Friday the Thirteenth.

I knew it was all going far too well. Friday is a one-man shift, usually done at full panic stations but this one went smoothly. I was finished with time to spare. Then I found Teacher’s at £18 a litre in Tesco. The rain stayed off for me to get to work and was no more than a misty drizzle on the way home. It didn’t even matter on the way home since, with no work tomorrow, every item of uniform went in the wash tonight. It really didn’t matter if I’d been drenched, although it was nice not to be.

There was (and still is) bacon and cold roast chicken in the fridge. Also eggs. Crisply grilled bacon and chicken bits in a chilli-spiced omelette sounded just the thing, so I opened the grill and…

…the glass panel on the oven door (above the grill) detached itself, fell into the grill pan I was holding and smashed into a million bits. It went everywhere. Fortunately it was safety glass, misnamed when the ‘safety’ glass is evidently not safely attached to the damn door, but at least there were no shards.

It’s an old oven. I had often wondered what was holding that glass panel in place. Not very much, as it turned out. To get a replacement glass panel for a roughly 14-year-old oven would cost £200! To get an entirely new double fitted oven would cost under £300. I think it is time for a new oven. I would never trust any new glass panel anyway, I want one that is fitted into the door, not stuck onto the front of it.

Heating and cooling over more than a decade would have made that panel expand and contract and gradually cracked the glue holding it in place. I suppose it was bound to happen. It’s just coincidence that it happened on Friday 13th with a full moon.

Or… is it?

The same day that I found my first lot of radishes ready to lift and discovered that the snails had found they were ready to eat the night before. They don’t eat just one, oh no. They browse along the row taking a bite out of each. Now I have to cut out snail-bites. Fortunately the radishes are big enough to endure the loss but even so, the snails must die.

Tomorrow the annual Mollusc Wars begin in earnest, as soon as I have ordered a new oven. I have already tackled the gooseberry sawfly with a liberal application of Chemical Death (the kind that won’t kill me when I eat the gooseberries) and the red lily beetles with some Serious Chemical Death (have to do that before the flowers open so the bees don’t get it too. I like bees, they look cute and cuddly but carry a toxic spike).

For the snails, I think a sleepless night with my .22 air pistol is in order. Let’s see the buggers get immune to those kind of pellets. Have to do it soon – if Oily Al is determined to register all airguns including my ‘only manages to kill a mollusc’ Maxima, that one will be going away too.

Then I’ll get the little buggers with my crossbow. Snail kebab time. I have two pistol crossbows that would be ideal for the job rather than getting the big one out.

Note that I am posting after midnight. The oven door experience convinced me to leave the ‘net alone until the deadly day had passed.

I think it’s safe to come out now. I’ll save the cooking for tomorrow, cold chicken sandwiches are the only safe option for tonight.

Update – here is the current state of the oven. If it looks a bit shaky, so am I.

ovenAnd yes, it is clean apart from the bits of glass. It’s what I do now.

 

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36 thoughts on “Friday the Thirteenth.

  1. I wonder if tossing a light salting into the air a few hours before a big rainstorm would help? I doubt it takes much salt to do in a snail, and the rain should wash enough of it away that maybe the plants wouldn’t be harmed.

    Hmmm… or dry cat food pellets or maybe grains of rice? I’ve seen snails grotesquely bulk up after ingesting entire cat pellets — no idea if they eventuall digested them — but grains of rice might have a dehydration effect similar to salt on the inside of the snail?

    – MJM

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  2. For God’s sake, stop moaning. No one in their right mind drinks Teachers. Unless they are desperate. Which is always a possibility, of course. And no one eats Radishes, do they?

    Don’t kill Slugs and Snails. Their relatives get a bit shirty about this. A bit like Ants. They all come around for Revenge. You seriously don’t want to upset the whole pack.

