My friend, Laura, and I always used to joke, before we both became homeschoolers, that we didn’t feel like we could be homeschoolers unless we were running an organic chicken ranch. We thought that was hysterically funny, and for those of you that don’t get it, it was a reference to feeling like homeschooling had to be an all-encompassing lifestyle, where we were only teaching the children how to be amazing and self-directed, eco-conscious and business-savvy, as well as self-sustaining and extremely motivated; all that is good in the world.
Well, I probably won’t ever get the organic chicken ranch, but right here in our little space of the world, I am doing something cool, that brought about something funny.
I’ve had my own vermiculture experiment going on for over a year now. One medium-sized rubbermaid bin of worms has been going strong, eating up recycled paper, cardboard, and food scraps quite happily.
Last week it was time to empty out the precious, beautiful, dirt-smelling, worm poop, and give the worms a clean new set of bedding and rotting food. I dump the bin out on a tarp, and then separate the worms and compost out by hand. I have a high squeam threshold, I like the kids to have a chance to help if they want, and since they don’t always have gloves that we can find that fit, I just go through the worms by hand.
One of the ways you can tell if your worms are happy is if they have been having babies. Well, my worms LOVED their wormie home, because there were gazillions of babies. Truly thousands! And worm babies are so, so tiny. The kids were scootering around on the sidewalk while I worked, and I kept exclaiming, “Look at all these baby worms!”
Yessa was the one child that was interested in helping to actually sort the worms,
but The Buster and Monkey hung out with us for awhile to watch the process, and inevitably as I was screeching about worm babies, the kids asked where worm babies come from. I remembered that worms were hermaphroditic, but I couldn’t remember if two worms were needed to have babies, and I told the children this. I believe I phrased it as, “Worms are both male and female, but I can’t remember if there have to be one or two worms for them to have babies. We’ll look online when we go inside.”
By the time I got around to doing a google search to get my information (Two worms are necessary.) it was after the children had gone to bed. I was inspired to make sure I learned the answer because when I was snuggled in with Zachary as he fell asleep, out of the blue he said, “I can’t believe worms have both a penis and a vagina.”