We surveyed the trees and put up the first hammock of the season.
“Not there, that’s poison ivy!” one boy shouted, so we moved around like tribal people searching for the perfect encampment.

When we eventually came back inside, we found a tick crawling on an arm.
March 1st. I want to say it doesn’t affect me, but I really hate ticks. They do. They do affect me. I’ve already tested positive for alpha-gal–which I think might be what induced my chronic hives awhile back, and the dog has been on meds for ehrlichiosis. I wonder if there’s a vaccine in the works for poison ivy and tick diseases because that’d be a nice thing to not have to worry about.
Colorado spoiled me into pretending bugs weren’t a thing. In the Ozark mountains, bugs are the soundtrack to life.

The purple martins will come and take care of the mosquitoes, but I think I’d have to get poultry for the ticks, and I’m not certain we could keep chickens alive, judging by Minnie’s penchant for killing small, meat-covered animals.

Late February view.

I started a vermiculture experiment in the garage because I know better than to toss vegetable scraps onto a compost heap for rats, raccoons, and the dog to paw at. I cannot overemphasize the alive-ness of the Ozarks compared to the Rocky Mountain microclimates I left behind. A compost pile there would sit and never rot–you know this if you’ve climbed a mountain to the top and found an orange peel some hiker forgot to pack out. Things do not decompose at the same rate, that’s for sure, and if worms don’t want to live up there in the fresh mountain air, then bugs, birds, and every predator and decomposer in the life cycle are also scant.
Not so on Honey Creek! A working compost pile here would be nearly overtaken by animals looking for their fair share. To the worm bin, it is.

I’m just doing this for fun. <— this is what you tell yourself when you try something and it fails. Keep telling it to yourself! I, for one, never expect anything to work so that I can be genuinely and pleasantly surprised when it does work. (I walked into Menards looking for worms yesterday and the automatic door wouldn’t open for me–it didn’t even recognize me as a person! It let someone else right through, but not me. I just stood there, glad I hadn’t worn glasses or I would’ve bashed them right in. Also my phone only recognizes my thumbprint one out of ten tries. I’m just doing this for fun. I’m just doing this for fun.)

Wiggly redworms are efficient at plowing through the soil and turning scraps into castings. You can buy a whole system, bins with rotating trays, etc. but I tossed the little guys into a big bin with my most recent coffee grounds, potato peels, egg shells and lemon skins from a lemon bar recipe. (Big red light–do NOT add citrus fruit to your vermiculture experiment. But I did anyway and now I’m going to have to go in there and fish them out.) I must be a terribly cruel worm handler because on the morning of day two, three dried up little bodies were found near the bin and I caught a fourth squirming to get over the edge. It would be something like scaling the Grand Canyon to get out of that Tupperware so something foul is afoot down there. Lemon peel.
I will mitigate this soon when the kids are at school.

I’m not optimistic–just patiently waiting to be surprised.
It’s interesting how hard we try as gardeners to create a micro-Eden and meanwhile God’s already gone and made the world–and a water cycle, nitrogen cycle, and life cycle to boot.

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