Posts Tagged ‘worms’


August 9, 2008

It’s been brilliantly sunny for the last ten days. It’s a special day for the Haney Farmer’s Market down at the Laity farm. There are ponies for children to ride and a small maze of hay for little ones to negotiate. There are local farmers and artisans – bread makers, jewelers and the like. I thought about going and still will, but I’m waiting for the rain to stop.

At midnight there was a light haze in the sky obscuring the stars. At six this morning, the rain was coming down in a steady stream – the kind you need a rain coat for – and it hasn’t stopped. I keep looking out the window to see if it’s easing off.

But, no.

On one of these rain quality assessments, I noticed a baby stellar jay huddled under some rhododendron branches. I had to look twice to figure out if it really was a jay or not since the brilliant blue feathers don’t develop until later in their adolescence. It was the crest that gave it away. A huddled crow and a huddled baby stellar jay look much alike from behind.

He ruffled his downy feathers and scrunched tighter into himself as if to say, “Why was I born into this wet, wet world?” The rain wasn’t getting any quieter and the broad waxy rhodo leaves were taking direct hits of rain and then gathering them to drool onto the poor bird’s back. When he finally caught sight of me, he flew off. And by the way, the picture I’ve added above is of a stellar jay, but not this one. It’s just to give you an idea of their magnificent blue feathers.

Meanwhile, out in the backyard, there was avian convention and it was snack time. It’s quite unusual to see crows, robins, stellar jays and starlings all placidly high-stepping about together, cocking their heads, waiting for worms to appear.

I was out there in the late afternoon just yesterday pulling out clover when an earthworm came directly out of it’s hole, straight up, just like an automatic car radio antenna. I’d never seen a worm do that before.

I touched it’s pinky little body with an ever so gentle touch and the worm went straight back down again, quick as a wink. These are good guys in the garden, aerating the soil, munching up organic matter and converting it into rich humus. When it rains, the theory goes that they are drowning in the soil and have to come up for air. Their subclass in animal nomenclature is Oligochaeta. I’m going to call my wormy guy Olig from now on.

When I’m gardening and I move a pot or rake up leaves, often I find Olig and company struggling to get back to a protected shade area, so I help them out by picking them up, usually with a stick because I’m squeamish, and landing them back on garden soil or grass where they can get back to work.

I presume this morning’s peace conference with the multi-variety of birds (who usually dispute territory quite vociferously) were there not so much for subject matter as for the cuisine.

Now it’s eleven fifteen and I can’t see steady streams of rain coming down. I guess it’s time to get on my galoshes and my rain gear and get down to the market.

It’s their special event of the year, so I hope it clears up by noon and gives them at least a few hours of Mr. Sunshine.