Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kratzer's Corner by Mel Kratzer

Kratzer’s Corner - Mel Kratzer

The St.Charles Mole Epidemic

Drive down any St.Charles street and you’ll see some lawn sporting an underground tunnel protruding up like a winding country road over some poor soul’s property. The moles are out in force this year stepping up their claim on everyone’s turf trying to be first class pain in the posterior.

“My yard is looking like a World War One battlefield thanks to those stupid moles digging up a storm,” exclaimed my riled neighbor who is intensely clutching a heavy duty garden rake in hand.

Later on that afternoon I watched that same neighbor use the bludgeoning method to rid moles in his yard. He was aggressively pounding that rake on the ground aiming at little blades of grass that ruffled hoping to clobber a mole underneath. On this day the final score was Mole 1 -neighbor zero.

Before we get into other mole eradication techniques, lets reveal what these mole critters are because some people have never heard a mole as an animal. Some local citizens I’ve met think of a mole as that ungodly looking growth pushed up against your Aunt Rose’s schnoz. The one mole we are talking about is as the dictionary puts it, “ a small underground dark gray mammal with strong forefeet used for burrowing. Another neighbor of mine had some choice four letter words to a describe the mole who trashed his front yard, so we’ll just stick with the dictionary version to translate what a mole is.

Moles run rampant these days I guess because the predators in St.Charles are far and few between. Its not like we have a bunch of foxes, wolves, or coyotes to hunt down these lawn -tearing-up-pests keeping their population in check.

And don’t count on your pet to vanquish the common mole as house or backyard dwelling cats and dogs are lazy when it comes to preying on the mole. Back in the day, a cat or dog would earn his keep and meal from his owner by catching and killing moles, raccoons or any other varmints. Now my mutt and overweight feline are content to lounge around like a horizontal statue only to rise when I come out with their full food bowl.

Go into any local St.Charles hardware store asking outloud how to eliminate them damn moles.” People will come out of the aisles with their own mole assassination methods as you begin to realize that this is an all out community battle featuring man versus mole.

The resident across the creek utilizes the Jack “Dr.Death” Kevorkian method hooking a hose to his car exhaust pipe gunning the engine emitting carbon monoxide into the mole’s tunnel. Sounds pretty creepy and lurid to me, but if it works, go for it!

A former neighbor used to wipe out moles with the Holocaust method taking gas pellets and burying them in a mole’s hole then covering them up. I’ll bet some World War two Gestapo German invented this effective technique. As long as this method is administered on moles and not humans I say more power to it.

Good friend across the street has tried the smoke bomb method releasing Fourth of July fireworks into a mole underground crevice to drive out the critters. Then he wails the cane on the mole.. It’s a site to see and makes you wonder if you are still in St. Charles or on the grounds of Malcolm Bliss Mental Hospital.

Was stunned to hear that an earthquake method to decimate moles from a lawn was used by placing these violent shaking sticks in a mole ground area making the underground vibrate so powerful that it drives a mole away from his yard territory. What will they think of next?

How about the “arsenic and old lace” method where poison peanuts or gel are placed at the mole’s hole entrance in an attempt to get this 6 inch four-legged rat-like thing to ingest it and keel over. My dad’s next door neighbor uses this technique daily on squirrels, usually morbidly tossing the rigormortis carcus in his garbage can consistently.

Think you’ve heard it all? Somebody living behind my place on the other street was observed using the Waterworld method taking his garden hose and jamming it into the mole’s tunnel opening in an effort to drown this ground dwelling nemesis. This tactic I have heard is pretty successful and if it fails at least you watered your thirsty lawn.

Then there’s the Good Ol Boy method used by rural southern Missourians who wait around pre-dawn when moles like to surface only to be blown to smithereens from a shot gun. Definitely don’t recommend this maneuver as it could lead to showdown shootout with the St. Charles Police SWAT team and that would for sure ruin your day.

I’ll admit I’m not much of a lawn manicuerist. Mow it and trim it and that’s about the extent of it when it comes to lawncare. When people ask what kind of grass I have,my response is usually “variety.” So having a mole plow through the yard doesn’t really get me bent out of shape. But I can see how moles blasting their way through your yard would drive a lawn perfectionist berzerko.

What ever way you use to erase a mole from your life, I wish you good luck and good success. Its rather amazing to believe that this awkward looking animal can cause so much damage, but they can. If all else fails, hire Elmer Fudd to “bwast out that flea-bitten mole varmint” out of his hole!