Snails in the desert are a mysterious thing, at first. Like some of the frogs, you NEVER see (or in the case of the frogs, hear) them until it rains, and you can wait months sometimes for a rain. But when it happens, little snails with 3/4 to 1 inch shells magically appear. I was bewildered by this for years. No snails -- rain -- snails. WHERE did they come from?

I finally found out when researching for Jack that they get under stuff and seal up the mouth of their shell until it's wet enough. Since then, I've found them mounted like barnacles to the side of our house underneath vines and other plant growth.

But my latest snail encounters have been with chard from our garden. I guess because we water it with some regularity, they hang out there, breed, and eat the chard. So every time I harvest some chard for dinner, there have been several small-to-tiny snails in the leaves. They get to meander by the sink until I finish washing the leaves and then I take them out and leave them on some leafy weeds, hoping they will like them as well as chard. With winter, they have disappeared again for the most part, and this is one of the last that I've seen. It was really small, with a shell maybe 3/8 of an inch. Too cute.