Clark Hollow Ramblings: Old wives’ tales, current events 

I was talking with Levi Atkins the other day. I told Levi I had thought about his father that day. Years ago, his dad told me, “Don’t let the July rain fall on your onions.” For you non-gardeners he meant you should get your onions out of the ground and in storage before July. It is an old wives’ tale, but one that has a good grounding in fact.

If you get your onions in the ground about the middle of March when you plant your potatoes, they should be ready for harvesting by the end of June. If you leave them in the ground much later than that and we get some rain, they can start to rot on you.

I was thinking of Mr. Atkins’ advice the other day when I went up to the big garden to pull my onions. They turned out pretty good; I had only one or two bad ones. But, I noticed that my brother-in-law had dug his potatoes, and there were a number of big ones still lying on the ground. Closer inspection showed that the reason he hadn’t picked them up was because there was a rotten place on each of them.

I immediately went home and got my crates and baskets and came back and started digging my potatoes. I should have applied Mr. Atkins’ advice to my potatoes. I made three bushels of good Kennebec potatoes, but I had to throw away a good sized bucketful that had begun to rot. I will try to be more diligent next year. I hate to waste anything.

Linda has canned tomatoes once or twice this year. Last week I went out to pick them and got a nice big bucket full of tomatoes, but I had to throw away at least that many because of bloom end rot. The experts will tell you this is not a disease but the result of a nutritional imbalance in the soil. The primary thing they point to is a deficiency of calcium uptake in the plant.

Many people suggest you work a little epsom salt into the ground around the plant. This can work, but one of the imbalances in the soil can be too much salt, so be careful with that. A little lime can increase the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, but, again, you have to be careful not to sweeten the soil too much.

I think I’m going for a long-term fix, by working some bone meal into the soil for next year’s crop and using a fertilizer like 4-12-4 or 5-20-5. But, whether you are growing a garden or raising a family, you have to stay up on the maintenance.

I have always said that relationships are like gardens. We all like to plow and plant and see the fresh new veggies in perfect green rows. And we all like the bloom of a great new relationship. But, eventually, the weeds start to grow, and our backs get tired and we just don’t want to put in the necessary effort. When that happens, your garden and your relationship will suffer. So, buck up, kiddos. Tend to your relationships and to your gardens, and don’t let the July rain fall on your onions.

Flint Hill’s carnival week

Finally, this is carnival week in Flint Hill. The men and women of the department have been over there working hard to get things ready for you. I see some of the rides have pulled in and they are getting things ready. Carnivals are not the big draw they used to be when I was a kid, but they still serve the same, good purpose. We need to support the men and women of our volunteer fire companies. We all hope we don’t have to call them for anything, but we sure hope they will be there for us if we ever do need them.

Please make a little extra effort and stop by the carnival this week. Come by the cook tent. Linda and I are signed up for that duty, and we would love to fix you a nice burger or a hot dog. I know there will be baked goods and other stuff there to fill your belly. Please buy a chance or two on the money jackpots they are giving away, or you can take a chance on winning a young steer or bovine of some sort. Hope to see you there.

The Postman cometh . . . and goeth

Lee Morrison. Photo by Richard Brady.
Lee Morrison. Photo by Richard Brady.

I went up to the post office the other day to send my buddy in Ontario some Old Bay seasoning. Seems he can’t get it up there. Told the fellow behind the counter what I wanted to do, and he said he was sorry, he wasn’t allowed to send stuff to Canada on Wednesday. A couple of weeks ago I went in to buy some stamps, and he told me he couldn’t sell stamps for cash on a Monday.

And so it goes with our postmaster, Lee Morrison, at the Flint Hill Post Office. A nicer fellow to deal with, you couldn’t find. But, he does like to kid you now and then. And now he is leaving us for retirement. He last day was July 31. If there had been time I would have liked to have stopped in and told him he wasn’t allowed to retire from the Flint Hill Post Office on a Tuesday.

Lee Morrison has been our postmaster since April 2001. And we are surely going to miss him. Lee has been in postal operations for a long time, getting his start while he was in the U. S. Army, where he enlisted in November 1971. While in Heidelberg in 1972, he worked at an APO for the USERUR Command Headquarters. After leaving the service, he began his career with the USPS in 1985, starting out as a distribution clerk in Merrifield, Va., and was promoted to supervisor of mails in September 1987.

During his postal career, Lee held a number of different positions and titles. In June 1993, he accepted a job as supervisor at the McLean installation. Lee was in that position in McLean until his appointment to Flint Hill in April 2001.

If you know Lee, you probably know about his stamp collection. It is very extensive. Lee has done a number of shows in this area and is always on hand to explain and give visitors to his shows a better understanding of what they are seeing. He has extended the area of his shows to the Manassas and Fredericksburg areas. Following his retirement, Lee plans to continue his stamp shows and hopes to promote stamp collecting and to sell Framed Arts with stamp displays.

Lee also hopes to join with Ginger Hill Antiques to do displays and sales of stamps and postal memorabilia. He is busy making plans for his Christmas show at the Washington Baptist Church, which will coincide with the Christmas parade. He hopes to make it a two-day show to enable more people to enjoy the exhibit.

Lee will be sorely missed by the postal patrons in the Flint Hill area. We all wish him a long and healthy retirement, blessed with feelings of joy and satisfaction for a job well done. Good luck, Lee, we will look for you at the next stamp show.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 150 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.