Yes, mountainous molehills, more challenging than Everest, enormous in the frustration, exasperation, and anger they inspire.
Picture this: a diminutive grandmother prowling her front lawn with an oversized ice pick of a plant support outfitted with a doorknob, stabbing at the earth ferociously, long since having overcome any squeamishness about impaling the small furry critter riling the lawn in its search for grubs.
Picture this: grandma emptying nine boxes of moth balls into holes which may or may not be the breathing tubes for the grub-eaters ripping up the lawn. Passersby watering their dogs raise their noses and wonder where the winter overcoats are being stored.
Picture this: two guillotines poised at ground level to slice into any moles daring to retrace their steps through tunnels. Arming the traps was worse than setting a mousetrap (about which, more next): a wire spring might blacken a nail, but a mole trap with six sharp tines could, if errantly released, draw lots of blood.
Picture this: six mouse traps, with peanut butter lures, waiting at the entrance to mole holes, succeeding only in catching a fourteen year old's sneaker and one curious and very dead mouse. Grandma mistakenly assumed that moles were voles. The clerk at the garden center advised using the mouse traps to catch voles, which, we eventually discovered, look like mice.
Picture this: chewed gum thrust up from underground tunnels, like so much slag from a coal mine, rejected by the grubby varmints messing up our lawn. Grandma heard that chewing gum mucks up moles' maws. Maybe, but they don't chew it; they just toss it aside.
Picture this: a battery powered cylinder thrust deep into the lawn, emitting a hum and a periodic vibration, another remedy proposed on the theory that noise drives the little beasties crazy. It looks to grandpa like the moles use the rhythmic beat to keep time for their waltz around the lawn.
Picture this: six pinwheels spinning in the breeze, a less costly implementation of the same theory as suggested by the battery-operated cylinder, that moles hate noise and vibration. Grandpa worries that the pinwheels might suggest a festive note celebrating the birth of a newborn to a Sara-aged (think Abraham) grandma.
Picture this: grandma "planting" poisonous worms, twenty of them, at $3.00 a pop, hoping to fool the creature on the prowl for earthworms, giving it a lethal case of indigestion.
Picture this: grandma's fifty-one year companion seeding the lawn with grubicide, following the advice of a veterinarian and a salesperson at Lowe's. By the time the treatment begins to work the moles will probably have exhausted our lawn's pantry of grubs.
The lawn expert was summoned. He surveyed the ravages wrought on our lawn and allowed as how he had never seen anything like it in his years chasing moles and fertilizing grass. Small comfort! We really don't want a citation in the Guinness Book of Records. We want a mole-less lawn. "Not likely," says the expert. The best we can hope for, he tells us, is that the moles will exhaust the supply of grubs in our lawn and move on to a neighbor's patch of green.
Either that, he went on in his search for a remedy, or hire a hunter pussycat. But we couldn't quite imagine leashing Sojo, sister Eleanor's cat, to an anchor in the front yard.
Four hundred dollars later we thought the critters had moved on. Then a week ago the telltale signs of their sub-surface activities reappeared. Grandma began looking for a pruning hook to turn into a spear.
Grandpa, the theologian, considered the wider appropriateness, other than AA, of their favorite prayer, especially the opening petition, "grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change."