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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Bee's Knees

I haven't really scratched the surface cleaning our house, as we have so many duties over the weekend. It was First Friday. Saturday is pew dusting day, now cut short by 5 o'clock Mass for the lazy. And of course, The Lord's Day.

But I did make a dent in the kitchen. And I found Amelia Earhart. She was in the back of the frig all this time. The shriveled pineapple and a dead aviatrix.

Today's question from our readers:
I am sorry about your worm farm. Is it a total loss? Why do you have a worm farm? Is it for your gardening? How do you manage a worm farm? Do bees kill worms? I hope you are not allergic to bees. Maybe you could become a beekeeper.

I am...or at least, I was...very excited about my worm farm. We have a pesky bug here called "white fly" that is just about impossible to get rid of. We tried praying to St. Dominic Silos, the patron saint against insects, but he was busy with his other patronage, helping with pregnancies. We really felt we had to leave him alone.

Then I read somewhere that worm castings will get rid of white fly. Well, glory hallelujah!

A quart of worm castings costs about $45. Even the Infant of Prague isn't going to spring for worm castings for us. Hence, the worm farm. Now I know why a quart of worm casting is $45. It takes hundreds of worms about a year to come up with...a bag full.

It works! No white fly! Plus, we get rid of garbage that way. In fact, in order to have the worm farm, I had to read a book called, "Worms Eat My Garbage". I can make up for my father causing Global Warming.

It's not really a 'farm'. I'm not out there in overalls from Osh Kosh with a weed hanging out of my mouth. It's a worm casting factory in a layered trash can. It's a worm internment camp. At least they were safe from birds.

I don't know if the bees killed the worms or the worms are just hiding lower in the can, waiting, like the British during the Blitzkrieg. One day while I was away I got a message from Sister St. Aloysius. She said, "I have some bad news. Well...strange news...about the worm farm." I had asked her to be sure and throw some garbage on them, since they hadn't had any trash since I had left. I thought she was going to tell me I had waited too long to remind her, and all the worms had perished.

I wasn't expecting, "The worm farm is a beehive." When Sister St. Aloysius lifted the lid, a cloud of bees blew out. Two chased her into the house.

There are a lot of bees coming and going.

We're going to have to call a bee removal...company? Person? I will not be a bee keeper. Although, when you think about it, I'm pretty much dressed for it already. Nonetheless, I'm not standing out there with a fog machine trying to make the bees leave long enough for me to harvest honey. The Infant of Prague has provided us with enough to get some honey if we really want it.

I miss visiting the worms. I miss throwing garbage at them and shredding newspaper for them to bed down. They are an exercise in not expecting any response or gratitude from those you serve.


Eddie said...

Bees are more organized than worms, communal-wise. Each bee has an assigned job for the good of the klan.
On the other hand, as far as I know, worms just wallow around and soak in the ingredients of the soil for their own self-fulfillment, much like me.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for answering my questions about the worms. Makes perfect sense, as usual!

Now, if you don't mind, kindly explain how Amelia Earhart ended up in your fridge? Did I miss something? I didn't see a link to another of your posts. I'm completely in the dark on Amelia, and it sounds like it has all the makings of an amusing story.

P.S. Is there a patron saint of getting rid of weeds?

Anonymous said...

We had a worm farm, but it failed. They are harder to raise than one might think.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,

Do I remember reading that you are in California? It occurs to me that you might have a miracle going on there. From what I have heard here in NC, bees on the West Coast have been decreasing, dieing of some unknown infection, maybe. They've said it's going to seriously hurt produce production and that our groceries are going to be more expensive as a result.

However, you have what sounds like a thriving, new hive! I think I would call my local cooperative extention. Maybe they have a program that could put those bees to good use.


Sister Mary Martha said...

ET, I beg to differ. Both bees and worms do a wonderful job whilst going about their daily routine. Worms turn dirt into soil by eating and eliminating leaves and garbage. Their tunnels aerate the soil so that roots can breath. They are not lolling around. They are busy every second.

Sister Mary Martha said...

There is indeed a patron saint of getting rid of weeds, none other that St. Fiacre, who removed weeds by simply pointing to them with his staff. There is a patron saint for EVERYTHING.

If you don't believe me, look on the Google for St. Fiacre and read about his other patronages.

Sister Mary Martha said...

anonymous, I'm sorry your worm farm failed. I think it would be much more difficult without our fancy can. We've had the worms for more than four years now.

Anonymous said...

I miss visiting the worms. I miss throwing garbage at them and shredding newspaper for them to bed down. They are an exercise in not expecting any response or gratitude from those you serve.

Good lesson from this foray. I bet they were good listeners...Maybe the bees will fill the void the worms did.

Hugs, sister...

Anonymous said...

This comment actually has nothing to do with the worms and the bees. I thought you'd enjoy this entry in the Bulwer-Lytton contest, recognizing wretched fiction. It was a runner-up in the "detective" category:

"She'd been strangled with a rosary-not a run-of-the-mill rosary like you might get at a Catholic bookstore where Hail Marys are two for a quarter and indulgences are included on the back flap of the May issue of "Nuns and Roses" magazine, but a fancy heirloom rosary with pearls, rubies, and a solid gold cross, a rosary with attitude, the kind of rosary that said, "Get your Jehovah's Witness butt off my front porch.""

Source: http://www.sjsu.edu/depts/english/2007.htm

Seeker said...

Have you heard of Johh Bradburne? He was killed in Zimbabwe in the 1970s and is a possible candidate for sainthood now. (You can read more about him here and here )

He prayed for (and got!) a swarm of bees to inhabit his hut with him so he could pray in peace! Now when people pray for his intercession they are often visited by bees. Maybe one of your sisters got to know him during you absence! :-)

rocknwrap said...

Come on, worms do give you a response in their 'black gold'. Pee, you beauties, pee!

Sister Mary Martha said...


Anonymous said...

Dear Sister, what are we supposed to say instead of "pee?"

Back at St George's school in the 60's the sisters had kids hold up either one finger or two if they needed to leave the room. (I've never understood why the sisters needed to know which particular elimination function was at issue, though.)

Speaking of St George's, what do you recommend for those whose patron sints have been declared fictional? Is my son's St Christopher medal doing him any good?

Thank you, as always, for your wonderful blog.

Anonymous said...


In my day, it was considered more ladylike to say "tinkle", if one had to say anything at all.

Anonymous said...

RE:global warming - my dad, who built his own worm farm, claims that by having purchased a petrolium based worm farm you have caused more global warming than you'll undo with the worm farm. :)

Anonymous said...

Sister, why can't you retroactivly offer up things. God works out of time, right? I think its completely ligit!!!???