Scot the mole guy has been back twice to check traps. First time he got 2 and we paid $120 ($60/animal as agreed). Second time he got 3 and only charged us $60, so who knows. Gary said the moles were pretty big so hopefully he got some breeders. He'll be back in a few weeks. The lawn is noticeably smooth with very little fresh mole activity.
Between rain spells, I keep working on spring cleanup in the herbs. Tall boys and repellent beds are done, got halfway through cosmetics and astrological. Lost the pretty rose, so that needs replacing. I also seem to have poor luck with either chamomile or soapwort. Maybe I need to plant more thickly, I think they are so small they just get overrun with the more aggressive herbs. I'm waiting to go to Christianson's for a nursery run, but we're right in the midst of the tulip bloom and I don't want to fight the crowds. Early morning on a rainy day midweek seems to work OK.
We have been inundated with mole hills this spring. I counted 30 one morning, just in the lawn, more in the garden beds and fields. Gary saw utility pole posting 'Moles' with a phone number and called it. Scot came out and set about 20 traps, much much smaller and more compact that the jaw traps we usually use, with little flags to note where they are located. Less than a week later he returned to check the traps and got 2 moles. Reset the traps. On the plus side, I have only seen one new mole hill since he came out. He is quite confident that he will rid our yard of moles. In the 38 years we've been here, we've constantly battled these little rodents - it would be really nice to have a smooth lawn.
His fee is $150 for initial assessment and trap setting, then $60 per dead animal. Once he rids the yard of moles, if they return, he will only charge per animal (the $150 is a one-time fee). He lives in Arlington, seems like a nice guy.
Wonder why all our trappers are named Scotty (both the beaver guys and now the mole guy).
Oh my, what a mess. I didn't get leaf mulch on most of this garden last fall, so the clean-up is much more time consuming. Plus all the edging, and since this is in a labyrinth shape, I do like the edges to be fairly straight and concentric. Each year the grass from the pathways encroaches, so there is always a bit of sod removal to be done in the spring. After raining all week, we got a sun break this afternoon, and I got the back 'tall boy' bed done.
Also got the repellent section done. Looks like the tansy is hanging in, and perhaps one of the fleabanes. Need to beef up the plants in this section. Seems a lot of what I plant here are not hardy enough to over-winter.
I also lightly pruned the blueberries - snipped out dead wood and cut the tops down to about my chin level. These shrubs are starting to bud out which makes pruning easier, although I'm never quite sure how much to take off. I've read that heavier pruning will yield larger fruit, but I also think that regular watering contributes to fruit size. Hoping to run a soaker hose along both the blue and raspberries, maybe on a timer if I get fancy.
I'm puzzled by the rhubarb. For the past few years, it has been noticeably weak and puny. My approach this year is to give it lots of fertilizer and see if it has perhaps just depleted the soil over the years. I got this from Mom, and Dad was unsuccessful at killing it over the years despite his tendency to mow it wherever it dared to spread its arms past his strict Marine demarcation of the flower beds - straight and precise. I do have a backup plant down by the pond which I believe is doing well, it's sitting in a pretty damp spot and never really got dug in, I think I just set it on a mole hill several years ago.
Lost my best buddy yesterday. She was 13, which was rather pushing her life expectancy limits (10-12 years for both boxers and shepherds). About a year ago she developed a fatty tumor (lipoma). The vet tried to drain the lipoma, but unfortunately found a second cancerous tumor next to the lipoma. We opted to put her down while she was still under anesthesia rather than trying to remove the tumors and whatever subsequent treatment she would have needed for the cancer. Even with these rather grotesque tumors, she had been active and healthy, although her mobility was becoming compromised. She had a great life on the farm, and I will forever miss her head on my knee. I plan to plant a red maple, Acer rubrum 'FranksRed' for her.