Muriel Alderman can claim the luck of the Irish when it comes to locating four-leaf clovers.
Each year the Riner resident finds hundreds of the special clovers, mostly on her 60-acre farm.
Alderman, 85, enjoys the search as much as anything. It’s her hobby, and she keeps a record of her collection. In 2018 – which she called “the best year” she ever had - the total was over 1,200.
She doesn’t stop with collecting. She puts many of them in frames as keepsakes. She also has one in a locket that was a gift to her.
Alderman embraced this hobby beginning in 1965 after she and her husband bought the farm. Her hobby started small - she got two or three clovers and put them in a book, but it continued to grow. In 2010, she said, she became more interested. “I was walking my grandkids down the road and found 60 in a bunch. I started putting them in a frame.”
She doesn’t wear glasses or have a magnifying glass for her searches, and she doesn’t use special equipment. She simply uses her hand and runs it through the grasses. She said she usually finds a four-leaf clover in five minutes or less. “I’ve got good eyesight.”
Every year she tries to beat her record and find more than she did the previous year. “She’s competitive,” commented Lisa Glover, one of her daughters.
Alderman finds the clovers in different places and steers away from hayfields, where there are ticks. In pastures, she has to compete with the cows that are also drawn to clover. Most of the time, she searches in her backyard, but she likes to look other places, too. She found one in Floyd in 2013 while listening to the music on a Thursday evening at Hotel Floyd, where another daughter, Linda Quesenberry, works.
She has been lucky enough to find a four-leaf clover in every month of the year at some time through the years. She said she likes to have at least one in hand by May 1 for good luck. She has already met that goal for this year.
What’s the most unusual clover she has found? Alderman said it is the eight-leaf clover, which looks like a rose. Also in her collection are nine-leaf, six-leaf and five-leaf clovers.
In addition to her two daughters, Alderman, has two sons, Larry and Dale, nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. “That’s a houseful,” she said.
Alderman describes herself as a “farm girl”. She was raised on a farm in Carroll County and then had a farm during her married life. She and her husband Arnold raised tobacco on a half-acre and also had cattle. Arnold passed way in November 2006.
Muriel Alderman worked as an upholsterer for 32 years for various furniture companies in the area. Her job was to put trimming on chairs. In between some of those years, she stayed home for nine years with her children.
Even now, she keeps busy. She doesn’t spend all of her time looking for four-leaf clovers. She likes to visit friends and go to church on Sundays at Bible Baptist in Cambria, where she has attended since 1959. She enjoys garden and lawn work and being outdoors; it’s her exercise. She is also active at the Christiansburg Recreation Center and enjoys playing the Sequence Card game with friends, including special friend Bob Sculla, who has also found some clovers.
“She has been blessed with good health,” Glover said of her mother.
Alderman added, “I’m pretty young yet.”