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Vole Meals

We eat very well here (very, very well). We grow most of our own food, in our own soil, with the sunshine and rain that falls in this particular place. We also have our own collection of little creatures that, one way or another, participate in the Bluestone Food Chain.

Yesterday, Sr. HM braved a heavy downpour (which followed a respectable snowfall) to harvest some of the root crops that do just fine when left in the ground over the winter. It’s something of a natural refrigerator. No fuss during the heavy harvest-and-preserve days of summer and fall; then any time in the winter just pop out the back door, over to the parsnip bed, and voila, fresh veggies.

Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. What she found was one fabulous red carrot and a whole lot of veggie shells, like these. Our little buddies the voles have been well-fed this winter, just popping out their own back door (or more likely digging a wee tunnel from the dining room to the yummy root above) to do a little harvesting of their own.

They beat us to the parsnips and carrots, munching happily on the delicious roots, safe and dry and well-protected from the storms that raged above ground.

They also engineered a tunnel exit about two inches from the spot where we place the duck food each day. How convenient is that? About as convenient as a MacDonald’s drive-through window, though this food is about a thousand percent more healthy for them to eat. But things are also a bit more dangerous for them at the duck pan; if one of the ducks happens to be standing right there and notices the potential food thief, the little diner will quickly become the dinee.

That’s how a proper food system works. The plants dine on tiny soil microbes. The vole eats the plant. The duck eats the vole. The humans eat the duck egg. Eventually, something will be dining on my own remains, and that’s just fine with me.

I can’t get too crabby about voles eating from the garden. Or from the duck pan, for that matter. Food is food; it doesn’t have names stamped on it, and it shouldn’t be locked up, which isn’t good for the food or for the consumers. We’re not starving. Neither are the voles.

Seems pretty fair to me.

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