Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Yesterday afternoon has made today a worm day.  One of those times when the saturated soil forces worms to come up and, misguidedly, seek escape on the sidewalks and roads.  Unfortunately, their "escape" often ends up being the final escape, either by means of drying up when the sunshine catches them unaware on a non-porous surface; or by bird.  That is what is happening this morning.  Robins are hopping around enjoying a free buffet of countless partially dehydrated, slow-moving annelids.  (Yum.)

Seeing this, and thinking about those lucky robins, made  me realize that worms are an unreported phenological sighting; I have overlooked these less romantic harbingers of spring.  They spend their winter six feet under... not dead, but in estivation.  They won't come back up in the spring until the soil reaches a temperature of at least 35 degrees (and some sources sat 40).  And of course warming soil also means other things can happen, like plants rooting and gardens being tilled.

Se we definitely saw worms over the weekend when we were working in the garden (that's Mar 21-22).  I can't recall if I had seen any previously; I'm going to have to call that event with inaccuracy.  Oh, well.  There are about a million things happening this time of year; no one can possibly catch all of them.  Most hit me on the head as phenologically important if I see them, but sometimes I don't feel the knock even when I've seen the event.  Or something like that. 

More weekend sightings that I didn't previously mentioned... a really cool centipede.  All the soil creepy crawlies seem to be out and about by now.  Also, there was a sprouted buckeye in the grass we dug up.  Which is odd, because I don't know of any buckeye trees nearby to have shed such a nut.  There are buckeyes in Grayslake, though, so for all I know there is one 3 doors down that I just never saw.  Anyhow, we transplanted it to a more suitable location and are hoping (against hope) for a baby buckeye in the future.  

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