Monday, July 23, 2012


 I have a new foe which is almost a welcome diversion from my recent  grousing about  Bermuda grass, creaky bed and relentless heat. Goodness I have gotten cranky lately. 

My new foe however is adorable (to me at least) which makes managing him a bit of a problem.  The common vole.

A vole from Google Images
OK, I am sure to most of you, that is nothing but a rat or at best a mouse.  The vole is a bit chunkier than his repulsive relative the rat, has a shorter hairy tail and a rounder head.  That he is generally vegan when given the choice makes him less disgusting than his omnivore cousin but more destructive to the gardener.  

Killing is out (I am a weenie) and repelling seems fruitless.  Perhaps I should learn to live with him but he is taking one of my few pleasures left and destroying it. 

I love to garden, especially for food.  I get such satisfaction and joy from growing my own food.  To walk into my garden and pick a meal is pure pleasure. Besides, it tastes so much better than super market fare.

I recently went out to check on my prized cantaloupes to find only husks and seeds left of my baby "lopes". It was horrifying. The vole had struck.  

I keep implying that there is just one.  To quote one of  my favorite quotesters Robert Brault:

"An optimist is someone who believes that cockroaches come in ones." 

 Pretty sure the same applies to voles.  I am an optimist, just not blindly so.  I realize I am under attack.

I have a terrier dog that I  should be able to contract out for the killings to but it seems age has not only taken his hearing but also his sense of smell. I can see one of the darlings, put Mighty right on the trail and he can't find it. Maybe voles have a scent cloaking device.

I realize that this recent glut of voles is due to the blistering  heat we have had and the fact that most of his usual food in the wild has been destroyed.  My pickings are looking good.  I would be willing to share but am not willing to be wiped out.

Any humane suggestions for shooing them would be welcome. I have only unsuccessfully tried Castor oil sprays so far.  It sure didn't work on the cantaloupes.  Thank you.


Referring to the term flabbergasted which I have been known to use.

"My flabber is so gasted that I may need surgical intervention." 

Borrowed from Nat Hussey at Outpost Matinicus.  If you wonder why lobster are now so cheap, check the post of this lobster fisherman.  One person's blessing is another's curse.

My odometer rolls over today to a new year. Seventy three is here for the next 365.  Hope it is as good as 72 was.



  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEAR PATTI! Here's to another dance around the sun!
    After the deer ate my hostas and day lily buds I went back to sprinkling chili powder on everything. So far; so good! Right now I am making jalapeno water to use as a spray.

  2. Firstly ...HAPPY 73rd BIRTHDAY ...hugs.
    Now the vole problem idea ...I hate killing creatures and I have no idea what would repel them. What a problem you have ...I can only think of hanging more baskets. I was going to suggest a moat around the veg patch but they swim dont they?? Do they have a natural preditor that you could get the scent of somewhere.??? Good Luck ...and have a great birthday xx

  3. Happy birthday Patti! What about a cat???

  4. Happy Birthday, Patti!
    I could loan you Patches--she just accidentally killed a vole yesterday while we were out on a walk. She is very careful with the little creatures when she captures them but I think they have little mini heart attacks or something because they die immediately with nary a wound mark to be found.

    Perhaps something nasty smelling like soaking old cigarette butts in water to make a nicotine spray?

  5. If I could only send you the fox for a few days, your problem(s) would be solved. I see her trotting past many times a day with fat morsels in her mouth for the kits. Some of the morsels look like voles. Happy 73, Patti - you just keep getting better.

  6. You are my inspiration, being so active, kind and sweet and still being older than me (but not by much). Happy birthday! I have been fighting the slugs, aphids and caterpillars, but I don't have voles... yet. I think a repellent will be the answer. I would be down at my local garden store and asking for advice, if I were you.

  7. Oooh Happy Birthday Patti!!! Doing anything special??? A special dinner? I always make myself my favorite cake...chocolate with white icing. I also think the local garden store would have the answer.

  8. Definitely Happy Birthday! As for your vole, I would have a problem killing it also. It really is cute. But I also agree that being willing to share is one thing, wiping you out is another. When we had tree rats (except for Rupert) down by the creek, the feral cats took care of it. So-oo perhaps an outside cat?

  9. Happy Birthday. Hope your day is (was) just wonderful.

    We have had moles damage our lawns but never had success with dissuading them for long. They are not nearly as cute as voles. I have been blaming the chipmunk for damage to my garden, but maybe it is a vole at work out there as well.

