My Obsession

You would think since I live in France that my obsession would be something really wonderful like French fashion, French perfumes, brocantes, or antiques but, although I like and enjoy all of that and love taking photos of them, I am not obsessed with them.
Surely, if you have been reading my blog since last summer and beyond you can guess. I’m in Provence. I’m in the garden every day. So my obsession is the same thing it was last summer and the summer before: snails-the white ones that you can’t eat, not that I necessarily would.

But there is a little something that has brightened my outlook. I noticed last summer when I arrived in Provence and found that some men who had been working in the yard next door had burned all of their debris in my vegetable garden plot, that not only were the weeds all gone but so were the snails. I didn’t have snails all summer in that area. So, for some time, I have been thinking that I need some sort of modified flame thrower, just a small one to scorch the earth around things I have planted. This last April Maurice mentioned that the neighbor next door to me where I was staying in Villefranche had a device where a flame came out the end, a propane burner, that he was using to burn weeds with. I mulled that over for a while and thought that it would be something good to have not only for irradicating snails but for taking care of the many weeds that we have. I can’t use it near things I have planted but I have plenty of areas that I have been spending days pulling weeds, little walkways and our driveway. Finally we bought one-not that expensive-and, while I have to lug around a tank with it and am thinking of some sort of rig with wheels, it made quick work of our gravel driveway and I used it around my vegetable garden, trees, bushes, etc, that I can burn around without damaging what I want to keep. It makes me so happy to cut down on some of the Spring yard work that can sort of get me down sometimes.


Yes, these are snails covering a pole nearby. My yard is never like this because I couldn’t stand it.

Another bright spot has been hiring a landscaping student to do some of the heavy gardening that needs to be done, such as mowing a big patch of weeds and pulling weeds around a long stretch of bushes that I have. I know we’re retired and aren’t that busy but it’s not my favorite thing to do. Plant flowers, water them, wander around admiring them, looking at the view-that’s my sort of thing. The student is the grand daughter of the neighbor who has the nearby sheep farm. When I first saw her, she looked really little and I thought she would be too small to do the heavy work required but up close she has some serious muscles.

I’m sure I will find other ways to keep busy.

13 thoughts to “My Obsession”

  1. En avance! I can see you now, flame thrower in hand, in your battle campaign against the snails. And when you’re victorius, you can use your weapon to make a celebratory creme brule!

  2. Oooh you wild flame-throwing woman, you! I had to smile at the image of you going around with a huge torch of fire, destroying anything that gets in your way. Love the idea of the tank on a wheelie thing too.

    Those snails on the fence post creep me out. I would want to get rid of them, too.

  3. Love the comments!! And I bet the snail problem will get better – I had a couple of years of “snail collecting” when we first moved here, but gradually, it’s become less of a problem. But I’ve never seen white snails cover a pole! You are right to be obsessed! Bon chance!

  4. With the European norms, we’re going to have to start using a flame to get rid of weeds. The chemical weedkillers are going to be illegal.
    Never thought about getting rid of pests that way.

  5. The snails look like barnacles on the bottom of a boat!! I’d take a flame to them too! I read in one of my many gardening magazines that burning a brush pile on your garden in the winter adds a lot of nutrients to the soil. Too bad I read that after I planted!!!

  6. That pole with snails creeps me out and I’m thousands of miles away. That would be the end of my gardening. But you torch woman! Sounds like a plan.
    Love the last shot of flowers…somehow calming after all those little pesks.

    Enjoy, Linda.

  7. I don’t know that sounds like potential for disaster. I advise epsom salts. I use those in the garden to get rid of slugs — which are really just snails without shells, right? These critters are almost all water, so when they crawl over the epsom salts they totally dissolve. No muss, no fuss, no burning the house down.

  8. Yikes snail heaven!
    I use a torch to burn tent moths off my trees when they come. It’s what farmers to.
    I have even used a small one thats made for carmelizing sugar on Creme Brulee! Hey, it worked!

  9. We live in Seattle so we have lots of snails and slugs to deal with also.The most lovely way to keep them down is to get ducks, and they are so darling walking around the yard, quacking and waddeling and looking for snails and slugs. Try it!

  10. Linda, I’ve read that snails don’t like to crawl over ashes. Spread ashes around your plants and all around your property. Maybe that will deter the snails. Meanwhile, be careful not to start one of those infamous Provençal forest fires.

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