Looseleaf laureate: Proposed new superhero may surprise you

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By Terri Likens, Editor

I’m happy to report I got all of my tomatoes — 14 plants’ worth — in the ground before Memorial Day this year. 

I can’t remember all of their names, but I made acquaintance with Mr. Stripey, Yellow Pear and Cherokee Purple among the heirloom varieties, and Yellow, Big and Better Boys among the hybrids. 

With all of these plants, I hope to show something for my effort come harvest time.

That brings me to my next topic — bear with me, now — superheroes.

I don’t believe many women work in the comic book industry. If they did, there would most assuredly be one more backlit hero standing tall, hair tousled in the wind, among comic-book classics like Green Lantern, Wolverine, Spider-Man and Arrow.

There would be Mattockman. 


Because of the greatest non-motorized tool ever invented for outdoor use.

The mattock — that combination ax, pick and hoe on one handle — is my go-to garden implement.

I’m befuddled by home-and-garden magazine pictures of crisply dressed women in dainty cotton gloves and a trowel gently fussing about an already picture-perfect flowerbed.

I don’t know what Eden they live in, but on my rocky rural ridgetop, the mattock — combined with a pair of brown jersey gloves — is the most useful tool in my springtime arsenal.

I use it to blast through remnant roots from a maple that was cut down long ago.

I can scrape away weeds or grass easy peasy to create a new planting beds.

This wonder pries rocks from hard, red clay like a champ.

And have you ever tried to chop out a football-sized tuberous root from a poke plant?


As much as I love my mattock, the only thing better might be having someone of superior ability using it for me.

The way I see it, Mattockman wouldn’t even have to wear Spandex. 

He’d look every bit as heroic to me in a  T-shirt and faded jeans.