I had just got to my spot in the backyard, next to the garden, when I saw a dandelion leap into the air all by itself! It leapt up along with all the dirt around it in a neat mound and then settle back down into the ground looking as if nothing had happened. This seemed like unusual behavior for a dandelion, so I kept watching. This action repeated several times, and seemed to be moving underground across the garden bed, leaving a trail of slightly mounded dirt on the surface. A mole in the garden!
Or was it a gopher? It didn’t move any dirt to the surface, and I didn’t see any dirt hills nearby.
While it was fascinating to watch, I also don’t really want moles cavorting about in the garden, so I thought I might try a little test. I’ve seen those nature documentaries where the coyotes dig madly after some burrowing rodent and often come up empty-handed. But how fast can a mole really move? They don’t even really have legs to speak of, just big hands attached right to their bodies. So I thought I’d see if I could catch a mole, and also maybe give it a little scare to convince it that it would rather dig somewhere other than my garden.
I didn’t come anywhere close. The first time, I didn’t think strategically, and just started digging where I saw the motion. Of course, it had plenty of time to retreat before I got as deep as it’s tunnel (about 8 to 10 inches deep, but I didn’t measure so I’m just guessing). After uncovering its tunnel, and realizing it was long gone, I want back to sitting quietly. In only a few minutes I saw dirt being pushed into the exposed hole of the tunnel from the inside, blocking the entrance. And shortly after that, I saw the earth moving from further excavations in the same spot, only about 8 inches deeper. This time I waited for it to get a little ways further than where I expected the new tunnel to be and started digging behind the guy, thinking that I would collapse the escape tunnel and have him trapped. I’m not sure what went wrong with that plan, but there was definitely no mole or gopher or any other critter in the tunnel when I got to it.
I waited several minutes to see if he would come back again, but either he had moved his construction plans for the morning, or he simply outwaited me, and I eventually had to get up and go to work. I left the second tunnel uncovered, and I’m curious to see how the area looks when I get home this eve.
Also, I’m using this month as a kick in the pants to choose a new sit spot, since I haven’t done so after the last time I moved. I wonder if this is one vote against using the garden as a sit spot. Rather than just observing what’s going on, I have a vested interest in who resides in my garden and I am tempted to intervene.