Changing colors, dropping temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes: do these mainstays of Fall fill your heart with warmth — or with dread?
“No, no, no. Slugs you are ruining my poetic description of Autumn when the leaves turn from green to gold, tinged with red, blowing in the wind to make a carpet of colour on the ground. Now I have a mouldy apple with three fat slimy slugs slithering over the skin and absorbing the remains of the apple.”
“Stay cool Mrs. Human, we slugs have to eat to survive.”
“But not in my garden on my apples.”
“Would you eat an apple that has fallen from the tree. I don’t think so, humans are fussy. Our little brothers, the worms, have already done the preliminary boring of the apple and now we are eating the remainders. This is the real spirit of Autumn Mrs. Human. My brothers/sisters and I are celebrating our Autumn festival. We have been forced to feed on leaves throughout summer and not all leaves are to our taste. Mrs. Human you even killed some of the slug family by dissolving their bodies with salt. Would you like to dissolve?”
“Of course not, but I do not thrive on my plants with their beautiful flowers. You completely devoured my gallardia, there were only a few stalks left.”
“We don’t like stalks Mrs. Human. They are dry and brittle, no juice or soft parts: Nothing better than a nice thick juicy leaf, especially if it is slug friendly. We like parsley most of all and hostas, that is a feast for us. Now autumn has arrived, the leafy season has gone and we are celebrating our Autumn festival aren’t we boys/girls. It is apple harvest time, when the apples are tired from hanging on the trees and bounce to the ground where we are waiting.”
“This is all very well, but we humans also eat apples and even make pies and tarts with them. I did not plant my apple tree for a slug Autumn festival.”
“Oh, come on Mrs. Human, you don’t eat the apples that fall from the tree. They might have a brown soft spot on their skin. Yummy that is our favourite part. We can really squeeze into the apple and savour every part of its flesh. Isn’t it so boys/girls?”
“Yes boss of course. Autumn is the time of year that we all look forward to – munch, munch.”
“So do not gobble the food, eat with dignity, we are slugs and not humans.”
“Excuse me, what was that last remark?”
“Mrs. Human have you ever watched a human eating an apple. He kills it, hatches away with the things called teeth and murders it by biting large lumps out of its flesh.”
“So you want to tell me that slugs don’t have teeth.”
“Of course we have teeth, 14,000 of them in all, but they are fine and dainty. We do not chop our food, we absorb it. So enough talk, I have an apple to deal with. There are four of our kind waiting to take over when we are finished.”
“You are not going to eat the complete apple?”
“We share our food Mrs. Human: besides there is another apple just around the corner that left the tree, so I think I will slime my way over to that apple. Did you plant any strawberries this year Mrs. Human? We slugs love strawberries. They are so nice and juicy.”
“No I did not plant strawberries. I decided to stop planting strawberries as the last time the slugs ate them all.”
“Oh, I see. Never mind apples are OK. What are you doing with all those apples you are collecting in that basket Mrs. Human?”
“They are for human consumption, not for slugs. Don’t worry, I will leave the bruised apples for you.”
“Thankyou Mrs. Human, you are so kind. Did you hear fellow slugs. The remaining apples are for us. ”
And I left the Autumn in my garden, accompanied by the munching sounds of millions of slug teeth as they devoured the apples that no-one really wants. They seem to be the garbage people of my garden.
“And Mrs. Human, see you again next year some time in spring. We will be keeping our feelers crossed for a nice wet Spring. Don’t forget to plant the parsley and look after the hostas.”
You have to love them I suppose, I hope we have a nice dry warm Spring and I will not plant parsley. I will buy it at the supermarket.