Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Snails versus my morals

Please meet my nemesis. It is a 2 inch garden snail that has a whole bunch of friends and family over for an all you can devour buffet in my garden/ temple.

About a month ago, I noticed a few of them munching down on my aloe plant and I dutifully plucked them and flung them off into the clover. I am a live and let live pink hippo Birkenstock wearing sort of gal. I didn't want them killed just relocated. For a time I toyed with the idea of dumping them into my neighbors yard, but that just didn't seem right.

So for a month I have been reaching into the meat grinder I call an aloe plant and plucking these bad boys off. The aloe plant returns my kindness but doing as much damage as possible to my skin. I am the only person I know with a two inch SCAR from an aloe plant.

As I was going through my ritual this morning, my resolve wavered. I am just getting tired of them. I will not put out traditional poisons for many moral reasons. The first is that I have neighborhood cats that I like in the area and would like to keep them alive.

I had a cat when I was a little kid that was poisoned "accidentally" by a neighbor. I came home to my beautiful kitty curled up dead on the front steps. I was 8 and still remember it quite vividly. I tried to wake her up from school when I got home but to no avail. I will not take part in that - no matter what damage they cause.

About two weeks ago our roommate told me of a new snail bait that is not a poison. I admit I was intrigued. Though the thought that Arsenic and Uranium are organic and all natural did keep floating through my mind.

Today, I actually started looking it up. I can feel my morals waver.

Though I may try a middle ground. My old Dutch and Blackfoot grandmother used to have special pie pans from Marie Calender's that she would use out in the garden. She would get some beer, drink one and pour the other in the pie tin for the snails. She would then remark that like so many of our relatives "at least they would die happy."

It may just be time for a beer run... something flat warm and in white can with a label that just says "BEER". It's not just for frat boys anymore.

Who knew that a two inch gastropod could make me question my morals?


Lavanah said...

The beer will work. So will salt, although that might not do much good for your soil. (hmm, taquila?) Diatomatious earth might work as well (works well for slugs, at any rate), you would use it as a barricade between the snails and your plants.

Good luck!

The Scribbler said...

In biodynamic gardening (something akin to magic!) they use sprays made of diluted "preparations" that are made in manner that is downright alchemical (i.e. stirring ingredients in pots clockwise or counterclockwise exactly a certain number of strokes). Their "pesticide" preparations are made by burning the pests, and somehow making the ashes into a solution, which is then diluted and sprayed in the garden. Reportedly the targeted pest is no longer able to thrive in the sprayed area. It's all about vibrations and not chemicals and poisons. You can buy the preparations in store and on-line. Look into that. You might be able to solve the problem non-violently.

Ever thought of using magic? Maybe you could have a talk with the gnomes in your garden?

Gordon_Finn said...

Are you keepiong the aloe plant because of looks?

My Gal said...

Lavanah: Actually I toyed with the idea of making a salt bath for the plant, but could not guarantee to my satisfaction that I would not just be salting the Earth. Thank you for the suggestions!

The Scribbler: Honestly I like the idea! I will look it up and see if we can do something locally. Though how you burn a gastropod is a really technical challenge.

Gordon: Uhm no. The cut was a very serious slice. It is healing just VERY slowly.

The Scribbler said...

I can just see the neighbors talking now: Hey Gertrude! Them Satanists next door is burnin' snails! Must be up to somethin' truly diabolical. ;-9

Gordon_Finn said...

So, let the snails have at the aloe. Why pick them off? Don't you think there's a chance they're responding to your desire to be free of the accused plant? I don't know when you got the gash, but even so, they could have picked up on you getting the gash from the future or the future desire that you didn't want the plant.

Let them have at the plant. If they're getting onto plants you want, stick 'em on ones you don't. Maybe they'll enjoy them.

WitchDoctorJoe said...

Hey Sis, grin up some egg shells, into a very very fine powder and sprinkle it around your plants.

The powered egg shells are large sharp objects to the snails, and they will not cross over them.

Its like us trying to walk across a field of broken glass. If you makes you feel better you can put up a miniature warning sign for them...

My Gal said...

Scribbler - that is soooo more true than you know. The neighbor who likes to spy on us through the fence stuck his head over just in time to see me in a white robe with a sword over my head. I sheathed it and declared "Peace in the West!" He NEVER ever stuck his head over the fence again.

Witchdoctor - I like the egg shells too. I wonder how small I can print a sign....

Gordon - The reason that I am picking them off the plant IS because I want the plant. If I didn't I would just let them eat it. Trust me I am no masochist.

Gordon_Finn said...

But, you said you weren't keeping the plant. That it made a big gash on you.

Miscommunication here.

Persephone said...

I'm so sorry about your kitty. Wounds like that never heal. I'm sure however that the kitty is happily in her next life, whether she wills absorption in the infinite, to be at peace, to be with her chosen and preferred... you get the idea.

My 22 year old kitty died this December, and I know I'll never be the same without her. I am just grateful that she had such a long and happy life.

Thank you for taking precautions to make sure that no one else's beloved feline suffers the same fate as yours.