The Four-Leaf Clover Hunter’s Guide

First Edition, by Derrick Fogle

“Diligence is the mother of good luck.” – Benjamin Franklin

“I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often.” – Brian Tracy

“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.” – Ray Kroc

“When I work fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, I get lucky.”  – Dr. Armand Hammer

“Work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The champion makes his own luck.” – Red Blaik

“Luck is not chance- It is toil. Fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”  – Emily Dickinson


My journey to becoming a 4-leaf clover hunting expert is the strongest validation of the above adages about luck I’ve ever experienced. Years ago, feeling down on my luck, I became mesmerized by symbols of good luck. The 4-leaf clover, in particular. I went on an odyssey to find 4-leaf clovers; I went looking for luck. What I found, was that my success was a result of (self) education, knowledge, practice, and persistence.

6-leaf clover
Legit 6-leaf clover

I’ve found hundreds of 4-leaf clovers, more than a dozen 5-leaf clovers, and two career 6-leaf clovers so far. Conventional wisdom is that 5-leaf clovers are about 1 in 10,000. I believe my success rate is much higher, possibly even on the low side of 1 in 5,000. An internet search revealed several “just go look” guides, and while the looking is important, I’d like to share my current knowledge and methodology for improving your chance of finding 4-leaf clovers.

4-leaf clovers are most common in the first strong growth of spring. This is why they are associated with an early spring event, St. Patrick’s Day. Leaf morphism happens throughout the summer, but once plant growth is steady and established, it’s less likely to produce 4-leaf clovers. Clovers will sometimes also respond to stress events like getting flooded, extreme cold or hot temperatures, drought, being mowed, or being trampled, with a burst of 4-leaf morphism. Patches in areas that are infrequently mowed, that have a growth spurt above the grass after a mowing, tend to produce more 4-leaf clovers as well. Search areas that have suffered stress events a couple weeks after the event to catch fresh re-growth more likely to contain 4-leaf clovers.

There are a lot of aspects of where to look; none of them foolproof, but I believe all of them, especially together and honed with time and practice and knowledge of your local clover patches, will tend to significantly increase your 4-leaf clover hunting success.

  • 4-leaf production is partly genetic. A patch that produces lots of them is likely to keep producing them. Look where you’ve found them before, you’re likely to find more.
  • I tend to find more 4-leaf clovers in areas where the dirt has been disturbed. They’re incredibly common alongside some newer concrete bike trails in town. Poor soil conditions, like clay and gravel from the dirt and concrete work, seem to increase the frequency of 4-leaf production.
  • Look first in the most prominently “flame-pointed” clover
    Prominent white “Flame-Point” markings

    patches. The white markings on the leaves is what I call “flame-pointing” because the white marking pattern often looks like a flame point outline. Look for prominently flame-pointed patches to search in first. When the flame point patterns start getting crazy like going double-vision, that’s an additional indicator of higher likelyhood of 4-leaf production. It’s like whatever causes the white markings on the leaves has something in common with what causes extra leaf production.

  • Look for young, dark green, as round as possible leaves in
    Split-leaf 3-leafer

    patches. Look for 3-leaf clovers with leaves split down the middle, or that are “dimpled” at the top of the leaf. Those will indicate leaf morphism is likely to be prevalent in that patch.

  • Don’t bother with patches where clover leaves have gotten lighter green and/or elongated; they almost never produce 4-leaf clovers. Flowering clover is also very unlikely to produce 4-leaf clovers, and patches that have started producing stemmed, multi-leaf pod clusters are a very poor bet as well.
  • Twin Fours

    If you find one, there’s often more right there! 4-leaf production very frequently happens in clusters. It’s amazing how often I find two 4-leaf clovers right next to each other, or 4-6 of them in just square foot or two of patch. Quickly scan patches for big, easy-to spot ones, then if you do, get down close and examine the patch. You’ll often find more right there.

This is where practice and persistence pays off. Actually finding 4-leaf clovers is a visual pattern matching task. If you are really good at pattern matching tests and stuff like I-Spy games, you can learn to spot 4-leaf clovers. Follow the guidelines above to narrow your search, then… search.

Easier to spot when alone, not in middle of thick patch

It’s generally easiest to spot 4-leaf clovers around the edges of patches where they’re thinner and it’s easier to distinguish individual leaf sets. It’s really hard to spot them in the middle of a thick patch! Start looking around the edges of the patches where it’s easier to scan individual leaf sets, then search generally inward from there. As you move towards the thicker center of a patch, look for other clues like prominent flame pointing, leaf tip dimpling and other minor leaf malformations. They will help lead you to legitimate 4+ leaf clovers.

