Posted by: kathandroger | February 5, 2015

The Wall, and why do moles like sheep?

We have a lovely old stone wall around our orchard. The only problem with it is that it is slowly falling down. This local tuffau stone is lovely to work with but not very frost hardy, and once any cracks appear they are rapidly colonised by all sorts of local flora and fauna. Because the wall was not a priority it has been sadly neglected by the current owners, so this spring is to be the spring of wall repair, all 250 metres of it! I hadn’t really looked at it that closely before-what a little universe of its’ own it is.The local chitchats (lizards) are not about at the moment and the gendarmes (beetles) are rarely seen, but lots of the plants remain. And amongst the flowers on the wall there are…wallflowers! We didn’t sow them, and haven’t ever looked after them in any way, but they seem to be thriving and multiplying.IMG_2913These are nice plants, though, and permitted to stay. Elsewhere there was lots of ivy and dandelions and the very common lesser celendine, which I love, but it does damage the wall. I wish I had friend Susan’s botanical knowledge, as there were very many plants I couldn’t identify, but they all have to come off before the repairs can start.IMG_2911

Moles. I love the little things, but, just like weeds, as long as they are in the right place. I have got rid of most from the orchard, but in our sheep field they are having real party! The animals have two main sheltering places, one at the top of the field, which they use mainly in the summer, and another in the lower part where they have more protection. In both of these places the moles seem to congregate, as evidenced by the multiple and increasing molehills.IMG_2919I am not sure what the attraction is; perhaps the sheep crap attracts the worms which attracts the moles?IMG_2916They are allowed to do their business in both these areas, although it does make keeping the top shelter tidy for guests, and the topsoil is useful for little jobs around the garden.

Incidentally, the “kiosk” in the first photo is full of nesting sparrows, which mess on the table and chairs inside. I must get rid of them, but how can it be done without killing?


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