  10. Happy Birthday! I like the cat idea from Janna and Mike. My childhood cat would have your yard and the neighbor's yard bird, squirrel, vole, chipmunk free. I always regretted the bird situation especially since my dad loved to bird watch.

  11. Well I hope you had a wonderful birthday even if you did share it with your new friend the Vole. I have no idea how to get rid of him or her but I'm sure some of your faithful readers will! Good luck!

  12. Happy Birthday, Patti! If you lived closer, I'd bake you a cake. Or maybe you'd rather have a pie? I made one of those strawberry yogurt and cool whip frozen pies over the weekend. Sorry, I have no idea about the voles. Hope you find a way to get rid of them.
    Have a wonderful day!

  13. Someday, I will have to write a post about how I tried to fox the voles by laying wire screen under my tulip beds. When the fellows who laid my new lawn asked why they hit metal, I told them the story. They each understood how far we will go to defeat the voles. They are cute.

    My new solution, plant enough tulip bulbs for everyone. I've given up on cantaloupe. They think you planted it for them. Dianne

  14. Oh yes, and many happy returns. Dianne

  15. Happy Birthday, Patti! No sign of dementia, yet!!!

    Have you thought of adopting a cat? One that is not blind or crippled? Cats love to catch rodents.

  16. Happy Birthday, Patti! I don't know what to tell you about the voles, but I wish you the best of luck. Live traps? I don't think that I would be as nice as you are, but that is something that I love about you ... be it ducking from birds or now this.

    Hope you have a great year being 73!

    Kathy M.

  17. Happy Birthday! As far as a vole....I never heard of them until your post so I have absolutely no idea how you co-habitat with them. But good luck!

  18. Happy Birthday Patti!!!
    I wish you health,
    I wish you peace,
    I wish you laughter,
    I wish you happiness!

    Ain't it a bitch when these sweet lovely and cute critters come around just to pester our lives? I hope the vole learns the way to your neighbor's house.

  19. Happy birthday and many more. I am a little ahead of you. I considered voles might be tearing up my beds but from your description probably not.

    I trully think it is a heard of armadillos or the ground hogs from the demolition across the streat. Whatever it is makes furrows both straight and circular around plants and in beds. and the whole mulch is corrupted.

    You might try Liquid Fence if you can stand the smell. It is too late for that from us and we are not able to smooth out the beds. Our teenage helper evaporated into the sunset, but we will find someone else.

  20. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY DEAR PATTI...! I hope you have a wonderful day!

    U have no suggestions on the Vole, except maybe trying to trap them and then taking them elsewhere...But, I have no idea if that is even a viable suggestion...! Sorry, my dear.

  21. Dear Arkansas Patti, Sorry, but I've no suggestions for voles. Like you, I think the tiny critters are a joy, but you do need your garden.

    When I had them in the side yard, I lived with a wonderful feline hunter--Jeremiah. He went outdoors for much of the day and during the evening. And often, when I'd call him in at night, he'd carry to me--like a beribboned gift--a limp vole. No puncture wounds. No blood. I think he scared them to death. Peace.

  22. Yikes! I have no suggestions at all, voles seem to be the one thing that don't live up here!

    Happy birthday! Here's to another year of reading your lovely stories...



  23. A super Happy Birthday to you Patti. You'll be having a good one no doubt and the year that follows too!
    I guess those critters needed something wet and juicy in all the heat.Try some hot chilli pepper seeds spread around.

  24. Smartcat,
    Thank you so much. I like the idea of a dance around the sun.
    That jalapeno water sounds like it might work. Thanks.

    Thanks for the wishes. Sadly they do swim but maybe I can get a fox to pee around my plants or find that scent in some store. Thanks.

    Janna and Mike,
    Thank you. You have the right idea, mine are indoor cats. Where are those strays when you need one?

    RV Vagabonds,
    Thanks so much for the wishes.
    I really could use a proven vole killer. I promise I would send her back really fat:)

    Boy do I wish I had your fox. They are great hunters. Thanks on the
    "73" wishes. Not sure about better but for sure older.

    Coming from you that is a huge compliment. You amaze me.
    The local store sold me the castor oil spray which I think worked as an attractant:)

    Nothing special today but family phone calls but have a luncheon tomorrow that I will pretend is for me:)

    Thank you and I do believe a good cat would work. Hopefully the abundant food will attract one.

    Thank you and you are right about moles. Nothing cute there. Voles love vegatation and fruit but will also eat your bulbs from under ground.

