For those of you who have been asking why I haven’t had a column in our paper recently, I thought maybe I should tell you. For the last 15 years or so, the Rappahannock News has printed just about every column I have sent them. And I want to say publicly that I very much appreciate that. The reason you haven’t seen any of my columns lately is because I haven’t submitted any to the paper.
Several times in the last few months I have sat down at the computer with the intent of writing a column. But the words didn’t come. You see, I think I have about exhausted my subject matter and my creative juices seem to be drying up. I am not saying adieu just yet, but I wanted you to know what is going on.
And since I am here at the computer and because it is that time of year, I will tell you that the garden is coming along nicely. We did have a bit of late frost, but nothing to compare to last year’s Mothers’ Day killing frost. The last frost this year blackened the tops of my potatoes and a couple other things that were not protected well enough. The potatoes pulled through and we are now enjoying lots of new potatoes.
The beets have been scrumptious and I just pulled a couple of red tomatoes and a handful of cherry tomatoes, so more should be along soon. My green beans are blooming, cucumbers are blooming and the onions look as big as baseballs. The potato bugs haven’t been too bad this year, but we are now seeing some Japanese beetles, but most of the other stuff is doing OK.
Even the asparagus was plentiful this year. And the berries and cherries did wonderfully. I thought the cat birds were going to eat all our pie cherries, but we fought them off long enough to get enough cherries for some cherry pie, and a few for the freezer for pies later on. The black raspberries have just outdone themselves this year, and have now come to an end. But the preserves in the basement will be good for a long time to come.
There is one last thing I want to mention. Six years ago, I wrote a column decrying what the Board of Supervisors had done with regard to the deer situation in Rappahannock County. They approved a letter to what is now the Department of Wildlife Resources asking that Rappahannock be made an “earn a buck” county. That meant if a hunter took a buck as his first deer for the year, he was restrained from taking a second buck until he had taken a doe.
This was done with no input from the hunting community and it was done with no checking with the surrounding counties, who, by the way, were opting out of the earn-a-buck rules. You would have thought they would ask around. They didn’t. You would have thought if they were going to put these rules in place, they would also put something in place to see if they were working. They didn’t.
I made several other comments in later columns when chronic wasting disease reared its ugly head just over the Blue Ridge. My argument then was if our deer herd was to survive, it was my position that we should be encouraging the taking of as many deer as possible by hunters because a smaller, stronger deer herd would be better positioned to withstand CWD.
In my humble opinion, the supervisors’ actions have worked to worsen the deer population problem. I submit that additional regulations such as earn-a-buck have worked to inhibit the number of deer hunters afield and thereby limited the number of deer taken by hunters.
Need more proof? I direct your attention to the Rappahannock News article of July 1, 2021, Chronic wasting disease takes hold. In summary, it tells the public what many of us already knew. CWD is here in Rappahannock County. And here is the kicker: The article points out, “Male deer are the most susceptible to getting CWD because they tend to travel the farthest and their social behavior brings them into contact with more deer. Culling male deer, therefore, is believed to be more effective in reducing transmission.” (Emphasis added.) Folks, do I have to draw you a picture?
We can only hope that some wise member of the Board of Supervisors will take some action to remove the onerous earn-a-buck provision from the game laws as they pertain to Rappahannock County. And if they are really smart and forward thinking, they will also ask the Division of Wildlife Resources to consider higher bag limits and longer seasons for deer in Rappahannock County. I do not want our deer herd to dwindle down to nearly nothing. But the truth of the matter is this: If it has to come to that, I would rather they be taken by hunters and used for the table than to have to stand by and watch them die an excruciating death by CWD.
My best to all of you. And to those who have decided not to get the COVID vaccine, I urge you to reconsider. Most of the people presenting new cases of COVID are the unvaccinated and most of them are infected with the Delta variant. For you and for those you love, please get the vaccine.