The sun lay on the grass and warmed it. And across the expanse of green the midlife gardener looked and saw the soft volcanic shaped mounds of light brown earth stretching before him. The moles had been working hard over the past week, striving to excavate their tunnels under the lawn and pushing the soil from the darkness to the harsh sunlight above.
The man walked wearily over the once lush lawn as he looked for the old rusted shovel and the wheel barrow into which he would clear the mole hills. Ants worked the soil too, on the edge of the borders, where more mole casts converged with the flower beds and grass and the once crisply cut border edge was now covered in the extruded soil, spilling like an over-filled tub. And the man sighed as he saw the damage done to his flowers which were wilting with the lack of soil around their roots and the dust swirled in eddies between the yellowed stalks.
The cold spring had been preceded by a mild winter and the mammals of the garden had – like the slugs and snails – survived the dark nights and short days in greater numbers than previously and they were now reeking damage on so much of what had previously been well-managed vegetable plots. The mice had laid waste to the peas and beans and broccoli seedlings that the midlifegardener had sown weeks before. And as the cold spring had given way to the long early summer days that bore intimations of drought and global warming in the time to come, the man had taken action to combat the ravages of the mice. For four days straight his traps had been successful and this morning as he walked though the kohl rabi patch towards the newly planted cabbages and broccoli and brussels he pondered what he might find.
It was with mixed emotions he looked down to see another mouse caught, dead, in the jaws of the plastic trap. He rigged some protection for the young plants, fashioned from the timber window frames from the old house, with ancient sheets of glass – unequal in thickness due to the slow flow over time. He wanted to avoid the need to trap more rodents. It had worked in previous years – but would it work in this changing, unpredictable world? Only time would tell.
He picked up the shovel and went back to the lawn.