Last Tuesday I received a call. She had seen my card at Gossamer Fiber Arts (www.gossamerfiberarts.com) next to my escarglows. "Do you collect slugs too?"
"Do yo charge?"
And then I realized that my pricing plans are not that cut and dry. I truly need to pay for my time, energy, and if driving, gas. But... I went to her house last Thurs. evening to hunt garden mollusks. Lee was upset by the massive damage caused to her artichoke and strawberries, tomatoes. She throws them into the street, like most frustrated gardeners, and still feels that the battle is stacked against her. She is right. It takes a certain amount of vigilance and time to get the balance in a new garden. I also spoke about garlic and crushed walnut shells as a barrier to help protect the plants. And really, the slugs were doing a great job of attacking the fallen fruit and dying leaves. Super good detritus removers. Lots of slugs, about 6 snails. There were the flat-shelled snails with grey-blue bodies as well, but very small and I am not familiar with those as edible. I took some photos of the slugs so I can send them to Tim Pearce and have him identify them.
On Halloween I am gong on a hunt with a camera man. He wants to share the renewable, sustainable effort on public television; just like fishing with a line, when collecting by hand, not likely to decimate anything. Should be fun to collect on Halloween. I love all the kids' in costume and I will be ready for the occasion, of course. I am getting this collection ready for a friend's 30th birthday feast this Sat. Nov.1st. She asked me to prepare garden mollusks for her party, so how can I refuse to serve so many acupuncturists, yogis, artists, dancers these local treats?! And right on the heel of Halloween. The phrase trick or treat makes me wonder how they will feel about the slugs...I can't decide whether to make spicy Thai wanton soup, Indian kheema, or Italian Babblucci, and if I am spelling things incorrectly, I am spelling things incorrectly. It will come to me. The right dish is coming to my mind. Om.
The curious thing about this "service," is that while it is a pest control service, it also provides me with a form of food (even though I am still squeamish about the slugs. I admit, it makes me a bit nervous like scuba diving) . My "clients" are eager to feed me. They seem to realize the service they are providing me (free of charge!) and I haven't been so great at asking for the $10 per half hour fee. Yes, I have halved my $20 per hour pail rate during this election year unregulated federal greed lust time. I am open to barter at this point. I love that Lee gave me a beautiful rich cup of rooibos tea and I got to meet her in her lovely home. It was welcoming and she offered to share my service with plant and gardening people, so that was a great payment. I like sharing the concept and seeing where it leads. Lee was intrigued about the prospect of becoming more dependent on our own backyards for dinner. There is a trailer for "On the trail...with Miss Snail Pail" on YouTube. It is by Golden Bear Casting (Greg Young). He contacted me a few years ago about a project and now has edited a 12 minute documentary. Please check out the trailer. He used a friend's music, Jody Hughes (www.jodyhughes.com).
Today I will make more escarglows, the candles from the snail shells using recycled soy and beeswax drippings. When lit, they last about 45 minutes and honor the life given by the snail as they shine light onto the great potential of each living being. I hope it inspires people to take action for the true wealth of the planet. I am getting into the ethics of business, so I will leave with the hope that some of you are thinking more seriously about what you can do to support alternatives to pesticides and toxic living and create an abundance of wealth even at a time when the "news" would have you stricken with fear and perilous doom about the economy. And please vote!! The coral reefs want Obama.