A friend of mine works half the year in Vermont as a State Park Ranger and the other half of the year (when VT is coldest) she lives in Cost Rica where she dedicates herself to the rescue and protection of dogs. She has brought many homeless street dogs back to the US for a better life.
I get involved in animal protection in Costa Rica too, especially sea turtles and Howler monkeys. We have plenty of snakes here as well but they are not quite so compelling. In fact. the photo above is of a semi-poisonous (to mice and lizards more than humans) 6 ft Lyre snake that I interrupted while it was eating a two ft iguana that lived on our roof. The iguana died and I relocated snake.
The gardeners in the development in Costa Rica that I started and where I also live are compost green season leaves and trimmings from our 220 acres. There now is enough kitchen waste to start a separate food waste comporting operation. So, I began looking for red wiggler worms as our food waste composting helpers.
Red wigglers are used in Costa Rica coffee processing operations to help digest the pulp (the skin surrounding the coffee bean) and make it into organic fertilizer and soil amendments, But the coffee growing region is 5-6 hrs from us. Plus, I knew of some red wigglers in VT that wanted a new home, far away from the most brutal winter temperatures in 100 years.
But how to get my new compost helpers to Costa Rica from VT?
I googled “red worms on a plane” and got some good advice: the TSA does no prohibit them. So, I loaded the adventurous worms into a plastic container with moist coffee grounds and yesterday’s salad so it could pass as my lunch in case Costa Rica officials got curious. The container went into my backpack so the worms would not freeze in the luggage compartment. We took off to Costa Rica.
As we flew over Lake Nicaragua and began descending toward the Liberia airport in Costa Rica I noticed my backpack had turned over and worms had escaped through the air holes. Some were exploring the floor and others were heading up the wall toward the airplane window. The unsuspecting tourist next to me was still sleeping but the flight attendants were about to start the last collection of service items
I had minutes to collect the 2-3 dozen worms. The immigration form was just thin enough and also stiff enough to scoop up and corral the slithering escapees. Back into yesterday’s salad they went.
Now these ‘extranjero’ compost helpers are happily eating local mangos, bananas, star fruit, and melons, plus coffee grounds, tortillas and old rice and beans. They will never need to worry about freezing again.