By Georgia Meyer, Phase I Fellow
About a month ago I proudly declared that when it was my turn to write a blog post, I would write about slugs.
I’ll admit, I talked it up quite a bit. For the record, I have never been interested or had any particular affinity for slugs, so I can’t quite explain the rationale. Of course, now I’m kicking myself because I feel I should stay true to my word, and also want to write a half decent and honest depiction of my experience here. I can’t promise that this will be informative or interesting in anyway. In fact, things may get a little weird, so bear with me.
For those who are not aware, we have these bright orange slugs here on the mountain farm that are some serious produce munchers. When we (the AMI Fellows) see them in the garden, we are supposed to feed them to the chickens or kill them with a rock. Sometimes I can’t bring myself to do either, so I end up throwing said slugs as far out of the garden as I possibly can (quite fun). Or I ignore them completely (not helpful). As far as destructive pests go, they really aren’t that bad and I’m sure many farms have experienced much more intense slug pressure!
How are slugs relevant to my experience here at AMI? Is there some grand metaphor I can draw from these garden pests? Maybe not. But I do find it incredibly meditative to focus in on the very small things. And to do this, I really need to get on that slug’s level.
Here are some questions I would pose to the slug that I found buried in a cabbage in bed 39:
1. Is it warm in that cabbage?
2. What does cabbage taste like to you? Do you prefer red or green?
3. Do you have any slug friends or family?
4. Do you have a home? Where do you sleep?
5. Are slugs gendered?
6. Do you have any perception of other animals or bugs?
7. Have you ever encountered another type of slug? Could you sense a difference?
8. Can you see color?
9. Do you experience fear? If so, are you afraid of chickens or cats?
10. How do you sense the world around you?
11. Do you feel sticky?
12. Why are you so orange?
13. Have you ever tried our kohlrabi?
Maybe I’ve been on the mountain too long, or maybe I’m becoming more aware of my surroundings and the intricacies of our garden. Either way, it is possible that I won’t have another opportunity quite like AMI again and, even if I do, I may not possess the outlook or the patience to think about slugs and their taste in cabbage. All in all, this Fellowship allows me to leave space for the small things that have big effects on our food. So, I better enjoy it while I can.
(For those experiencing intense slug pressure, we use diatomaceous earth around the base of our plants. We tried a beer trap but they didn’t seem to fall for it.)