There is so much happening around me to do with nature that I often stop and think how special my job is. This may seem like an odd statement as I catch moles but it is not something I do without consideration for other wildlife. Each day is so varied that it it impossible to write about a 'typical day' so I will write about just today.
As I am covering a few acres of land across Lancashire today I load up my quad bike onto the trailer and left home early as I do do each day. I check my sheep on my way out to make sure they are still standing and that each one is healthy. They run up to me rubbing their wet bodies against me as a greeting.
Thank goodness for waterproof pants.
To some this may seem very strange that I check that the sheep are standing or lying down properly but occasionally a sheep will lie down and roll on to its back and become stuck. If it is not manually rolled back on to its side so that it can stand up it could, let's say, lead to a very nasty end. Now this does not happen often but it is something I often do for other farmers when mole catching. As I am out in the fields in areas where sheep are a long way from the farmhouse I find myself in the position of having to do something. If you have ever tried trying to upright a large heavy sheep that has it in its mind that it is just not going to help you then you know how difficult this is.
Thank goodness for waterproof pants too!
I left my happy flock to go to my first job. A few mole hills had appeared in a property - a quick start to the day - should be a peaceful start- I was wrong. The owner had forgotten to keep his dog in and for some reason it took a dislike to me being on the property. Now I have a high regard of dogs having always had at least one in my life and pride myself on getting along very nicely thank you with all kinds of temperaments. I am well trained by my 16 year old Jack Russell terrier who is grumpy and awkward at times but it's an absolute delight to be owned by him. I often meet dogs in my work - some accompany me around - an occasional one will jump on my quad and drive around with me - all with the owners permission I hasten to add - but for some reason this dog had that look - you know the one - it starts off looking at me with that familiar expression my wife gives me if I am doing or saying something she doesn't approve of. Then the look changes to be more angry - another familiar look - but then there is the sneer and aggressive look and growling and you know its time to retreat.
I am not mentioning water proof pants here!
I live unscathed to tell the tale. A quick call to the owner and it was arranged I should return the next day when the little dog with the big attitude was inside. He was only doing his job and maybe acting in cahoots with the little excavators who also lived another day to continue their unwanted garden landscaping. On to the next job which is a few acres of land along the side of a canal. I arrived and went off to do my bit for the farmer. The only way through from one field to another was driving my quad through a very large deposit of cow pat.
Yes - thank goodness for water proof pants!
The quad will have to be cleaned again at the end of the day too. Now cows are very curious animals and they took great delight in following me and surrounding me to have a conference as to what it is going on in their field. Luckily I am very fond of cows and they were quite happy to have me as their new friend. I went to yet another field as the moles are being particularly destructive in this area and as I am working a large tup (ram) appeared and took a very firm stance staring at me. I know tups very well and know that they can be unpredictable but was puzzled as to why he was on his own. It appears he was so busy watching me that he wasn't keeping his mind on what he is supposed to be doing which was keeping the ewes happy. They had all taken the opportunity to have some peace and had gone to the next field without him. He too, like the cows, came over to say hello (this farmer has very friendly stock) and as he was walking past me left a bit of a deposit on my trouser legs.
Yes, you have guessed - thank goodness for water proof pants.
I was at this particular property all day and as I retraced my steps I noticed that I had already caught some moles so I reset the traps. It is satisfying that I am helping protect the quality of the soil in the land and am helping to prevent animals falling down holes and hurting themselves. I leave for the day and go back to my sheep to see that - yes they are still standing. I contemplate my day with satisfaction but then what do I see in my fields - mole hills - the cheek of it. I start again but only need to set a couple of traps. It is a reminder of how my customers feel. I wash the days dirt off the quad- water proof pants still on and eventually arrive home looking forward to taking off the infamous pants and relaxing and what flies into the house as I open the door but a bat. This is another story.