Tag Archives: worms

A better look at the fourth toast

I remember a short dream I had early this morning.  I remember waking for a few seconds really early this morning, falling back asleep, and then I woke up at 5AM to begin the day.  This dream occurred in that sleep.

I was applying jam to four pieces of toast stacked in a pile.  For some reason I had multiple jams out.  There were two dark jams, I think it was blueberry and blackberry.  And then there were two orange jams.  One was apricot, and the other was peach.  I wasn’t applying one jam to each toast, but instead applying two jams to each toast.  In real life, I never do that.

I applied the darker jams to the first two pieces of toast.  I applied a dark jam and an orange jam to the third piece of toast.  And I was in the middle of applying apricot jam to the fourth piece of toast, when I noticed I was having a lot of trouble.  The apricot jam wasn’t mixing well with the already-applied peach jam, and I was thinking maybe it was because the peach jam was really chunky.  Lots of peach chunks just sticking out of the jammy mixture.  And I was having trouble holding the piece of toast.  I thought it moved in my hand.

So I put down the toast, and took a second to close up all the jam jars.  I turned on an extra light and picked up the fourth toast again, to have a better look.  You sort of hunker down into inspection mode, where you hold something very still, and hold your face still, to inspect something for the slightest trace of movement.

And sure enough, near the upper right corner of the toast I was holding, a worm-thing squirmed its “head” out at me.  I remember feeling surprised and annoyed.  I had a glove on my left hand, and tugged on its face.  I didn’t need to put much pressure, it sort of willingly jumped out at me, and it fell onto the kitchen counter.  It didn’t seem like my kitchen, and I didn’t recognize it as any kitchen I’ve ever been to before.

I wanted to move it somewhere, but I didn’t know where.  Without touching it.  I’d been fooling around with bacon earlier (still in the dream), and in the sink there was a spoon with a small piece of bacon on it, mostly just sticky white fat.  I picked it out of the spoon and threw it onto the counter, and the worm surprisingly scooted right after it.  I was alarm at its speed.  It swallowed the whole piece of bacon with its mouth in one movement, and I was alarmed at that.

For some reason I opened the refrigerator door, a small refrigerator that sat on the counter.  Inside the refrigerator, there were no shelves.  There was only a large styrofoam box, and it was occupying almost all the space inside.  The worm immediately jumped inside, and I shut the door.  I was thinking, good, that will keep him busy.  Then I worried about where he was at inside the refrigerator so I opened it again, and didn’t see him.  I lifted the box out, and there he was, underneath the box.  He didn’t move.  So I replaced the box inside the refrigerator, and shut the door.

And that’s when I woke up.

Get yourself some worms without lying on a Brazilian beach

I’ve just spent a quick moment examining field techniques for making the process of sampling earthworms more efficient. The standard method has been digging and handsorting. You know, get a shovel, dig up a patch of dirt, and then count out and measure the worms you find. Well that’s a good deal of work and doesn’t net a heck of a lot of worms over time.

Apparently, researchers use a technique called “vermifuge application.” I guess George W. Bush would call this technique “smokin em out” since it involves the application of a substance to a section of ground that makes the worms uncomfortable and drives them to the surface. Some people use a variety of skin-irritating chemicals…I am not very pleased to hear about that. There are a lot of ecological ramifications to this method. But if you want to do this in a more eco-friendly way, use mustard. Yes, mustard. About fifty grams of mustard powder dissolved into 10 liters of water is sufficient.

One other technique involves the passing of an electrical current through the soil. I am not sure how harmful this is…when collecting fishes, it can be a very destructive method. I guess the worms are “stimulated” to approach the surface, where they can be easily measured without much effort by the researcher. There are a variety of techniques to apply the current through the ground…if I get a chance to set up a little experiment, this might be interesting.

“It may be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world, as have these lowly organized creatures.”

– Charles Darwin, commenting on earthworms.