The art of worm fiddling 

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Every now and then, we will have a weekend planned with exciting adventures that gets canceled by an act of nature or sickness. With a camping trip canceled last weekend due to sickness, we had to resort to fiddlin’ around the house. 


While doing so, my son asked me if I had heard of a certain practice: worm charming. I had never heard of it before. It sounded like it should be on a sign for a discount palm reader, “Madame Cleo’s Discount Fortune Telling and Worm Charming.”

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The closest thing to fortune telling that I believe in is my method of predicting when my kids will get sick. All I have to do is look at the calendar and find our next vacation. They will come down with symptoms the night before departure. 


So my son tells me he is going to put a stick into the ground and rub a metal file back and forth on the stick. He explained that because of the motion of the sticks, some people call it worm charming. 


“Let’s call it worm fiddling instead,” I insist, to get the discount fortune teller image out of my head. 


I always try to encourage our kids to try new things and explore creation. So while I dug out a drainage ditch, he started worm fiddling. 


With every scoop of the shovel, we found a few worms to add to the worm bucket. I was deep in thought the next thirty minutes contemplating the intricacies of water running downhill. Once I was assured the water would run down the hill and not into our basement, I checked on the worm progress. 


The kids were counting how many worms they had captured. “Thirty seven, Thirty eight…”


I was quite impressed. They said it was due to the fiddling. I assumed it was due to the twenty foot trench I just dug of wet earth. There was no way they got that many by worm fiddling. 


On Sunday afternoon, we were relaxing outside without the help of pixellated screens. My daughter goes off into a flower bed and says, “Bring the worm bucket!”


I was expecting to see her digging, but instead she was worm fiddling. Over the next ten minutes she rubbed those sticks together furiously. Smoke almost emanated from them. While she rubbed the sticks, worms would appear out of the dirt in a three food radius. 


I’m not talking about one or two worms. I’m talking about one or two dozen. The dry leaves would move giving away the location of a runaway worm. We quickly scooped it up into the worm bucket. I quickly admitted I was wrong in my assumptions about worm fiddling to my kids. 


Giving kids freedom to explore the outdoors should be a requirement for all parents. Also, giving kids the opportunity to fail in the outdoors is part of exploration. I thought my kids were going to learn that everything you hear isn’t true when they started worm fiddling. Instead, I learned something new, the kids succeeded, and we are ready to catch fish on the worms we fiddled.


The Hunts practicing the art of worm fiddling over the weekend