Friday, June 10, 2011

Steak For Dinner

Mandy Mae catches a mole!
After I skin the critter and nail his hide to the barn door, I'll find the backstrapp, dip it in flour and fry it briefly.
I'm just fooling with you. 

I told Mandy I'd give her steak for dinner if she ever caught a mole.  At the end of plot #8 I see her pawing at something.  She can smell moles digging in the dirt and if she steps on a tunnel, she has Carte Blanche to dig to China if she feels a need. The pawing means she caught something.  This dumbass was trying to dig across the gravel road.  He was inches from the surface, finding the way under a former state highway a bit tough.

Think I'm getting a little jiggy with the three days of 95+ degree temps, a 3 week drought and today 50 degrees at 5 am?  No way.  Around each and every plant I put in 9,250 sq. ft of garden plots I have to surround it with wooden stakes to prevent moles from tunneling under the plants.  Once they tunnel below a plant, it wilts and dies.  Do you know how many wooden stakes I make in a given year. Plenty hundreds.  My table saw motor is on the fritz because of all the ripping of pine boards.  I not only have three tubs, 36 inches in diameter filled with stakes but I grade them by size.  Then there are the bundled stakes in the tool shed. Any old board  I find, I'll examine to put into service for mole barriers. 

I use cardboard and kraft paper feed sacks for mulch.  Moles love the cool soil and feed on worms under the mulch.  Sometimes the stakes I surround  plants break off or become hidden in the dirt. Plays havoc with my tiller.  
Still having trouble with the camera-pink edge, poor focus.
Those paddle like hands make quick work of lawn and garden.  After a heavy rain I've got sinkholes in my potato patch.  I draw the line when critters affect my livelihood.  Long ago, when working in the worst part of the ghetto, I conditioned my brain to react without hesitation whenever danger threatened either of my children.  They attended the same school in which I taught.  Threaten me is one thing but threaten to hurt my children-you're dead. The same holds true for animals who would and have caused harm to my "kids", the animals you'd call pets but I call them members of my family.

I over plant to cover the vagaries of weather and insects.When rabbits overran the place, I first threw water balloons at them.  They snickered at this big dummy.  Then, I got a dog, not to thwart rabbits, but for the companionship.  This morning I point down the road to the corn field.  Rabbit, I tell Mandy.  She understands the difference between rabbit and squirrel.  Rabbit races into the undergrowth which is wet and tangley with stickers. Mandy follows.  A minute later she comes out full of stick-tight round green balls, soaked to the skin.  She examines the spot where the rabbit sat on the road.  In her dog brain she 'll remember this. I give her a "good girl" hug. No rabbit will be feeding on young cucumber, tender spinach, snow pea plants or young pole bean plants-not if it wants to see the end of summer.

 So, I'll be pressure cooking beans, rolling out a pie crust for apple pie, baking a chicken and Mandy will dine on Flat Iron steak sauteed in butter.  It's cool today, I look on the bright side and even thought the rain is light, I'm caught up and can take the day off.


T. Roger Thomas said...

I use a large mallet to go after moles myself.

A dog seems like a good solution too.

Gavrillo said...

If you have a suggestion for raccoons, send it my way. A friend up on the ridge lost all his laying hens, three chicks and a rooster to a raccoon. The goose was cowering by his back door.