Monday Miscellany: Drunken Shenanigans Edition

Local author Amy Stewart has become my very favorite non-fiction writer, not only because she’s so fun to read, but because her writing is so very practical in everyday life.

Case in point: the other day, a mildly tipsy houseguest was about to tell me a story about banana slugs for the third time. I deftly maneuvered the conversation to the gory sex lives of banana slugs (thanks, Amy!), and the conversation instantly became electrified.

Amy’s now turning her attention from frightening dinner guests and alarming nature-loving friends to everybody’s favorite topic, alcohol. (At least, it’s everybody’s favorite topic in my house. We’ve got a pretty big bar.) Amy’s had a fantastic column in our local paper for as long as I can remember, and she’s just re-named it The Drunken Botanist. Here’s my favorite snippet from the first one:

“Do yourself a favor and buy something decent. After all, if you’re not much of a drinker, the bottle will last forever, and if you are a drinker-well, you’ve made the commitment, so drink good booze. “


You’ll all be unsurprised to learn that the brands she recommends are almost all sold out locally. Glad I snagged the second-to-last Velvet Falernum in Humboldt County!

The column will be running in Garden Rant, The North Coast Journal, and over at Amy’s blog Dirt.

And since we’re dropping links, if you haven’t yet read Amy’s Humboldt County-based novel about the death of the printed word, go on over to her website and check it out. It’s newly available in pretty much every e-reader format out there, so all you i-something users will be very happy (it’s out on Kindle, too).

Next up, two organic pest control methods involving beverages are put to the test. Beer drinker Kathryn Olmstead wanted to see if slugs have as good of taste in beer as she does, so she emptied out a number of beers into pans to see which they preferred.

In a disappointing turn of events, it seems that slugs have godawful taste in beer, preferring Budweiser to the finer brands, like Guinness. I mean, it’s not like there’s ever any leftover Guinness, so maybe that’s a good thing, but Budweiser? Gross!

Last, The Healthy Home Economist has a tip about deterring flies from your picnic table area. Apparently, you can fill Ziploc bags with water and hang them above your seating area, and something about that just creeps the hell out of your flies. I’m sure it has something to do with the unseemly number of eyeballs they have.

Hey, it’s nearly free, not too big of a pain and just might save your food from fly footprints. I’m filing this under the “worth a try” section of my brain. Just don’t let the children loose with baseball bats or you might get an unexpected shower.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy the sunshine!


  1. says

    OK, first off … The Drunken Botanist? Genious. Love it. I’ll toast to that.

    Second, the findings of the slug beer investigation are a good thing. Cuz if you think I’m going to waste a good beer on the damn slugs, you are sorrily mistaken. I generally ply them with the leftover Miller Lites that friends invariably leave at my house (“No, seriously, please take them with you!”). I figure if it doesn’t kill the damn things at least I’ll know they are going to have one hell of a freakin’ headache.

    Lastly, I’m pretty sure that tip about the Ziploc bags is really just a party game and that your friends have bets about whose head the thing is going to land on.

    • says

      Damn – Erin – I bet you’re right about the bags of water. That sounds like my friends. 😉

      Miller Lites? Oh dear. These must be very fine human beings for you to associate with them, given they have such terrible taste in, gosh, can it even rightly be called a beer? I actually had a pal who drank them, and I bought a case for them to drink at my place. When they moved away soon after I begged them to take the case with them, and they didn’t, and that case sat there for a year before I finally gave it to the bum with the “let’s be honest – I just want a drink” panhandling sign. He was happy!

      Thanks for saying hi, Erin! It’s always lovely to hear from you.

  2. Donna B. says

    I really, really, REALLY need to pick up Amy’s books… I browsed through “Wicked Plants” the other day… now I want “Wicked Bugs” [banana slug sex?! omg I need this…] she’s quite a witty writer!

    @ Water Bags/Fly Repellant: This was actually tested by The Mythbusters! [I’m @ work, otherwise I would supply a link…] They made a fly home that had three sections:
    | w/ bag | fly compartment | w/o bag |
    With a piece of rotting meat on each end where one had a suspended bag of water above it, and checked back to see which section had more flies. Sadly I think it was inconclusive, and both sides had a similar amount of flies… shame, too, I would have loved this to work! ><;;

  3. says

    When we bought our house, it came with an entire bed of hosta. Although I happen I like hosta (as much as I like any non-native plant, that is) it was a veritable paradise for slugs. Being pretty picky about the beer I drink, I wasn’t about to spend $8+ on a six-pack for the slugs so I bought some cans of Milwaukee’s Beast (aka Milwakukee’s Best) solely for the purpose of controlling the slugs. My young kids thought this was very cool, as I explained what I was doing – including the distinction between my bottled beer (for Dad only) and the cans (to kill the slugs).

    Fast forward to Thanksgiving when my father-in-law came to visit. He doesn’t share my taste in beer, so he opened a can of Beast one afternoon. My kids freaked out: they were absolutely sure the “slug beer” was going to kill their grandfather just like it killed the slugs. I thought it was hilarious, though I’m not sure my in-laws were quite as amused!

    • says

      Vincent, this is easily the funniest thing I’ve read all day. I mean, the day’s just started here, but I imagine it will hold the title for some time. I can just imagine. “NOOO, Grandpa, STOP!!! That’s the poison slug beer!”. And grandpa’s face when he realized what that said about his taste in beer. LOL!!!

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