After a slight delay, Chance and I knocked down the hay bales last night.Oh my goodness or not so goodness. The bales were full of great big fat and happy slugs.UGH! We spread out the hay around the garden area it amounted to about an 8 inch layer of wet slug infested mess.Last night Chance was thinking we could leave the hay in place and just move it aside from where we were thinking of having beds but after doing some reading this morning I think not.
Mulch can be a good thing and can be helpful but we have way too much of a once good thing.I read in several books and on the web that to heavy of mulch can harbor slugs and rodents.Also hay/straw mulch takes away the nitrogen from the top layer of the soil.It is also helpful to live in an environment where the weather changes more drastically from cold to hot; it kills off pests.We don't have that kind of weather here it tends to be fairly mild in Oregon.Cool and damp and then warm and damp.
We already have the slugs and between the Chicken coop and the wood pile we have to be careful about rats.I am not interested in creating a habitat for unwanted guests.Birds,Bees and Butterflies are welcome but not Rats or Slugs.
In the ten years I have been planting a garden here we have never had any problems with slugs.I always figured the bottom fruits and veggies were fair game and never lost much to the slugs.But when we uncovered whole nests of them I was a bit grossed out,coming from a girl who butchers chickens without blinking and is pretty clam about bugs and slime,it has to be bad.Maybe I should order a Keg of beer and leave it open in the garden for the slugs.Ha ha if there's going to be a keg in my garden I would have to have a party with people as guests.
As I write this Chance is still at work so I have no idea yet what we will do with our problem.Well, we will find a solution that's for sure.
I think the hay needs to mostly go.We can put some on the compost pile and give some to the neighbors for their compost piles.After that we will have to get creative.Maybe post an ad on Craigslist: Free heavy, wet, slug infested and slightly rotten hay.You dig and you haul.It would not be the weirdest thing I have seen for free on there. If we had Ducks they would eat the slugs.
Do you know why most birds do not eat slugs? The slime on the slugs is their defense,when a bird picks up a slug to eat it, the slime coats the birds mouth.This coating causes numbness in the mouth.It's not toxic, it is just startling to the bird, who then drops the slug.To prove this point I licked a slug while teaching at a camp in high school.It dose not take much for the numbness to set in and then your mouth feels like its full of snot.Kids don't try this one at home.Like I said it's not toxic but I am not to sure about the sanitation of the deed.
If anyone out there has some bright idea about how to use up all of this hay PLEASE leave us a note here. Chance and I are creative thinkers but this could prove to be a major creative block for us.Wait as I wrote that I thought of something........I think we need some hay for the Cobb Oven I wonder .....? Ok back on track now. Tips,Clues,Suggestions are gladly accepted.
The other day when I wrote I had hoped knocking down the bales would be a simple enough task and that this posting would be about making Jerky.We did indeed make the Jerky for the boys to take to camp.It is so good that I had to send Issac with a warning."Do Not Eat it ALL in One Day!" He has Crohn's too and a call from the camp telling me Issac is on his way to the ER with gut pain would be BAD BAD BAD. Once we get this hay problem out of the way I will come back to a Jerky posting.
Well, the best laid plans can go astray right?I was going to take this week off and relax but oh well.I was not even sure what I'd do with myself since I don't do,doing nothing well.After my breakfast it looks like I'll start with figuring out where to put all of that muck.