That subject that was touched upon was worms and with some hesitation I will pursue it again. For the faint of heart, the material to be presented will not deal with internal worms or parasites that can make their home in a person’s intestine, blood supply or organs. While it is intriguing how those tiny creatures operate, it is a somewhat disgusting subject. Instead I will focus on the common earthworm and the trouble they can get a person into.
Most people think of earthworms as being beneficial since they ingest organic material that needs to break down and expel it in the form of castings (poop) that fertilize soil. They are highly beneficial to gardens and cropland and also make great bait when fishing. It was fishing for trout as a child that provided my introduction to earthworms. From those experiences I learned to search for them in damp places such as under rocks and boards. In fact, my second business venture as a child was selling worms for 25 cents a dozen to tourists. The worms were collected at my cousin’s farm with his assistance – we were the same age and were like brothers. Somehow the idea of sharing the profit with him never entered my head, so the informal partnership was not continued the next summer.
As a side note, my first business was the establishment of a rock shop that my sister and I constructed out of unused concrete blocks and an old piece of plywood that became the roof. After two boring weeks of proudly displaying the best rocks we had collected, sales totaled 45 cents. The cash was purely profit, but it did not provide sufficient incentive to continue the venture. The structure was quickly converted to a military outpost that guarded our property against enemy attacks. Of course, the rocks that we had collected were quite useful as ammunition.
Jump forward almost 50 years and you will find that same young man still fascinated by life forms including earthworms. Therefore, an abundance of very large worms in our backyard turned into a search and detain mission last fall. I had the intention of putting all the worms into the area where our two composters sit, but as the days got colder I hatched a plan to take my pets into the house. Of course, such action had to be clandestine as my wife does not share the same affinity for the tiny creatures. Instead, she prefers to take plants into the basement for the winter months. Unfortunately, they take up much more space and are messier than worms. Leaves dry and fall off the plants and dirt spills out of pots when they are bumped or moved.
In comparison, the worm farm I established in a cardboard box after reading instructions on the Internet took up little space and was more sanitary. Instead of generating biological waste that had to be picked up and tossed out, I was able to direct kitchen compost to the farm. To my surprise, the deliveries of compost quickly outstripped the worms’ ability to process it, so we continued to send vegetation scraps to our garden composters throughout the winter months.
Then the unthinkable happened – genocide! Working as a construction safety officer took my mind off my farm duties and I forgot to check on my pets for a substantial time period. In the interim, my mother passed away and I totally forgot about my composting friends. When I finally remembered to check on my worms (secretly stored under boxes in my workshop), it looked like the farm yard had been hit by a Nazi blitzkrieg. There was no sign of life and the soil was dry and crumbled when touched. Digging down to the bottom of the box I found my worms. They were shriveled up, hard and broke easily when touched. The broken particles kind of resembled bacon bits… and that gave me an unusual idea.
I quickly collected enough dehydrated worms to fill a drinking glass. They were broke into pieces and poured into to the jar of bacon bits my wife keeps in the fridge. Since the worms were darker in colour, they could be distinguished from the real bacon bits. I intended to ask Angela if she could spot anything unusual about the accoutrement.
However, work got a little crazy and I totally forgot about the worms – what was out of sight was once again out of mind. One day, I remembered where I had laid my friends to rest after Angela prepared a Caesar salad, complete with bacon bits. As I cautiously dished up a small serving of salad, I realized nothing could be said to adequately explain and correct the situation that had developed. I looked at my wife and with some hesitation passed the salad to the person sitting next to me.
Yes, I live with regret and know that now extends to other people as well.