April 21, 2010

A good rain last night and the sky looks like more will fall today.  Living on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range means we live the “rain shadow effect” I learned about in high school.  There is a difference between academically learning about mountain ranges so tall that by the time a storm passes over the range it has lost most all of its water content, and tactilely experiencing it.  Academic means the shadow in interesting, tactile means we don’t often get rain like last night.

When we do, then it is worth getting up early and walking the pastures and hay fields.  The extra water brings the worms and nightcrawlers to the surface.  A walk tells a story about how well the soil is.  Worms, like most critters when they have choice, live where there is good housing and food.  Worms help tell us, by their presence or non-presence, if the soil structure is good and food abundant.  They also tell us if our chemical buildup is too high.  Too much chemical can mean no worms.  Though we do not use chemicals to control pests, weeds, or as a fertilizer, many of our neighbors do.  They are careful and caring in their use, but overspray and drift does occur.  So, the number and health of the worms at the edges of our fields tell an important story.  It is fair to say, I felt good about the number of worms found this morning in the pastures and hay fields.

© David B. Bell 2010

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