    However, I have got all of these black things on my Broad Beans, and loads of Ants. Red Ants. Shock, horror. I don’t like Ants of any kind, let alone Red ones. I watch Ants, when I have got nothing better to do, which happens to be often. And it is looking like factory farming to me. Those bloody Ants are lining up all of these poor whatever to eat later. I didn’t like it, so I doused them all with water, killed them off, and that took care of that. They are all dead. Didn’t I do well.
    Why have I got a sneaky suspicion that being eaten might not have been any worse that what was going to happen anyway?

    Do you hear me, God? Have I consigned myself to Hell?

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    • Teachers is tolerable, but not great, it’s true. Radishes though are great, especially the really hot ones.

      I doubt God minds if we kill some insects. He didn’t seem to mind when Joshua wiped out the people of Jericho.

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  3. Does DTT work on snails? I’ve still got a tub from the 1960’s. As I recall it kills about everything including the neighbour’s cat. I’d send you some but as I live in New Zealand this might not work. I think Rachel Carson of ‘Silent Spring’ fame would approve. Could try burning the little buggers. Spray the garden liberally with petrol and wooooosh, you’ve lost your eyebrows and possibly your house. Still you can’t make a bacon omelette without burning the house down- so my granny used to say. But of course she was stark raving bonkers.

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    • We used to use sodium chlorate weedkiller. As a teenager I could go into any general store and buy it in a brown paper bag. Dissolve it, spray it and let it dry, then throw a lit match at it. Foom. No more weeds.

      My father once used his special weedkiller on the front lawn. Don’t know what it was but it killed the privet hedge and the front was bare earth for six months. Not so much as a dandelion.

      He probably sold it to Madman Hussein, and that’s why Iraq is mostly desert now.

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      • I wonder whether it would kill gorse. Tenacious plant which has totally infested my back section. I suppose I should get out there with a machete, But frankly, I can’t be arsed. Now dandelions are a different proposition altogether. I spent a happy 3 years researching the little buggers at Bath uni back in the 80’s.

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        • Quite aside from spiders, and with a hat-tip to our earlier discussions on God and the universe from an evolutionary perspective, check out this video about the bee-killing hornets:

          God and evolution come into it via the Japanese bees and their defense mechanism. As silly as it may seem to posit a God who designs this sort of thing, it almost seems even sillier to imagine that evolution could come up with this particular defense tactic. I’d read about this someplace else in the past, and I believe I remember that if the bees simply misjudged the “heat” by a single degree or two that THEY would also die in the process.

          – MJM

          On Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 12:32 AM, underdogs bite upwards wrote:

          > Flaxen Saxon commented: “I wonder whether it would kill gorse. > Tenacious plant which has totally infested my back section. I suppose I > should get out there with a machete, But frankly, I can’t be arsed. Now > dandelions are a different proposition altogether. I spent a happy 3 year” >

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        • Sorry… wrong link. Here it is:

          On Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 2:54 AM, Michael J. McFadden wrote:

          > Quite aside from spiders, and with a hat-tip to our earlier discussions on > God and the universe from an evolutionary perspective, check out this > video about the bee-killing hornets: > > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs_3FHh3z4o > > God and evolution come into it via the Japanese bees and their defense > mechanism. As silly as it may seem to posit a God who designs this sort of > thing, it almost seems even sillier to imagine that evolution could come up > with this particular defense tactic. I’d read about this someplace else in > the past, and I believe I remember that if the bees simply misjudged the > “heat” by a single degree or two that THEY would also die in the process. > > – MJM > > > On Sun, Jun 15, 2014 at 12:32 AM, underdogs bite upwards comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote: > >> Flaxen Saxon commented: “I wonder whether it would kill gorse. >> Tenacious plant which has totally infested my back section. I suppose I >> should get out there with a machete, But frankly, I can’t be arsed. Now >> dandelions are a different proposition altogether. I spent a happy 3 year” >>

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  4. Snails *love* beer. They can smell (?) it from far away. Put out a couple of shallow dishes/bowls overnight, and you’ll pick up the hangovers next morning.

