Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Worms -- jcarolek

This past weekend was a most enjoyable one for me. We had a little get together here at the house. My daughter, her husband and his parents, who were visiting from France (their first visit to the US), Dad, my step mother, and my sister joined us for a cookout Saturday. Jenn, Benoit and the parents arrived Friday night, after touring Williamsburg,VA. They spent the night and in the morning, after breakfast, headed down to the pond to do a little fishing.

"Do you have worms?" I asked as they prepared

for their fishing trip. "Yep," Jenn replied as she proudly displayed her tub of earthworms. "Hmmm," I said as she showed me the 'big' worms, "those are pretty small." She looked at me in mock insult. "Mommm! These are worms from my worm 'farm'!"

I had to laugh. My family has a long history of worm farming. My maternal grandfather made a living selling earthworms he cultivated in his worm farm during those tough years of the depression. My father had always been proud of the earth worms in the compost that was a mainstay in my growing up years. And now my daughter is farming worms, creating compost for her gardens. "Just kidding," I assured her, as she put the lid back on her container and headed down to the pond.

About ten minutes after they left, I heard the foursome return. I went to see what was going on and found they had carried the john boat up from the pond to wash out an ant's nest they'd discovered. Humorous to see the four of them, working together, rattling on in French, cleaning out the ant's nest ... the father-in-law sporting his prize American acquisition... a cowboy hat he'd found in a thrift store Jenn had taken them to. I mean, where would YOU take European tourists on their first visit to the US?

While they fished, we finished preparations for the gathering. They returned from fishing in time to run out and get some last minute food items, returning just as the others arrived. Before long the guys were piled into Dad's Hybrid car, getting the whole tour of the car and the neighborhood, while the girls cut vegetables, frosted cakes, made munchies and prepared for the cooking.

My son-in-law manned the grill and the rest of the folks relaxed around the grill in comfy chairs, enjoying the beautiful weather, the company and the delicious aromas.

When the food was ready, we all gathered around the big table on the back porch and ate. Conversations ranged from the wine made by my son-in-law, (in depth discussion of "corked" wine, including much sniffing of the cork), to Japanese beetles and milky spore disease, to, you guessed it.... WORMS. Dad now has a bona fide earthworm farm, Jeannie does NOT have an earthworm farm, but has tons of earthworms in her compost, Jenn has her newly established earthworm farm, and I, well, I just go and scrape away some leaves and catch all the earthworms I could ever need whenever I go fishing.... and just in case there is ANY doubt, we are ALL earthworm experts... at least in our own minds! And it appears we are somewhat competitive with regards to our earthworm prowess.

And yet, I do find it sort of amusing, that a couple of weeks ago when I caught a worm snake, I put it in the bucket with my earthworms, never realizing that worm snakes EAT earthworms. It seems my daughter did not know that either....not sure about Dad and Jeannie.

After dinner, when we'd done the dishes, we headed down to the pond, this time to fish from the pier, earthworms in tow. The only thing we caught was a frog, but it was fun anyway.

We ended the evening with a campfire, s'mores and roasted marshmallows, guitar, accordion and harmonica playing and singing old family favorites, and some simple French songs we'd learned as kids. And everyone enjoyed themselves. It mattered not that two of the people spoke no English and five of us spoke little or no French. Jenn and Benoit interpreted as necessary.

When everyone left on Sunday morning, we were tired and spent most of the day napping. I was glad I hadn't accepted my daughter's invitation to accompany them on a white water rafting trip Sunday and Monday!

Monday evening, as we put away the extra lawn chairs and took down the tarp, I spied Jenn's worm bucket and set her remaining earthworms free in the leaves at the edge of my woods. I smiled as I thought about all of the things about which we could compete. I'd never before thought of earthworm farming as a competitive sport.

No comments: