I have been very observant of earthworms this year or at least in the spring and early summer when there is lots of planting to do. I have read about how beneficial they are to the soil so now when I put my trowel in the ground or move a clump of earth or pile of wood chips, I like to see and count all the earthworms. They are the earth’s natural rototillers.  The thought of all those worms under my feet doing their work just amazes me. They naturally till the land, compost, aerate and increase water infiltration.

And I have had the chance to put my trowel in the ground several times this year. We seem to have an issue with keeping the chickens contained in their pasture so they are spending a lot of time in my yard and garden rearranging and killing flowers. I have had to replant flowers so many times this year and I don’t think they are going to survive. So now I’m going with the idea of planting roses instead of small annuals. The fact that all the chickens won’t stay in their pasture has made me realize I should give up trying to grow small, delicate flowers. I’ll should get my enjoyment from chasing chickens and counting worms instead of enjoying the view of colorful flowers. By planting roses, I can now chase chickens, count worms and smell the roses!

When I see all those worms, it feels like I’m passing a very large good stewardship test, like a final exam in college. In early summer, it makes me proud and happy to have gotten all those slivers while pulling weeds out of the wood chips in the garden for going no-till. I’m doing a good thing for the soil, the earthworm population and this earth; even if it is just in my little patch of earth. I’m helping the earth little bits at a time if I can keep the chickens out my little patch of earth so they aren’t eating my proud little test or harming my visually appealing flowers.

Now that the weeds are out growing my energy level and ability to pull them, I don’t feel near as good about myself or my ability to take care of this little patch of earth. I feel that I’m failing this test, part because I can’t keep all the weeds pulled or at bay. But then I think about all those worms at work under my feet. That brings a smile to my face and reminds that worm are doing good even if I don’t feel that I am. It still doesn’t give me any more energy, but does make me feel better! I can pass this test even if I don’t get an A+++, which this overachiever would prefer but will settle for a lesser test score.