Down Memory Lane

Aug. 21, 1986

Bill Johnson, 17, and Mark Jamieson, 13, were rock-climbing near their home in Rappahannock Lakes on Saturday, Aug. 9, when a basketball sized rock broke loose from the hillside and tumbled down, striking Mark in the back of the leg just below the knee.

“I had my back to the rock. I didn’t see it fall but I heard it,” Mark said. The sharp rock struck his calf, slicing a six-inch gash two fingers deep which required more than 30 stitches inside and out to close.

When he realized that he had been badly cut, Mark began running. Bill, recognizing the seriousness of the wound, caught and stopped the younger boy. He wrapped Mark’s leg with his shirt and applied direct pressure until he had the bleeding under control. Then he carried Mark about a quarter-mile out of the woods to a place where a car could get in to him. He left Mark long enough to run to a neighbor’s house to get help.

Mark was taken to Fauquier Hospital where they were met by Stan and Patricia Dye. Mr. Dye said that doctors told him that Mark’s leg will not suffer any permanent damage, thanks to Bill’s quick action. “He kept his cool and used his head,” Mr. Dye said. “ He did just what he was supposed to do.”

The Rappahannock Farmers’ Co-op in Sperryville was the the place where the North engaged the South, but in this case a different battle was fought — not man against man but farmers helping farmers.

Working together, northern Pennsylvania farmers, with coordination from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, lent a hand to help fight a battle facing most southeastern farmers this summer. Due to the lack of rain, substantial yield reductions have affected Rappahannock hay production and pastures. Nature seems determined to deal another blow to the already hard-pressed farmers. But, there are ways to soften the punch.

The 850 bales were divided equally among the 18 participating farmers, averaging out to 70 bales each.

“We’ve got 150 girls to feed this winter,” commented Helen Dixon of Dixie Meadow Farm after her pickup truck was loaded with the donated hay.

Randall Updike, assistant supervisor of the Bureau of Livestock Marketing Service for the Virginia Department of Agriculture was on hand to coordinate the operation at the co-op. According to Mr. Updike, “The hay aid program is strictly a volunteer program among the hay producers of other states and the Virginia Department of Agriculture is coordinating the movement with donors and producers to ship the hay to different area.”

Aug. 8, 1974

Tom Lee and his brother John Lee are still raising sheep in Rappahannock, and have one of the largest flocks in the county. Tom agreed that sheep farmers are getting scarcer and he wasn’t sure why, but he was ready to talk about raising sheep, to take a little time off from picking peaches.

The sheep farmers’ biggest worry in the summer is keeping them “drenched.” Drenching is the phrase used for worming sheep. Lee uses a powder mix and shoots it down their throats with a syringe. Besides catching each sheep and making up the mixture the real chore is that it has to be done so often, Lee said. The initial dose is followed up a week later to get rid of eggs. The two-time treatment will have to be repeated several times a season.

The Lee brothers don’t “dip” their sheep anymore, and Tom Lee said he didn’t know many people who did. “Just not much sheep scab around.”

Shearing is done only once a year, in May. “We have a fellow that works here with us that can do it. But even then, it costs right smart to get the wool off. What you get for it will hardly pay for getting it off and drenching.”

Sheep require considerable pasture, Tom said. “You can’t do anything in a small place. They take up a lot of grass, graze it down short. And if you can’t change them around, right often, they’ll just get to lying around and stinking.”

For the 80-some sheep he has now, Lee said he wouldn’t consider having less than 100 acres. But he and his brother have more. “And we just let ‘em run in the orchards, too.” Grazing the grass down to ground level is one reason why worms are such a problem with sheep.

General Daniel Noce told Rappahannock’s supervisors last Thursday that he’s not any more pleased with a state requirement for kindergartens than they are. And the general thought the county should take some strong steps before buckling under to implement a kindergarten program by September 1976.

“I recommend that the county give serious consideration to a suit,” he said. “There ought to be some way to prevent orders coming down from Washington or Richmond that puts a burden on county government. And I’ll personally start taking up a collection to help to pay for it.

“Schools have been around a long time. Every since Socrates got a little gang around him, and probably before that,” the general said.”

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