nature

Damp Delights

As the Met Office tweeted today, “We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with the weather. Please stand by.”

2017-08-03 02.20.34.pngI am no fan of damp weather, primarily because it tends to exacerbate my pain and hamper my mobility.

However, the current weather lacks the bite of true autumn, making it more manageable. And exploring nature in damp weather offers different opportunities to sunny days. Brave the drizzle and head outdoors. Try one of these.

Duck Feeding

Rain is certainly not good weather for ducks if no one feeds them. Head to your nearest waterway with oats, seeds or other bird-safe snacks (not bread as it’s bad for them) and enjoy the appreciation – or just watching the ducklings. There are still some about, despite the blackberries in the hedgerows, making for an odd seasonal contrast.

Wonder at Water

From ripples on water to raindrops on flowers, or even water vapour in the clouds, there’s a lot of beauty to be found in watching water – and there’s more of it about to appreciate on damp days.

Slug Watching

As a GYO food gardener, I have had a fair few slug battles; watching them party on through the beer traps, brave eggshells to get to lettuce, and crawl over copper no matter how much they’re supposed to hate it. Aside from the leopard slug (which eats other slugs, and has a fabulous burlesque look) I saw slugs as the enemy.

However, I discovered the solution to saving salad from slugs: have a windowbox with salad indoors instead. And since I’ve been mostly growing indoors, or in containers (which slugs seem to see as  greater challenge than plants in the ground) my attitude to slugs has softened.

Yesterday, I went froglet hunting. I saw lots of pictures of froglets during #30DaysWild and it reminded me I haven’t seen one in 30+ years. Though my partner and I went to a local pond that he’d previously visited when taking school children on a pond dipping trip, there were no froglets, though there was one frog…

However, the damp weather brought out the slugs. And as I looked closer, I could see their beauty. They have cute eyes (and sensory antennae) like snails. These are called upper and lower tentacles, bringing to mind exotic sea life (or aliens).

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There is elegance in slugs’ efficient design (gastropod translates as stomach-foot).

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The skirt is rather beautiful.

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And seeing this slug family taking on a mushroom was cute.

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OK,  slugs are slimy (and it can be hard to wash slug slime away should you accidentally grab a slug when you’re weeding) but if you put your fingers in your mouth, so are you.

Much as swans are unfairly maligned as universal arm-breakers, slugs deserve a bit of a break. They eat rotting vegetation and help it decompose. Some even eat dung. They are also a food source for other birds and animals including hedgehogs, blackbirds and ducks.

Damp days give you the perfect chance to meet them, and their home-owning friends. Take a closer look at slugs as they may not be as ‘gross’ as you might expect.

 

 

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