Harvesting Together in Appalachia

Harvesting social get togethers in appalachia

Admiring your harvest is one of the greatest satisfactions of gardening-you can see some of Granny's in the photo above.

Several harvesting chores have traditionally taken on a social aspect in the history of Appalachia. 

  • berry canning: a community work activity held to preserve fruit for the winter-usually followed by dancing, eating, and general merry making.
  • bean shelling: a work session to shell beans such as October beans.
  • bean stringing: a community or family work session to prepare beans for canning or drying.
  • berry stemming: a family or community work session where stems were removed from berries before they were preserved-especially gooseberries and huckleberries.
  • cane stripping: a social work session to strip leaves and tops from sorghum cane before the canes were pressed. (Pap said sorghum making time was always something he looked forward to. The men (and boys) usually stayed the night to keep an eye on things. Pap said there was good food to eat, lots of storytelling, and even a few practical jokes.)
  • corn gathering: an organized work session used to gather corn from the field. School was often let out so that the children could help.
  • corn husking/corn shucking: a social activity held to shuck the corn. Typically music, dancing, and merry making was enjoyed after the corn was finished. 

In today's world there isn't usually community wide socializing during harvesting chores; however, there can still be a social component to harvesting-even if it only involves your immediate family.

Chatter and Chitter love stringing beans with their Granny and their cousin. They say breaking beans at Granny's and being silly while doing it are some of their favorite memories.

The Blind Pig family spent many evenings this summer breaking beans together. One evening we even had company help us-the cutest little red headed boy you ever saw.

Being together while harvesting and preserving-whether it be breaking beans, canning tomatoes, or even picking blackberries- allows for much talking, much laughing, and fosters the making of many memories.


p.s. A few upcoming performances for The Pressley Girls 

October 2, 2016 @ 2:00 p.m. - Fall Festival JCCFS Brasstown, NC

October 15, 2016 @ 4:00 p.m.- Stecoah Valley Center Harvest Festival Stecoah (Robbinsville), NC 

October 22, 2016 @ TBA Cherokee County Fair Murphy, NC

October 27, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig & The Acorn by Email

Wild Apricots are Maypops

Wild apricots in appalachia sometimes called maypops

Wild apricot noun A tall vine (Passiflora incarnata) having large, flesh-colored flowers and smooth, yellow fruit. Same as maypop, passion flower. [1913 Morely Carolina Mts 68 In some parts of the mountains the people call the maypops "apricots" and eat them, though they belong principally to the age of childhood.] 1937  Thornborough Great Smoky Mts 22-23 The strange, symbolic purple passion flower, the former state flower of Tennessee grows in profusion and its fruit is prized by the mountain children who call it wild apricot. 1970 Campbell et al. Smoky Mt Wildflowers 66 Also known as wild apricot and maypop, [the passion flower] is a vine up to ten feet in length. [1971 Krochmal et al. Medicinal Plants Appal This plant...has been used to reduce blood pressure and to increase the rate of respiration.] 1982 Stupka Wildflowers 69 The fruit is a many-seeded berry the shape of a lemon. When ripe it is yellow and edible. The fruit accounts for the alternate names "wild apricot" and "maypop." 1996 Montgomery Coll. = passion flower, the fruit of which was sometimes made into preserves (Cardwell). 

~Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


May pops grow wild in appalachia

At the end of last summer Chitter had me searching through tall weeds around the edges of Pap's big garden for wild apricots. We never found one even though they've grown there in years past. She did finally find some over the mountain in Pine Log while visiting friends. She saved her some seeds and planted a few of them in the end of one of our tomato beds. As you can see from the photos the girl raised herself some dandy wild apricots.

Wild apricots in appalachia
The fruit looks like more of an egg shape to me than the lemon shape mentioned in the definition. Wild Apricots are edible, but there really isn't much to eat. They sort of remind me of pomegranates-you know how you basically have to suck the good stuff off the seeds. 

