The Early Worm

“Let’s talk business, Dad,” Miss11 said to me while I sipped my coffee. “I’ve got a proposal for you.”

Since arriving home Miss11 has been on a mission. She wants money. Moreover, she’s not afraid to spend mine to get it.

“We’re going to need a second farm,” she’d told me a few days earlier. “I won’t be able to keep up with demand with just the one.”

The farm she was referring to took up the same space on our balcony as say a small suitcase, only thicker, and contained a herd of 2000+ worms.

“What demand?”

“I’m selling the worm juice,” she said. “Auntie Belinda just bought the first bottle.”

She flashed the palm of her hand, revealing $2.50.

I glanced at my sister-in-law. Sure enough, she had a 2litre milk bottle in her hand. The bottle was full of what my snake oil salesman of a daughter had labelled ‘worm juice’ but which was could more accurately be called ‘bark infused water’.

The worms hadn’t had a solid chance to make their wonder juice yet. When we set up the farm we had to wet the bedding block, which expanded like my head when a nail goes in without bending.

This was what she’d sold.

“You’ve been gyped,” I told Belinda.

“I know,” she smiled. “But I wanted to support her.”

Support her?!?

I’d paid for the trays, special worm rugs, extra bedding blocks, multiple packs of worms & worm eggs and even something called ‘worm farm conditioner’.

And then I’d set the damn things up!

While I’m whinging about this, I’ve also paid for the apples, bananas, beans, mushrooms and potatoes which had either gone off enough they weren’t fit for human consumption or had come home in a lunchbox because they were deemed unfit for Devereaux child consumption or had were the peeled bits from the preparation of a meal.

And before you start thinking ‘ah, but she’s the one who cares for them’, I’ve also been the person who’s walked these scraps to the trays nightly and added them to the farm, because Miss11 doesn’t like the idea of getting ‘disgusting rotting food’ or ‘worm poo & wee’ on her delicate ‘farmer’ hands.

Plus, I’d even bought the original milk bottle she’d sold under false pretences to her Auntie and washed it out for, I’d assumed, the recycling bin.

Near as I could tell, Auntie Belinda was on the verge of supporting a financial con involving dubious employment practices.

After Tracey’s sister had left I’d told Miss11 as much, so I was interested to hear what her proposal was.

“I’ll pay you one dollar for every bottle of worm juice I sell,” she told me.

“That,” I said hesitantly, “sounds almost reasonable.”

I mean, a mere six to seven hundred litres and I will have made my initial investment back.

Miss11 wasn’t done.

And let me just add, early signs are this girl is management material with a capital delegate.

All you have to do,” she went on, “is fill the bottles with worm juice.”

Who needs a wheelbarrow when you have three buckets and lots of kids? Tending to our gardens and filling holes which the dogs have dug in our absence. Speaking of absence, you’ll notice Miss11 isn’t in this photo. Or indeed, anywhere near the dirty work. On a side note, I think this is my best angle.
She did show up for planting and watering of the seedlings, but mainly to supervise.
Meanwhile, Miss8 is keen to help with the moving. Since all my time has been tied up tending to 10,000 head of worms, I agreed she could. Right up until Tracey saw this, had a fit and changed my mind. Something about death and dismemberment. 
So the mower got turned off, the girls were cleaned up, and an afternoon of painting in the years ensued.
That was Sunday. This morning – Monday – I found this down the side of our shed. A colourful cape and three hats. Bemused, I took it inside to try work out how they got there and who was responsible.
“You found my treasure!” yelled Miss6, which I thought was an odd term. But she even produced a map which she’d painted yesterday. As treasure maps go, I think it’s lucky I stumbled across the hats.
Love an extended family meet up. As this is July I can only assume someone was having a bit of a clean out and found a box of bon bon crackers. Which explains why my pocket was filled with tiny plastic toys when I got home.
A clean out is why our little girls now have a tee pee in their room – Tracey’s old photography props. How magic does this look?

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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…but if you tap on the very attractive image of me below you’ll see my latest one which is about home safety, so worth a gander

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