Saturday, August 11, 2012

Going to the garden to feed worms!

Have you ever thought about the important work that worms do?  When I was a kid for some reason or other I frequently wanted to talk about worms when my family was gathered around the table together eating dinner.  I don't recall the context for the worm conversation at the dinner table, but I can tell you my parents were not happy.  I believe that I was destined to be a gardener given the fact I was so interested in worms.  When I think of it, watching worms is almost equivalent to watching the grass grow.  But as I said in my last blog, I watch for the little things because I don't want to miss anything.  Another interesting observation I have made is that every time I visit my worms I have two cats and a dog supervising the visit.  They all watch me closely as if I might slip some contraband into the worm bin, although the dog may be mostly interested in the veggie slurry I am "scattering" into the bin.  The dog has a bad habit of trolling for groceries wherever she goes and has decided to forage in my cucumber bin for those crunchy veggie treats.  I have lost three cucmbers so far this summer.  That dog can be very clever.  But I diverge; back to the worms.

I have recently taken up vermiculture, which is the art and science of composting veggie scraps into a rich compost just by feeding worms.  It sounds simple, don't you think?  Actually it probably is a simple process, but I have become obsessive about feeding those seemingly insignificant creatures.  I wonder if that's just my Type A personality or something more diagnosable.  I fret about are they too warm, are they too cold, are they too wet, are they too dry, do they have bedding that makes them comfortable, are they getting enough to eat, am I feeding them the right foods they like, is the food chopped small enough . . .    You know that worms don't have any teeth and their mouths are very tiny.  I have yet to get any useful feedback from them so I have to observe carefully and practice watchful waiting.  Patience!  The bin that I started with is cumbersome so I bought a 5 tier worm farm bin to make harvesting the rich compost easier.  When I first started composting with worms 2 months ago I made mistakes with providing adequate bedding and the food scraps I fed them were far too big for worms to eat.  But these worms are very forgiving.  You are probably wondering if I have lost my marbles, but I find that caring for these worms gives me the opportunity to get dirt or rather "worm castings" under my fingernails.  "Yuk" you say!  I have never been accused of being particularly squeemish.  You know that digging in the dirt is so therapeutic and I have come to the conclusion I must need lots of therapy.  Anyway, I started out with 1/2 pound of worms, which is roughly 500 worms.  I found out later that beginning a worm farm works better if you start with 1000 to 1500 worms.  That's a lot of worms.  But my measly 500 worms have really made up for lost time.  I haven't actually counted them lately, but they have tripled in numbers from my best estimation.  Busy little worms!  And so quiet too.

So you are now probably wondering why I'm talking about worms and what does that have to do with anything.  Well, before I explain I want to ask you a question.  What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?  This is an important question for anyone that has fibromyalgia or other chronic illness.  By morning any pain medication has worn off and pain frequently greets me.  In addition to that, people with fibromyalgia don't sleep well so the unrefreshing sleep makes it extra hard to get both feet on the floor.  And then both feet on the floor is frequently followed by a slow shuffle.  The reality is people with fibromyalgia need a pretty good reason to get out of that bed in the morning.  My motivation for getting out of bed in the morning is the commitment that I have to worms . . . and kitties and doggie and there is Sid too, and wild birds with vastly different demands for very specific foods.  Some people may think there are better reasons for getting out of bed in the morning and I expect the answer to my question is different for everyone.  Whatever your reason for getting out of bed in the morning, it is important to have one.  I realized that it became easy to lay in bed in the morning and have negative thoughts running through my mind.  I made a decision to immediately get out of bed if a single negative thought ran through my mind, because I couldn't afford a negative thought.  That was 19 years ago.  So when I wake up in the morning now, the thoughts that go through my mind are all the critters (and Sid too) depending on me for food and attention and coffee.  That really gives me a jump start on my day no matter how I am feeling, which I tend to less when my brain is working on interacting with all the living things around my home and I call them my family.  I have a very big family!  May your day be filled with the things that bring you joy beginning with the moment you awake.  Blessings to you!  P.S. I apologize for the out of focus picture of that little red worm.
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