Another extraordinary thing is the linkages that occur. You hear a word, and immediately it races off to the good old LTM and does a rerun movie for you!
This can be drama, as in terrifying life events, or tragedy, or really any genre, and, if you think about it, these stored up experiences are like gold in your head!
This is exactly what happened during a conversation with my good friend and colleague, femme, a wide-ranging topic blogger, as we were discussing the merits of our favourite berries. The second she mentioned mulberries I went into faraway mode . . .
If you're lucky, these links can be memories of a real life unrehearsed comedy show, dredged up from the inner recesses of your very mature mind.
If you're even more fortunate, the funny aspects of it lead to unrestrained laughter (always good for a tolerant smile and sad, knowing little head shake from younger citizens). And if you're even luckier than that, your mind continues to probe this word/experience connection in a lateral way, coming up with new thoughts on the topic.
Childhood in Africa with some special worms ...
Come to think of it, most of the time we had to actually find our own amusements.
Anyway, a great interest and competition had developed in my class; we all became silkworm keepers.
Our parents encouraged this, no doubt because one somewhat passe dog then was able to be shared among all the children without any angst.
We kept them in shoe boxes, which had to be decorated with art work and cutouts from magazines. We felt in some way this would be inspirational for our worms. We carefully made air holes in the lids, and were sure never to put wet leaves in, because the worms would die.
Champion among us was Davey. I never did hear what his secret was because his techniques were closely guarded. His worms were at least 3" long, pure white, plump and velvety in appearance. He tried to be humble and casual about it, but those worms were perfect, no doubt about it. They moved slowly, systematically as silkworms do, nibbling daintily at his carefully chosen mulberry leaves.
They must have eaten night and day, without any rest.
Through his sobs and tears we were able to gather he had put his precious worms on a low windowsill for some brief sunlight (was that the secret?); his small sister had found them and promptly eaten them!
It was a stunner that I have never forgotten, a vision of the imagination that I wish I could wipe from my mind. Except, as an adult, it really seems funny as I look back.
It lends new meaning to 'the dog ate my homework," or "if you don't do what I want, I'll go and eat worms."
Silk farming and the internet ...
Another thing is the internet. You didn't have that.
The internet has become a valuable tool that was unknown at the time. As you ruminate on the meaning of keeping those worms, you realize your simple wish at the time was to make silk out of the cocoons.
There wasn't a major worldwide economic downturn at that time either, with people left struggling to feed their families, and jobs being far and few between.
I started to wonder why most silk makers are found in Asian countries? I see absolutely no reason why any people in any country couldn't make beautiful silk.
I did make silk. but I didn't make enough to create a business! Well,I was pretty young! So keeping my new thoughts on this in the forefront, and my business hat firmly on, I started looking for silkworms and silkworm things on line.
All these thoughts went through my head as I thought about Davey and the loss of his fat white worms.
Then I started to read about silkworms on the internet, and that was a revelation. The silkworm business is actually very good. And learning about them is easy, thanks to websites that are earning from it.
The cocoons, with pupae inside, are put into boiling water. This very hot water actually causes the silk fibers to become very elastic and strong. The worker discards the pupa of each one, then simply stretches the silk into a fine sheet of silk.
These are placed on top of each other until the desired thickness and size is obtained.
A closer look at silkworm processing ...
Some Silkworm Facts:
- They are very slow and docile and don't bite.
- You can control their size through feeding (Aha!)
- They feel nice and soft and can be petted.
- You can easily start a profitable business with them, as a silk making farm enterprise, or selling silk-ready cocoons.
- You can start, not on a shoestring, but with a shoe box.
- If you don't want to farm them for silk, you can farm them for pet food. ( Well, just saying ...)
- They need mulberry leaves to survive and thrive.
Now, before you start sending me comments about deciduous trees in the dead of winter, know that mulberry food can be purchased, and there are ways of preserving the leaves before they go dormant. If you're in a warm climate, you don't have a problem. If you're in a cold climate, you might even develop a summer occupation of collecting leaves and making silkworm food for the other Northern unfortunates.
How the Silkworm's Life-Cycle Works
A wonderful silkworm site!
Her site's section regarding silkworms is located at:
It is really worth visiting if you have now developed an interest in these little creatures. All these photos, plus many more were taken by another teacher, Manyee Desandies. They are fabulous and are reproduced here by kind permission of Sue Kayton. In addition, Sue's site gives links to many other valuable and informative sites.