In my head, I like to imagine myself as a real farmer, raising the majority of my family’s food off my land. I can envision myself surrounded with pigs, chickens, and honeybees on a few acres that have row upon row of colorful vegetables and fruit growing in the dirt. When I really want to revel in an orgy of pretending, I can picture an old fashioned farm house in the center of it all, that has a big porch built for sipping lemonade on and watching fireflies.
In reality, I have a quarter of an acre lot in the middle of a modern sub-division that must have one of the strictest HOA’s in the entire Midwest. No chickens. No honeybees. No porch swing.
I do have a few garden boxes, however, where I can at least satisfy my need to grow a small portion of my family’s food. Like any real, self-respecting farmer I’m a little obsessed with my dirt. We have our own compost pile and my family takes their composting duties very seriously. Whenever we are over at someone’s house and our host throws a banana peel in the trash, my children’s eyes get wide and one of them invariably asks in a shocked tone, “Aren’t you going to compost that?”
I’m also a little fanatical about earthworms. Fine, I’m a lot fanatical. Worms help the dirt turn into DIRT. Tomatoes grown in dirt are fine, but tomatoes grown in DIRT are one of the most beautiful sights in the world. So, to say I like worms is a serious understatement.
Ever since my children were small, they have been trained to help me rescue any worms in our driveway after it rains.
The above photo was taken early in my oldest daughter’s career as a worm rescuer. My munchkins have no qualms about gently picking up the stranded worms and carrying them to our garden beds. (At the end of my life when I look over all the things I have accomplished, I will probably be the most proud about this fact.)
A general rule of thumb is that the more worms your dirt has, the greater chance it is actually DIRT. And thanks to our worm saving policy our garden beds have lots and lots of worms.
(I have now written the word dirt so many times in this post that is has lost all meaning to me.)
This week my husband reaffirmed to me that we are, in fact, made for each other when he came home from work on a rainy day and called out to our kids, “Hey guys, I need some earthworm champions out here!” causing our children to race outside to save the day for some small invertebrate animals.
I’m pretty sure the next time I need to fill out a resume, I’m going to put down “Earthworm Champion” under the category of previous work history. It’s got a nice ring to it.