If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
So... I have a vole problem in my raised beds. As it turns out, voles love Hugelkulture. Which is what we used because it is possible we have an excessive amount of brush and branches. And we really like the idea of having an active source of nutrients in our beds for years to come. And we needed to over a million cubic inches of material, so Hugelkulture was an awesome way of catching all of these birds. And unbeknownst to us, a lot of little voles were hanging out in our yard, absolutely thrilled, first by the amount of wood that we were hauling in to build their house. Then by the massive amounts of straw that we bought them to pack around their wood homes, straw that they dug wonderful mazes of tunnels through. They were probably so psyched when I brought in yards of compost full of bugs and life. And then when I planted them salads and beans and squash and corn... #bestroommatesever!! At first I thought I has cutworms. Because from what I have read rodents don't like onions (hence the reason I planted like 100 onion starts) I am learning the wildlife here does not behave as the internet would lead us to believe. For example, I planted Delphiniums, which are supposed to be extremely bitter and poisonous to deer. My deer gobbled them up in 3 days. So here I am. Trying to figure out a "safe" way of evicting these voles from my raised beds. I won't poison them since that can kill a lot of other animals who happen to eat the vole carcass. Which dewildlifing my property is the opposite of what I want to do. The problem is, we as humans have managed to depopulate most of the predators that could manage my voles for me. I literally looked into buying a fox (the legality on setting it free is definitely not problem free though) and I can't buy a weasel. I could buy Garter Snakes. And trust me, I am keeping that option on the table! I looked into building owl houses, but that isn't a thing as it turns out. Several days ago I bought a bunch of ghost pepper powder and made a lovely pepper concoction that I poured everywhere. It seems to have slowed them down. But those little critters don't seem to mind it too much. I read yesterday that they hate Caster oil. That will be arriving tomorrow. And we will see! I could just set bunches of traps and kill as many as I can. But honestly, I am not sure I believe I will be able to kill my way out of this. They reproduce so quickly and I can't imagine that there aren't multiple families lined up waiting to move into their perfect homes as soon as the old inhabitants have been killed off. So creativity, maybe some imported native predators and maybe some murder. These are my weapons for now. I am living in an ecosystem completely off balance. I have to remember that balance never returns quickly. It will most likely be years.