As luck would have it, Alfie’s class is studying the life cycle of silkworms. They have the silkworms in the classroom so this is a very ‘hands-on’ style of learning and the type that Alfie enjoys the most. During the last week of the term, an email arrived from the teacher asking for responsible people to volunteer to look after a few of the silkworm each during the holidays. As quite a few students were going away for the holidays there were only a few families left to share the joy of looking after these worms. And not all these families could classify themselves as responsible pet owners.
As I had done little this term to assist (didn’t help with reading groups, didn’t give up my time and serve on the canteen, didn’t volunteer to go on any excursions), I felt we should offer to house a few worms for the holidays. And we must appear to be responsible pet owners because we got the job.
On the last day of the term I collected Alfie and he was carefully carrying his treasured clear plastic container that within it had four skinny worms and a few wilted mulberry leaves. A map was emailed to me of where I can (daily) find fresh mulberry leaves for the silkworms.
On that afternoon I had my car being serviced and so I told Alfie we had to walk to the mechanic’s workshop to pick up the car. He grizzled and complained about this as he was keen to get home as quickly as possible and set up residence for his new best friends. I told him we would be home soon, just as soon as we had the car back from the mechanic.
We set off walking and I said that for safe-keeping, it would be best if I held the treasured plastic container. So we walked up the main road in the blistering afternoon heat and I made sure the silkworms had as pleasant a journey as possible; I leveled the container! We arrived at the mechanic’s and received one of those spine-chilling bills where you’re just not sure if the magnitude of it is going to cause your credit card to combust and afterwards, with nothing but debt on my mind we drove home.
Once home we had a five minute turnaround before having to be in the car and taking Arabella to the pre-formal drinks where Carl and I were also invited and stayed on for the catered dinner. We took Alfie with us because there wasn’t a babysitter left in Sydney with all school-leavers out partying hard instead of thinking about a great wad of cash they could earn by sitting on a couch and watching TV for a couple of hours.
The next morning when I was lying in bed all bleary-eyed, Alfie came in and said, ‘Where are my silkworms?’
I said, ‘I don’t know, probably where you left them’.
‘I can’t find them’.
‘Well have a look in your room. They’re probably where your school bag is.’
‘They’re not there. I’ve already looked.’
And then I thought maybe, with all the rushing around, maybe they were left in the car. ‘Have a look in the car, they might still be there’. And Alfie rushed out to the car very enthusiastically.
Moments later, ‘They’re not there. They’re not in the car’. I just knew there was no point in me lying in bed any longer. A full-on search in my dressing gown ensued but the silkworms were no where to be seen. The last memory I had of them was placing them (carefully) on the counter at the mechanic’s while I digested that horror bill. I phoned the mechanic and he said I’d left nothing on his premises.
The silkworms were entrusted into our care for a period of two weeks. Within an hour we’d lost them, never to be seen again.
Alfie’s getting anxious. ‘Mum, what will I tell Miss B when I go back to school? What will I say when she asks me for the silkworms?’ Alfie gets excema when he’s stressed. Can’t have him getting worked up. ‘Don’t worry about that, Alfie, it’s all under control’, I tell him.
Nothing is ever under control.
I’ve been on the google trying to replace them. My plan is to slip some replacement worms into a similar container, march them into the classroom and who would know the difference. In case you’re ever in this situation, silkworms are incredibly difficult to source. I’ve managed to find some on gumtree but they’re a long way from home. I’ve emailed the worm owner/breeder but he hasn’t responded. I’m full of confidence that his ad in gumnut is genuine and not a scam and that I will end up the owner of a few worms. At least, that’s what I’m telling Alfie – all is well.
Worms have nothing to do with Best Breakfast Pies but that is what I cooked for Arabella’s 18th birthday party and so having shown them in the Rainbow Birthday post I thought I’d let you know that you can find the recipe here. These are great pies that are wonderful at any time of the day but work particularly well for breakfast or brunch. The tomato, bacon and basil sauce can be made the night before and if you would like these to be vegetarian pies, just omit the bacon.