November with Gratitude: Nature

I am not one who jumps on board with American celebrations.  Think … Halloween and Valentine’s Day.  But they do have something profound with their celebrations during the month of November when they reflect on everything good in their lives.  I like that.  I like that a lot.  And I am picking up that baton for the next four weeks to think about different things in my life for which I am grateful.

Things that add value to my experiences and help me become a better person (quite difficult at times, trying to rise above myself) are worth blogging about.  I’ve stuck November’s gratitude blogging prompts to the front of my blog so you can follow along.  Maybe you’d like to spend the month being consciously grateful.  Of course you may be one of those people who are constantly and mindfully grateful 24/7 in which case I’m bowing in reverence and much respect (well, maybe not), but I am in awe of you.

Here we go, today’s topic of gratefulness is nature. Here’s my take on this one.


While all creatures great and small hold my fascination, those that survive by destroying my garden hold a little less fascination.  In fact they arouse a murderous indignation.  To have our lovingly nurtured plantlings (that of the MOTH and I)  severed at their bases by creatures who camp around the garden, is, well – upsetting.

The culprit is a wonder of nature to be sure and one of the few species that is almost the whole package.  Have house, will travel – no wheels required!

Snail smile

Did you spot the mistake in this image? That’s right! Snails and flowers in the same space. Not happening!

So when the skies released a deluge of beautiful rain last weekend these caravanning creatures sallied forth on a mission of destruction.  Peace lilies are a favourite, well-nurtured orchid spikes – delicious and as for nearly ripened strawberries, to  die for.  So there I was in the pouring rain.  I was on a mission too and I was equipped.  This was serious gardener’s business: camping headlight perched precariously  across my bangs and the scene was set.

But what, you ask, has this to do with ants.  Here’s the thing.  The next morning some of the snail shells were completely empty while others well on their way to being cleaned out.  (Note for the non-squeamish: 200 snails departed for snail nirvana, or maybe that’s where they were before being despatched to wherever dead crustaceans go).  This is where my gratitude to ants comes in.  The ants had cleaned up and what an incredible job they did.  In a few short hours of sunlight they had diligently found, conquered and cleaned up most of the snail slaughter aftermath.  Hard working industrious creatures who are lovers of snails.  Everything existing in symbiosis – or have I got that wrong too.

'Well, looks like your life is just like mine: Work, work, work...'

As for me I continue to be grateful for our garden ants that help clean up the mess of dead things around here.  I feel an ode coming on … Ode to the Ant — watch this space.

P.S:  I could have collected said snails in a bucket and walked them down the road except I read (in my big fat Yates Gardening Book), that these gliding caravanners of the night can find their way ‘home’ from 200 meters away.  Woot!  One suggestion (not in the gardening book) was to throw them over the fence.  Not sure how the neighbours would feel about a sudden rampage of ravenous crustaceans.

The MOTH had a visit from the neighbour a few weekends ago requesting he cut down the large bunches of palm nuts on our trees that hang over their property.  It seems, their dogs weren’t doing too well on nuts.  Snails? How about snails?  They are carnivores aren’t they – the dogs, not the snails.

PPS:  I woke at 3am tomorrow morning with the realisation that I had done an entire species a grave injustice.  In an effort to mend my ways I have posted a formal apology to all things gastropod-like.