Friday, 27 April 2007

Setting up the wormery

Dig is in Finland, the house is a tip, and sitting all together in the schoolroom, Shark, Squirrel and Tiger decide to set up a wormery.

'Can we set it up in here?' asks Shark, brightly. I don't think she quite appreciates what this involves, so I let her in on the mechanics of the thing and tell her that an inevitable part of a wormery is the worm.

There's silence while the comprehension takes place. Then everyone scatters. Tiger's having nothing to do with it and legs it out the door down to the bottom of the garden. She shouts she'll only come back if she can put a layer of sand in the wormery, but there had better be no worms in it then, or else. From the safety of the bathroom Shark says she'll put in some mud for the worm, so long as I get the worm. Peeping behind the curtain, Squirrel is bravest of all and says that with the pointy end of her paintbrush she will collect leaves for the top of the wormery and she will look for worms.

After about half an hour of pouring soil and sand in the plastic wormery, and Squirrel poking the ground and turning over leaves with her paintbrush, I lead them to the deduction that the worms must have sussed that we are hunting them and have all burrowed into the ground. I can only ask the question, 'Who would like to dig the soil over and look for worms?' Strangely, I get no volunteers, so I get out the big mummy shovel and off we go. The sight of mummy Grit digging is quite a focus point, and there's a lot of rummaging around looking for buckets and plastic spades and, despite the squeamishness, some attempt at joining in.

But we're not very successful. The first worms we find get sliced in two by an over-hasty digging Grit. There's a lot of peering into holes, squealing, and a lot of running off down the bottom of the garden whenever a wriggling half-worm is spotted.

Then, success! We get one! In Squirrel's bucket it goes. Squirrel is being very brave and rolls it around her bucket trying to get it on the end of her plastic shovel. After it's been scraped along the side of the bucket a few times it's looking a distinctly odd shape. Neverthless, she's got it, and in the wormery it drops. It never moves again. I tell her I think it must be having a long sleep thanks to the excitement of being hunted.

Then, more digging. Success! We find a worm for Shark! I drop it into the bucket for her to get out and drop in the wormery. Shark manages to get it on the end of her plastic spade and then, horror of horror, it wiggles. This is its fatal mistake. Shark screams in terror and jerks the spade upwards. Through the air, in a graceful arc, sails the worm. Since I'm standing in its landing path, I do the mature thing which is to scream and run away. This probably doesn't help anyone overcome their squeamishness about wriggly worms but at that point I don't care. I say I'm not coming back until everyone puts the plastic shovels down.

Well it takes another two hours, but now we have a wormery. With worms. Three, in fact. One is not moving but lying very still amongst a lot of leaves having a big long sleep. Two have disappeared from view. I'm not sure if they have burrowed down into the soil. I'm suspicious. They might have escaped, which the instruction book says they do not do, because worms are stupid and can't find the way out. Well, I bet our worms are not stupid. They know when they're about to be the focus of a soil experiment in the home educated triplet's back garden and they've legged it, or wrinkly-squished it, whatever is the worm equivalent.

Despite that, I think I'm going to count today a success. The house is still a tip, the fridge is a disgrace, and Dig tells me from Finland he won't be back in time, so I'll have to pick up Sasha tomorrow from the airport and he's left the flight information somewhere in the kitchen. But that's cool. Because I have three worms in a plastic container. Such a blissful state of achievement.


Michelle said...

We love worms. Clo picks them up from paths and moves them to the grs so they don't get trodden on.

I didn't think you could use garden worms in a wormery - they're the wrong type ad will die (the ones that haven't already. Wriggly Wigglers sells all types of worms. We bought garden worms from them and they arrived alive in a tub - very exciting releasing them into the garden.

grit said...

i knew it. grit has the wrong type of worms.