Squeamish early bird reluctantly gets the worm

This column originally ran on March 24, 2016

Last week marked a personal victory: I touched an earthworm. On purpose.

Since I am, at least in a general sense, a gardener, you would think I am forever touching worms — running my hands through the rich soil and marveling at the serpentine creatures that tunnel through it, aerating it while breaking down the organic matter.

Hardly.

I know earthworms are highly beneficial creatures. There’s just one thing: They’re gross.

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Woodstove woes weaken winter well-being

Two weeks ago, our new-to-us wood cook stove broke.

How does that even happen? It’s not like a regular kitchen range: It doesn’t have an igniter, or even any on/off knobs. It’s a big cast-iron tank with a firebox on one side, an oven on the other, and a giant griddle for a top. But the old firebrick inside the firebox had been repeatedly patched by the previous owner, and one day it just broke in half.

Mark and I like to live on the edge — just this morning I used half-and-half that was two days past its sell-by date — but if there’s one thing we agree on, it’s that we’re both opposed to burning down the house. We decided one of the best ways to avoid that would be to stop building fires in the wood stove until we could get replacement parts.

 

 

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Grammar crusader fights on

I’ve always had a thing for grammar.

In kindergarten, I corrected Tracy Reynolds for splitting an infinitive during Show-and-Tell. I knew the difference between “disinterested” and “uninterested” before I was allowed to cross the street by myself. While other teenagers tacked up posters of Simon & Garfunkel or Hall & Oates on their bedroom walls, I put up a poster of Strunk & White.

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