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Vole control

A vole runway

Ken said that, when he was pulling up dead stalks from one of the wildflower patches yesterday, a vole sat and looked at him for a while, as though to say, “What are you doing to my neighborhood?”

Of all the many little creatures that live around (and off of) the abbey, the voles are the least welcome. They do a lot of damage in the garden. Their population can jump incredibly fast if the livin’ is easy. They’re verminy, though they’re also cute in a mousy sort of way. Their other name is “meadow mouse.” But somehow calling them by the more charming name of meadow mouse would make it harder to destroy their neighborhoods.

It was an extremely wet summer, which meant a lot of brush growth. The voles love that, because it provides them with cover. Ken has been clearing the area around the garden, and the voles don’t like it at all. You can trace their runways from the chicken house to the pump house, from the garden to the wildflower patches, from the wildflower patches to the grove of trees in front of the house, and from the grove to the day lily patch. They’re furtive little things, and though we see them often they’re hard to photograph.

As far as I’m concerned, they can make themselves a new runway from the garden all the way back to the rabbit thicket and the woods, where they’d be welcome if they’d stay there. I just hope that no one ever writes a Watership Down that’s about voles rather than rabbits. That would make it much more difficult to burn out their neighborhoods and turn them into little refugees.

The voles are not happy about this. It will be burned.

Ken clears wildflower brush.

It was a warm day, so Lily watched the proceedings from an open window.


  1. Henry wrote:

    Why not set the cat on to them…isn’t that what most gentlemen farmers do? My granddad had a few cats on his farm and they were great mousers (voles fit in the category)

    Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Permalink
  2. daltoni wrote:

    Lily has been an all-indoors cat these past few years. But I do occasionally see a wandering cat that comes to hunt voles.

    Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

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