Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Day I Bought Worm Poop, or The Crazy Get Crazier

My bloggy friend, Connie Mishali of Connie Mishali's Weblog, shared this funny story with me. It's all about ... worm poop. Yep ... you heard me right ... worm poop! When I read it ... I just knew that it would be perfect for Reduce Footprints.

Connie Mishali's Weblog is a wonderful site. She talks about relationships, green living, religion and so much more. You'll find book reviews and book giveaways. You might remember Connie from this month's vegan recipe ... Lo Mein Noodles. She graciously shared that fabulous recipe with us ... and now shares this fun post.

A big THANK YOU to Connie. And now ... her article:

The Day I Bought Worm Poop, or The Crazy Get Crazier

As promised, today I will share the story of the day I bought worm poop. It started out as a seemingly sane pursuit: my husband mentioned he was going to buy fertilizer for the lawn this past Spring. "Wait! Let me find something safe for the pets and birds." I wanted to find fertilizer that wouldn't harm our two Chihuahuas or the birds, bunnies, beach mice, toads and other wildlife we have around our home. So I started looking online for "pet safe" fertilizer and found a number of options, all of which were labeled "natural" and "organic". Do you know what's in natural, organic fertilizer? The blood and bones and manure of cows, pigs, chickens and other slaughtered animals! I felt myself getting faint.

So now I'm typing "pet safe, vegan" fertilizer into my browser wondering, "Is there such a thing?" Yep. It turns out the very, very best fertilizer for one's yard is "worm castings". That's a nice way of saying "worm poop". I found about a dozen different websites. I was overwhelmed by the choices and didn't know how I was going to make the best choice. Well, after doing some research I found out not all worm castings are the same. Long story made short, you have to find red worm castings for high quality fertilizer; you need to make sure it's 100% pure; you need to make sure the worms are fed high quality food. Unfortunately, the websites weeded themselves out with usually bad customer service. I had a number of questions being uneducated in the ways of worms, so I sent out messages to each one. Sadly, about half the website owners didn't respond. The other half gave me incomplete answers or seemed irritated by the follow up questions I had.

The only website I found which met the above product criteria AND responded promptly and completely to every question was Rising Mist Organics. The owner thought it was hilarious when I wrote that I didn't mean to sound completely nuts, but could she please assure me that her worms were treated well, their poop was harvested humanely and they were given a good life. She explained to me that it sounded like I was "her kind of nut". She and her husband were both vegans and believed in doing no harm. She described the worms' diets (all organic food; their diets are better than mine) and their treatment (very good lives). She requested that when I was ready to order, I please call instead of placing the order online.

When I called her, I asked if she wanted me to call in order to facilitate my order or only because I was so crazy, she wanted to talk to me in person. She laughed and admitted it was mostly the latter. We talked for almost an hour and I found a kindred spirit! She lives in a small, rural town and we agreed that sometimes it's hard being the only crazy person where you live. She told me a couple of weeks prior, they had a huge rain storm and she was out with her front end loader, moving the worms to higher ground. She said she was sure the whole town was talking about her like they did about Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams" when he started mowing down his corn fields. She told me several months prior, she was at the town hall for a meeting. Someone was going to kill a bug and she yelled, "No! Don't kill it!" without even thinking. She then went and scooped up the bug on a piece of paper and carried it down the center aisle to the door to set it free. She said not one of several hundred people said a word, but they never took their eyes off her or uttered a word as she made her way to the door with the bug and again back to her seat. I told her stories of my own. We agreed that living together on a commune -- or at least having a few more like minded people in the neighborhood -- would be comforting sometimes.

By the way, worm castings are the BEST fertilizer ever!!! They will NOT burn your grass (or plants or flowers or vegetables). Although "expensive", they actually are a better deal than anything you'd buy at Lowes or Wal-mart because they need application only once a year and, in fact, they continue to fertilize the ground 2-3 years after application. They are completely safe for pets, children, wildlife and ground water. Finally, no animals -- including worms -- are harmed.

I started out with a seemingly easy task . . . find fertilizer safe for our pets and wildlife . . . which evolved into finding vegan, organic, safe, humane fertilizer. I was not disappointed with worm castings, or with Rising Mist Organics and their funny, friendly, do-good owners. And now you know how crazy can feed on itself!

Another big THANK YOU to Connie for this fun ... and interesting article. I hope you'll come back on Friday ... we're going to be talking about more ... worms! As always ... I would love to hear from you!