Pat Shingleton: "Collecting Dew and Worms..."
Dew is water that is condensed onto grass and other objects near the ground. There's a folktale or two about the magical qualities of dew. Dew has been used as a lotion for sore, itchy eyes and skin diseases. It has also been used to strengthen sickly children and is believed to heal gout and sharpen ones eyesight, especially if it is collected from the leaves of fennel. A young girl must gather dew prior to sunrise, from the ground under an oak tree, for beauty and good luck. Those that wash their face in dew from a Hawthorn tree at sunrise on the Celtic festival of Beltane will experience beauty for a year. The Victorians gathered early-morning dew in their hands and rubbed it on their faces to remove freckles. Witches in Scotland, collected dew with a hair tie and hung it in the barn to increase milk production. From above ground to underground...Friday’s thundershowers brought the earthworms to the surface. When I was a young lad, we called them “night-crawlers”- large earthworms that didn’t like the wet but fish loved ‘em. If a shower didn’t get them moving, the garden hose did. We’d wet-down a section of the yard around 7 p.m. and gather the night-crawlers. Folks in Florida’s Apalachicola National Forest still practice the art of “grunting.” Rubbing a curved steel bar over a planted wooden stake creates a strange sound. The vibrations annoy the worms, driving them to the surface. Thousands pour out of the ground, becoming prime fishing bait. Local grunters earn $1,000 in three hours for 5,000 worms. No showers expected today so enjoy the fishing and possibly some grunting.
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