Worms on his mind

April 21, 2008 at 10:50 AM

GALESBURG — The ground has really softened up the last couple weeks.

The spring rains and warmer temperatures have loosened the soil making it receptive to seed and nurturing.

A new growing season is upon us and the local agricultural community is chomping at the bit waiting for the soil to dry enough to allow planting operations to begin.

Friday evening I walked from the shed where I park my truck to the house. I saw a couple night crawlers lying out on the grass before it was even dark. I smiled and thought of the old cliché “the early bird gets the worm.”

Heck—this was evening and those early birds have probably already gone to roost for the night — perhaps those night owls can get a worm or two themselves! 
     
Worms aren’t often thought of unless you’re a fisherman.

They’re an important factor in aerating and loosening up the soil. I don’t know how many folks have asked me for earthworms for fishing. I’ve always had to shake my head and resist the comment, “We don’t import worms from any other planet.” But what most earthworms would be here around west central Illinois are red worms or night crawlers. 
 
Many local folks refer to night crawlers as dew worms because of their characteristic behavior of coming out of the ground on wet dewy nights or rainy nights. They’re pretty easy to catch on those wet nights and many are still crawling around just before sunrise.
 
If they just laying on top of the ground, sidewalk or roadway you can just pick them up without injuring them. If they’re partially in the ground you’re better off pining them to the ground with a couple fingers of one hand while you tickle them with a finger of your other hand just where they enter the ground. By doing this they’ll work their way out of the ground without you injuring them from stretching. 

If you take the time to catch dew worms you need to keep them bedded in a refrigerator. If they aren’t kept cool they’ll die and stink to high heaven. Your bed should have sides high enough —or a lid — so they can’t crawl out.

Most folks don’t like worms crawling around in their refrigerator. A good worm bedding like ‘Buss’ contains feed and will keep your worms alive for several months.

If you dig red worms you won’t want to keep them in the refrigerator but just a cool area. They don’t like the colder temperatures like night crawlers.     

Yes, if you’re a fisherman the most often thought of fishing bait is worms. If you’re not a fisherman — you’ll probably never have any worms in your ‘fridge. 

Turkey report

The second season of the northern Illinois spring wild turkey season began Saturday and will run through Thursday. The third season will begin Friday. 

I’ve heard of several birds harvested during the first season but Jim Turner from East Galesburg took one of the largest ones I saw.
 
It weighed 26 pounds and had a 10-inch beard. The bird’s spurs were 1 inch and 1 3/8 inches and were sharp as needles on the tips. 

A boss bird indeed!