Spring in Flyover Country: New Beekeeper Jitters and the Sound of a Few Thousand Hungry Worms,

Seder is in the rear-view mirror. The fancy dishes are safely stowed in the china cabinet, the Seder plate, Haggadot and box o’ plagues are back on the highest reaches of the pantry shelving and our fridge is well-stocked with leftover roast beast, eggplant Parmesan and other goodies.

Which means it’s time to talk about last Thursday. I was taking Tuki for her nightly “pre-bedtime outdoor visit” when I heard a sound I thought was rain. It was identical to the gentle patter of water on fallen leaves (we don’t rake everything up in autumn in order to protect and feed the spring growth), but I didn’t feel any drops.

Still, the soft crunching of dried leaves being jostled by something was all around me. I knelt down and peered at a patch of lawn next the sidewalk.

I saw a flash of movement as a leaf rustled, then another and another. My eyes got used to the dark, at about the same time my brain realized what was going on. It was one of the first mild nights of the season, and the yard was literally crawling – with earthworms. They were coming out of hibernation for their first meal of the season. I ran for the house.

“SWEETHEART!!!”

“What’s going on?” Like me, he was already wearing his pajamas.

“Come out!”

He came out.

“Listen!” I said, pointing at the leaves. He knelt down, quiet and still, and watched.

“There are no native earthworms anymore,” he said, “except for one somebody found in the Driftless Area.”

“Where did they come from?” I asked him.

“Europe.”

Tuki strolled the sidewalk, sniffing around trees and occasionally looking up when a loud car or truck whizzed down the main drag that runs perpendicular to our block.

We watched the night crawlers munch their way through the fallen leaves. I thought about how amazing it is that there’s this whole world right outside my door I’d never known existed.

If you look closely, you can see my nocturnal wormy neighbors coming up from the ground to the restaurant that is our front yard.
If you look closely, you can see my nocturnal wormy neighbors coming up from the ground to the restaurant that is our front yard.

2015-04-04 22.05.03WormsInYard

The next night, it was cold. The worms stayed underground. But since then, I’ve seen them again. And it will be interesting to see how things go this summer.

Speaking of which, when I looked at my cell phone yesterday, there was a call from a number I didn’t recognize.

After an exchange of “Helloes,” and “Who am I talking tos?” we figured out that Beekeeping Expert had dialed up Baby Beekeeper. The topic? The two pounds of bees I ordered the day I’d taken the Beginning Beekeeping workshop on Valentine’s Day would be arriving and ready for pickup next Monday.

Excitement and panic ensued. Panic because I have to get another deep box and frames ordered, painted (just the outside of the box) and assembled by next Monday. Also, what if I screw up. What if the queen flies away. What if I don’t feed the bees right? Also, what kind of gloves should I get?

It’s going to be an adventure. Stay tuned.

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