Clark Hollow Ramblings: Winding (and thumbs) down

The big frost we had here pretty much took the garden out. But, I have to tell you, the day before the frost, my bride picked green beans, lima beans, tomatoes, green peppers and lettuce, and this was well into October. Yes, we have been blessed with a very good garden this year. I finally got my sweet potatoes dug, and we made a nice crop, but I need to find out what was eating on them from underground. Somebody told me it was moles, but I thought moles only ate worms and bugs and such. Some knowledgeable reader can perhaps give me a clue. 

The day after the frost, I picked another bag full of green peppers when I pulled the plants up and have given them all away, as my freezer has enough for stir fry, chili and soups. Had dinner at my sister-in-law’s last week, and she had stuffed some with sausage and cheese. They were wonderful. We are still waiting to harvest the first mess of dry land cress, and my mouth waters every time I go by the garden, waiting for them to get big enough. 

On a totally unrelated topic, I now know why anthropologists make such a big deal about the opposable thumb. If you happen to be right-handed, as I am, the thumb on the right hand turns out to be essential to everyday living. 

I used to do a lot of bow hunting for deer. Because of various infirmities I have gotten away from it over the last few years, but a well-meaning nephew called the other day and suggested I try out his crossbow. Now – full disclosure here – I’ve never been a big fan of crossbows, generally because I’ve always felt they should have a separate season from a bow that is drawn and released when it is shot. But, always wanting an excuse to get into the fields and woods when the weather turns cool, I decided to try it. 

This column would be way too long to give you all the details, but suffice to say that I was 16 feet up in a tree, and the deer, as they always do, approached from the wrong side, leaving me unable to turn around far enough to get off a clean shot. Well, my ever-inventive mind thought, “Hey, just shoot the thing left-handed.”

And so I did, but because of the awkwardness of the position, the thumb of my right hand was sticking up like a flagpole when I pulled the trigger, and the string of the 157-pound-draw-weight crossbow ripped open the glove and like to tore my thumbnail off. 

And now, while the venison is cooling and aging in an old refrigerator, I am stuck at home with my thumb in a pot of hot salt water. Two days later, it was still throbbing. All in all it wouldn’t have been so bad, but I had to play guitar three days later, for three hours, at a horse show at Kelly’s Ford. And that’s my picking hand! You never get too old to learn something new: Keep your thumb out of the way when shooting a crossbow.

Speaking of horses, the fifth annual trail ride to benefit the Flint Hill Fire Department is this Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 27-28). The details are elsewhere in this paper. The riders always have great things to say about this one, so if you are a horse person, get up to Huntly and ride to your heart’s content. Also at the trail ride, there is a wonderful dinner on Saturday night, and you don’t even have to be a participant in the ride to enjoy that. 

Finally, please come by the fire hall on the morning of Nov. 3 from 7 to 11 a.m. There’s going to be a big benefit breakfast, and the company is giving away a nifty Weatherby deer rifle, complete with scope and case, and a Savage .17 HMR with scope. Get your raffle tickets from a fire department member for only a dollar. Get several. Stay well, and enjoy this wonderful time of year. 

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Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 131 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.