Friday, February 1, 2013

Waiting For Mr. Mole

Since the ground thawed from the last hard freeze, Mr. Mole has been busy along the edge of the cement walkway building his mountains of soil. The only time I’ve seen a mole was an unpleasant encounter when I trapped one a long time ago in a garden in Oregon. This one in our yard I’ve never seen but the dog sure smells him.

If Mr. Mole happens to put in an appearance tomorrow like Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog is expected to, I’ll let you know if he sees his shadow.  I doubt there will be much of a shadow. But I’ll bet there will be a few more molehills.

We don’t have groundhogs to fool with in the Northwest but we do have gophers, most notably the Mazama pocket gopher proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act. These gophers, not to be confused with moles, are also burrowing critters and they do put in appearances above ground in the shrinking habitat of South Puget Sound prairies.

Maybe the town of Littlerock, the gateway to some remaining prairie lands, will hold a Gopher Day when Littlerock Lil makes an annual appearance.

In the meantime, I’ll just consider Mr. Mole one of my unseen neighbors. While waiting for him to show himself one of these days, I’ll contemplate his appearance in The Wind in the Willows and wonder why he has so many other manifestations in addition to his role as muldvarp-- as in muld (dirt) and varp (toss)-- or “dirt tosser.”

Mole: a growth on the human skin
Mole: a large rock structure on a shore serving as pier or breakwater
Mole: a boring machine used to tunnel through rock
Mole: a spy who operates from within an organization
Mole: an abnormal mass of tissue in a uterus
Mole: a spicy Mexican sauce made with chili peppers and chocolate

--Mike Sato

1 comment:

  1. Our house is on a hillside left by the glaciers and the soil is full of small stones. Every molehill - and by now we have hundreds! - is big and full of stones. The first mowing of the grass is at the end of February - thus February is my time to go smooth out the mounds and collect the stones so the mower blades don't fling them through the windows. I am running out of places to put the stones. I will have a lot less time this month to get in trouble, thank you for that, Mr and Mrs Mole!