What a murky, drizzly morning walk was on today’s agenda … grand weather if you’re a duck. I wish the Powers That Be could turn off and on the spigot – maybe every other day or perhaps amp up the precip for the 4th of July to protect our property from all the firecrackers that will be set off? I am, however, grateful we dodged still another volatile storm bullet. After today’s bout of pre-dawn rain, the humidity soared to 94%. The air was hazy, felt dank and smelled of worms; and no, this was not my sometimes-vivid imagination. I heard the foghorns bleating out their lowly call as early as 4:00 a.m. when the rain announced its arrival with a pitter-patter on my tin patio roof just behind my head. One of life’s little luxuries is waking up to rainfall when you have nowhere you need to be and can just curl up like a content cat and listen to the gentle raindrops. How decadent!! I eventually got up and while my headphones funneled in the news of the world since I went to bed, I sat slowly sipping and enjoying my steaming brew infused with hazelnut creamer. Speaking of delicious treats, the robins were be-boppin’ everywhere this a.m. in anticipation of all the extra meat they would enjoy without exerting one ounce of effort to get it. The robins watched as long worms leisurely inched across the sidewalk getting from Point A to Point B at their own peril. I have, in the past, been in the garden and observed a worm gliding ever so slowly across the hot concrete with a cunning robin waiting in the wings for my departure so he could swoop down and have breakfast. Well, often I thwarted that little bugger’s attempt at a meal by picking that wiggly worm up and carrying it to a flower pot. I’d stick my finger in the dirt, make a hole and plop the worm in, then cover it up. Too bad I can’t do that anymore as my pots all contain artificial flowers and thus no dirt. If only I could deal with the multi-legged critters as easily. Good thing these worms weren’t spotted by a fisherman, as he’d have scooped them up in a heartbeat for his hook, while salivating about a hearty fish fry later in the day.
Here’s a funny story about worms and my late grandmother, a kindly soul with a big heart. She was not a penny pincher, but not reckless with her money either. One day a neighbor rapped on the door and said he had a “big venture” going on and needed a handful of investors to make it work. He asked if she would be interested. Without hearing him out, and as she was wont to do, she agreed and soon found herself a proud part- owner of a worm farm. Yes, a worm farm. He bought all the necessary trappings to raise earthworms, but the worms were not raised to sell as bait to local fishermen as one might suspect. He collected the worm manure, bagged it, then sold this product as a rich additive to flower and vegetable gardens. On a visit to Toronto to visit my grandmother one time, she proudly handed me two, one-pound bags of pure worm manure and assured me my annuals would bloom brighter, last longer and I would be the talk of the neighborhood. My mother, always the skeptic, asked my grandmother about her investment and also how one could differentiate between worm manure and the ordinary soil where the worms lived? Sheepishly my grandmother admitted it probably was a scam. Who could fault this good-nature woman for helping out a friend in need? The worm manure business quickly folded and she did not make the big money she had been promised. I fertilized my flowers and announced that my annuals were perky and gargantuan through October that year – heck, a little white lie never hurt anyone.