14. failure. again.
So we started it all over. We were exacting on every point. The temp and humidity were perfect. I was extra-dutiful in keeping the poop moist. A little too dutiful–on day six when I went to pack the container with sand, I discovered that the lump of it was floating–a swampy sea of poop. Still, I ladled on the sand, but it quickly disappeared. So I spooned out some of the matter, pouring off the excess water and packed the sand as instructed.
Did I pour off all the worms? Surely not all of them. Still, I worried. Twelve hours later, I laid the two layers of silk, and waited some more. Of course, I ducked in every couple of hours to make sure that the silk was kept moist. (I now have a repetitive stress injury in my spray-bottle trigger-finger. Not really.)
Finally, we were ready. I pulled the top layer of silk off, and placed it in a container of distilled water. More waiting, this time overnight. The next morning, Lisa took her position behind the microscope (sexy!) and took a good long look.
Nothing. Not a single living organism that we could see.
I felt crushed.
She kept at it, staring for hours at slide after slide, soaking the bottom layer of silk, and searching it for life. Nothing.
I sunk into a black miasma of depression only a couple of shades lighter than my fruitless, non-productive excrement.
“Let’s try again!” Said Lisa, cheerfully.
But I shook my head. “I’m not going through that again. It’s too much work, I’ve got my hopes too high, and there’s too much at stake.”
We called X and had a long chat. He pointed out some of the things we might have done wrong. Finally, though, we settled on another plan–a way to ship a dose of worms that hadn’t occurred to me as an option before.
So I don’t feel quite so hopeless. I’ll be off to collect a new worm shipment soon. 50 worms this time, bringing my total count to 85. I expect one more dose after this (for a total of 135) will be the proper dosage, but we’ll see.
So, having failed at agriculture, I’m back to hunting and gathering. It’s okay, I guess. The nomadic lifestyle suits me.