The annual war against the voles is underway.
My wife, Pat, wages these battles every year in the flower gardens around our house. She takes justifiable pride in her gardening, and ensures that there is always something blooming as the summer progresses.
Voles are small rodents, a bit larger than a mouse, that burrow in gardens and dine on your flowers and bulbs. Unlike their larger cousins, the moles, they leave no piles of dirt at the entrance to their tunnels, and therefore are are hard to spot.
A few years ago, when the voles initially invaded, Pat tried some commercial rodent repellents off the shelf at the garden store, with no effect whatsoever. In fact, she was pretty sure these just improved the plant eaters' appetites.
The following year, she went high tech, with solar-powered gizmos that emitted high pitched tones intended to drive the voles off. Uh-uh. Apparently these things were set to the aphrodisiac frequency, because the vole population exploded.
This was followed by the year of the coyote urine pellets. The thinking here was that the voles would scram when they sensed a predator in the neighbourhood.
This year, it's coffee grounds. Yep, after the morning coffee has been brewed, the grounds are deposited in the entrances to the vole tunnels.
So far, it seems to be working. Pat figures that, as coffee is an appetite suppressant, the little guys are just not chowing down with their usual gusto.
Or maybe they're all revved up and crashing into each other in those tunnels.
Or maybe they're just plotting a big offensive for the Delphinium season.