal, when I had cats they frequently bought home live birds and mice, Frances

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    1. Frances, happy to make you smile. I'm imagining drookit bunnies hopping away in a very indignant fashion!

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  16. It's always the most alarming events that make for the best stories...and yours was well told, to boot.

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    1. Ricki - thank you, goodness knows how much damage would have been caused if I hadn't intervened!

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  17. A nice thing about being a blogger and a gardener is that there is always an interesting post in each disaster! You really are very kind to send the mole off into the farm field! I agree it's a very good strategy as I always fail to catch my own numerous moles. I know you have seen my rabbit damage on my own current post!

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    1. Roger - I had to let it go, there was no way I could have killed it!! Yes, I saw your rabbit holes.

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  18. You were very brave to grab the hose. I would have been the one running into the fields.

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    1. b-a-g, I take it you are afraid of these wee things. It really couldn't have done me much damage, probably why I was brave!!

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  19. What a great and funny story, one I have had may times with my own dogs. I never had a mole, but snakes, cornered squirrels, scared birds, baby rabbits you name it. Once the dogs find something in the garden, there was no stopping them. All havoc breaks loose. Well, I hope your mole makes a home in your neighbor's garden. Now that it met cats and dogs, it just might.

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    1. Wow, snakes - that would be an exciting time. I sure the cats keep the local wildlife population down! Sadly, we had to put our wee dog to sleep a few weeks back :(

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  20. I am still smiling! What a story, but the most amazing thing was that you had the wits about to take pictures through the whole thing, most impressive! I don’t think I have moles in my garden, never seen any, just tiny garden mice my cat sometimes catches. It is the big animals that causes the upset around here, and I had a dressing gown moment just a few days ago when a fox was messing around in my garden in the early hours of the morning. I woke up and went to the window and tried to scare the fox away by slamming the window a couple of times – to no avail. Finally I had to go downstairs and out in the garden and scare the fox out. He leisurely jumped over the fence to the neighbour, not really scared of me at all, after having trampled all over my tulips and deposit a present for me on my back door step which I almost stepped in on my way out.

    When I finally got upstairs again to go back to bed, my cat was sitting on the windowsill, having had perfect view of me chasing the fox. He turned around as I got back in the room and yawned in my direction as to say “what a boring entertainment…”

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    1. Helene, that was quite some fox! Usually foxes here will just run at the slightest movement. I read recently of the fox in London that went into someone's home. Just shows how brazen these foxes are in their hunt for food.
      Cats are kind of like that aren't they. That look and that yawn often says it all!

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  21. Tee hee. Your description painted a very vivid image in my mind. I get a bit creeped out by moles and voles. I try to avoid them, although I know I have some in my garden. I think the fact that they scurry along the ground and they can't see means they might just crawl across my feet! Eeeek!

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    1. PlantPostings - the moles don't bother me. The voles I see here are usually dead. Hope you don't get too many Eeeek moments!

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  22. Lol you made me smile Angie but I am so glad Molie not been back .

    I have never seen a mole in our garden .

    Great blog.

    Hope you got back to sleep that day though:)

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    1. Glad to make you smile Kath - didn't get back to sleep. I never do! Lucky you not seeing a mole - not something you want really is it!!

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  23. Oh my, what a story. Hope that mole doesn't return.

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    1. Craft Gardener, I hope so too! So long as the population round about stays where they are, in the fields, I'm happy!

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