Snail Husbandry Stinks (Fail Blog)

The horrible reality of snail husbandry going horribly wrong.

So I went out in the late summer and got about 1 gallon of wild, invasive aquatic snails for this Snail Water.

I happily raised them and they were doing ok. I tossed in some older greens, they’d eat, all was well.

Then I put in The Gourd.

I figured they’d all be fine, they had this gourd to eat, they seemed to like it, and there we are.

Well, the gourd molded, and the filter clogged with red weird algae mold and …the tank just didn’t recover.

So I’ve had a tank of mostly dead snails in the basement for…well, lets not discuss the exact chronology, but I’ll just say that my husband is the most patient of men. That tank smells bad. Like bog of eternal stench bad. So I did what anyone would do — ignored it totally until I coudn’t any more.

I didn’t want to admit defeat. I didn’t want to admit that — even though I successfully managed to breed mosquitoes in our house all the way through December — I had not managed to keep a gallon of snails alive, even after they had babies.

I am not good at this.

So, today, January 17, 2018, I bleached the tank after investigating it and acknowledging that there might be three living snails and there were absolutely certainly over a hundred very, very dead snails in various states of…um…gelatinousness.

Because they are invasive, I have to bleach everything that the water touches and the tank itself. It smells like a nightmare. I had to use my hand to get something I dropped. My hand smells like a nightmare. I’ve washed it. Twice.

I’m going to take a shower and see if I can rid myself of this putridness.

It’s probably the most medieval part of the experiment, actually, this smell.

Here’s a terribly miserable video for you about how I’m gunna have to start over this experiment….again.

Yours in failure,

The Gross Things Laurel

Check out the album including a pathetic video here:

Snail Husbandry…Failure

So in order to make this snail water, I need snails.

European snails are huge – they’ve great, lovely ramshorn shells which are kind of thin and they’re easily thumb sized or larger.

Snails are highly invasive, and in my state are regulated by the EPA, so to do this I really need local snails.

Local terrestrial snails are small. The largest are the size of a pinkie nail, I’d say, in 3D. They don’t grow large and so it takes a lot of them to make the bulk of one European land snail.

One of my baronial friends, Jenn Millar, picked the snails from her garden and presented me with a large canning jar full of them. They broached containment by eating the saran wrap, and my husband found them making the “slowest getaway ever” and put them outside.

I collected them back into a large, clear plastic orange juice container that I made into a terrarium of sorts. It’s clear that I have to make a more thoughtful one, and also that I need to learn more about snail lifespans, because they lived well for about 2-3 weeks and now they’re all dead.

That’s actually what I planned, because I want to raise domestic snails from the many eggs on the sides of the container, so they’ll have less chance of harboring disease (even though I think it’s not relevant based on the way they’ll be prepared, you know, still.)

The snails growing in the aquarium are doing ok. I hope to cycle out the water over the winter so I wind up with snails in clear, clean pure water and not pond water. Who knows what will happen to the leeches who live in there with them, but we’ll see.

I’ll keep reporting back.

– aneleda

On the Milk of the Red Cow

Magnus the Stout, who is a great brewer and an amazing re-creator of period brewing, posted some great info about the milk of a red cow, a thing required in the Snail Water.

“So Aneleda’s got this snail water recipe that she wants to inflict on us. I applaud such efforts and eagerly await disgusting snail goop.

The recipe calls for “red cow’s milk,” and there’s some question as to what that means.

Well, here’s an interesting blog with a pamphlet from 1655 that includes a medicine with the same ingredient – the milk of a red cow.

This is for a smallpox treatment, so perhaps they thought red cows had some special healing properties.”

We’ll include this in our research as to why on earth this recipe is so.

Take the Milk of a red Cow

A Snail Water for weak Children, and old People

_A Snail Water for weak Children, and old People._

Take a pottle of Snails, and wash them well in two or three waters, and
then in small Beer, bruise them shells and all, then put them into a
gallon of red Cows Milk, red Rose leaves dried, the whites cut off,
Rosemary, sweet Marjoram, of each one handful, and so distil them in a
cold still, and let it drop upon powder of white Sugar candy in the
receiver; drink of it first and last, and at four a clock in the
afternoon, a wine-glass full at a time.

A Queens Delight - The Art of Preserving, Conserving and Candying. As also, A right Knowledge of making Perfumes, and Distilling the most Excellent Waters.

So, there’s this recipe for a Snail Water…..

And I’m going to make it.