Dimpled-tip 3-leaf, look for 4’s nearby

Once you start finding them, your brain starts remembering how to see them. Once you’ve practiced enough, and found enough of them, you can develop and improve your ability to spot the “different” looking clover leaf set fairly easily. You will eventually become an expert 4-leaf clover hunter too!

To validate the adage that what appears to be luck is usually actually

A Momma 4-leafer, with 2 baby 4-leafers nearby

the product of education, hard work, and dedication.

To learn that you have the power to improve your “luck”.

To be able to offer “Good Luck” talismans to others at times you think it might improve their outlook on life.

To spend time outdoors in nature.

To enjoy life, and maybe be just a little silly or quirky.

Thanks for reading my first ever 4-leaf clover hunter’s guide! I hope to publish updates from time to time as I learn

even more and possibly get even better at 4-leaf clover hunting. If anyone else is interested in exploring 4-leaf clover hunting, maybe we can establish some group online somewhere? Let me know if so!


The First 35 Days

After announcing my goal of making more blog posts… Here one is. Subject? Some stats and analysis on achieving my goals so far this year, and some political ranting:

Bicycling: 810 Km so far. Quota is 767 Km. I’m 43 Km ahead of my cycling goal so far, basically two full days ahead. As nasty as the weather’s been, I’m almost surprised I’m even ahead of goal at all.  I really have reduced my riding since last year.

Footbag: 11.75 hours so far. Quota is 14.38. I’m 2.63 hours, almost a week, behind goal. I’m missing my session today, which would have given me another 1.25, because I’ve got a really bad cold. Missing just a single session has an impact, and it seems like every week has something that tanks one of my sessions. But as soon as the weather warms up, I’m planning to lay in two 2-hour sessions a week. For now, I’m trying to do Tues-Thurs-Sunday, an hour to an hour-fifteen per session, at the rec center. I’ve gotten one outdoor session so far:

Resisting: I’ll be damned, but trump is still president, the GOP is entirely complicit and on-board with his fascism and authoritarianism, Corporate media only reports on the controversy, not the facts, and Propaganda Media (Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting, RT & Briebarf-like websites, and millions of bots on social media) just push outright lies, and propaganda. Literally a third of the US adult population have become Propaganda Zombies. The Propaganda Machine can turn the zombified people’s ideas and preferences on, and off, like light switches: One day: FBI is great! Next day: FBI is awful! And you see the huge swings in polls follow the propaganda being pushed.

Turns out it wasn’t a biological agent that brought on the Zombie Apocalypse, it was propaganda. But, mark my words, these mind-controlled people are the Zombie Apocalypse. Fight them accordingly.

A lot of people aghast at what’s happening seem to still have faith in this tiny little pocket of the FBI, but… I have little faith that little pocket of that institution can hold under the massive propaganda attack being aimed at it. These institutions are traditional Republican strongholds, but suddenly (magically, overnight, via the Propaganda Machine), 30% of our population, and virtually every federal GOP representative, now sees (or at least lies and says) these institutions are untrustworthy hotbeds of liberalism and corruption. Talk about projection, those corrupt GOP jerks use it.

Perhaps even worse, I’m already seeing team trump directly pitting the FBI, against street cops and ICE agents. This is already really ugly, and it keeps getting uglier.

New Job: I’ll be damned again, but… no new job yet. Only one I’ve found to even apply to since last post. I’ve gotten a bit off-track on my training, still need to finish that up. So despondent here…

Blog Posting: Tada! Managed to complete one of them so far!

Until next time…


2017 Review, 2018 Goals

Another year, Gone! As usual, I reconcile my goals for the year against final outcomes, and set new goals. This year? No different.

2017 Goals

1. Ride my bicycle at least 8,888 Km

Outcome: 10,727 Kilometers HECK YEAH! I crushed my original goal on 11/7, moved the goalposts out to an even 10,000 Km, crushed that goal on 12/7, moved the goalposts again to any 10,x01 number, rolled past 10,701 this morning, landed on 10,727 Km final for the year. Note, that’s 6,666 Miles.

2. Play at least 150 hours of Footbag (Hacky Sack)

Outcome: 141 hours. It’s amazing I even got that close. I was only at 56 hours at mid-year, but… crushed it in the fall to nearly catch up. I was doing 2-3 hour sessions on Thursdays or Fridays, then another 2-3 hour session for Mizzou Game Day Saturdays.

3. Improve Diet

Outcome: Um… not so much. I did stop drinking coffee, which is definitely a good thing, but otherwise haven’t changed my diet all that much.