Pap taught me to call the fruit wild apricots and he had fond memories of eating them as a boy out playing in the fields and woods. If you stomp one with your foot, clap it in your hands, or throw it hard enough at something, the fruit will make a pop sound. I guess that is where the maypop name comes from. 


p.s. A few upcoming performances for The Pressley Girls 

October 2, 2016 @ 2:00 p.m. - Fall Festival JCCFS Brasstown, NC

October 15, 2016 @ 4:00 p.m.- Stecoah Valley Center Harvest Festival Stecoah (Robbinsville), NC 

October 22, 2016 @ TBA Cherokee County Fair Murphy, NC

October 27, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

 Subscribe for free to Blind Pig & The Acorn by Email

How to Make Parched Corn

How can you eat dried field corn

Last week I shared Pap's recipe for gritted bread made from fresh corn with you. He also showed me how to make parched corn. Parching corn was another way folks made use of the dried corn they had gathered from their fields to feed themselves and their animals through the winter months.

Granny and her mother

Granny as a small girl with her mother Gazzie


Granny's mother told her while she was pregnant with her she practically lived on parched corn. In later years Granny said her mother would parch corn and then go set on the steps where she'd place the corn in a little white cloth and crush it with a hammer before she ate it. 

Pap with his mother and father

Pap with his Mother and Father

Pap said families would sit around at night and parch corn over the fire and then eat it as a snack-kinda like we do popcorn. He also said folks would parch corn to carry around in their pocket as snack on the go. He said it wasn't unusual to be standing around talking and see someone pull out a little bag of parched corn to eat.

How to get the chaf off of dried corn

Pap had some field corn he had grown and dried for Granny to make hominy with. He sent me outside with some of it to shake from bowl to bowl to get the chaff off. 

Parching corn

Next Pap melted a little butter in a cast iron frying pan and added the corn. He kept stirring it around to make sure it didn't burn, but browned evenly. You could hear it popping and a few kernels even popped half way open like a kernel of popcorn sometimes will. After it had browned evenly Pap salted the corn.

Parched corn

You can see the finished product. The corn tasted like popcorn kernels to me. Some were easy to chew up some were impossible. Pap said the corn they grew when he was a boy made better parched corn than what we had to work with. I can see why folks would like parched corn and even crave it. Think of a world where there was no potato-chips, Cheetos, or corn-chips. Parched corn would fit the bill for a salty crunchy snack. 

I have one memory about parched corn.

Pap's Mother, Marie, kept me when I was little. She died when I was in 5th grade so most of my memories of her are centered around the days I spent with her in her tiny house. I'd prowl around the kitchen that always seemed to smell of sweet tea and coffee while she made me something to eat, usually grits because I loved grits with sugar and butter. 

I remember she was standing at the stove cooking and I asked her what she was making. She said "Parched corn. You'd like it if you'd try it." 

Have you ever had parched corn?


p.s. A few upcoming performances for The Pressley Girls 

October 2, 2016 @ 2:00 p.m. - Fall Festival JCCFS Brasstown, NC

October 15, 2016 @ 4:00 p.m.- Stecoah Valley Center Harvest Festival Stecoah (Robbinsville), NC 

October 22, 2016 @ TBA Cherokee County Fair Murphy, NC

October 27, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

 Subscribe for free to Blind Pig & The Acorn by Email

I Walk in Silence When it Comes

Jerry Marshall Wilson - I find Jesus by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

After Pap died I was worried about dreaming about him. Sounds silly I know. I was afraid if I dreamed of him it would make me even sadder and I didn't think I could stand that. Then as the days, weeks, and months went by I began to worry about not dreaming about Pap and wondered if I ever would. 

Chitter and Chatter are big dreamers-usually as soon as they awake they start telling the craziness that occurred while they slept. Granny doesn't approve, she will never tell her dreams before breakfast for fear they'll come true. Both girls say they dream about Pap at least once a week if not more. They say sometimes it makes them sad and sometimes it doesn't.

I finally dreamed about Pap Friday before last.

I was at some sort of meal-you know like dinner on the grounds or a family reunion. As I walked beside a long table looking for someone to eat my plate of food with I suddenly saw Pap sitting on the other side of the table with his own plate of food. I stopped and literally screamed "DADDY!" He gave me a smile and a small chuckle like he'd been waiting on me to find him and in the way of dreams the rest is pretty hazy. 

