Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Snail Whisperer

There's a reason why half the population of Illinois and Indiana rush to Wisconsin when summertime arrives. It has something to do with our 15,000 lakes.

In my case, it wasn't to launch a boat onto a Wisconsin lake and go fishing. It was a snail-gathering venture. You see, a friend of mine and I have small garden ponds that need snails to keep the algae at bay. It works, and very nicely. They eat their little hearts out and we get clean ponds. It's a win-win.

But, first I phoned the DNR office.

'If I take a few snails out of a local lake, will I get slapped with a $500 fine?'

'I don't know. I don't know if a DNR agent is going to be in your area the day  you go to the lake.'
(Personally, I was already beginning to like this lady.)
'So, it depends. If they're just regular snails, no, if they're threatened, endangered, or invasive species, they can't be taken from the lake.'

'Do you know if we can count on snails of a certain species to hang out together?' (meaning that I didn't want to have to stop and identify every single snail!)


Long, drawn-out sardonic response, 'I don't know...............I'm not a snail.'

I laughed. 'Got it.  :-)  Thanks very much!'

So, after collecting, reading, and printing out all the DNR regulations on snails (threatened, endangered, or invasive species), we went to the lake to find a few of the legal variety. As it happens, most of the illegals, according to the little maps that accompanied the information on each particular snail species, are along the Mississippi River and Lake Michigan coastlines.

another beautiful Wisconsin lake in the summertime

 lily pads

the lake reflecting the deep blue of the sky

 a happy dragonfly finds a place to rest

Fortunately, most of the off-limit snails are not in our neck of the woods anyway. Unfortunately, something had killed hundreds of the snails that are the usual residents of the lake. My husband suspects the very long winter. Whatever it was, there were congregations of snail corpses littered about the floor of the lake. (I started looking for tiny packets of Kool-Aid).

Discouraging for us snail enthusiasts, but devastating to the snail population.

Off to better hunting grounds...



Unknown said...

LOL.. love the phone conversation!!! hahaha!!
WI does look so lovely this time of year! You almost forget about all the snow :)

Yenta Mary said...

Oh, what a saga -- suspense and all! Poor snails ... :( But beautiful pictures ... :)

Mama Hen said...

Spectacular pictures! That is good that you checked out the regulations before potentially getting a fine for a few snail. I love lakes! So refreshing! Have a super day!

Mama Hen

RebeccaT said...

"I don't know, I'm not a snail!"
That's my new favorite phrase!!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

The phone conversation is priceless! That woman needs to train everyone that works for a government agency and has to answer the phone. I love her spun :) Drag about the snail-genocide, hope you find enough for your pond :)

Heide at ApronHistory said...

Too funny! Didn't know snail hunting could be so complicated!

Beth Zimmerman said...

Kool-Aid? LOL! This was great ... and I'm not even a snail enthusiast!

Ma What's 4 dinner said...

See, I went a whole different place with the snails...I thought we were going to have us some escargot!

Lots of yummy love,
Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

Candace said...

haha....I'm with, Alex. I went there too. This was a great post, Judy. Loved the pics and the 'I don't know...............I'm not a snail.' made my whole afternoon. Thank you for this post! It made my whole afternoon!

Carla from The River said...

Bobby will be sad to miss out on the snail hunt. She will love the post and the conversation you had on the phone!

Thank you for the info regarding the PBS documentary. I am looking forward to watching it.

Judy said...

Crazy! And to think we had snails by the hundreds living in the ice plant in our backyard in San Diego and gobs of slugs here...but I suppose you need the pond snails not the land kind, eh? Oh well. Good luck.

Under Her Wings said...

I LOVE this post! Needed a good laugh this morning before I rush to finish preparing for the tea party for the granddaughters. Why I started out on such a large scale I don't know, but you can pray for me that I stay cool, calm, and collected. That means I must stay in the house, start 4 days ago, and keep my sanity. Oops! I think I already messed up. But thanks for the good laugh, anyway. Cheers!

J_on_tour said...

Nice waterlily. I had to google kool aid as that was lost on me ... across the pond !!


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