McDowell Technical Community College

The Rest of the Story:

 This was the second Funny Farm Story that Clint wrote back in 2010.  He was just getting his sea legs, so to speak, on writing these articles.  As I read back through them, I see the supper table, a big home cooked meal that Barbara had prepared, and usually a cake of some kind to finish off the meal.  This is where we had the pleasure of listening to Clint’s tale of the day and the adventures he had been subjected to, in reality, had created for himself.  One of his enduring qualities was his ability to poke fun at himself without reservation, and to revel in telling the story.  I have often thought he would have been a winner at the story telling contest over in Jonesboro, Tennessee.  I would have loved to have seen him participate in something like this.  He was such a competitor in every walk of his life that I have no doubt that he would have been a winner here as well.   It was always a laugh-a-thon around the supper table just listening to the events unfold.  His description in real life was just as full of life, if not more so, than his written stories are.   I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did when I reread it today.  Have a blessed day.

 Farmer Doug

Dear Friends,

As late as March of this year I believed I was a country boy. My home is Hendersonville, NC, a nice town of 20,000+ only 1 ½ hours away. But my perspective changed dramatically in late March when I came to spend a few months with my friends Doug and Barbara Harrell at Harrell Hill Farm near Bakersville.

Doug and I go back more than twenty years, I was executive vice president for GTE Corporation (now Verizon) and Doug was a technology marketer. A “country boy” who done good is the way I often thought of me.

 Well let me tell you, I have learned some valuable and unforgettable lessons since arriving in the real ‘country’…I’ve worked on the farm now for nearly six months and experienced things which could only happen in a Chevy Chase film – or to me.

Anyway, if y’all will tolerate me I want to share some of my hair-raising farm stories. We’ll call them “Clint’s Chronicles on the Funny Farm” – names will be changed to protect the innocent, and chances are I may exaggerate the facts a wee bit. It will go something like this:

Clint’s Chronicles on the Funny Farm

 A Beast in The Beans!

 ‘Twas a beautiful day at Harrell Hill Farms, crystal clear sky, a torrid 93 degrees as I headed for the garden to harvest a couple bushels of blue lake bush beans. I had been nearly devoured by ticks and yellow jackets the day before – the most aggressive microscopic critters on earth. So, I donned my overalls, long-sleeve shirt and high boots for an adventure in the bean patch.

 Now what I found growing there I thought was a string bean but have since learned that there is no longer a string, just a snap. That was a pretty big disappointment to me, although I’m not sure why. Just so many new farm facts in my head these days I can hardly catalog them all!

 Doug told me this was backbreaking work — that I might want to take a three-legged stool along for more comfortable picking. Well I did that but we’d had an inch of rain overnight and the three legs kept getting mired in the dirt so it was breaking my back moving the stool around; I tossed it aside. Besides, I’ve been on the farm 3 months now, have lost 63 pounds of chubby and ten inches in the waistline. I am fit like a fiddle, strong like a bull, poised and ready to again demonstrate my agricultural prowess.

 I was hunched over piles and piles of bush beans, enjoying solitude with the Lord, the land, and the garden. A gentle breeze cooled my sweat soaked clothes, and I was humming praise songs and talking to Jesus. What a wonderful day He was giving me.

It is important, mind you, that I remain vigilant while harvesting these succulent little pods. For I know that bees, spiders, snakes and other killer vermin can attack without warning. It’s simply one of the hazards of being Farmer Clint, yet one I gladly embrace. I chuckled to myself as I thought of the Scripture, “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1Peter 5:8. Not that I expected a lion, although a hungry bear was not out of the realm of possibility. Regardless, a farmer cannot be too careful.

 Somewhere, about mid-bean-row, I heard a soft rustling in the sorghum cane field. I figured it must be a deer since they had been eating virtually every other crop we’d planted at Harrell Hill Farms. I never knew deer are such destructive beasts and was praying that he wouldn’t come over and eat all the beans. It was such a glorious day, I continued to pick and pray, to pick and hum, to pick and thank God for the joy of being one with the farm.

Then, from nowhere and from everywhere a HUGE monster burst from the perimeter of the cane  field…I heard it coming, running, stomping, growling, moaning – inhuman groans akin to those portrayed in Steven King novels. I stood my ground, poised for war, girded for battle, prepared to lose my life for the blue lake bush bean patch…then I FELT IT, it was on me!

My head dropped quickly, so quickly in fact that my straw hat fell to the ground. And there, I mean right there, moving across my steel-toed boots was the ugliest monster I’ve ever met. It was BIG…it was BROWN…it had teeth like a SHARK…I screamed like a girl…it looked at me, made some guttural sound and darted away. My friends, in the midst of picking beans and praising God I stood shoulder to shoulder with my very first KILLER GROUNDHOG. (Okay, maybe not shoulder to shoulder but he was a whopper!)

 I always thought groundhogs were like prairie dogs, or tiny and cute like Chip and Dale. Well, now I know…they resemble Simba, or Aslan, or King Kong, or any number of other prehistoric beasts. (You laugh yet you are reading this from the comfort of your easy chair, not staring Godzilla in the face).

I had spilled beans from one end of the garden to the other; lost my three-legged stool, tripping over and destroying many tomato plants, stumbling through young broccoli spears and squishing most of the tender beet sprigs… I jumped into my farm truck – an 1801 vintage Jeep but that’s a story for another day – and slammed the door.

My heart was pounding like a sack full of angry opossums, my blood pressure sky high, I’m not sure I had taken a breath during the battle for the blue lake bush bean patch. Yet after a half hour or so, I again sensed the peace of the Lord; all was well with my soul; the monster had slithered into the woods.

 I dismounted my jeep and resumed the harvest of blue lake bush beans – confident that I had survived yet another test on the Funny Farm.