Mayfly. Or, “Trout’s Dinner”.
Bleeding Hearts, from our Surprise Flower Beds. Surprise, because we’ve never seen them in bloom, and WHO KNOWS what’s hiding in there? Every day is a sort of treasure hunt around here, looking for newly-sprouted surprises. And waiting patiently for some that are not surpises: lilies of the valley on the verge of bursting open and a peony lined walk. My first-ever peonies. I’ve longed for them for years.
Speaking of treasure hunting…
On my way back to the house after tucking in the chickies for the night, I heard a multitude of rustlings in these peony beds along the walk. They’re heavily mulched with leaves, so anything moving through there would make a fair bit of noise. I stopped, pinpointed one of the many sources of rustling, and could actually see the leaves moving. Could it be the sound of growing? Of the green, determined leaves pushing up through the brown skeletons of last summer’s Maple? No. Something was under there. A snake? There would have to be many, many snakes to make that kind of noise all throughout the bed. Memories of a grade school trip to the nature preserve conjured a springtime tangle of baby garter snakes as a possibility. No. But worms? Yes! And I spotted one and tried to grab it with all the finesse of a baby wearing a boxing glove. No go. Back in the house I went, to deliver a goodnight kiss to Miss Isadora and to report my findings.
We’ve declared Tuesday nights “Date Night”, or, “The Night of the Work Week We Try To Stay Up After Isadora Goes To Bed and Do Something Together.” We had planned on playing a game or something normal like that, but upon hearing my report, Andrew bounded down the stairs to grab his flashlight and discovered for himself that the worms were ALL OVER! A game of Worm Hunting began, and I think we’d both say it was the best date we’ve had in a while. And not because our dates have been bad, because they’ve been quite good.
You may remember that we have lots of chickens. Chickens love worms – especially worms of this MAGNITUDE. And we like feeding the chickens – to help them produce whopping double yolk eggs, or to help the broilers add some girth that we’d later enjoy in the roaster.
I’ve never really seen night crawlers before, in the wild, at least. I’ve only seen the already-caught ones waiting to be fish bait, usually mistaking the deli container in the fridge for lunch. These here were the fabled Night Crawlers that I’d heard about in the frequent sagas of my Grandpa, the Great Fisherman, tales which were usually punctuated with a hearty “Holy-O-Cripes!!” for emphasis. His stories of night crawler catching have become part of the family lore- the ones that were a foot long, the ones that hooked the big fish, the ones that got away. They’re a big part of the memories we cling to now, in his absence.
Yeah, I totally get it now, Grandpa. The thrill of the hunt, the honing of the technique to catch them, and the intoxication of catching the really, really long ones. I don’t know if Grandma ever joined him on his hunts, but it makes for a really good date. I got to be pretty good at it too, for a girl. (who never really developed this skill as a child) Yeah, I’m pretty sure Grandpa would be proud. But he’d shake his head to hear that we’re wasting them on chickens, what with all the hungry fish in the world.