This summer I've been really trying to make our front garden look a little bit more attractive than it has the last few years. It's amazing what three huskies can do to grass. Not to mention flowers and shrubs. The lavender bush is just starting to come out of it's dog-pee induced shock and actually even bloomed for the first time in two years. Bless it's little purple flowers.
I bought a couple of nice plants at the local market just before my mom got here with the hope that there would be a nice mix of blooming flowers in the garden. I planted them all with care and watered them tenderly each night. Everything looked great until about 4 days before she got here. Then, I discovered the awesome power of THE SNAILS.
Sure, I knew those little house huggers liked to nibble away on some of my mauvaises herbes but I had no idea how much they loved pink and yellow flowers. It was as if I had planted a Denny's or "an all-you-can-eat-fish-n-chips" right there for them.
Common sense and most of our neighbours told me that I needed to kill the little guys or give them to the local restaurant. Eradicate them completely was what one neighbour told me. "Be vigilant, Dig. Try salt. It shrivels them up just like that."
If only I could. I look at their little antenna wiggling so innocently at me as they poke their heads out of those little shells and what can I do? It's not their fault I planted flowers in their bathroom.
I could see only one option in all this: a snail relocation program.
So hence, each evening, I've gotten in the habit of waiting for them to start slithering around the flowers when I can pick them up, with all their relatives and houses stuck together, and move them way across the garden, over by the composter. There's lots of great eating over there, what's a snail not to love?
Except that each night, I keep finding at least 3 or 4 more of the little stickers who need a lift back over to the other side of the garden. There's something oddly familiar about a couple of their condos which leads me to believe that snails may be even better about finding their way home than Lassie ever was. I've become convinced that each night there's a parade of snails, lugging their 2 bedroom/ 2 bath shells from one sleepy side of the the garden to the other, giggling as they arrive back at the buffet.
The crazy side of me wants to start marking off the recently moved with a nice big red magic marker so I can keep track of just who's going where out there. I'll start my own little scientific experiment in the daily life of French Gastropoda. Maps, charts, and colour coordinated stickers telling me if the big ones are actually slower than the small ones and just how far a snail can go in 8 hours. It'll be a summer long project that will fill me with intense delight and encourage my children to explore a small corner of the magical world of science.
Well, it's either that or a really good recipe, right?