Slugs are jerks.
Some expert gardeners claim they're essential to the backyard ecosystem. Typically I can jive with that kind of woo-woo talk. I teach my kids all about the important role that seemingly pesty critters play in the natural habitat: how bats eat mosquitoes for us, and worms nourish the soil, yadda yadda yadda.
But I can't find one reason to praise these lurid beasts. The slugs graze on my tomato plants every summer. Tear apart my broccoli. Feast on my basil.
I'd already had it up to here with the slimy heathens this summer when they -- and their filthy slime trails -- showed up in my basement one July evening. Oozing across the inside of my window screen was the last straw!
Andrew said he'd known all about the slugs already, and how they'd been sliming their way inside for a while now. It only happens at night, he said, and usually only after a big rain. He said he gets rid of them by grabbing them with his bare hands and tossing them back outside.
What kind of maniac?!
I'd been downstairs turning the laundry over one sticky August night when I noticed one dangling by a snot-like thread from window frame. Upon closer inspection, I noticed something horrifying: it was giving birth. Or it was multiplying before my eyes. Or an alien was emerging from its disgusting rear end.
After vomiting in my mouth for a few hours from watching this, I started researching how to get rid of these vermin once and for all.
Of course, being that I live in the tree hugger house, I couldn't go blast the suckers with Agent Orange. Noooo, we have to be all eco friendly here. Ugh.
My quick read results showed you can buy some copper tape to trap them with--they get attracted to it and get stuck, apparently--or sprinkle coffee grounds and egg shells. That sounded like child's play to me.
There were some other suggestions like diatomaceous earth but I didn't have that on hand, so I did what any good blogger does and asked Facebook what the best route was for getting rid of slugs.
To my surprise, two of my most loyal readers suggested the same thing: beer.
A good old, trusted brewsky.
That, I actually had in my possession, and it sounded so implausible I just had to try it.
So I hastily visited our elitist microbrew selection but hesitated upon wasting a perfectly good Fat Tire or Bell's Pale Ale.
Instead, I chose a dust-covered bottle of Corona (without the lime) as my slug trap, and got the kids to work digging two holes in the garden soil where those slimy SOB's were doing the most damage.
We set one of those plastic kids' cups you get from Eat 'N Park into one of the holes, and a plastic yogurt container, the quart-sized kind, in the other. Then we split the Corona between the two.
Involving the kids was a win: they loved that I let them pour the beer in, and they loved watching the fizz bubble up even more. Plus they felt like nature's detectives, or my accomplices to a secret crime.
I love that we got rid of a Corona no one was ever going to drink, and hadn't since it had been in my basement for God knows how many years now. (I used to love the stuff, and it does hit the spot on a hot summer day, I just typically reach for a Sauv Blanc in my old age, and Andrew is the microbrew snob, so that's how we roll now.)
We checked back the next day, and wouldn't you know it, those cups of Corona were FILLED with dead slugs. Big ones, little ones, spotted ones and striped ones. Jerks.
According to Robert Pavlis on GardenMyths.com, slugs are attracted to the yeast, not the beer itself. And he suggest not all beers work the same, and oftentimes the slugs will simply take a sip and leave.
Other sources even go so far as to warn that beer might simply attract more slugs -- acting as a beacon, notifying the neighborhood of a damned good party going on in your garden, calling more slugs forth, which no one wants.
So consider yourself warned!
Maybe ours worked because the cups were only half full, and deep, so the slugs got so hammered they couldn't climb out. Maybe it was the Corona. Who knows. All I can conclude is that killing slugs with beer worked.
Thank you, Diana and Fran, for your amazing DIY solution.
The only trouble I have to deal with now is figuring what to do with all the dead bodies...
Time spent in the wilderness soothes the soul and boosts physical health better than any pill ever could.
The powerful, tangible energy that surges through rivers, swirls among trees, gusts across mountains, splashes onto beaches, rejuvenates us in a way that nothing else can. Especially after we've been cooped up in sterile office buildings, surrounded by concrete jungles or watching belching factories, for months -- or even years -- on end.