I once heard Jimmy Ibbotson, of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band fame, tell how he dreamed a song.

A few months after his father passed away he dreamed he was in a southern church where he didn't recognize anyone. The congregation started asking him to sing his new song-he told them he didn't know what song they were talking about. Someone tapped him on the shoulder and when he turned around it was his father. His father told him to go on and sing the song for them. As he walked up front and began to sing the words just flowed out and that's how the amazing song was written or dreamed.

For this week's Pickin' & Grinnin' In The Kitchen Spot Jimmy Ibbotson's song I Find Jesus.

I hope you enjoyed the song, it has great words and the story behind how it was written makes it even more special to me. 


Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email

20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago gainesville ga birth

Twenty years ago today, The Deer Hunter and I were planing and packing for my scheduled delivery of the girls. The photo above was taken on the following morning. The big day had finally arrived and there was no turning back.

Every time I see the photo I think "We're looking at each other like how in the world did we end up here and what the heck are we going to do about it?" Not that we weren't happy to be expecting parents, but twins? Geesh we didn't even know if we were ready for one child and somehow we were about to end up with two. 

I won't bore you with the details, but my pregnancy was a nightmare. From the start I had every pregnancy aliment you can think of and a few you've probably never even heard of!

By the time I had the girls I had already been admitted to the hospital at least a half a dozen times for one complication or another and then the scheduled delivery ended up in a rather hurried c-section on top of all of that. 

Twins in appalachia

We knew very early on that I was carrying twins. It seemed like everywhere I went someone told me they prayed for twins or that having twins was their life long wish. Honestly, I felt so miserable that having twins wasn't something I was happy about. Every time someone shared their twin dream with me I thought "Well I wish you were having twins too-instead of me-then maybe I wouldn't be so sick!

First Birthday Party

After the girls were born, it didn't take me long to realize I had been given the ultimate gift. No wonder all those people wanted twins.

Having the girls in our lives has filled every day of the last 20 years with brightness and joy. We will be forever grateful they were given to us. 

The pressley girls playing in gainesville ga

Today the girls will be playing in Gainesville, GA the city were they were born. We scheduled the gig months ago and I never even thought about it being the day before their birthday, but it somehow seems fitting. 

I'm thankful we get what we need...even when we don't even know we need it. 


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this weekend: 

  • TODAY - Saturday September 24, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Chattahoochee Mountain Music Festival
    Don Carter State Park Gainesville, GA
  • Sunday September 25, 2016 @ 10:00 a.m. Oak Grove Baptist Church Hwy 294 Murphy NC

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email

Olive Dame Campbell 1882-1954 and JCCFS Fall Festival Ticket Winners

Today's guestpost was written by Rooney Floyd.

Olive Dame Campbell

A TRIBUTE TO OLIVE DAME CAMPBELL, 1882—1954 written by Rooney Floyd

Olive Dame was born the daughter of a middle class New England family of Mayflower descent. Her father was a talented botany teacher and school principal. A gifted mother taught her early the love of art and music. She enjoyed an active, rich youth that developed an inquiring mind and strong, determined will. These attributes would serve her well in the coming years of adventure with future husband, John C. Campbell, and later as the founder and director of the Folk School she named in his honor. Though less well known, she became one of the leading social reformers of her time.

After graduating from Tufts College in 1903, she taught literature several years before planning a vacation voyage to Scotland in 1906. On the voyage, she met John Campbell who was traveling to his ancestral homeland to recuperate from the loss of a wife and the stress of being President of Piedmont College. Olive was a smart, talented and dedicated Christian woman with a great sense of humor. She had indeed been called to serve humanity through education. In these ways, she was a lot like John. By trip’s end, they were engaged. Olive and John married in 1907 in her home town in Medford, Massachusetts.