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  5. “…the glass panel on the oven door (above the grill) detached itself, fell into the grill pan I was holding and smashed into a million bits. “

    Been there, done that. Thre years ago. Yesterday, I found one of the bits of glass I was certain I’d swept up…

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  6. Benzene hexachloride is good against ants, spiders, wasps, bluebottles, flies, aphids, mites, ticks and other things. I couldn’t say regarding gastropod molluscs, but potassium nitrate (a light dusting of the solid dry stuff) does wonders for them. You can almost see them emitting steam as they dissolve away.

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  7. I’ve had some luck with ants without overly hurting them (I like the little fellas and feel bad about killing them — I always apologize if I’m forced to.) by lightly spraying their forces with a squeeze spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol and a teaspoon of dish liquid. I don’t spray them enough (hopefully) to cause too much suffering, but enough so they run back to their nest and say, “DO NOTTTT go over to that place anymore. It’s NASTY!”

    Seems to work. Doubt it would work on slugs though. (Hmm… maybe little rings of alcohol-absorbent material wrapped around the stems where they come out of the ground? Probably be pretty unpleasant for the slugs to crawl over. It’d evaporate too fast though. :/ )

    – MJM

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    • Ants aren’t a problem for me. Neither are mice, there are some in the garden but as long as they aren’t in the house I have no quarrel with them.

      Slugs can crawl over razor blades. And they love alcohol and tobacco. Natural allies really, except they are just the kind of unruly drunks you don’t want to have around.

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  8. I have an elderly, tea-total, non-smoking aunt who, despite being an octogenarian, is still a keen gardener. She is also voluble (as a matter of principle) in her objections to things being banned & interference from authority. She is feisty & I like her.

    The last time I visited, I noticed a pack of supermarket own brand beer on her table & asked whether she had been driven to drink by the latest nonsense spewing out of the government/council/Brussels etc.. “No”, she said “It’s for the slugs and snails.”

    She half buries small jam-jars at intervals alongside her veggie patch & pours in about an inch or so of cheap beer. The jam-jar lip protrudes slightly above the ground. The slugs & snails seem to detect the beer & head for it instead of her lettuce and other produce. It seems to work.

    Every morning the jam-jars contain victims that died drunk & happy. My aunt reckons it works better than all of the other things she’s tried over the years. Apparently, getting the right interval between beer traps takes some trial & error – depending upon crops, location & stuff – but typically somewhere between 2 & 4 feet.

    Good luck with the oven. Given our masters failure to grasp ‘O’ level physics & their consequently insane energy non-policy, you might want to think about getting an Aga or a Calor gas unit.

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    • The spider probably died. Bees don’t get their stings ripped out when stinging other little things. Only when they get caught in mammal skin. That bee sting would have been an irritant to us but lethal to the little spider. Shame, I like spiders too.

      A couple of years back my compost bin was off limits because there were bees nesting in it. I wasn’t going to remove them, I need them for my fruit trees. They are far more important than compost.

      Interesting. Jensen Button missed the Graham Norton show you sent me because of a bee sting. It all comes to a point, sometime in the future.

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      • I’ll be honest, I’m not keen on spiders (I watch Tarantula! as a wee one and it shit me up – reading IT by Stephen King later in life didn’t really help matters much), but in recent times, I have gotten a little softer to the buggers mostly because I have kids now and I don’t want them to see me phobic, but also because DP put a link in one of his lovely tanks:

        Aww… he’s so cute and colourful and his dance is divine

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        • Yes! Jenson Button and the bee sting on the nose. I haven’t written that up yet but I have made a start tonight on a shamble…

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          • Ha Ha – I didn’t see the clown face on the dancing spider, D’oh!

            I think Stephen King is the blame for the explosion of coulrophobia in the last 20 years. Fortunately, I was innoculated at an early age by this fella:

            Ha! Another masked doctor…

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