    Thank you and you are probably right about the outdoor cat. Mine have always been indoor ones.Maybe I need to invest in an out door one.

    LLCool Joe,
    Thanks Joey for the good wishes. I am hoping an answer surfaces.

    Thank you so much and a lemon meringue pie would be perfect.

    Maybe if I plant bulbs they will leave my cantaloupe alone?? I do know they love bulbs.
    Thanks so much.

    Thanks, no dementia that I am aware of but then if I have it I wouldn't know it anyway:) A cat is beginning to sound good. Maybe I can rent one.

    Thanks so much. Wish I weren't so soft, life would be easier but we work with what we are delt.

    Thanks you. This is my first experience with them. Careful, they may head for Oklahoma.

    Hay, haven't seen you in a while. Thanks for the many wishes and stopping by. Maybe I am getting my neighbor's.

    That does sound like an armadillo that you are dealing with. I will look up Liquid Fence.
    Thank you.

    Thank you Naomi.
    I thought of that but my live trap is too big. I use it for raccoons and such.

    I am sure if I had an out door cat, just the smell should make them look for another yard. I am still thinking of renting a cat since I all ready have 2 inside.

    Aw, thanks so much.
    Lucky you, no voles. I can send you some if you'd like:))

    Thank you so much. If it is like last year, I'm good.
    Think I will try that before I do the cat thing.

  25. Happy, happy, happy birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think the vole is the cutest thing ever! He looks like this little fur ball. I would not call him a rat. I can't even see a tale.

  26. Happy Birthday Patti- sorry about your lopes.. a trap is the only humane thing I know that will shed you of it. But then you have to figure where to take the guy and he probably isn't a loner, just like you suspect. Hmmm. I think lopes are on sale at Wally World right now. :)

  27. I remember my father used to dig down into mole tunnels and drop caster beans but I don't know anything about voles.

  28. So THAT'S what's been eating my tomatoes! I've tried dog fur (doesn't work) and a flag for a scarecrow (doesn't work).

    May you have a vole-free 73!

  29. Happy Birthday, Patti. I'm so glad 72 was a good year as I just entered mine last month. As for voles, I have no idea. Here we have some critters many times its size, called gophers. One was in our veggie garden last year and had a huge appetite. We tried everything we considered, short of killing him, but to no avail. So off I went to Home Depot, got a trap, a very dangerous looking contraption that my hubby set and killed the gopher. After that we have no more problems. I hated to have to do it, but he ate up everything!!

  30. HAPPY BIRTHDAY good blogger buddy! And that next year is the best yet.

  31. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Patti!! Sorry that I almost missed it. Hope it was a good one.

  32. Happy Birthday sweet Patti. I hope you will have many more years to have birthdays and those years are all filled with, happiness, love and good health. We are very close in age I will be 73 on Nov. Hope you had a wonderful day. As for that cute little critter I have no suggestions, sorry. I have never had that problem. Hope someone can give you suggestions and they work. Hugs and give Mighty some nose kisses for us.

  33. This may sound strange, but if you look on the internet, you may be able to find some fox urine spray. Then you could try spraying it around the edge of the garden. I think fox are a big predator of voles. It should make them stay far away.
    And Happy 73rd Birthday! Congratulations and have a wonderful year.

  34. Introverted Art.
    Thank you so much.
    So glad you also think they are cute. They have a tail but it is short and hairy.

    Thanks so much for your wishes.
    I am sure he is not a loner which makes the problem worse.
    I just bought one of Wally Worlds but I know I will be disappointed. Vine ripened in your own yard is soooo sweet. There is no comparison.

    I have heard that too. I just need to find their holes. So far, I haven't.

    Ok, I can cross them off my list.
    Thank you and thank you also for the "vole free 73" wishes.

    I know, it is so hard to sometimes resort to the final solution for our garden pests. Maybe when they eat it all, they will find somewhere else.
    Thanks, 72 was good,enjoy yours.

    NCMountain Woman,
    Thank you so much.I'm going to try.

    Thank you so much. Late is always good. Yep, I had a really nice one.

    Goodness,we are close. I can tell you that it is almost painless turning 73. Hope you enjoy yours also. Thank you.

    That sounds like it may work. I will check our co-op and if they don't have it, I will go Internet. Thanks you and thank you also for the great wishes.

  35. Interesting little critters that's for sure... :)

  36. Happy belated birthday Patti! I cannot give you advice in the vole matter. My daughter in Oz is just like you: she found once a rodent family in her chest of drawers, and took them away to a wood in the neighbourhood. She didn't want to kill them.


