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July 21, 2013
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Publisher's Notebook: Eradication of moles brings plenty of advice

After 25 years and more than 1,000 of these weekly ditties it’s clear that most readers have had their fill of politics and politicians and would rather spend a Sunday morning reading about something they care more deeply about, like chickens, or moles or prostitutes.

I’ll get to the prostitutes in a minute, but for now I’d like to follow up on the moles.

In case you missed it, I had a mole problem at the Ackerman Compound that threatened the future of my front lawn. We bought a five-acre place off Fisher Road out near Garden Valley last winter and it’s been a learning experience, which is why I sometimes have used this column as a cry for help.

Readers flocked to assist with my chickens when I wrote to share my experiences in raising nine little chicks I picked up at the feed store. There are eight of them left (Ben The Dog killed one) and one of them turned out to be a rooster. His name is Rooster Cogburn, a character played by John Wayne in a 1975 Western. The seven hens should start laying eggs soon, which is good because all they’ve done so far is stink up the coop and cost me money on feed. Did you know that a chicken eats 1.7 pounds per week?

Since detailing my troubles with moles, I’ve been flooded with advice on how to get rid of them. It turns out everyone is an expert on killing moles and I would have never guessed there were so many creative ways to dispatch them.

I saved four phone messages on that very subject.

“Hey Jeff,” they begin. “As far as your moles go, here’s what you do …”

One caller said it was simple. “Just peel a potato and dip it in antifreeze,” he said. “Then stick it down the mole hole and cover it up. Works every time.”

Another caller said he uses road flares. “Just go down and buy a few ordinary road flares,” he said. “Light one up, stick it down the hole and cover it up. If smoke comes up from another hole, run over there and stick a flare down there and cover it up.”

A nice woman named Louise sent me an email suggesting that I return my .22 to its case and bring out a shotgun. She said she’s been fighting moles for 63 years — longer than I’ve been alive — so I paid close attention to her advice. She also suggested that I walk lightly when I stalk them because moles can sense the vibrations.

I did let her know that I eventually killed the mole under my lawn with a .22 after he popped up one too many times. He was a fat one, too. Must have had a lot of worms during his rampage beneath my once-pristine lawn. I buried him in the garden for compost, so he’ll serve a better purpose dead.

A good guy named Dennis sent me a note to let me know that Juicy Fruit gum might be the best way to kill moles. He said he hadn’t tried it himself yet, but that a friend of his said moles can’t digest the gum and eventually die.

My family already thinks I’m crazy, so I may as well start sticking Juicy Fruit down the mole holes that litter my field.

If that doesn’t work, a guy named Don said to try some dried ice.

“Regarding your problem with moles,” Don’s note began. “Get a pound or two of dry ice pellets. Dry ice is CO2, which is heavier than air. One or two breaths and it is all over for Mr. Mole. Find a high point on your property with a mole mound. Carefully excavate until the tunnel is found. Stuff as many of the dry ice pellets down the tunnel as you can. Put the dirt back and sprinkle a little water to hasten the process. This might do the trick.”

I’m going for the flares next. Louise suggested I get the moles out in the field before they make it to my front lawn, so that’s the plan. A buddy at work is bringing me a bunch of road flares, so I’ll have a little project in the next couple of days. If that doesn’t work I’ll just go buy some gum and dry ice.

The last time I had this kind of reader response was when I wrote about the prostitutes in Nevada. Lawmakers in that state were going on a “fact-finding” tour of the Mustang Ranch brothel until I found out about it and wondered, in a column, what kind of facts they were hoping to uncover there.

They eventually canceled the tour and blamed me for “subjecting these fine gentlemen to that kind of ridicule.”

In my defense, I did say that — except for the degree of pleasure they provide — the politicians and prostitutes would probably find a lot in common.

The next day my phone was ringing off the hook from prostitutes complaining about being compared to politicians.

Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or jackerman@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 8, 2013 04:13PM Published Jul 21, 2013 12:04AM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.