Friday, March 6, 2009


As he enters his late middle age, our toy poodle Jacques fancies himself a mighty hunter.
This past winter, Jacques spent many hours in the backyard plowing through eight-inch snow with his four-inch legs, listening to things we could not hear, pouncing on things we could not see, coming up with nothing but a face full of
snow. But a few weeks ago one his pounces netted him a small, dark gray creature with a short tail. Crunch.
At first I thought it was a short-tailed shrew, but upon closer examination it turned out to be a vole, which looks like a field mouse, but slightly larger, with shorter snout and a furry tail.
Jacques has since refined his stalk/listen/pounce routine, and he has caught at least one more that I know of which probably means he has caught
several I never saw. Apparently, we have a lot of voles here. That's fine with me, as long as they stay outside.
We are having a nice, gentle thaw here, with each day stripping away another layer of snow. I went out this morning and noticed the the melt had revealed the vole highways all over our property. The patterns are quite beautiful, don't you think? It looks to me like a language. The language of the voles.


link2literacy said...

You should see what voles did to our backyard! After several months of snow finally melted, a vast maze of trails greeted us! We hadn't seen evidence of the little critters for a few of years - not since they create two perfect "crop circles" in our lawn. (That makes me wonder, "Where do these creatures come from, and what do they want?)

Pete Hautman said...

You mention of crop circles makes me wonder whether you have mushrooms as well as voles. See here: