This garden bed reflects the neglect of the past two years, when I was physically just not up to gardening. This year I hope things will be different, starting today! After I finished taking this picture, I severed the one horizontal limb that was clearly dead. Then I started clearing away all the dead grass, and guess what I found? Vole headquarters! There is a vole tunnel that runs almost the entire perimeter of this bed, as well as some tunneling under the grass around this shrub. I should mention that most of the time, voles do not throw up dirt when they make their tunnels, and, especially under snow, the tunnels aren’t even completely subterranean. That is one way you can tell whether you have mole or vole trouble. The chart here summarizes the main physiogical differences between these and other small rodents, and this article gives suggestions for control. I have tried trapping voles before, with limited success. I mean, I do catch some, but enough to make a difference? Right now I am just trying to expose as many tunnels as I can to make the job easier for predators, and now that the snow is gone, I hope the neighbor’s cats will come hunting.
In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.
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