Busy in the garden. That is where you can find us these days but more on that later. A few weeks ago on a very cool day we were moving our last compost pile into newly prepared beds. Each of us with a shovel or hoe. Some digging in the finished or mostly finished compost pile and others moving the compost into the bottoms of our new very high hugelkultur beds. As we neared the middle of the pile Nick pulled out a shovel full and something grey squiggled out. My first thought was a baby mouse? But it was much too big. A quick poke around inside the pile revealed a few more. Baby moles. How could they be living in there the kids asked. One of them reminded everyone that moles live underground. We all nodded and then continued the search for more grey creatures.
The search did not turn up a momma who probably left when we first started disturbing her nice warm compost nest. Sadly one was killed by our shovel but the others were so cute. Now please do not misunderstand me. Moles are not cute. They are distructive. They create holes in the ground that cattle break their legs on when they trip in a hole. They get into root veggie and ruin things. They wreck the pasture but oh those babies. They were so cute. We quickly realized that we had to give them to the momma, wherever she was. We are in no way going to try to save these babies. I wouldn’t even know where to start and I shudder to think what would happen if one of our chickens decided to peak around our new findings.
After explaining to Livie who wanted to keep these little animals forever and ever, that we had to try to give them back to their mother, we made a plan. We had only touched them with our gloves which were probably smelling like the mulch we had been digging in. I’m sure our scent was on them in someway but we had to try.
Getting the little ones to abandon camp while we put them back in the pile and hoped for the best was no easy feat. I remembered the week before pulling out my jar of vintage marbles. What a great distraction. So I told everyone to gather on the upper deck while I got them a surprise.
Everyone grabbed a jar and I let them each pick a marble as we went round and round until the bowl I had put them in was empty. The rest of the afternoon was spent playing marbles. A trip down memory lane to make up rules for a game I have not played since I was 8 or 10 during my summers in the caribbean. We should probably find a resource for the real rules but for now we are all having so much fun. Everyone of us.
My marbles are alive again. The beautiful swirls of colors, spinning like tops as they collide into others in the attempt to gain many more while not losing your favorites. I had enough for all to get a couple of shooters and a jar full of colorful glass orbs. Of course the rule is that they must be kept at the top of the shelf where Mateo cannot reach them and anyone who leaves them out forfeits their marbles back to mommas custody.
At the end of the day we went to check on that nest and wouldn’t you know it… Those baby moles were gone. These simple days are the reason that I blog. For no matter how I try to keep them in my heart, I could never remember all of these details. Their colors and feelings. They are safe here.