Also, a bumper crop of earth worms, which the girls have decided to harvest.
"We're collecting worms," the 10-year-old shouts cheerfully. "They're everywhere."
She is up to her shins in rainwater, a plastic coffee bin in her hand as she scans the dark water for wriggling shapes.
"What are you going to do with them?" I ask, as if there has to be some purpose to collecting things that can be caught in rain puddles and put into coffee cans. What is your object, your mission, your goal?
"I don't know," she answers. "Cut them in half and make more?"
Half an hour later the girls are in the kitchen. They have a coffee can full of dirt and worms and a spectacularly bad idea.
"Pleeeease," they whine. "We'll clean up."
"No way," I say. "Not a chance."
But I must be the biggest pushover in the Midwest. Because the girls are certain I can be convinced. Yes, I did let them put the classroom mice in the dollhouse and I sometimes let them play cooking show in my kitchen. But what makes them think I am going to allow this?
"We'll wash everything," they say earnestly. "We'll put it all in the dishwasher. If it blows up in the microwave, we''ll clean that too."
"You are NOT putting worms in the microwave," I say, in my capacity as chair of the Ad Hoc Household Legislation Committee.
"But we want to cook them," says the world's most persistent fifth-grader.
"I know," says my fifth grader. "We'll use the grill." She pulls a cookie sheet from the drawer.
"No," I say. "Not in the microwave. Not on the stove. Not on the grill. You may not cook the worms.
I am pretty sure I made the right call.