The Mystery of the Appearing MoundAlong with the other wonderful signs of spring, the gardner snakes coming out of hibernation in wads (and meeting their demise under our hoes at the rate of 9 or 10 a day), the group of herons peacefully munching in the field to the east (too elusive to get a photo of without spooking) and almost best of all, TD&H (Tall, Dark and Handsome) tilling our new soil in preparation for our first ever seeding in our new location - chives and parsley - yum -
We seem to have this mystery of the weirdly appearing pile of dirt. That's it in the photo above, just to the right and a little below TD&H on the tiller. This nice black pile of dirt showed up there one morning. Figuring we had little burrowing critters, or maybe big burrowing critters, I went to inspect. No visible sign of a hole - seems like the dirt is just getting pushed up from some unseen force below. TD&H investigated too. After coming to no conclusion, we raked away the dirt into the surrounding grass and made it look as if nothing was there. Our perfect lawn was again perfect!
Lo and Behold! Or as my Auntie used to say "oh My Stars" next morning, the dirt pile was back again and once again was inspected. Nope, no signs of a hole, no signs of scat, no little beady eyes poking up. Too big to be snakes, too little to be a badger - no worries - just rake away the dirt and pretend we've just been working too hard and now are imagining things.
Next day, same thing...there it is... yup - same hill, no hole...
This morning, TD&H decided to attack the problem with tools - a pick axe to be exact. Not sure what the plan was, but I'm thinking he was going to get to the bottom of it in his own style. No results. He did manage to use the pick axe to kill a few more snakes that looked like they might find their way toward the house and being TD&H he felt compelled to protect his princess - but no critter.
Not having grown up on a farm, just a city kid who got to spend long days and weekends at her cousin's country estate - a lovely small grains farm near Des Lacs - I don't know what to make of it. Sure could use some suggestions. Whatever it is - it's nocturnal. The pile reappears each morning. Whatever it is - it burrows from underneath. It's too big for a snake, at least I'm hoping. It's too small for a badger, at least I'm hoping. If it is a skunk in search of food - wouldn't you think there would be more than one pile and why would it come back to the same pike each night? And why no hole?
So, if there's any experienced farm hands, naturalists, biologists, game wardens, Indian guides or boy scouts out there who could help us identify the cause of the mysterious mound - let us know. I think it's leading me to drink. I'll check back in later. For now, I'm off to purchase night vision goggles, camoflauge outerwear, a critter blind and a crossbow...