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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Bad Neighbor

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Posted by pam on July 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Originally published June 24, 2011

Reprinted with permission from Bay Area News Group — East Bay

I’m loud, messy and not composting properly, which makes me a bad neighbor.

Instead of putting used coffee grounds in the compost bin, I carry them to the front of my house and spoon them onto my lawn where a mole has taken up residence.  I’m following advice from gardeners who believe the bitter taste of coffee grounds repels moles.

I haven’t found it to be true.

Watching the molehills multiply, I could even conclude the opposite:  a mole loves a good cup of coffee. When I get a look at my lawn each morning, I have no doubt it keeps the mole in my yard up all night.

When the mole first moved in, I really hoped we could be good neighbors, maybe even friends.  I wasn’t bothered by the mole pushing around dirt in the flowerbeds or kicking up dirt at the edges of the lawn.  (I was open-minded to his taste in landscaping.)

But he has gone too far.  He is tunneling constantly, digging up huge chunks of grass and leaving behind gigantic piles of dirt.  Not very neighborly of him, I’d say.

So I’m doing everything I can to persuade him to move. While the coffee is brewing (for the coffee grounds), I’m also slicing up garlic.  I sprinkle garlic in the mole holes on more advice from gardeners who claim it will send moles packing.

Some days, I take it a step further and add castor oil to the mix, which is another recommendation I’ve heard for repelling moles.  It reminds me of stories from the old days when the foul taste of castor oil was used as a punishment for naughty children.  It’s worth a try on my naughty mole.

I have to conclude this mole isn’t very sensitive to taste, because none of these efforts have any effect.

It makes me wonder if he’s sensitive to noise, as moles are reported to be.  To find out, I’ve recently planted mole sticks, which are in-ground spikes that create constant sonic vibrations, sort of like a round-the–clock dance party.  Apparently, moles are not party animals and, according to gardeners, will hit the ground running.

Seeing two new piles of dirt on my lawn today, I know the mole is still in residence.  I can’t seem to bother him, but when I think of all I’ve done, it bothers me.  I’ve always considered myself a live-and-let-live sort of person, and I like to think of myself as a good neighbor.

It’s time to stop.  No more dumping kitchen garbage on the front lawn or cranking up the sounds.  Sooner or later, the mole will move out, once he has consumed all the grubs.  At least that’s what I’ve heard gardeners say.


Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.


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