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reading tiger

I took the kids for a spin around the neighborhood in our new wagon. I stuck to the flat blocks as best I could but still managed to get in a pretty good workout for me (upper and lower body!) and a giggle-inducing ride for them. I also apparently raised the spirits of the entire neighborhood, as everyone was smiling at me and several people stopped to make small talk.

Then I came home and made Experimental Soup with roasted butternut squash and braised fennel. The recipe needs a little tweaking but not bad for a complete improv.

Meanwhile, in our garden, last week our lettuce transplants were flourishing and I went down today with a pair of shears, ready to harvest. This week, they are gone. As if they never existed. Three red lettuce transplants are grimly holding on to one tiny leaf, the others -- no trace. I blame the snails, who also seem to have done a number on our pea transplants. Sigh. It's a good thing I'm not counting on this garden to actually feed us. On the plus side, several of our seeds seem to be happily sprouting.


Wagon! Wheee!
Snails and slugs, ugh. I wouldn't get much from my garden at all without morning and evening patrols to remove/destroy the slugs. Once plants get really established they get more resistant to being chomped (although probably not tender lettuce), and in dryer weather the slugs aren't as active, but they'll still climb up tomato plants and take a few (or many) bites of ripening tomatoes, which of course makes the fruit open to rot. And even if dry weather slows the critters down, they reproduce, so that there are many, many more by fall. Getting rid of as many as possible in the spring is essential. I've heard that chickens will gobble them up, which sounds like a great idea.

(I'm just talking about little New England slugs, up to maybe an inch or two long when full grown, but I remember the banana slugs I used to see in wooded areas around Oakland. Used to see lots of small snails right around the house and yard, too, so those are probably what you're contending with.)
In San Francisco, I had to do nightly patrols for slugs, although cheap (non-lite) beer in beer traps worked well for them. We didn't have banana slugs but we did have both small black slugs and medium gray slugs.

And we have a bumper crop of snails in the yard. It's kind of amazing. It would take me a long time to hand-pick them all and discard. (And there's no way our landlords would let us have chickens.)