Underground Operations


The Esplanade is definitely not looking at its best!  Although pretty with primroses, violets and speedwell it has come under serious attack from an army of moles who moved in over the winter and have been trundling about industriously ever since, leaving molehills everywhere.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs everyone knows a mole will go where a mole wants to go and getting rid of them from what you consider to be your sacred lawn, flower bed or veg patch is almost impossible.  Markus found some depressing statistics somewhere to the effect that the average gardener tries an average of 2.5 methods of which an average of 93% don’t work.


Our local agricultural merchant has a wealth of optimistic solutions on offer.  There is the méthode canadienne, a sadistic operation involving chopping up earthworms and lacing them with cyanide, which we have vetoed as too barbaric, ultrasound devices which somehow you know are not going to work, traditional mole traps and various explosives with names like Boum Taupe, Taupéclat and suchlike.  Click here for a hilarious promotional video for one of the more sophisticated versions.  You might think that such méthodes pyrotechniques would be completely illegal but perhaps they have somehow escaped the vigilance of Brussels, so far at least.  There is a long tradition of such warfare in rural France.

We once noticed a couple of ancient wooden crates in our neighbour’s barn uncompromisingly labelled dynamite.  We imagined clandestine wartime Resistance operations and pictured him in his ancient Traction Avant at a secret rendez-vous by the railway line at dead of a moonless night.  It was only later we learned that vignerons had, and still have, a special dispensation to purchase small amounts of explosive to blast out the roots of old ceps if they are renovating the vineyard.  (This is giving Markus interesting ideas!)


More prosaically, and peacefully, we think we might try a remedy which worked for us some years ago.  An very elderly lady from a neighbouring farm gave us an envelope in which she had saved what she called graines à taupe and told us to sow them in April.  She guaranteed that the flowers would see the little blighters off – and they did.  We cannot remember what the magical plant is, but we still have a few of the seeds somewhere and it’s clearly time to give it another go.

3 thoughts on “Underground Operations

  1. Hi Maeggi and Kate, this is hilarious for me to read, but not for you in dealing with the problem! I had discovered a few years ago that I had gophers on my hillside ( need to read up about the difference between gophers and moles). At first I laughed, saying if someone wants to dig around my land of 95% rock and 5% clay he is welcome until my peach tree died! Then I set a trap and neglected to anchor it and so the whole trap disappeared, but the gopher pile stayed quiet. This spring I discovered some new activity in another part of my yard and it is just a matter of time until they find the garden or the newly planted trees! I am going to have to start some inquiries and I tell you how we deal with it in America! – Maybe shoot into the hole! Gives us something to do with our guns!! Love Hermana Nana Hanna PS I should have written this a s a comment on your site! If you want to put it there you may!


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