The Campbells were among the first to recognize and appreciate the diverse character and skills the Appalachian people had developed in their extremely isolated existence. For this reason they disagreed with the prevalent stereotype of mountain people held by those of formal education at that time. They found that social workers had little understanding of the people they were sent to help, or what their real strengths and needs were. There was a void of credible information on Appalachian social conditions, and the small amount that existed was invalid. Thus, the Campbells planned to make a comprehensive study of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

After receiving a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation, they set off on a four-year journey, (1908-1912), on horseback and by covered wagon extending over portions of eight states forming a region John later named the Southern Highlands. They visited numerous communities, schools, churches, government officials, and families in the region to inquire what the people actually wanted in the way of assistance for their social and economic development. Olive kept a detailed journal of the entire survey journey as well as collected traditional English folk songs still preserved by word of mouth in the mountain families. 

Education was the most frequently given answer by the people as to their needs. They wanted education for adults who were living on the land with the intention of staying there. Schools separated students based on performance. Better performing students were furnished additional opportunity for continuing education. This further education, however, took the individual from his home to work in the city. Those who stayed to work the land were virtually unschooled.

The Campbells had read about the Danish folk schools that provided a different kind of non-competitive education for rural adults. These schools had yielded contented, productive inhabitants on very successful farms for over 60 years. They believed the Danish model could be adapted to the Appalachian situation and enable the mountain people to live happy, productive lives in their home environment by efficient farming, cooperatives, and development of their art and craft skills. Upon completion of the Appalachian survey, the Campbells planned a year-long study of the Danish folk schools.

When the outbreak of World War I forced cancellation of their Danish trip, the Campbells continued their Appalachian work living in Asheville, N. C. During this time, Olive and John lost two infant daughters. Olive dealt with the loss by completing her ballad collecting work which lead to the publication of English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians by Olive Dame Campbell and Cecil J. Sharp, in 1917. Within two years John died at the age of 51 leaving Olive to fulfill their dreams. She took all of their notes to Nantucket Island and methodically compiled their survey which was published as The Southern Highlander and His Homeland by John C. Campbell, in 1921. After the war ended, the time had come to pursue the Danish folk school project.

Olive secured a fellowship for the study of adult education from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and left for Denmark in 1922 to study the Danish folk school system. She took with her a young fellow mountain worker, Marguerite Butler, who would later become her assistant in founding the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N. C. During this time, Olive was at the peak of her health, strength, and mind for the new adventure. After eighteen months of visiting most of the 150 folk schools, the two determined ladies returned armed with enough of an intellectual and spiritual grasp, enthusiasm, and experience to implement the Danish folk school model in Appalachia. Olive’s zeal, discipline, and devotion had merged in a tremendous sense of calling to the field of mountain work. For the next few years as Olive continued her work with the Conference of Southern Mountain Workers. She and Marguerite also began the task of selecting a site for the new folk school. Additionally, she wrote and published The Danish Folk School by Olive D. Campbell. It has been called “the most understanding book on the subject ever written.”

By 1925, Olive had chosen the community of Brasstown, N. C. to locate the folk school. It was ideal not only because of the absence of competing large towns or industry, but also because the local people very much wanted the school and pledged the needed support. This marriage of school and community, though tiny compared to the whole Southern Highlands region, was destined to become a model of effectiveness and progress over the next three decades as Olive directed the school through the Depression and World War II. It had truly become an asset to the community where many of the local families were enlightened, progressive, and contented; thus allowing them to stay upon the land successfully.

Olive retired in 1946 and returned to Medford to continue her robust correspondence and draft The Life and Work of John Charles Campbell, her husband’s biography. WW II had ended, the national economy was in an upswing, and the Craft Revival in America was beginning. As always, the Folk School continued to adjust to change by considering it new opportunity. With a new mission, and through a series of new directors, the Folk School served students from a much larger area, first regionally, then nationally and internationally. Even with all these changes, the school still offers people from the local area, ways to improve their quality of life while it also provides a unique resource to a much broader base as well. The emphasis has shifted more and more to arts and crafts reflecting Olive’s guidance that “the form the school takes is always to be based on the need.” In spite of 90 years of considerable change, most of the important, underlying Danish folk school principles remain, keeping the unique institution true to the founder’s dream. In retrospect, her entire life had been preparation for this accomplishment.

