A writer's tale of living and working in the country.

Month: April 2015

The Wormery

“Okay boys, time for your final project for Zoology.”

“Awesome, what are we doing?”

I clapped my hands together in excitement. “We’re making a worm farm!”


More silence.

Youngest looked at me with horror in his eyes. “I’m outta here.”

“Me too!” Middle Son took off after Youngest.

I’m not sure where I went wrong. Don’t boys love dirt and creepy crawly things?

You’re thinking I felt sorry for them and gave up, right?


Wormery Instructions

First, we drilled holes in the bottom of an 18 gallon plastic tub.


Youngest boarded the wormery train when I told him he could use the drill.

Next, we put a couple of miniature terracotta pots in the bottom of another 18 gallon plastic tub to act as risers. Then we put a thin layer of dirt in the tub and added the worms.


We placed the drilled tub inside of the bottom tub and added a thin layer of vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and used tea bags.



We will add more food and newspaper weekly.

Finally, we added a layer of shredded newspaper on top of the food scraps and locked the lid on the top tub.



Now we wait for the worms to travel between the two tubs, via the holes, and turn it all into glorious castings to use in the garden. As the top tub fills, we can add another tub on top. We can also add another tub on the bottom to catch water run-off to use as fertilizer.

The possibilities are endless!

Maybe I’m a little too excited about the worm farm. Maybe I’ve been around boys too long …



Searching for a Rock in a Hay Field

Have you ever been so lost that the sweet lady inside your GPS goes eerily silent? And no matter how far you zoom out on the display, there are only unmarked roads?

While camping over Easter weekend at Fort Griffin, Hubs decided that we needed to take the off-road tour.

With only a quarter-tank of gas.

We spent hours on dirt roads in search of a stone marking Daws Crossing near the historical Camp Cooper. A remote area, once home to the Penateka Comanche village, on the banks of the Clear fork of the Brazos River, where Robert E. Lee and Chief Catumseh signed a peace treaty.

Resigned that the map was written by a crazy person, I was surprised to see the granite marker standing among the weeds and cacti as we took yet another turn in the winding road. The silent messenger stood guard over a now-abandoned piece of earth, once traveled by U.S. soldiers, Comanche Indians, and cattle traversing the Western Cattle Trail.

Using the rivers as guides, the men and women of history took much different paths than we use today in our air-conditioned vehicles. Their worn trails now lay mostly unnoticed except to the lone coyote or passing hawk.

Or the giant blue conversion van, covered in red dirt, with five loud Texans hanging out of the windows yelling, “We found it!”



Second-Hand Stage Fright

“I can’t look.” Hubs squeezes his eyes shut and hunkers down in his seat.

I peer over the first row of seats and stare at Oldest as he prepares his trumpet and music stand at the front of small performance room. Behind us, fifteen rows of chairs are occupied by parents and students.

My hands start to shake. I feel lightheaded. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten Mexican before the recital.

I’ve never had stage fright as bad as I have it right now … and I’m not even the one performing. This was never mentioned in any of those parenting books. The ones you read religiously before the first kid is born? Nope, not even one warned me that second-hand stage fright registers on the cardiac arrest scale.

The piano accompaniment starts playing and I freeze. My eyes start watering but I seem to have forgotten how to blink …. or breathe. Oldest begins playing his solo trumpet piece and I wonder if the people around me can hear my heart pounding.

Halfway through the piece I regain some of the feeling in my toes and fingers. Oldest is doing great. My painfully shy little boy seems to have morphed into a confident young man. A year ago, he wouldn’t have agreed to perform a solo in a recital even if I promised to pay him $1,000.

I forget to start clapping when he finishes, I’m too busy gulping down air like a drowning woman. When the oxygen reaches my brain, I join everyone in the room, amazed that my baby just took his first steps into adulthood.

He spent months preparing a level one piece of music of his own choosing. He worked like a dog without being reminded to practice.  He nursed swollen lips without complaint and just performed in front of a room full of strangers.

I’m not even frustrated that he forgot to take the trash out before we left home.

second hand stage fright