Monday, November 29, 2010

I can't even get a snail drunk...

And another sad tale

You know the straw bales I told you about, a few posts back?
Well , they're doing great... and I'm really enjoying experimenting with them.
Unfortunately, the bales are doin' good... real good...but the plants themselves aren't.

Well some of them are, and I have to say that the tomatoes are simply flourishing and lovin' their new home, as are the peppers... but I can't say the same for the 14 zucchini plants I planted.

They were trying to flourish, and for the first day or so, it did my heart good to go out there and watch 'em puttin' on new baby leaves and shooting up.

But then disaster struck, and I'm now down to 3 pitiful little zucchini specimens.
And what was this disaster?

Slugs and snails!

Slimy, slippery, disgustingly voracious little bastards they are!

I went out one morning and had a look at the plants, and noticed that several seemed to be missing.
So I investigated further, and found slimy trails, and then a couple of little slugs happily munching their way through the stems of MY zucchini plants!
And they were lookin' at me... and even smiling at me, as they munched away at those tender juicy, potentially bountiful stems.

No worries, sez I.

I will simply put out some hollowed out orange skins on each bale, along with some coffee grounds scattered around the plants themselves.
Because I read in a book that that's a sure-fire way of getting rid of slugs and snails without resorting to snail bait.
Snail bait that's toxic to cats and birds and who knows what else.

And I have to say ... it worked.
The first night anyway.

See, what you have to do with the orange skins is simply place them out... and the slugs and snails will flock to them. And then you go out (several times) after dark, and dispose of the full-to-the-brim-with-slug-and-snails orange skins... into a bag with salt in it.

Which I did.
Several times the first night.
But only once the second night... because it started raining.

And risking pneumonia for the sake of zucchini plants that I might not live to eat the fruit of, seemed kind of silly to me.

And besides...the coffee grounds had sort of washed down into the bales, kind of defeating the whole purpose of irritating the damn slugs and snails tummy's' as they crawled across it, on their way to the all-you-can-eat buffet.

So... I decided that 8 zucchini plants were probably enough for any one person, because I simply couldn't drink enough coffee, or eat enough oranges and grapefruits to keep the vast hoards of gastropods under control.

And that's when I resorted to beer.

Okay, so I tried drinking it myself first... but then figured that me being half tipsy wasn't doing a bloody thing to protect my plants... so I started setting out tuna cans of beer for the snails.
I mean... Who wants to party alone, anyway, eh?

I set out 5 cans filled to the brim with beer, and happily went back inside.
And when I went out to check about an hour later, I saw vast herds of slugs and snails racing towards the beer... with sculling some primo ale with their mates, on their slimy little minds.
And I smiled to myself a little.... knowing that they were in for the surprise of their soon-to-be-annihilated little lives.

The next morning, I went out with visions of counting bodies in the hundreds...
But there wasn't one damn snail or slug in any of those cans.
Not a one!
Just my luck to be blessed with teetotal snails, eh?
They didn't even get high on the fumes, as far as I know!!
So I tried another brand of beer.
The Old Guys (expensive) favorite.
No luck there either.

I'm now down to 3 miserable little zucchini plants and one pitiful half eaten apple cucumber plant, as well as the healthy tomato and pepper plants... and today I'll be putting out 6 more peppers of various descriptions, and about 10 cilantro plants as well.

And I'm not ashamed to say...I'm resorting to snail bait.
Screw 'em.

Another sad tale...

We're now getting closer and closer to the date of the auction on my little dream house, (Dec 10) and I've been "praying without ceasing"... that the little beauty will be mine.
Now I don't often pray for myself, but I figured as long as I was praying for others, God wouldn't mind me asking for something for myself for a change.

I also asked him to give me a sign that this was meant to be...
Something that I would have no trouble recognizing, because to tell you the truth, sometimes I have to be hit over the head with stuff... you know?
So every now and again, I would smell a lovely fresh piney smell, sort of mixed with the smell of "mountain misery" - and it smelled just like home.
Sunlight on pine trees, dry, crushed pine needles.. and the heady fragrance a local plant...

Mountain Misery

And everytime that I smelled it, my heart would swell and tears would spring to my eyes... because God was giving me a sign - just like I asked - in answer to my prayers.

And then one day I noticed that the smell was particularly strong in the bathroom, and I figured that that was just because it's quieter and less hectic in there, with nothing else to draw my attention.

And my heart swelled and tears started rolling down my cheeks... because I knew in my heart that God was listening to me.

Until I flushed, that is.

And then I realized that it was only the toilet bowl gel.

And that God has a sense of humor...


Marjie said...

Sad tale of the snails and slugs, indeed. I'm holding my breath on your behalf for the house you want!

Pam said...

Snails and slugs gotta eat too. **Just Kidding** I hate them. Fingers and toes crossed for you and your house.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

I think you were on the right track DRINKING the beer! Here's another tip...the slime in their bodies reacts terribly to copper. If you can get some copper tape or wire and put it around your bales, this might work...if not? More beer...for you.

Kurichan said...

What about planting the zucchini plants in your topsy turvy planter??? Surely the snails can't get to that! Good luck...cuz I want me some monster zucchinis!


Roslyn said...

Yuck snails & slugs, hate 'em but we don't get them in AZ, too dry I guess. I'd be using the bait too!
Chickens work well, they love those slimy things!

Anonymous said...

So You have problems with snails too!

You´ve tried most of what I know too, except for strings of either salt or lime around every plant. But like all things they have to be renewed when it rains. But as Kerry says, copper is fantastic!

I´m holding my thumbs so You´ll get that house!

Have a great day now!

Homestay Mama said...

Ug, slugs! We have them here in abundance! You can even go to the tourist shops and buy wooden ones--as a souvenir. Why you'd want one is a mystery to me, but they do seem to sell! :-)

Terry said...

Just wanted to ride by and let you know that I may not visit very often but I still think of you often and continue to love your blog.
This past year has been filled with caring for my parents as well as part time work,life,etc...
I have had an awful time with snails in my yard too and I'm in Texas ! What is up with these slimy critters are they plotting to take over the vegetable world ?
Seriously they can be annoying critters .
Take care sweetie and please keep blogging I love my visits to your blog it really provides me with a much needed break .
I will be praying with you about the house .
Sending you big hugs from Texas

Until next time
Happy Trails

Bz said...

Mountain Misery ... I thought you were joking at first, and then I saw the plant.
And snails, yes, yuk, yuk, yuk (and I'm not laughing).
I, too, have that day (12/10) marked in my head. I have high hopes for you and surely hope those in Oz that would miss you understand the importance of family.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, Kate...ROFL...You are too funny!!! And of course, this sounds just like me!!! Love it!!! Just sending you a "hello" here...Much love to you, soul sista!!! Janine XO

Karen Deborah said...

I have resorted to chemical warfare too. I think the beer thing works if you set up bowls that are deep enough to drown in. It was fun to read about it anyway. My garden was almost a bust this year because of pests. The great thing about snail bait is it works and then you can drown in the beer.

I will pray for you too!!! I hope you do get the place in Murphy's!


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