Â I have a friend who calls me from Paris and asks, “What have you been doing?” What can I say? Most every morning, before the heat, I head up the mountain to try and lessen the size of my butt. Then I go into my yard and pull weeds here and there trying to stay ahead of their growth. I water my flowers and my vegetable garden checking on the progress of my tomatoes. I always tell my friend that I’ve been in the north 40 (as in acres) plowing the field with old Bessie, my mule. But my obsession with the snails continues unabated. If you can believe it, there are even more than the last time I wrote about them.
Â The other day as I was picking them off of my plants I started counting how many I was gathering. There is no way I can get to all of the things growing in my yard. The number of weeds and clover along growing on the outskirts is daunting and I try not to look at or think about the thousands of snails munching away out there. I pick snails off of flowers I have planted, off of the lavander and rosemary and santalina that grow down the hill from our house holding the soil in place. I am surprised to find snails on lavander or rosemary since they both are medicinal and rather strong in taste but there they are-not turned off by the taste of anything being equal opportunity munchers. When we have a rain, you suddenly don’t see any snails on the plants. The rain washes them away and they lie stunned on the ground. Maybe they can’t stick to things well if they are wet rather like Scotch Tape or Band-Aids. But as soon as it dries out, there they are and there is a new crop every single morning.
Â So, as I was saying, I started counting one day. I actually got up to 1000. Can you believe that? I collected them in batches of 50 or 100 and then put them on the ground and smash their little white shells to smithereens. I’ve read that you can put dishes into the ground and fill them with beer. Snails like yeast and will mosey into the beer and drown. I would need 1000 dishes and gallons of beer to even make a dent in this invasion. So I try to keep them off plants I cherish. For a while I would just throw them all into a field but I’ve decided that each one will lay thousands of eggs and they will all be back in even larger numbers next year. As with flies Maurice says, “You should just live with nature.” Right. Did farmers just live with nature when locusts came and destroyed crops? No, they found something to get rid of them. Well, anyway, that what I do every day. Not too exciting. I have to take breaks and visit other villages and cities but I know, the whole time that I am gone, the snails are on the move. I envision hundreds of thousands of little snail ghosts coming to haunt me one day. I have no mercy, even so.