Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

In the process of ousting 32 slugs from my vegetable haven, it reminded me of a writer friend who recently began drawing intensely and described these epic 12 hr marathons drawing an egg. I scanned the soil today so intently, cm par cm for any sight of any sized or version of the blighters. The recent Peat Moss disaster helped matters enormously, it’s so much easier to see anything in peat moss compared to compost or clay.

And much did I see. I couldn’t believe the tribes of creatures who inhabit my little box there. Esp. impressive are the small fellas who can curl up in an instant ball. They look like wood lice but have to be something more complicated than wood lice. Weevils?

It was a very satisfying excavation, defending my stems and emerging beans and I bagged 32 of them away to a salty end. The guinea pigs are benefiting from the Community Garden as they get to scoff down much of last year’s carrots that have been left over winter by my fellow gardeners and now lie hurled into the compost patch smothered in seeded yellow kale. Into my bucket they go and Alfie-Cyril and his brother plough through them.

Today again the Mason Bees had a chat with me. At first nothing, but then as I stared at the soil they began warming up and then moved into quite curving soliloquies. My ears tune into them as I hunt the soil for the unwanted. It is quite gorgeous their chatter and travels quite an auditory distance once you tune it in. I wonder how they sound during the rain.

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