How Do You Spend Your FALL Days?

f728d1c8331ff4c32332_mole.jpg
f728d1c8331ff4c32332_mole.jpg

How do you spend your FALL days?

To be honest, I am learning more about wildlife than I ever wanted to.  A category filled with invigorating, rustic and outdoorsy nature.   A world of fast moving creatures, rodents and carnivorous things than I can’t keep up with so I decided it’s better to educate than to procrastinate.  Why else would I let the critter take the lead?

It all started one night a few weeks ago when I took our puppy for a walk.  I returned to find feces in our living room.  Hmm, this looks like rabbit poop.  It’s not the dogs, and there’s no rabbit or deer anywhere near inside our home, I proclaimed.  What in the world could this be from?  The floor was clean five minutes ago when I stepped outside, and I certainly knew the looks of excrement from past experiences dealing with home critters and rodent invasions.  So I do, what I do best – ‘dial away’ to the ‘one-of-a-kind’ contractor who suddenly became my best friend.

Sign Up for E-News

Before you knew it, the ‘Critter Control’ buddies were at my door steps -- panting to provide d-CON®, bait, and traps.  That’s all we needed – a little more havoc in our household.  But then, they proclaimed, as the poop experts do, “nope, this looks like it could be flying squirrel or bat poop”.  “Really, in my house?  I live here and I haven’t seen anything flying around, including a fly let alone a creature of that size and I’m not batty yet!” I stated.

“Well they are nocturnal critters and they probably don’t come out till you are fast asleep”, so he said.  Then I recalled when I was picking my son up from school one afternoon, and I noticed I had this crazy piece of gum like substance in my hair.  I thought I had brushed into a tree earlier and pulled this piece of goo out.  I looked at it, put it in a tissue, got grossed out and threw it away.  I really wasn’t sure what the heck it was.  I knew it didn’t look like bird poop on my head but what the heck was it?  It was not tree sap and I had not been in the woods recently – that would have been a miracle for my lifestyle.  Was something flying around by day or night in my home and I did not see it?  I tried not to stress nor think about it and went on with my day.  If I’d let that consume me, I’d be off to the funny farm by now.  But wait, that was coming.

Then, I dozed off late one night around 11:30 pm watching television by the fireplace and heard an “eek”.   I must have jumped a few feet alongside our puppy as she woke up startled too!  I found a flash light and searched for over 30 minutes, high and low, and could not find a darn thing.  I was determined to find the critter.

By now, I had hired ‘Critter Control’ full time and they had placed five large cages in my home and closed up every open hole they could find.  It was hysterical (well almost).  We had to barricade them from our 9 lb Shih Tzu to ensure she didn’t eat the peanut butter and sunflower seed mixture and enjoy all that.  But then, one morning, I noticed the food in both cages looked funny.  It appeared as though it had been nibbled or melted and had fallen off its cradle.  There was no way our dog popped in either cage or she would have set off the alarms.   Yes, all cages were wired to a “set-top box”.  Yes these were high-tech critter boxes with a battery-operated control panel in our backyard.  I felt like the FBI was supervising this project and it was only the local critter fellows.  Anyway, they seemed to have a ball with it while they charged me an arm and a leg, and I still didn’t have the original problem resolved.

The next night my daughter heard sounds crawl and run up inside her bedroom wall at midnight.  So the experts returned and did another sweep.  More peanut butter traps and sticky paper traps to boot. Now I had only hoped that I didn’t step in one and ruin my designer shoes!

About a week went by and nothing happened.  No more poop on the floor.  No more shrieks.  Nothing happened.  We were all starting to think this nightmare was over.  Well, perhaps it or they found their way outside.  We could only hope!  So I thought.  Then, I found more mouse droppings in the garage.  The experts returned again and found a field mouse in one of the outside traps purchased from Home Depot rather than the critter company’s outlandish sized traps which could have caught a raccoon or something along that size.  My minute-size traps seemed more appropriate for the outside rodents.  Nonetheless, away the experts went with more d-CON® and powder.

Then, the big city girl was receiving a call from her home security company while the police rushed over to find the ‘Critter Company’ who set off the local alarm in attempts to catch the real vermin  – no luck again. Here I was hoping ‘the critter’ set off the alarm.  Oops!

Next ‘the aha’ moment.  I never used this built-in sweeper with piping throughout the walls that came with our home for these plain reasons -- a great playground for any toy critter.   I noticed a portion of the pipe in the garage was busted and attempted to plug up all those holes inside and out.  We’ve lived in this home for well over 12 years and never used the darn device, so why start now?  They closed it up like a booby trap -- wires, duct tape (the all-in-one-kind solution), you name it, praying that every hole in the world was covered and the critter could not find its way back out.  We could only hope that there wasn’t a “live” family living somewhere in the middle of all this wall piping.  A built-in living room within a living room not my kind of hang out.

Okay, relax!  But then, I got out of my car one day and this critter raced down the tree next to me and hid under a hydrangea plant – what was that?!  My daughter and I crept around and saw this longgggg tail.  Then the critter guys text me this image below to ask us if it looked like this.  Oh yes, indeed it did!

Well, if it’s only a ‘vole’, I learned the following.  .  . 

What's the Difference Between a Mole and a Vole?

A mole is a mouse-like garden pest that causes subterranean damage. But so is a vole. So what's the difference between a mole and a vole? And why is it important to know the difference between a mole and a vole...?  The preferred diet of the mole is a carnivorous one. The mole will eat worms, grubs and adult insects. Neither the eastern mole nor the star-nosed mole is a rodent, so any gnawing damage you find on plants is unlikely to have been perpetrated by a mole. But rodents do exploit mole tunnels to wage subterranean war on plants, thereby making the mole an accessory to the crime!

