Our hike at Fox Lake today (see previous three posts!) was magical. Eliza has an eye for details and is happy to share her observations with me - she spotted so many small wonders along the path, while looking intently for signs of fairies. Every plant we passed that I commented on (wild ginger, trillium), she had a use for in the fairy world (trampoline, ferris wheel). At one point we stopped for a moment and she looked at the tree she was next to and said, hey, I think this is a willow - Dad told me they grow near water, like this lake, and the leaves are silvery on the underside. She was right, and I can't tell you how that tickles me, nature geek that I am. In spite of her eagle eyes, we didn't find any zebra swallowtail caterpillars on the many young pawpaws we passed...But we hiked for about 2 and a half hours, happily, enjoying the many greens and the smell of a sassafrass root I'd pulled, and when we got into the car to leave they asked if we could just sit there for a few minutes, enjoying looking at the lake and writing a couple of poems about the day...
The rest of the day found us around our home...making these cookies (try them, they are really really amazingly good), hanging out in the stick house making onion grass stew,
and for me, I had a nice communion with my worms, on the front porch! I was situated across from The Worm Man at market, so I hit him up for ideas for faster ways to harvest the castings. He apparently uses a machine of some kind - sounds like a barrel with a screen, which you spin, and the castings drop to the bottom while the worms work out a chute in the end...I don't know, I can't quite picture it, but he did give me this idea, and it worked so much better than what I had been doing. You pile your castings and worms like so:
After letting it sit in the sun for a bit, you can scrape off the outer layer (checking for the wee little baby worms) and keep in a bag for compost - the worms have burrowed into the center and bottom of the pile to keep moist and cozy. Repeat until you have a nice baggie full of poop! It was a good excuse anyway to sit on the porch, reading and drinking my afternoon coffee while hanging out with my worms.