Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Great Escape

Things are going well Chez Lindy's. The balcony has been swept, there are empty flower pots, a giant sack of potting soil, six root-bound impatiens plants and a package of impatiens seeds out there. Later down the road, I look forward to my new housemates, affectionately known as the little wrigglers, producing a bountiful crop of...well, worm poop to feed all my new balcony plants.

heh, heh. I might be known for my overly long-term plans. But it all meshes well, theoretically. Notice, I've got the ecosystem thing going. I eat my food, the scraps go to the worms, the worms supply castings for the flowers, the flowers produce pollen, I commune with nature and sneeze my face off. A closed cycle for life on the balcony.

After making tea and collecting the used tea and lemon peel, I dutifully feed the little wrigglers and head on out to do my laundry.

(Time passes....)


Huh...but it's daytime. The little wrigglers are very light-phobic. It says so in the instruction manual...


This is clearly a job that calls for latex-free nitrile-coated gardening gloves.

Well prepared, I approach the bin and lift the lid. Yargggghh!

Holy smoke! They are trying to crawl straight up the plastic and out of the bin.

OK, don't panic.

Umm, too late for that. Try calming down instead.

Right, I know about this. This is called catastrophic failure of the bin. The worms will die and little worm ghosts will haunt me unless I fix this.

I'm not panicking here...

Think, think, think

There are only a few variables involved, level of moisture and composition of food. The worms would want to escape if there was too much water, so I can fix that by adding more bedding on top and fluffing the stuff on the bottom. Done.

What about the food?

Well, what about the food?

Tea leaves, lemon and leftover lettuce. Seems alright. Hey, I ate it.

I send a guilt-stricken email to my local, friendly vermicomposter enquiring about details of worm diet. I can't believe I'm bugging someone about worms on a Sunday. He responds within minutes. This is soOoo Silicon Valley.

Wow, lemons are poisonous to worms. So, are oranges but less so. No salt, onions, garlic, spices, oil, meats, dairy either...

Gee, in order to get my table scraps to conform to the little wriggler's dietary needs, I better follow the American Heart Association's guidelines to the dot.

My heart drops straight into my shoes with the next instruction. Remove all of the offending, suspicious food scraps and surrounding bedding and replace with fresh bedding.

Don't I wish I used those tea bags instead of loose tea right now?

The garden gloves won't cut it. They only go up to the wrist. I need something that will reach in there. I raid my kitchen for utensils for worm rescue. Long tongs for reaching in. A plastic spoon to scoop the little guys/gals (they are hermaphrodites) back into their nest. Fresh bedding materials. Some chlorine-free water (let it stand overnight and it's chlorine-free).

After much rummaging, the bin is ready to go again.

But maybe not indoors?

Sorry, little housemates.

You're banished to the balcony.

Ahem, those barbecue tongs...they're yours now.

Eat your lettuce. I'll buy you a nice avocado treat if you all promise not to run away again.


The Party Crashers

No comments: