Today we had voles over for lunch. Actually they arrived unannounced via a nifty tunnel into Hoop House 2, and helped themselves to lunch (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc.) I was away at the time, and discovered a considerable reduction in plant life in Hoop House 2 at about 5 pm. So much so in fact, that I toyed with the idea of packing up the plastic and the hoops and giving up.
But no, I was aggrieved, but not defeated.
I must admit that at our house, we have a certain dichotomy in approaches to Rodent Issues. John, although fond of reading Redwall books aloud to Russell for bedtime stories, in which the true heroes are field mice (otherwise known as "voles") has no fondness for mice of any flavor. I do think that a mouse dropping down the back of his shirt from somewhere above while he was working in the garage one night, fueled his somewhat ruthless approach to wildlife management in the garage and compost. Indeed, I admit that I have been unwilling to divulge mouse/vole sightings in our compost, for fear that the snap traps will be brought out, armed with cheese and put where unwitting creatures will can happen upon them and be grievously injured or killed, therefrom interred in plastic bags (following drowning if necessary) and thrown out in the trash.
I on the other hand, must admit to a certain nagging sense of the bad karma such acts could create- though I do feel that this is a superstition of mine, that make little sense. Anyway, having also read aloud or listened to Redwall stories for years, I admit to a little soft, fuzzy spot for soft, fuzzy critters.
But this afternoon, after observing the destruction among my hard-earned little plants, I understood a little of John's attitude. I asked him where to find the snap traps and how to set them properly. As one trap in a compost bin had caught a mouse or vole or whatever, I took it out to the back of our yard and in order to keep it within the local ecosystem, tossed it out into the meadow where the local red fox has been lingering of late. Bon appetit red fox! Next I got a lesson in how to clean the trap and bait it (cheese) and put one trap in each hoop house. This leaves some seedlings out unprotected in another part of the garden- but well, tomorrow maybe I'll ride my bike over to the local hardware store and invest in a couple more traps....