There was a theft reported to the Rimbey Review last week but there was no need to call in the RCMP. Besides, even under the most intense questioning from the police, it’s highly unlikely they would have gotten any information from the obvious suspects.
It all began a week or so ago when local resident Ed Trautman noticed something was missing from the backyard of his 52nd Avenue home the morning after he used a lengthy piece of nylon twine to keep the lines straight while planting some berry bushes.
“I’m redoing my yard and one night I was working late and didn’t have time to wind up my chalk line and I left it on the ground,” Trautman said. “The next morning I noticed it was going down a dew worm holes – or whatever you want to call them, and when I started pulling on it, I pulled out eight inches of double-line out of the hole. Now I’ve moved over about 10 or 12 feet, and they’ve started pulling the line underground over here. It’s something that I cannot believe.”
He surmised that it must be the work of some sort of worms as the phenomenon of the missing lengths of string is usually occurs following a rain, which in turn softens the ground making it easier for the worms.
This isn’t the first time Trautman has had a bit of a puzzling encounter with the underground creatures. He said while working in the soil in a previous residence in Red Deer, he came across a massive worm the likes of which he had never seen before.
“Without a word of exaggeration, it was three feet long and as big around as my first finger,” Trautman said. “They come out of the ground by drowning them or wetting them out and the next day I turned on my water sprinklers and soaked the ground for two days to get him to come out because I knew nobody would believe me, but it must have just left.”
He added that he’s had a number of his friends over to the house to try and come up with an explanation as to why the worms would even bother with a piece of nylon twine.
“Their reaction was the same as mine. When I first pulled the string out of the ground, I thought it was unbelievable that they would have the ability to pull that string down in the ground that far,” he said. “One of my friends saw where they had pulled the string down and also had a blade of grass they were pulling down too so we got to thinking that they’re strictly what we would call a vegetarian. They live underground so they get all the roots they need, but when you see this from above ground, it’s mind-boggling to me.”
Had the string been made of cotton, Trautman said it might explain why they would be attracted to it, but certainly not nylon.
“If they can pull this nylon line down into the ground eight inches then they could do a heck of a lot with a cotton line because cotton doesn’t hold a candle to this stuff,” he said.
While the RCMP probably aren’t the ones to be investigating the theft, Trautman said he’s hoping there’s a naturalist or an entomologist in the area who can offer a bit of an explanation as to why this is happening.
“This is mind-boggling and if anyone out there doesn’t believe me, just come on over and I’ll show them,” he said. “I’ve been around for a long time – I’m 76, born here in Rimbey and I’ve never seen anything like this before.”