A couple of years ago my neighbors took down at least a dozen trees that separated their property from a noisy highway. Now they have a big green lawn back there and it's one Miss B's favorite places to visit when she gets loose.
Having tamed our own little wooded glen just a few years before, we jumped at the chance to snag the wood chips the landscapers made from our neighbor's fallen trees. For them, it was just a matter of where to aim the chipper spout, and had the bonus benefit of saving them a trip to the compost dump. We ended up with a thick coating of wood chips under our trees -- almost a foot deep in spots.
For the last few years, I've used these chips to mulch my garden, but with a little digging, it's not hard to obtain some real compost gold - earthworm casings. This is the layer that I'm tapping for my vegetable beds.
The worms are huge -- practically snake-like this time of year. They're allowed to come along for the ride in the wheelbarrow. They don't know it yet, but the move to the veggie beds is probably the most exciting thing that will ever happen to them.
Today I got a surprise when I checked under the gymnastics mat that I was using to smother the grass under one of the beds. It's earthworm paradise under there!
Lots of fun smells too.