For some reason, I always thought it was a bad thing when "the worm turned"—I vaguely associated the phrase with treachery, and from there took but a short step to envisioning treachery committed in shadowy rooms by people with white Persian cats, more generalized acts of dungeony skulduggery, and deeds of cloak-and-dagger derring-do of the darkest, direst, dourest sorts.
Turns out, it's no such thing. It just means that even small, lowly creatures will defend themselves if pushed.
Which makes much more sense, of course, because, as every gardener knows, worms are never the villains. Worms are our heroes. More than that, Worms Are Our Friends.
And joy of joys, I now have friends in the garden! Worms! Plural! More than one! Two that I know of, for sure! Those of you with loam-rich soils, kindly do not sneer. If you have
I hope you will understand, then, why I danced a happy jig and squealed out loud when I unearthed a couple of worms the other day. I was planting a Carolina jessamine against the wall between the two largest sand cherries, in a patch where all the cedar mulch from three beds has drifted after four years' worth of wind storms and begun to decompose—a small area that's shaded, relatively moist, and
And there were worms. Their dark meanderings disturbed, they writhed around at the surface looking discommoded (no doubt getting ready to turn). They are probably red wrigglers left over from an abortive attempt at vermicomposting, which I cast out last year to fend for themselves on the abortive attempt at a compost pile. Apparently they have found a happy home, somehow managing not to be abraded to death by our "soil" in the process.
I would have taken a photo, only since the worms were brownish against brown soil in full shade, I was afraid it would turn out looking something like this:
|Remember the old days, when we used to leave lens caps on?|
Since then I've learned all sorts of interesting things about earthworms—did you know they have a crop and gizzard? Just like chickens, only without the feathers and clucking. Since they don't have teeth, they depend on ingested sand and small rocks in their gizzards to do the "chewing" for them. Considered like that, far from being a detriment, the New Mexico soil may even help them—these worms could well produce some of the best-chewed, well-digested castings in all of North America.
And boy, do I