A couple weeks ago, I was eating a salad for lunch. I was nearly finished - just a few bits of shredded carrots, bits of herb, sprouts and what looked like an unsprouted seed remained in the bowl - when I realized that the seed was actually a wee, tiny snail shell, less than five millimeters in diameter (yes, I measured it!).
Aww, poor little snail, I thought, drowned in vinaigrette. Too bad. And I plucked it out, rinsed it off, and set it on an orchid's leaf nearby. When dinnertime came, I looked for the little shell, and it was gone. I looked about for it, assuming it had fallen off, and shortly discovered it stuck to the side of the orchid pot.
Oh my goodness! It's alive! It survived the vinaigrette! Nicolas and I jumped up and down, excited but doubtful. Perhaps it wouldn't make it after all. Perhaps this was it's final journey. We didn't know, but hoping for the best, we made a makeshift terrarium in a mason jar.
The snail seemed to be asleep, or dead, for a couple of days, but we misted her with water and provided fresh lettuce leaves from the garden and an eggshell for calcium, just in case. Finally, she came out of her shell, literally, and began making what we like to call snail lace with the lettuce leaves and gliding from the bottom to the top of the jar in record time.
We named her Alexandra the Great, but have nicknamed her Snailie. She is not a native woodland snail, but a naturalized French culinary snail that is extremely common in our region and the bane of gardener's. I am a gardener, and have warred with these snails in the past over my seedlings, but I have always thought they were beautiful and loved watching them nonetheless. Our snail has such a peaceful, dreamy way about her, and I can't tell you how delightful it is to take care of her and watch her grow. She doubled in size in one week and continues to grow. I'll be sharing more photos and snail tales soon!