Tag Archives: voles

Of mice and marauders.

Uhoh.  The tobacco is taking off.  It seems to like it hot in the greenhouse!It was just this tiny a couple weeks ago.   Yay! The ground cherries grew up while I had my back turned.  They were also tiny and dismally flea beetle bitten, and I left them a ton of space for a back-of-seed-pack-described potential I was skeptical they’d fulfill, but they just might.  They’re surrounded by volunteer tomatoes from when the greenhouse lived here. The potato beetles have found me.  I was told that was inevitable.  Gross.  It’s not too depressing a chore, though, to pick them off.

Ursa Minor moved into Alpha coop!  I’m very impressed with her initiative.  She posted up hard in the far corner.  I was summoned by the distress cheeping of chicks at bedtime, and she had retired leaving two of them outside.  She figured 50% was good enough odds.  I went back for the camera, and by the time I got back, the chicks had found their way in!  So grownup.

One of the chipmunks, surprised by my passing, took a plunge in a tank of water.  I thought about putting on gloves in case it bit me, then thought… nah.  I reached in to scoop it out but before I could get my hands around his body, it grabbed on my fingers with little back feet and climbed in desperate haste to reach the rim of the bucket with forepaws, and was gone in a flash.  Biting me didn’t cross its mind, I’m sure.

I unearthed a mouse nest buried in a Tupperware of electronics and wire.  Why?  Electronics?  It had been too full and the lid closure was compromised.  Irritated, I chucked the whole mess out into the grass.  A few minutes later I thought better of it.  I got a rag and wrapped up the two blind naked lima bean baby mice (voles really) in the soft shredded mouse nest and tucked it all in a new spot.  Mama came around soon despite my noisy cleaning activities.  She  tried to get back into the box first, so frantic I was able to walk up and touch her, then I saw her find the new spot, and boy did it shake.  She was in there rustling it all up.  This is all wrong!  But the varmints get to live.  My strategy is to keep them out of my stuff (I have all the good stuff- the dried grains, the dry space, and the cozy fibres), instead of killing them in retaliation for trying to get into it.  They’re being themselves.  I just have to do better at keeping them out.   But sometimes, a mouse gets in and gives birth in your box of “random chargers and old electronics”).

 

The Mighty Vole Hunter

The snow is deep, but the voles should not feel relaxed.

The Mighty Vole Hunter rests not in the winter.2016-01-21 14.40.02 2016-01-21 14.39.23 2016-01-21 14.39.46

I don’t know if he hears them mousing around or smells them, but without warning, he will suddenly leap in the air off the path and come down, plunging his head into the snow and sometimes snuffle-plowing around for a while.

Depending on the surface of the snow, he may smack the crust with a paw to crack it, and then thrust his head in and burrow around.

If he’s lucky, he comes up masticating ostentatiously with disgusting crunching sounds, tails or feet hanging out the side of his mouth.  EWW!

If the vole’s lucky, he comes up only with a face full of snow.

He is really very good at hunting voles.  As good as a cat.  He gets one almost every day, sometimes two.   In the “grassy” wasteland adjoining the Walmart parking lot, of all places, he caught the vole of voles, a trophy the size of a squirrel!  Proving some things are flourishing around Walmart.

Sometimes the vole escapes.  Yesterday he flipped the tiniest of voles out of the snow next to the path.  Somehow, it escaped between his back legs, flopping around while he was looking under his front paws- Where’d it go?

Barely two inches long, it righted itself and darted to take refuge- under my boot, where I stood behind him.    I saw the tail slip in under my foot and was standing there thinking  Seriously?  Is it hiding?  Under my foot?  Yep.  I lifted my boot and it dashed away a second time, while Snowy snuffled around mystified.  It was right here.  I had it!

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What we want to know is: Does he keep his eyes open under the snow?