Unfortunately, not all of us have the ability, time, or opportunity to get out into nature as often as we need to.
But OrganicConsumers.org covered a 2018 study that showed physical health improved the more time people spent in nature. Study participants were exposed to "greenspaces" and examined by doctors who reported they had measurable drops in everything from blood pressure and stress hormones to heart rate, Type 2 diabetes and premature birth, much more so than people of similar groups who were not exposed to "greenspaces."
Meanwhile, author Dr. Joseph Mercola explains, "When other health outcomes were factored in, between 66 percent and 100 percent of the studies showed that increased greenspace exposure was associated with better health, including improved outcomes for neurological disorders, cancer and respiratory mortality."
And now, as the Guardian recently reported, we know that even just two hours of exposure to nature significantly increases the quality of a person's life: by boosting mood and reducing stress.
All of this I can attest to: I just returned from a week in the remote valley community of Eldora, Colorado, with my family. During this too-short time, mountain vistas, ice-cold burbling streams, and slabs of granite replaced our electronic gadgets and plastic toys.
Neighborhood elk and hummingbirds took the place of our annoying-but-adorable house cats. White-barked Aspen trees danced and shimmered all around us, tickled by the wind, as though they were sharing happy secrets at a cocktail party we might be lucky enough to get invited to.
The kids flourished, too, with their hands in the dirt each morning, exploring the Columbine, Astor, and paintbrush flowers, scrambling up rocky hillsides every afternoon, building fairy houses and swinging each other on the hammock instead of begging for more Temple Run 2 on my iPhone.
A full moon and unobstructed view of the stars reminded me how small and insignificant we are in this vast universe. Fluttering moths and chirping grasshoppers reminded me how powerful and large our lives and influence could be, if only we didn't confine ourselves so often to the daily minutiae of to-do lists and chores.
Stress reduced, mind cleared, energy revitalized, we've settled back in at home to urban Pittsburgh. The day after we landed I had my followup mammogram; you know, the one you have to schedule after getting that ominous phone call, where a nurse tells you they've found a "significant mass of extremely dense tissue" in your breast from the images on your annual visit, and that you'll need to come back for further imaging: 3D this time, even an ultrasound.
I've been down this road several times before, and it's always followed by a biopsy, a few days of tenderness, and weeks of anxious waiting to hear whether or not it's cancerous.
For more on wellness and spiritual growth, visit The Reductionist's stories on Inner Peace.
Lucky for me, this time my appointment went smoothly. As the nurse splayed my flesh into that squishing torture machine, I closed my eyes and, instead of letting the worry overcome me, I imagined myself swaddled in the healing light of the mountain sunshine.
I took my mind back to that gushing, ice-cold Colorado stream that was dappled in mossy rocks. I envisioned those glorious mountains and that carpet of wildflowers spread out before me.
The procedure was quick and (almost) painless. After a second, then third round of images that day, and then an ultrasound just to be absolutely sure, the radiologist told me, "It's only a cyst. See you in a year!"
This is certainly no scientific evidence, but it's proof enough for me that a week in the wilderness did me and my body a world of good.
And now I find myself reaching for any slice of blissful Colorado that I can carry with me, hold in my hand whenever I need to feel the powerful earth energies more tangibly.
Souvenir T-shirts just aren't cutting it. And I'm certainly not going to nail the skull of a big-horned sheep to my front door. (Pittsburghers just don't do that sort of thing.)
But natural elements, sprinkled throughout my home, I can pull off.
Surround Yourself With Nature Right In Your Home With These Easy Elements
The possibilities are endless, really. Many are free and simple, too. Just be sure you're not stealing critical life-giving pieces of the natural environment: It's against the law to take rocks or sand from many national parks, for instance. And old oyster shells lying on the beach are actually great for helping new oysters to grow, so you may want to think twice before helping yourself to them for a DIY home decor project.
I'm Janeen; writer, mother, wife, and full-time, radical Reductionist. I share stupid-easy tips on how to save money while reducing your impact on the environment, & I'm committed to helping others live a life of simple sustainability.
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