Tuesday, October 10, 2006

We have a snail problem again … but in our lounge! I haven’t blogged for a few days as we’ve been really busy. I’m still on the barn roof every dry day, learning as I’m going how to re-roof it. And we spent this weekend just gone at a garden show with our yurt parked up next to a living willow structure we’d built earlier in the year to promote a possible business enterprise. (More on our willow soon). Gabrielle did face-painting for the kids again (see our blog of June 20th) and had some pine cones, sprayed silver or red and mounted on willow sticks for sale and my offering was a couple of dozen potted twisted willow plants and two panels with photos and words explaining the living willow and the yurt. We made our pitch fee back and the same again but the greater gain was all the people we met and spoke to and contacts and friendships made.

So, to the snail problem: perhaps inspired by my own brave tale of eating snails from my garden when living in Brighton, and getting evermore into permaculture and the idea of turning outputs of one part of the system into inputs for another, Gabrielle saved some snails she’d removed from the vegetable patch with the intention of eating them. I ate mine during winter, when the snails that I’d found in my garden were hibernating and were therefore empty. At any other time of the year, they need purging to empty their guts of undesirables. Our source of advice is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s The River Cottage Cookbook. Gabrielle had hers on a regime of several days eating only lettuce, prior to 48 hours with no food at all.

She kept them in the kitchen, so as to remember to change the lettuce and clean them every day. She started off with a tight fitting lid on the plastic tub punctured with lots of breathing holes, then changed to a piece of netting, which seemed to be nicer for the snails! I got up early this morning, around 7.30am, when it’s still dark here, and went into the kitchen, somewhat bleary-eyed, to made a pot of tea, to be met with the great escape. I can now see the funny side, but wasn’t so understanding first thing! When Gabrielle came through to investigate my cursing, she counted 14, then informed me that she’d had 20 originally. We quickly found one in the sink—the one that first alerted me to the situation—one by the compost bin, one behind the fridge, one on the draining board, one under the sofa and, just as we sat down to eat this evening, one inside one of Gabrielle's shoes, which she discovered when putting the shoe on. All safely back inside their tub with the netting more firmly secured. Gabrielle will post a blog once we’ve eaten them … watch this space!