Every once in a while, the Crumb Saver household shares a snapshot of a recent crumb-saving (or wasting!) incident on A Random Crumb. This column is proof that, hey, we’re people just like you! Prepare for a little randomness, a little embarrassment, but hopefully mostly encouragement.  You’ll get a sneak peek at what we actually do to save (or NOT save) in real life, which is motivation to us to stay crumby (in the good way) and (hopefully) inspiration for you join in the crumb-saving action too!

Recently we received a ton of rain here in Tennessee. It was basically nonstop rain for over a week. During one of the breaks in the storm, we got a little cabin fever and decided to go out for a walk. We were walking on our neighbor’s long driveway when we noticed giant earthworms crawling across the road nearly every other step. When I say giant, I mean GIANT earthworms. They looked like small snakes going across the road. Pretty soon, we were walking with our heads pointed down to avoid stepping on the huge parade of worms migrating across the road. Perhaps it was part exasperation of not being able to walk in a straight line or part brilliance, but we had an idea.

We rushed home and each grabbed a bucket and a slotted screwdriver. We were going worm hunting!

The Hunt is On!

So why would we do such a thing? As I shared in a previous post on feeding the soil through inexpensive means, worm castings are the best organic fertilizer known to man. So why not enslave employ these migrant worms to work in our raised bed garden? Besides, they would get squished, eaten by birds, or desiccated out on the open pavement anyway. So it seemed like a win-win situation to us.

So we worked our way along carefully and picked up every worm we saw. We lost count very quickly into the hunt, but we estimated we got probably 50-60 worms in 15-20 minutes. Here’s a peek into one of our buckets:

A New Home

We dumped our newfound employees into our raised bed garden and welcomed them to what should be a worm heaven on earth. Limitless compost to chow on as far as the eye could see (if they had eyes, that is) in a raised bed that shouldn’t get flooded like their last home. We even brought a whole bunch of their friends along. Hopefully they will go to work creating a healthy mix of worm castings for us right where our plants are growing.

Here they are being introduced to their new home (lighting was bad since it was getting dark):

Deep Lessons from Earthworms

Even in the heat of the hunt, we were able to do some reflecting about what was actually happening. We realized that we were living out some of the key tenets of the Crumb-Saving philosophy. It’s not just about saving money, pinching pennies, and living frugally. There’s something deeper involved here.

  • Recognizing Value. The Crumb-Saving way is not so much about saving a couple dollars here and there as it’s about getting the best value. But the problem often is that we don’t recognize what’s valuable! How many of us would recognize an uncut diamond lying in the dirt if we walked past it? When we see earthworms we might think, “Yuck!” but we should be seeing tireless workers who can eat our trash and poop out black gold!
  • Resourcefulness. Often we hear about something good and we assume that the only way to get it is to buy it. “Oh, earthworms are good for the garden? Let’s go buy some!” Wait! Let’s not open the wallet as the first response when maybe we have resources right under our feet (literally!). Another example: We bag up our kitchen scraps and pay for it to be picked up by the garbage man, then we go buy compost from the store to put on our garden. Hey, why not just make our own compost with our own kitchen waste and skip paying the trash collector and the store?
  • Effort. Ah, the rub is that all this type of stuff takes effort. “It takes too much time, it’s too hard, it’s too dirty!” So we just buy it. All the while we don’t realize that often the exertion of the effort is the most valuable part of the whole experience.
  • Redefining Enjoyment. You know what? We actually enjoyed the worm hunting experience. Even my wife, who’s not usually into creepy crawly thingies, is excited to do it again after the next big rain! It wasn’t some cruel and unusual punishment that we inflicted on ourselves in order to get something for free. (Which we’ve been known to do on occasion!) In fact, we enjoyed it more than the artificial stimulation we get from modern entertainment. We were spending time together, we were doing something out-of-the-ordinary, we were benefiting the creatures and ourselves, and it gave us a curious experience to write to you about. Why pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for artificial recreation that rots our bodies and our brains when we can enjoy the simple pleasures of life?

It’s not just about the earthworms, improving our garden, or even saving money, it’s about the people we can become. THAT is why we save the crumbs.