4. Kindness

Outcome: I probably bombed at this. I’ve generally been less hostile and angry at real people I deal with, but I’ve been a flaming asshole to people on the internet, especially Twitter.

5. Be part of #TheResistance

Outcome: Difficult to Gage. I amplify Resistance tweets on Twitter, with some 20,000+ tweets & retweets this year. I’ve called my Members of Congress dozens of times. I’ve written my MoC’s. I’ve tweeted at my MoC’s. I’ve donated to progressive & democratic candidates. I’ve marched in the streets. I don’t know that I’ve done much, or been particularly effective, but I’ve sure done more than nothing.

6. Install a solar PVC system at my house

Outcome: Project Complete! It took me almost 7 full months from inception to completion, but I did it! I now have a 7.8 Kw solar PVC system operating at my house. It roughly covers all our household electric usage. It’s one more important accomplishment to reduce fossil fuel and nuclear energy use.

2018 Goals

1. 8,000 Km on the bike. I’ll probably ride a bit more than that, but after my stellar 10,000 Km+ year this year, I’m actually planning to ease up on the riding just a bit. Still gonna ride every day that I can, but probably focus more on purpose-driven riding, less on riding to fill quota.

2. 150 Hours of Footbag. I fell just a bit short this year, mostly due to investing so much time and effort getting my solar system built and running in the first half of the year. This year, I won’t have that project, and should be able to kick a bit more in the first half of the year, plus do as much kicking next fall during Mizzou Football season as I did last year.

3. Continue resisting the trump cabal. At this point, a year later, there’s so much damning evidence of conspiracy to commit espionage with an enemy of the state, obstruction of justice, and lying to government officials to cover up same conspiracy, that it’s quite frankly insane trump is still in office. I’m stunned at the complicity of the entire GOP party; it turns out they’re all in on it, the entire Republican party has been taking laundered Russian mob money, and are being blackmailed by Kompromat held by Russia. This insanity has got to stop! I vow to contact my MoC’s even more, donate even more, and take to the streets if things get worse. I will die fighting, before I let what democracy we’ve had in America die. America is founded on the Rule of Law.

4. Get a new job. I’ve been working on this one for a long time, but face age discrimination and skillset mismatch. I’m planning to get ITIL certification this year, and work towards becoming a ServiceNow or similar ITSM system developer. Or just about any database or networking job. Just not AV anymore. I’m tired of AV, tired of my current work situation. I need a change, I need something new. I’m gonna go find it, and slay it.

5. Do another 100+ mile day on my bicycle. Last year for the annual BikeMO ride, I literally cycled from my house to the start of the ride in Rocheport, rode the 65 mile route, and then rode back home. A total of 103 miles for the day! I’d like to keep riding at least one Century ride a year, plan to do the same thing for BikeMO this year.

6. Oh, and maybe post a little more often here on my blog. It’s been almost a year since last post. Once a month at least, maybe?

That’s about it. An accounting of last year’s goals, and setting of new goals for this year. When all is said and done, I’m very pleased with 2017, except for the phenomenon of trump. Here’s to hoping 2018 will take care of that stain on our country, too!

Good luck, good skill, good Resistance, and Best Wishes for a great 2018!


Voter-ID Trucks:                          A modest proposal

Face it: Voter suppression, mainly in the form of onerous “VoterID” laws, has been very effective at disenfranchising poor and minority voters. Also: These voter suppression tactics, especially the VoterID laws, are going to get a lot worse. My own state, Missouri, shamefully passed one of these in the 2016 election cycle.

We’ve got to fight back. How?

High-Tech VoterID Trucks!

The concept here is a fleet of high-tech, mobile ID “Compliance” vehicles designed to help people get that valid VoterID card.

The VoterID Truck initiative would develop nationwide expertise in complying with all local, state, and federal VoterID laws. The entire VoterID Truck network would procure and establish records access relationships at the state level to help people obtain birth certificates, marriage certificates, and any other documentation necessary to qualify for the VoterID. And, of course, partner with states to become licensed issuers of those VoterID cards.

These high-tech “VoterID Trucks” can move around neighborhoods, regions, and states to help all citizens fully comply with VoterID laws, and help them feel vested in the process.

VoterID laws are going to get a lot worse. But I think VoterID Trucks can not only help voters comply with ID laws, but in effect turn the “VoterID” concept into a positive and engaging, ongoing voter registration and voter engagement drive.

Please consider this proposal to create a VoterID Truck initiative / project / program. If anyone else is willing to work on it, I am too.

VoterID Trucks. Drive right over voter suppression!

(Footnote: as of the posting of this proposal, the URL’s “” [singlular] and “” [plural] were both still available, in case someone thinks enough of the idea to snag the URL)