Flies and Snails

As you can see by our fly swatter-called a tapette au mouche-which we bought at our local Ikea, it has had alot of use. Just about every time we kill a fly, and we do it often, another little piece of the swatter comes off. We had company this week-end, 5 people, and with all of the opening and closing of doors to get to the pool and the leaving open of windows upstairs, we had a bumper crop of flies inside, something which drives me nuts. The French look at me as being a little wacky but flies irritate me to no end. There also seem to be more flies than usual this summer. I’m not sure if this is because of the heat or what but it really gets to me. When we eat outside, before I set the table, I spray insect spray all around the circumference of the table to make a little magic circle to keep out the flies. It works for about 10 mintues or so although there are always a few kamakasi individuals who bust through the poison and dive bomb our food anyway.
When we first moved to this area I noticed little white snails all over everything, on plants, on the earth, on fences. They were thick everywhere. I never saw any up in our area but this summer, there they are. I wonder how they got up here? I can visualize a snail standing on the side of the road holding out its thumb for a ride up the mountain so they can get out at my yard and start munching on my plants. There must be some sort of passive migration, a hitch-hiking on birds or mammals to get up here. I don’t think they travel as spores do on the wind. I have seen really small snails on plants, barely the size of the head of a pin, on plants. I get out there and manually pick them off plants, spread around snail poison and wonder about them. I’ve heard you can put out plates of beer that will attract them and in which they will then drown. That sounds like alot of work to me, especially since we have so many plants on a large amount of land, plus I’d rather drink the beer myself.

Snails on our fence.

I have been outside every morning to beat the heat dead heading santalina. For some reason you have to cut off all of the flowers when they die. We don’t just have a few santalina–we have about 75 huge plants. I’ve been cutting off the flowers by hand but am contemplating getting some sort of hedge trimmer to do the job. Maurice has a weed eater that he tried on one plant but it really chewed it up and did damage to nearby plants so that’s out. I also have to cut the flowers off the lavender of which we also have many, probably 75 or so as well. It is a fragrant job and I think I should look for ways to use it, learn to make soap or something. I do try to save the little seeds that come off the flowers after it is cut to make some poupouri but I really am not an arts and crafts sort of person and don’t have the interest in doing much of this. After cutting all the flowers off of everything I am just ready to dump it all on our compost pile.

8 thoughts to “Flies and Snails”

  1. I guess better flies and snails than spiders and centipedes. Summer bugs seem less threatening to me. 😉
    Keep cool!

  2. I saw these at IKEA, too. But, we have screens on our windows and aren’t too bothered by the flies except when picnicing outside.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I live in the NW part of the BDRhone (13), not far from the Luberon, close to Cadenet.
    Hmmm, a future book exchange??!

  3. My mom used to bury margerine bowls just below the surface of her garden and then fill them with cheap beer. It really does work with the slugs. I’ve also heard they won’t cross copper–but who wants to spend that much on copper lining the garden? As for flies, I hate them. I too can’t stand them buzzin’ around. Guess it’s an American thing, huh?

  4. Hi mom,

    Still loving the site! I upgraded wordpress to the latest version for you, and this post is a test to make sure comments work.

    Love you!


  5. Very thoughtful of the French to leave an escape hatch for one fly on their swatter!? I’ve never seen that before. Why does one always want other people’s problems…?

  6. believe or not, I was thinking of you at 11PM, Florida time, when exterminating some snails and SLUGS: going through the garden with a light and crushing them…enough is enough!
    At least, no iguanas in Provence, til now?
    love your blog!

  7. You wouldn’t believe the number of flies who have escaped death through that little fly shaped hole. I find it hard to believe as I am raging around my kitchen swatting flies like the Terminator, that I miss so many that way.
    No iguanas that I know of, just some puny little lizards. My husband tells me that there are poisnous snakes here that he calls vipers. I think I surprised one when moving a pile of wood but it quickly slithered away.
    I have seen some really tremendous looking spiders in our yard as I go about dead-heading plants. I have a fear of spiders. So far one hasn’t gotten on my or I would be levating right out of Provence.
    Don’t get me started on my screen story. Right now we just have one that is operational but it was too hot to use as we had the a/c on. A cool spell has arrived, as it often does in August, so I can open a sliding glass door now–the only one with an operational screen door. Linda

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