This post is about worms. You can skip it if you’d rather. My feelings won’t be hurt. Worms are gross. They make my skin crawl. Yeah, I know they’re useful, vital even, to soil and decomposition. Worm castings - poop - cost a fortune at better nurseries. At the local “beyond organic” farm where I buy the best tomatoes in the world (yeah, really) they sell small bags of worm castings for ten bucks a pop. I’m quite sure its worth that price, but … really? Worm poop?!?
So, here’s my dilemma. I compost in two bins in the backyard. One is kind of basic, a plastic box with a hinged lid. The other is pretty swizzle. It’s a giant plastic ball with twist on/off lids at both poles. We call it “The Death Star”. Looks just like the big evil thing in Star Wars that the good guys blew up. We roll it around the yard to mix the contents, helping yesterday’s veggie scraps break down a bit faster. I love composting. It makes all kinds of sense to me: from the earth and back to the earth.
This is where the part about worms comes in. Composting with worms is faster. Those little critters are dirt factories. Garbage in one end, soil out the other. It’s a fascinatingly basic process. Except for one little bitty thing. (See first paragraph.) They gross me out. I want a worm bed. I want to feed worms as many of my kitchen scraps as they’ll eat. I just don’t want to see or (dear god) touch them.
Last week, while emptying the kitchen bucket (which is really an old, plain cookie jar) into the composter, I found a lone earthworm crawling along the rim of the bin, just where the lid needed to be fitted back on. I gathered up my gut and, with the edge of a paper towel, encouraged him to wiggle back into the bin. I even spoke to him in a kind and gentle voice, which brought my husband out of the garage to remind me that worms have no comprehension of human language. No matter. I hadn’t retched; it was a milestone moment.
Two nights ago, while doing a last sweep through the kitchen and family room before heading off to bed, I spotted a twig on the floor. We’d both been in the backyard earlier in the day and sometimes track things into the house. I bent over to pick it up … and it moved. There was an earthworm in my house. Inside. My. House.
I’m sure I’d have dealt with the situation if I’d been home alone. At my last house I’d had to remove potato bugs from the living room a couple times, and I’m telling you, you could die from ugly with a potato bug. But, thankfully, my husband was home and he’s not bothered by worms. He carried it outside to the front yard where it is, I’m sure, contentedly doing whatever it is that makes worms happy.
Which brings me back to the fact that though I really like the idea of worm beds, I’m just not quite there yet. Maybe someday, but my skin with have to stop crawling first. It’s going to take a while longer.