incy wincy freakin’ spider

It’s true what they say about Australian spiders. They are bigger and badder than any you may have seen else where in the world. I know, because I live here, and there is one currently residing in my worm farm. ¬†Sure it might not be the biggest I’ve seen, nor the deadliest, (apparently harmless they say….pfft.)

The problem is not so much the spider, it’s the fact that I have gotten a little…city-fied.

I am no longer the person that would happily exclaim, crikey, look at that little beauty and gaze lovingly at my new co-tennanting eight legged friend. That person is no longer, (and some would doubt that person was ever really there.) I am what I am, a city hippy farm girl, and in this instance the city well and truly comes first.

So what to do when I casually slip off the worm farm lid to feed my squidgey friends, and am met with a skittish hairy eight legged freak?

Do I…

A/ Gaze lovingly on to its ample body, marvelling at its intricate markings and upright leg hair engulfing all of its rather quick legs?

Or do I…

B/ Scream like a crazy person, grabbing the nearest hard implement to me, (probably a wooden spoon) wave it ruthlessly in front of its four eyes before pounding it to spider crumbs while yelling, Diiiiiiie eight legged freak!!!!

Or I could,

C/ Assess the situation. Survey the nearby land. Establish that the kids are inside and don’t need to know. Mr Chocolate won’t be home for another 12 hours, and do I really need to ‘man-up’ and do anything at all?

Answer= C

Let’s quietly put the lid back on and pretend I was never here shall we? The worms weren’t really hungry anyway.

Next day and I had conveniently forgotten about the pit of terror outside my kitchen door. Off to check on my worms and lo and behold… There it is again. I’m sure the little bugger winked at me, while waving four of it’s legs at me in a decidedly jazz hands fashion. Quick inward suck of air and clumsy step back from me and we eye each other off. Ahh, what to do.

I did what any self respecting blogger would do and went and got my camera. Followed by Monkey Boy, who I excitedly showed him the ‘lovely’ spider residing in our worm farm. He was enthralled, gave it some eyeball love “WOW Mama, and then left me with the eight legged freak. You see I’m not silly, I wasn’t passing on any preconceived ideas on how to act around spiders. I waited until he left before I made a small gag noise and all the hairs on my arms stood on end.

So why don’t I like them?

Because they run. They run really quickly… and they jump. They are like the crowned Kings of Parcour , and I don’t like it one bit. I can deal with them when I need to, but as Mr Chocolate was home, I didn’t need to. I encouraged him to join me next to the worm farm of terrors and then politely told him he wasn’t coming back inside until he had ‘dealt’ with it.

Do you want me to kill it?

What ever needs to be done babe…

As I quietly bolted the kitchen door behind me, leaving Mr Chocolate waving a flaccid looking roll of newspaper at a bemused looking spider.

* …and he missed it. The eight legged freak casually parcour-ed off and still remains at large.

The best pet for small spaces…or big spaces

Living in a flat sometimes you can be a little restricted with sort of pets you can have. Constrained because of space, landlords, body corporate, prying childrens fingers. All sorts of reasons.

This pet ticks all those boxes though. It doesn’t need regular walks, doesn’t need a kitty litter tray, doesn’t hog the bed at night time, doesn’t chew furniture, doesn’t eat a lot, don’t need costly visits to the vet and doesn’t take much to set them up in their new home.

So what pet is that?

A worm.

Actually a lot of them.

Thousands of the little critters. A worm farm may not be the most interactive of pets, but they eat your compost, don’t take up much space and provide lots of wonderful solid (castings) and liquid fertilizer for your garden or pot plants. Sure you don’t get to play with them, stroke their tiny baldy heads, and their recipricle loving attention is a little wanting but they are still cute in their own hairless way. (And The Monkeys still want to poke and touch them as they would any other pet.)

The average household garbage is about 50% compostable. So instead of going to landfill it gets chewed up and turned into liquid gold by these little fellas.

10 top tips for worm farms

1/ Needs a cool well shaded spot to sit in (easy for a flat or balcony).

2/ You can buy a ready made worm farm (usually made out of recycled plastics) or you can easily make your own. (Try local councils for ready made ones as they quite often have them at cheaper prices, may deliver it and set up for free, and also run free worm farming courses.)

3/ They don’t like eating acidic foods such as onion/ garlics/ citrus fruits. Also no meat/ grains or dairy.

4/ Worm farms shouldn’t smell. There should be a lovely earthy smell, if it does get a bit pongy (stinky) then just stop feeding them for a few days, let them break down the food a bit more. Loosen the food and castings- so its easier for them to manouvre through.

5/ The smaller you chop the food, the easier they can break it down. Saying that, you can also just throw in your scraps, it just takes a while longer to break down.

6/ You can toss in all your vegetable and fruit scraps, but can also pop in ripped up newspaper, soggy egg cartons, hair, tea bags, vacuum dust…. you can do dog poo, but not advised on using the worm castings for your plants afterwards though.

7/ The worm wee can be used as a fertilizer mixed with water. 1 part wee to 9 parts water, and then just watered in to your plants. Your plants will love you for it.

8/ If you were a fishing kind a person= live bait!

9/ Worms like a nice moist environment. The water from the scraps is generally enough to keep things at a moist level during cooler months. However during hotter weather, a little extra added water may be needed intermittently. Some moist newspaper on top of the food scraps (or a hessian bag) acts as a blanket and keeps things at a stable temperature.

10/ After the initial start up, there is no ongoing costly maintenance. The worms continue to multiply (as long as they are fed) and you can’t have too many of the useful little critters.

City hippy worm girl?

I was at playgroup this morning and someone started asking me questions about worm farms, what to put in and what not to. I did for a split second think thats a bit weird, I don’t know you, no one was talking about worms, an odd conversation to start up but hey. I knew the answers so, happily told her what the little fellas like to eat. When I was finished, she said,

“I knew you would know the answers”

“why? Do I look like the wormy type?”

“yes, you do”.

Now, I thought this was really funny. A small part of me thought I should be a little offended, but the rest of me just had a good chuckle and thought ‘city hippy farm girl’ in mind and body.

I was wearing plaits…does that make a difference?

Worm farms

I have had our worm farm up and running for a few months now and it really is super easy. My trouble is I need about 5 more of the things as we eat a lot of fruit and vegetables so therefore there a lot scraps to discard and their little wormy appetites are not as big as I need them to be.

Worm farms are a great thing to have when you are living in a flat, given yes you do need some sort outside area like a courtyard or balcony to keep them, but it’s not much room and everything is really contained. No scraps falling out anywhere, no smell (just a lovely earthy smell) and no escapees.

My kids love watching their progress too and always eager to see what their worm pets are up to.

I’m yet to do it, but I think a worm farm is a great wedding present for a couple too. Sure, not the most romantic of gifts, but a great gift if the couple has already being living together for some time and are well established in their own place. What more can newly married couple ask for?!….