71/365: De Vermis Mysteriis71/365: De Vermis Mysteriis.

"We are all a part of the same compost heap." - Tyler Durden, aka Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Mysteries of the Worm. Sorry if the pic is gross to some, but I love my worms. They eat just about all the table scraps and refuse a Vegetarian (the wife) and an At-Home Vegetarian (me) can generate, and turn it into Black Gold (aka, Worm Shit). This in turn goes into the house plants and fertilizes the seeds we start in the house for the garden, plus a little bit goes into the ground when we transfer the starters into the beds. We've been maintaining this flock for a few seasons now, and they are having a BANNER year. I opened the lid today to check on them and ran away for a few minutes, I was scared they might gang up and eat me.

They live in a worm bin (how fitting), designed to give them room to do their thing when not eating the top layers of food I put in. 'Their thing' would be, presumably, mating. As they consume the food on top and turn it into what is basically mud (doesn't smell bad at all), they move upwards out of the sanctuary of their own castings (that's a polite way of saying shit) and spend more time in the upper levels, and I can remove the bottom layer of Black Gold and use it for all the aforementioned, organic hippie gardening I want (note: I am not a hippie. Call me a hippie again and get cut). They also generate some liquid in the process, and the bin has a collection tub at the bottom and a valve to drain it into your container of choice. This 'worm tea' is basically Liquid Black Gold and plants love its nitrogeny goodness. It's also good on cereal and in coffee. Well, not really, but in essence, I'll eventually be eating this shit, once it's been absorbed by the plants and turned into tomatoes, squash, peas, carrots. And, since it's not a figure of speech that we ARE what we eat (what else the hell is your body made out of?), I'm part Worm Shit. God has a sense of humor.

See, I just love compost. In the garden, the compost is my domain and responsibility. They say Compost Happens, true enough, but I prefer to add the human touch of carbon/nitrogen ratios and heat maintenance, as well as the shepherd-like benevolence with which I tend my flock of invertebrates. (And more than I knew of - look closely at these macro shots and you'll see some little bugs crawling on the worms, which I can't hardly see with my naked eye...oh well, everybody's gotta eat.) I get all sorts of compost going in the garden in spring and summer, but the worms deserve a good home and live, yes, in our kitchen. I'm telling you, they don't smell, and I promise, when you come over for dinner, I won't show them to you till AFTER dinner.

Lit with one speedlight in a Lumiquest Softbox III, fired manual via on shoe flash. Had to be quick, since they don't like light and immediately began to burrow deep into the bin as I shot. I think it may have even hurt them a bit...I'll be careful next time I open her up, lest they have mounted an insurrection against The Man. Good thing they can't bite the hand that feeds them...only digest it after I'm dead and part of the compost heap meself.