The vole, by contrast, is a rodent. A vole will gnaw at the base of a tree or shrub, especially in winter; thus the metal guards sold to prevent such vole damage. A vole may also damage flower bulbs and potatoes in the garden. But mainly, the vole will eat the stems and blades of lawn grass. And the runways they leave behind in the process make for an unsightly lawn. Voles can also inadvertently damage plants by burrowing into the root systems of trees and shrubs, causing young specimens to experience dieback or to begin to lean.

Why is it important to know the difference between a mole and a vole? Well, here's one reason:

If you realize that the mole is mainly a carnivore, whereas the vole is a primarily a vegetarian, you'll know that they won't necessarily be attracted to the same baits (should you decide to try to catch one of these garden pests). A vole may be attracted to peanut butter as bait; a mole most likely will not.

By contrast, and in the meantime, my son thought he’d be funny and play a joke with me.  He sent me a bogus picture of a large rodent in a cage to my smart phone. It sure did look like an ugly creature and I had thought it was true that they caught something but it was too good to be true.  We had a good laugh and headed back to the drawing board.  We were not giving up yet and bound to bring sanity back to our home and our day jobs.  I think if it were that large, I’d be running for the funny farm before the critter had first chance.

Well, while I am still not certain what in the world enjoyed a short visit in our home I was certain to have a peace of mind back.  I had house guests visiting soon and I was on a mission to resolve this matter.  I did not want cages and sticky pads all over the home and did not want to scare the real house guests away.  Whether we have had ‘bats in the belfry’, or ‘if a flying squirrel resided in the basement only to find it return in the middle of the night to poop on my head at crazy hours of the day, and exit stage left’, seems unlikely, or ‘to simply blame this on a field mouse with large feces’, don’t think so, or ‘was it the vole that came into our home through the vacuum cleaner hole in the wall, excrement, and walked out the door just to mark his spot and make a short visit’, okay sure, . . . . I know the uncertainties can go on forever.

I had decided since our home had no recent occurrences, I was going to stop worrying about it, at least for the moment, or until the next FALL occurrence, but it was all too good to be true.  I awoke the very next day our house guests left, at 1:30 am, to hear loud rustle noises and eeks again.  I do believe that it may be ‘flying squirrels or bats’ stuck between the walls and now the effort will take a bit longer to tackle. The HD TV is even on the blink so maybe the family is behind that wall – no stone unturned.  Perhaps the cute little critters crawling about in their nocturnal world, who attempt to take over our illustrious home just stopped in to check things out, would prefer to find their way back to the outside.  Well, I hope we can help find their way OUT real soon.  I’d like to know they found their real family and we can just call it a day.  It will soon be HALLOWEEN and it seems more appropriate they get back home to their natural habitat, don’t you think?  After all this fun time, I actually forgot what I really do for living.

Let’s face it - these vermin’s can consume all your time and attention and scare you to death for a short while but when we FALL back to autumn, how do you spend your day?   
 

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Pieces of Time: Applause Rings Out In Two Columbia Middle School Classrooms

February 23, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Thursday night, the mass murder of students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, Feb. 14, seemed to be on everyone’s mind at the Board of Education meeting.

The board observed a moment of silence following the Pledge of Allegiance for the 17 people killed and 14 wounded in the shooting, as well as ...

Local Advisor Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Roth IRA

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Roth IRA. First made available to American investors in 1998, a Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that is funded with after-tax dollars and provides tax-free growth and income for retirement.

In honor of this significant milestone, Walter Pardo, CEO/Certified Wealth Strategist at Wealth ...

FREE Coffee & Tea Sip 'n Sample with GSWA

February 25, 2018

Take the sting out of this cold winter and tantalize your taste buds with a variety of delicious, hot coffees and teas.

We've teamed up with two local companies to offer you some of their most scrumptious flavors.

Black River Roasters has everything from mild to dark and rich, and Adagio Teas offers unique and interesting tea blends. We'll even spike a few for good measure! It's ...

Imagine Offers Bullies to Buddies Workshop

 

On March 8th from 6:30-8:00, Imagine, a Center for Coping with Loss is offering a Bullies to Buddies workshop and training presented by Imagine Clinical Training Director, Connie Palmer, LCSW, Certified Bullies to Buddies Trainer.  Bullying is a challenge for many students, but grieving children and youth are more likely to be bullied or become a bully.  The Bullies to Buddies ...

Giving Back: Learn How to Help Victims of Sexual Violence

Every year since 1984, trained volunteers with the Union County Rape Crisis Center have helped victims of sexual violence through the emotional, medical and legal aftermath of trauma. New volunteers are welcome to join the next series of training classes beginning on Thursday, March 22.

No previous experience in crisis counseling is necessary.

“Over the years our Rape Crisis Center ...

New Providence High School Presents The Addams Family -Tickets are Now On Sale

The Addams Family, who first came to life in the 1960s television series, will come back to life and take the stage at New Providence High School in March in a comedic musical twist on the classic story and characters.  Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, Grandma, Fester, and Lurch, along with new characters and a full cast of Addams Ancestors will bring the creepy, kooky, all together ooky ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, February 25

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Carousel_image_2e2e4830042112095f66_94f09724857a937db1ac_d6404e0a-7afd-4279-b56f-19b0f9b2138c

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_8e821e02ba44390d688c_olympics_oh_feb_2018

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend "Wacky Winter Olympics" Open House

Arts & Entertainment Other

Sun, February 25, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

“Showcase for Exceptional Young Artists” Features ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, February 25, 3:00 PM

DeCorso Community Center, New Providence

CSA's 5th Annual Pasta Dinner & Basket Raffle

Food & Drink Giving Back

Sun, February 25, 3:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Hotter than a Pepper Sprout: America's Music

Arts & Entertainment

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...