Olive Dame Campbell was a gifted, selfless lady of boundless mental and physical energy. Believing in the value and uniqueness of the individual, she came to the mountains with a “listening ear.” Her goal was to stimulate creativity, cooperative effort, and personal growth that never stopped. She endeavored to bring rural life to relate to the larger world while achieving satisfaction and fulfillment. Her colleagues regarded her as one who, in all situations, could be counted on to do the best that she could do. She was known for her wise, practical, and successful approach to controversial issues. Her stated purpose of the folk school, “to awaken, enliven and enlighten a community with lifelong learning,” explains the school’s motto, “I Sing Behind the Plow”.

Rooney Floyd, Brasstown, N.C., July, 2015


  1. “Mountain Life & Work

      Magazine of the Southern Mountains”

      No. 4, 1954

  1. Appalachian Travels, The Diary of

     Olive Dame Campbell, 2012

     Edited by Elizabeth M. Williams

  1. DVD: Sing Behind the Plow:

     John C. Campbell Folk School

     UNC-TV and John C. Campbell Folk School

     Copyright 2008

  1. File of John R. Floyd, Jr.

     (Various notes from the Archives, and staff

       interviews of the John C. Campbell Folk


I hope you enjoyed Rooney's guest post as much as I did! 

The John C. Campbell Folk School will hold its annual Fall Festival October 1 & 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 12-17, and free for children under 12.

Chatter and Chitter will be clogging with the Kudzu Kickers on the Festival Barn Stage at 1:20 p.m on Saturday October 1st.

The Pressley Girls will perform on the Festival Barn Stage at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday October 2nd. If you make it to the festival PLEASE come up and say hello! If you'd like to see the complete list of performers for the two day festival go here

The JCCFS generously donated 4 Fall Festival tickets for me to giveaway here on the Blind Pig which allowed for there to be 2 winners. The winners are:

  • Karen Twiss who said: Would love to go to the Folk School Festival this year!!!!
  • Gerry who said: I would like to receive tickets to the JCCFS Fall Festival for Saturday or Sunday. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to it daily.

I hope everyone who wants to attend the festival gets to go. I'll offer a few tips in case you've never been to a JCCFS Fall Festival before: traffic can be extremely heavy so if you plan to be at the festival to catch a certain performance you will need to allow for extra driving time; the festival is spread over a large area which means you may be walking a far piece from where you park; most of the walking will be on trails so sturdy shoes will be your best choice of foot-wear; and there are food vendors so if you want to make a day of it you don't have to worry about going hungry.


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this week: 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email


Let me Introduce You to Mommy Goose

Mommy Goose Rhymes from the Mountains by Mike Norris

A few months ago I stumbled upon an article about the book  Mommy Goose Rhymes from the Mountains written by Mike Norris. The piece grabbed my attention because as a child I loved nursery rhymes and as an adult I still love them. If you've been reading the Blind Pig and The Acorn for a good long while you'll probably remember my series on rhymes.

Once I realized Mike's book contained rhymes written in the rich colorful language of Appalachia I knew I had to get my hands on a copy and see if it was too good to be true because I figured it was.

The University Press of Kentucky was gracious enough to send me a copy of the book, and Mike sent a CD of the book as well.


The book is wonderfully illustrated with photos of over a hundred hand carved and painted works by Minnie Adkins who has permanent collections in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Kentucky Folk Art Center.

The book is filled with 50 original rhymes written by Mike Norris himself.

So was the book too good to be true? Nope it was true! The language Mike uses is so spot on that I embarrassingly told him I thought I had heard a few of the rhymes-which was an impossibility since he wrote them himself. 

It's not just the words he uses throughout the book, its the manner they are used in and the subject matter that they weave themselves around that shouted out to me a real Appalachian penned them. Even the title of the book is perfect. I know many older folks, including a few Blind Pig Readers, that still use the word Mommy to describe their mother. 

