“Richard, your garden looks great,” said Bunny with her refined Texas accent, surveying the turned soil, not a weed in sight.
“Thanks Bunny,” said Richard smiling. “We’ve been working the last three weeks getting everything ready for planting. I’ve got the vegetables all mapped out and we just need the soil temperature to go up five more degrees,” he said twirling the thermometer in his hand.
“What are you going to do about the moles when they move across the street?”
“You’ve got moles?”
“George found the first mound this morning in the back yard.”
“I’m not loosing my garden to a mole, Bunny.”
“Good luck with that.”
At 7:30 the next morning Richard measured the soil temperature. The thermometer read 50 degrees. Shaking his head, he walked the perimeter of the yard looking for tell-tale mounds. After two weeks, the ground reached 55 degrees.
Hand trowels, spades, stakes, string and seed packets covered the patio table. Holding a map drawn to scale in one hand, he sorted the seeds by location.
“Fannie, I need you to plant the zucchini in that mound,” he said pointing to the far end of the garden. “I’m going to put the stakes up for the beans over here.”
Clockwork precision and a laser level planted each stake and verified the correctness of the string placement. Using my back to block the view, I poked a gloved finger into the ground, threw in a seed and covered it. After soaking the ground, I placed small stakes topped with the seed packets.
By the time Richard finished planting the beans poles—the cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, chard, green peppers and cauliflower snuggled in the soil germinating to their hearts’ content.
“Fannie, I see you’ve caught up with me. That’s great, we still have strawberries and raspberries to transplant and I want a potato mound in that corner,” said Richard consulting his map. Surveying the garden with satisfaction he asked, “Can you grab the starts out of the greenhouse, while I prep the potato mound?”
Two hours later, we sat at the table looking at the manicured rows.
“I can’t wait until June,” said Richard, “and we haven’t seen any sign of Bunny’s moles.”
“About that, she now has two. Their lawn is beginning to look like something from Caddy Shack.”
“I’m not letting that happen here.”
Three weeks later while walking the perimeter of the yard, Richard found a small mound in the front yard next to the lamp post. Grabbing a shovel and a garden hose, Richard dug out the hole and filled it with water. Putting the soil back into the collapsed tunnel he patted the top of the mound flat.
Two days later two mounds appeared between the house and the vegetable garden. Around 9 a.m. Richard pulled the hose over to the mounds filling them with water until they collapsed. Using small color-coded lawn flags he marked the holes.
Richard checked the yard at 8:30 the next morning to discover three new mounds. With the patience of an archeologist, he flooded the mounds and put up more flags. Checking the yard each morning 15 minutes earlier than the last. Within four days we boasted a putt-putt golf course.
On Thursday morning at 7:15 a.m. Richard scouted the yard. No new mounds. He entered the house.
Pouring himself a cup of coffee, he smiled to himself. The telephone rang sending him into the office. Taking a break at 8:30, Richard walked into the kitchen.
While pouring another cup of coffee, he looked out the window. Five feet from the edge of the garden a fresh mound glistened in the morning sun. Slamming the cup on the counter, he stormed outside. Grabbing the shovel, he dug out the hole. Empty.
Shoving the hose full blast into the hole, the tunnel collapsed. Part of the tunnel ended three inches from the garden near the beans.
During dinner, Richard said, “Fannie, mark my words, tomorrow, I am getting that mole if it’s the last thing I do.”
“What are you going to do when you catch it?”
“I haven’t figured that part out yet. But it’s not getting into my garden.”
As the sun rose the next morning, Richard, armed with a pot of coffee, shovel, bucket and hose sat at the patio table waiting for his guest.
At 7:30 the green flags began waving in a syncopated rhythm heading toward the garden.
Richard grabbed the hose and shovel. Digging a hole behind the mole, he shoved the hose into the hole and cut off the escape route. A mound ruptured five feet from Richard. A long pink snout followed by gray-brown whiskers and two large paddle like feet broke the surface. With a mighty heave of the shovel, Richard scooped him up, ground and all, and put him in the bucket.
Richard could hear the scraping noises as the mole attempted to burrow its way out of the bucket. Panicking, it circled its prison then froze.
Richard stared at the mole and looked at his shovel. Shaking his head, he picked up the bucket. Walking two blocks to the posh neighborhood, he looked around to make sure no one saw him.
At the end of the manicured green belt he tipped the bucket over and said, “Look at your lovely new home, go do damage in the right areas.”
The mole burrowed into the ground before Richard finished speaking.
The next morning Richard sat in the back yard ready for battle. Like clockwork, the second mole appeared on schedule. The second mole surfaced before Richard flooded the tunnel. Using his mole/shovel technique, the mole landed in the bucket.
“You will love your new home and new neighbors,” he said. “You might even run into one of your old friends over there.”
Carrying the bucket to the front of the house he ran into George and Bunny.
“Hey, Richard, what’s with the bucket?” asked George.
Richard displayed the bucket’s content for them.
Staring into the bucket, Bunny said, “Aren’t you the mighty mole hunter.”
“Thank you. I’m relocating our mole infestation,” said Richard.
“Honey, I’d like to see that,” said Bunny.
When they reached the end of the manicured green belt, they looked around. Richard tipped over the bucket. The mole disappeared.
“So this is your mole recycling center. Nice,” said George clapping Richard on the back. “Sure beats me planting Juicy Fruit.”
“If you don’t mind keeping this too yourself. I’m not sure how the neighborhood will react to my mole relocation program.”
“Honey, I for one am very proud of you and will not say a word,” said Bunny smiling. “And you kept your word and saved your garden.”
“Yeah, and now I can start saving on the water bill.”