    And I know what you mean - we get squirrels in the attic - I love squirrels but not in my attic!

    How about a cat?


  38. I have no vole advice but if it will help I am wishing you a belated Happy Birthday! It seems you are destined to buy your cantaloupe from the supermarket just like all us Seattleites.
    I guess i should feel sorry for you rodent plight but I.....

  39. Happy Birthday, Patti!!!

    Oh, I wish I could help you with your voles. We have a chipmunk problem in Illinois. They are so cute, but so destructive too. I like the idea of a cat.

  40. Olga sent me here, and I see other familiar names in your comments. I'm adding you to my family.
    Happy Birthday. Mine was just last week. July is a good month.
    We seem to have many other garden pests, like worms in my raspberries, for heaven's sake, but not voles. I have no advice other than getting a killer cat like the one we just inherited from my son.

  41. troutbirder,
    Yep they are. They do rely heavily though on their cuteness.

    Reader Wil,
    Thanks so much Wil. I'll bet that is your Cancer daughter. It is a curse, I mean, trait of the group.

    Thank you so much. I love late wishes. Milk it I always say.
    I am looking into renting a cat.

    Thanks GQ. The difference in taste between garden and store bought is Grand Canyon in scope. Not sure I can go back.

    Thanks Kay. I am so glad I don't have chipmunks. They really are the cutiest of all the rodents. I would be powerless against them.

    Linda Reeder,
    Welcome to TNS and thank you for following. I will pop over to see your site.
    Belated Happy Birthday back at ya. July really is a good month.

  42. Our odometers are pretty much in synch. Mine clicked over last week. I wish this year to be your best yet.

    I've never heard of a Vole, but they look sort of cute. As you suggestion, the little buggers are just looking for a meal. And you are willing to share. So -- maybe take it to the ultimate.

    Grow an indoor hydroponic garden inside for yourself, and put up a 'Vole Paradise' sign over your garden. Win Win.

    I'll understand if you ignore my suggestion. It's my age that makes me come up with such things.

  43. Oh Happy Birthday to you, sorry about your lopes, wonder if there is a way to encircle the lopes in aviary wire baskets to keep the critters from reaching them? aviary wire is narrower, or some of that plastic netting? He is too cute to kill that's for sure and with the drought he was probably really hungry and probably feeding his family. my flabber is in much the same condition. Ha.

  44. Voles are CUTE! I understand your desire to not kill them.

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday, patti. Roger's odometer rolls over next Friday... to 70! Whee!

  45. Yes it was my cancer daughter who is like you! Thanks for your visit!

  46. Congrats on turning 73. I remember that as a happy time and hope it will be the same for you!

  47. Jerry,
    Thank you and a belated Happy Birthday to you.
    You might have a good idea there. Considering the weather extremes, hydroponics may be the way to go.

    Linda Starr,
    Thank yhou. Sadly,they also tunnel and eat the roots. Some put hardware mesh down before adding dirt and plants. Not sure I want to go that far.

    Thank you so much. Hope roger has a great birthday also.

    Reader wil,
    I thought it might be her as she is also an animal lover.

    Thanks so much Ginnie,
    So far, most of my roll overs have been good.

  48. We don't have voles, though I think my cat would take care of them. We do have squirrels, though. We use a humane trap and move them to a park a couple of miles away. I posted about this once on my own blog and someone said I was upsetting the environment. But the solution gets rid of the aggressive squirrels without killing them.

  49. Happy birthday, Patti!!

    Those creatures are too cute. I don't have any suggestions to get rid of them, maybe some natural spray that the voles may dislike, i.e. hot peppered water, vinegar... A biologist or an agriculture engineer may give you a good advice


  50. Happy Birthday! I haven't been visiting my friends much since I have been traveling, but I really appreciate your commnts. I don't love little creatures like that but my Crafty does.

  51. See, I can't even type my name correctly!
    Too much humidity I think.

  52. It appears I popped in just in time to wish you Birthday Greetings. I've missed your robust stories about your furry friends.

    I agree. Cute is the word but not so cute when your salad is taken right off your table.

    I have no suggestions for a cure but I'm enjoying reading the cures of others. Good luck and I hope to get back to blogging shortly.
    Love from Manzanita

  53. I don't know why when I put in cell pics that sometimes they disappear for some people. I will try to get Bossy to fix the problem. Thanks for letting me know.

  54. HAPPY BIRTHDAY and ALOHA from our vacation in Hawaii, Patti! May this year be full of blessings. XO!