Mike said I could share some of the rhymes with you. It was almost impossible to choose which ones because I loved them all and I had something to say about most of them too.

Little Mary written by Mike Norris

Little Mary wouldn't mind,
And said things to sister that were unkind.

(My hair’s prettier than yours.)

She'd stomp her feet and hold her breath,
And scare her mommy half to death.

She grew up and had twin girls,
With big blue eyes and yellow curls.

They were cute at first,
Then acted just like her, but worse.


I loved this one because when I was a child Granny often cautioned me to be good and not end up like so and so who was a mean little girl. I also liked it because I know it would have been a favorite of Chatter and Chitter's when they were small. They were often mischievous girls and would have liked reading about Little Mary and her mean twin girls. 


Harlie Creech written by Mike Norris

Harlie Creech was over neat.
He swept the house morning and night.
He ironed his socks and starched his sheets, 
And used a yardstick to get the quilts right.

South down the road lived Mildred Mays,
And in that direction Harlie would gaze.
Her hair was perfect, her shoes shinned slick,
But Harlie hesitated, suspecting a trick.

Who knew what horrors lay in store, 
Rumpled pillows, crumbs on the floor?
At last his love made him risk the ordeal,
And Harlie invited her for a meal.

He scrubbed the house once, then again.
With trembling hand he welcomed her in.
Then Harlie froze and held his breath,
As Mildred Mays passed the test:
She took one look and said,
"This place is a mess."


Pap would have said Harlie was particular and Mildred was beyond particular. 


Cow’s in the Barn written by Mike Norris

Cow’s in the barn.
Kitten’s in the yarn.
Daddy’s in Harlan,
Bending his arm.


Mike pointed out to me that towards the back of the book the rhymes touch on the darker aspects of life in Appalachia. As the rhyme above shows Appalachia is no stranger to societies woes. 


The Mommy Goose cd contains a song Mike wrote about Mommy Goose. The song along with the music is in the back of the book so anyone interested can learn it themselves. The cd also contains a very nice narration of the book by Mike and a conversation between Mike and Minnie that will leave you smiling for the rest of the day. Me missing Pap is no secret to any of you. Hearing Minnie's sweet voice use so many of the words, sayings, and phrases Pap used was a true balm for my soul.

I asked Mike where the best place to purchase the book and cd was and this is what he said:

"The CDs are only available from me [$10 each] at this email address mike.norris9@gmail.com, or in the Collector's Edition of the books [we have 2 others, Bright Blue Rooster, and Sonny the Monkey] which also have original permanent-inks art by Minnie on page 1--These are $40 each and may be ordered from me or Minnie.

Bookstore versions of the book may be ordered many places online, but Amazon and The University Press of Ky [it's the university press of the whole state, not just UK] are two good sources. Folks can listen to the song for free at this link."

If there is a child in your life or a rhyme loving adult like me I suggest you buy Mike's outstanding book and cd for them. Both items would make dandy birthday or Christmas presents. The cd is more than worth the money for the conversation between Minnie and Mike alone. I hope the talk between them is in an Appalachian Museum somewhere so that it will be preserved as part of our history-it is that good. 

Preserving our language is a cause that is near and dear to my heart and I commend Mike for trying to keep our rich colorful Appalachian Language alive. 


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this week: 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email

Appalachian Vocabulary Test 92

Unique words from appalachia

It's time for this month's Appalachian Vocabulary Test. 

I'm sharing a few videos to let you hear some of the words too. To start the videos, click on them and then to stop them click on them again. 

Take it and see how you do! 


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

1. Easy: relived of pain. "I was suffering something awful during the night but I'm easy right now."


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Everwhat: whatever. "Everwhat he was doing sure was loud. Sounded like somebody was blowing something to kingdom come."

3. Eh law: a mild oath for expressing a range of emotions. "She's down there in the hospital and ain't never going to be able to work again and now the company is closing and he's lost his job. Eh law I don't know what they're gonna do." (You can go here to hear Pap use Eh Law.)

