Between the Lines

Between the Lines By David Lias I have a big, hairy mole.

And I'm afraid there's not a dermatologist on earth who can help me.

This mole, you see, is hardly what one would call a beauty mark.

It isn't even on my skin.

It's in my yard.

Cindy and I first noticed a small mound of dirt erupting in the middle of our grass a little over a week ago.

We didn't think much of it. We figured it was the work of a neighborhood pooch with a sudden penchant for digging.

But then, the very next day, we noticed more dirt. And it wasn't simply a mound.

It was � and I can't find a better way to describe this � like a trail turned inside out.

We've got a critter that loves to dig in places that have definitely been posted out of bounds to all furry woodland burrowing creatures.

"I've got a varmint," I said to Ron Thaden, our local county Extension agent. I described what the animal was doing.

He didn't even have to come out and view my yard. He knew immediately what was causing the problem.

"You've got a mole," he said.

Perhaps he sensed that I needed a bit of consolation.

Maybe he could detect that, as we talked, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, internally asking such overdramatic, cosmic questions as "Why me?"

"What have I ever done to warrant such an attack by a crazy little rodent?"

"Will this nightmare ever end?"

Ron explained that, despite my paranoid delusions, I'm not being smitten by a greater power for something I may or may not have done.

Moles are hungry creatures. They can eat up to their own weight in a single day, we've learned.

"The reason you've got a mole is he's eating grubs in your yard," Ron said.

The grubs most likely hatched from eggs laid by june bugs, which evidently also like my lawn.

"The june bugs usually pick out lawns where the grass is thick and growing well," he said. "They lay their eggs, they hatch, and in the summer you have grubs."

I am an innocent bystander, watching a normal process of nature at work:

1) Bugs lay eggs on lawn.

2) Eggs hatch, grubs burrow underground.

3) Mole discovers grubs, and driven by mysterious instinctive characteristics, sets up an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Right now, I feel like Col. Klink, the crazy commander of "Stalag 13" on the television show Hogan's Heroes.

If you don't remember the major plot of nearly every Hogan's Heroes program, Col. Hogan, a prisoner, operated an underground organization beneath the camp.

He and other prisoners had a perfect tunnel system and were constantly in contact with headquarters in London.

In their leisure time, the prisoners blasted bridges or kidnapped German generals.

This leaves me wondering what will my mole, who I've non-affectionally named Hogan, eventually do with his leisure time?

Who knows? Judging from the network of tunnels being dug in my sod, moles are ambitious and hard-working.

No doubt they need some rest and recreation once and awhile.

I wouldn't be surprised if Hogan, in his mysterious ways, is communicating right now with other moles in the neighborhood, planning a big party in my back yard.

Moles do this sort of thing, you know. In their work as double agents, they establish their covers long before they begin their espionage.

Oh wait, that's a different type of mole.

Ron said some people try sticking a garden hose in a mole's tunnel to flush it out with water. Or you can try gassing them with these sticks you light and poke into a mole's lair. It sounds like our best bet, though, will be to try to trap our yard's pest.

Moles aren't known to be highly intelligent. But I have this sinking feeling that I'm about to be out-witted the rest of the summer.

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