Monday, May 25, 2009

Snailing expedition~

It is Memorial day today. Putting together a visual proposal for a multi-disciplinary art/sci project to help the oceans. And organizing my house...on May 16 I roamed Alberta St. during their 10th annual Art Hop. All sorts of creative booths and exhibits lining the street. For 5 hours I discussed snails, slugs, agriculture, the environment, art. Ryan of took a fabulous bl/wh polaroid portrait of me. I gave him a snail shell full of tiny succulents. It is starting to heat up here in Portland. I love the sun. And soon under the moon, we will be embarking on a snailing expedition. Bicycling from garden to garden to collect garden mollusks for a future feast. I hope you can join us~

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

slug skins...

Finally getting somewhere with the slugs. Past the puree and disguise method, I tried skinning and scraping out the insides. Marinating in soy and sesame oil. Then grilled at a wonderful good-bye party to "Coraline" crew friend, Jan. He was back to Germany for a bit. He and Suzanne sent me a pic of an Egyptian slug circa 1600.

The slime is quite a challenge. I think it might be useful for some medical or topical purpose. I wonder if it can be sterilized and used as some sort of lubricant. I tried to hold them in my hands after boiling and they just slip right out. They are completely sheathed in slime. I know it isn't appetizing to think of, but those of you who have ever scaled a fish or slaughtered an animal for a meal (that is the only reason!) can attest to the need to adjust to the process. All of us who have been vegetarian for years know that it is hard to deal with the killing.

I got teary over a slug yesterday. It was about 5" long. I found it riding my bike to tango the other night. I could see it from 40 feet away! On the sidewalk of a closed road for paving. I had a container with me. Somehow I knew I'd find one. It laid eggs in its container...I think that made me sad to know it was trying to reproduce. I attributed all the emotions of nesting to this captive. And who am I to know. He/she seemed a bit limp from the labor. Again, I can't quite help how much I felt for that slug.

Back to the slime. Maybe I'll attach scrubbies to the tips of gloves.
Grilled on the bbq was delicious. My friends actually were asking to try the little crispy skins. They were kind of sweet and one of the really charred ones (almost over cooked them) tasted like bacon. It sent me back to bacon days.
tomorrow I'll try some snails and slugs with wakame. The recipe is coming to me. Better sleep on it~

Monday, May 4, 2009

French American School

On Saturday, I watched Pendulum Dance Theatre's anniversary performance, "Nine." ( It was at the French American School where they train, but I admit, their skill and choreography needs to find larger venues too.
I took some aerial acrobat classes last year with Pendulum. I loved climbing the silks and learning to trust myself at a height that is out of my comfort zone. Wrapping teh fabric around yourslef and then saying, "really, I can just let go? Just let go?" and voila, you drop to get caught by the careful weave you wove. All the students and instructors are wonderful, so seeing them perform this Saturday was a great reunion. And now I am working with Suzanne Kenney, artistic director and founder, to realize a performance and exhibit fusing art, science, and activism for the oceans and all life on Earth. It is a big endeavor. I can't get it out of my head, though. So we go for it!

But THE exciting moment for Miss Snail Pail was when we were heading out of the event. I looked on the sidewalk and what should I see, 2 snails!! here in Portland the snails are much less common than slugs (so far). it was exhilarating. next thing I knew, my friend Heidi had handed me a thermos. The slugs were huge. The snails had years on them. Those shells are enormous and timely to make! I couldn't believe how thrilled I was. It was like running to hug an old friend. I know, I am going to eat them, but i can still welcome them for having been gone so long.
Jody Hughes ( and Heidi Sowa joined in the hunt. There is something thrilling about encountering something that cannot be taken for granted, like searching for mushrooms. Not a lot of fun when not finding them. But once you are in the thick of a fungi field, big smiles! same sort of thing with snails and slugs.

Now they are feasting on greens and organic grains. My first 4 found Portland snails (they are pets and breed at times) came from my first day of classes with Pendulum at the French American School. (My first snail, Moody, was a gift.) But since then, have not had such a haul at once. I wonder if the school welcomes them to keep the escargots culture alive, or if the snails sense their native language. it is odd, but again, i may need just to get out to the hills more to find my bounty.