Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I went outside this afternoon to water my baby fir trees and found the telltale signs that a MOLE had visited my newly planted bulb garden! I just had to laugh at this – what else could I do? I am used to being disappointed in my gardening efforts. (The chrysanthemums that I planted on the south side of my fence – lavendar, yellow, and burnt red – faded within days.)

We have always had moles in our backyard, leaving tracks throughout the lawn. My husband just steps over their paths while mowing. He thinks them a good joke, and it brightens up his time cutting the grass.

After 9/11/01, I decided to plant a victory garden in one corner of the backyard. With the bulb planter, I spelled out U.S.A. in six-inch-deep holes and dropped in multi-colored tulip bulbs. My letters were promptly eaten, but a few tulips were left in a haphazard fashion.

However, the bulbs I have planted in the rock gardens out front have gone untouched through the years. This led me to believe the front yard was safe. (This, by the way, flies in the face of the theory that dogs will keep moles away. Our labrador lives in the backyard and is not allowed in the front yard.)

Now I am under the impression that moles will avoid rock gardens and only visited this new garden because it contained only freshly aerated dirt. Hopefully they missed a few. We shall see next spring!

I was thinking all day about various moles that visit us and undo our hard work. My list is too long to delve into here. But what they have in common is the resulting feeling, “All that hard work for nothing!”

We Catholics are taught that how we get through the journey is everything. As in my case of planting the bulb garden, the process was more important than the end result. Or, more to the point, the meaning of the activity shared with my daughter was more imperative than how my garden looks next year. (I have not told my daughter about the mole that visited, and if nothing comes up next year I suspect I will go out and purchase nursery-grown bulbs in their place.)

I could hardly believe it, but my Nave’s Topical Bible did contain two references for moles. One was a caution of their uncleanliness for eating:

“Of the creatures that swarm on the ground, the following are unclean for you: the rat, the mouse, the various kinds of lizards, the gecko, the chameleon, the agama, the skink, and the mole. (Lev. 11:29-30, NAB)

The other was a prophesy of the Day of Judgment:

“On that day men will throw to the moles and the bats the idols of silver and gold which they made for worship.” (Isaiah 3:19)

It is a sinful world, and all we can do is keep on sowing and planting, knowing that the moles will not get all the bulbs, and the weeds will not choke all the seeds.

One question is left unanswered. My bulbs were labeled “deer resistant”. I wonder if predators will avoid eating the moles that ate my bulbs.


Loren Christie said...

I'm guessing you didn't actually see that mole in your picture? Is that a real picture?
I agree, moles are yucky, but you've managed to point out what we can learn from them. Great post!
P.S. Would you like to borrow Hell Hound?

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

No, that picture was downloaded from the internet - I'm not that quick with my camera and moles are very sneaky - you only see the results of their dirty work. I think I'll pass on Hell Hound - I am sure she would scare Bear, who is scared of everything - not to mention hurt her feelings because she is obviously incapable of keeping away strange animals - she even lets cats in the yard now - but thanks for the offer!