All thumbs

Thursday afternoon, I sliced a chunk off the tip of my left thumb while chopping leeks (I initially titled this post “giving leeks the finger” but thought better of it. Joanna suggested “leeky fingers”). Predictably, it’s been rather painful and has limited my work, particularly in the first 30 hours or so before it finally clotted over. The potato-leek soup was tasty.

We’ve had to adjust quite a few of our activities in response. Joanna needed to go with me to my weekly milking job at Goatsbeard Farm Thursday night, as I can do many of the chores there one-handed, but not all. She also ended up having to do most of Friday’s market harvest and washing, partially because I didn’t dare get the injury wet or dirty. I stayed inside and ran the bean sheller, among other one-handed jobs.
Market on Saturday was also interesting, as not being able to use my left hand meant I couldn’t easily handle produce bags or bundles of cash. It was a cold day, but the large ball of gauze wrapped around my thumb meant I couldn’t get any normal gloves on (rubber, cloth, or leather), so I ended up wearing one of our giant Forestry Supply mittens, which are bright orange, fuzzy, and very roomy. This kept my hand out of trouble, safely insulating it from the produce and providing a constant reminder to me not to whack it on anything. It wasn’t exactly subtle, either, so I ended up explaining my boneheadedness quite regularly (a suitable punishment).
The only real purpose of describing all this is to help reinforce the point of how delicately balanced a full-time farm really is. It doesn’t take much, just a moment of inattention during cooking, to suddenly throw a week or more of work out of balance. We have to re-evaluate everything we were planning for this coming week in order to protect my finger enough so that it will heal quickly and cleanly. A week of lost work now is better than a month later on if I let this get infected or poorly healed.
I’m just glad I didn’t do this in the middle of summer; late fall is a transition time in which we do have some flexibility in our schedule. Even a week earlier, this would have endangered our ability to get garlic planted in our narrow window of dry weather. Now, with a full week of rain forecast, is about the best convalescent time I could hope for. We have multiple indoor tasks to get started on, such as cleaning and organizing the garage/workshop, updating records, and putting up applesauce from the piles in our back room, all of which I can contribute to with one working thumb.

One thought on “All thumbs

  1. I did something very similar not long ago, except it was my left index finger. I finally healed up, fine, but it was helped along by the fact that most of my work involves sitting at a computer, where keeping a wound clean is pretty easy.