And speaking of moles…I was chatting to the mole man at the weekend (a true multi-tasker – he was on his way to a ratting job and had a van full of eager terriers but was setting a mole trap for us en route and exterminated a wasps’ nest while he was here) and realised that living in the countryside is actually, all about the pests.
Yes there are other things such as the beauty, the peace, the silence, the stars at night, dawn mists, the country characters, never having to dress up, oneness with nature, the smell of autumn, the fruit harvest, being acutely attuned to the weather and the seasons and in our case the movement of the tides.
But it can also be a brutal world for townies (and I include myself in that) who are protected and anaesthetised from, well, reality. The circle of life is not all baby lions. Death is everywhere; it’s a bloodbath and if you don’t get them, they will get you.
Hunting, shooting and fishing are well known country pursuits and as long as it is a fair fight and you are going to eat the results I don’t have a problem with that. In fact it is a much fairer way to feed your family than some more intensive farming and fishing methods. I heard some really gruesome facts about trout farming on Farming Today last week that made me thankful for our lovely local fishmonger who has his own boat and where local fishermen take their catches to sell.
However, it is the control of pests that is the obsession and main topic of conversation of rural dwellers. Since we moved to Dale Farm we have had conversations about moles, rats, wasps, moths & flies (myriad types), rabbits & hares, foxes, deer, badgers, bats, fleas, ticks, beetles, earwigs, mice, pigeons & crows, slugs & snails and more (no grey squirrels though yet!) There are of course ways to manage all of these if they do become a nuisance (but I won’t dwell on that here.)
The only pests that I really can’t abide are flies but you do get used to them and they only seems to appear for short spells at the beginning and end of summer. We can, in the main control them now by keeping doors and windows shut on hot days and investing in flypapers (which often sell out at the local shop) and good swatters. Flies have even featured in a couple of our Tripadvisor reviews and I now leave a notice in each room advising on how to deal with them.
But the advice I really want to offer when a grown man knocks at my door to tell me he’s been stung by a wasp and it really hurts is…welcome to my world. If you want to visit Dale Farm you’re just going to have to ‘man up!’