4. Easing powders: an analgesic. "See if you can find any easing powders in that cabinet. I've got a terrible headache."


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Elijah room: a separate room of the house for a stranger to stay in; a room closed off from the rest of the house. "Grandpaw said his mother always kept an Elijah room for people who were traveling by to stay in. That way they didn't have to stay right in the same room with the family."

This may be the first time I almost failed my own test! I've never heard anyone use Elijah room nor easing powders. The rest are beyond common in my area of Appalachia. How did you do on the test?


p.s. If you live close enough to attend and haven't entered the JCCFS Fall Festival ticket giveaway-go here to enter! The Giveaway ends TODAY!

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this week: 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email

Results of the Sow True Seed Cucumber Reporting @ Large

Sow true seed marketmore cucumber

Sow True Seed Marketmore 76

Time for the final report on the Sow True Seed Cucumber Reporting @ Large project!


Our entire garden suffered this year because of the hot dry weather. It was not the year for anything! I'm positive all my Sow True Seed Cucumbers would have done better with more of the wet stuff and less of the above average temperatures. 

Slicing Cucumber Muncher: While this one was a great producer-I don't think I would grow it again. It just didn't taste much like a cucumber.

Richmond Green Apple: I've been growing this one for a few years and will probably continue to grow at least one or two plants each year.

Marketmore 76: The one was similar to the muncher above. Probably would not plant it again either. 

Boston: I really liked this one and plan on growing it again. 

Bush Pickle: I grow this one every year because it produces great and tastes great. The bush pickle came through as it always does for us. 

Another cucumber that is a must plant for us is the Arkansas Little Leaf from Sow True Seed. The variety wasn't part of the reporting project, but its hands down my favorite cucumber to grow. And as always it's did great in the garden this summer. 

Comptonia - Quinn

Quinn who grew the Sow True Seed Suyo Long:

Since it seemed all seven seedlings were likely to survive, I thinned them by - why not? - moving four plants to a raised bed by the goat barn, to see which conditions the cucumbers might prefer. All seven plants have done well all summer! As they grow, those strange, spiky-looking bright green things become strange, spiky-looking little white nubs. They may look sharp, but they aren't. I've even seen them described as "thorns" but I guess those people have never encountered an actual thorn! These little nubs just brush right off when you run a hand over the cucumber. The suyo cucumbers certainly earn their "long" title, and most of mine were grown on a trellis and have been quite straight. I love the texture of the suyo peel; it is crisp and not bitter at all. A few of the cucumbers got so big the seeds developed so I scraped out those cores as a treat for the hens. LeShodu, my Matriarch doe, greatly enjoys eating the strips of rind, one by one. I think her teeth may not be as strong as they used to be, so this is a nice way for her to get some soft "bark" without actually having to gnaw on a tree.



My results were not very good this year. I have been gardening for over 30 years and felt pretty bad about my results.  All of the seeds were in a very sunny area, the plants had soaker hoses and mulching to control the water needed,  and the plants were provided 6 foot tall trellis lines.
The Boston pickling cucumber did not produce at all.  Despite a good location, soaker hose and adequate water less than 8 seeds germinated.  The few cucumbers produced were great for eating raw. Nice crunch and very pretty color and skin.
The Muncher slicing cucumber came up almost over night and sent out more flowers than I have ever seen. The stems seemed to drop about 50% of the cucumbers before they were an inch in size. We enjoyed a reasonable number during the summer. I would not allow these to get much over 5 inches in size as they seem to loose taste as they get larger. The skins are smooth, there are a lot of seeds in the very middle so there is a lot of cucumber flesh.
The Suyo Long was our favorite. They took a while to start producing but the taste was fantastic. They are a bit spiny so I would suggest handling with a towel. This cucumber had crisp flesh and seeds were minimal. I would grow this one again.
I am sorry to report that I had a problem for the first time ever with pickleworm and then powdery mildew. Our 80 days of above 90 degree days and the humidity did not help at all. I usually look forward to picking enough pickles this time of year to make relish with. However, this year we are pulling up all the remaining vines this weekend and burning them to prevent further problems.
I am located in Northeast Georgia midway between Atlanta and the South Carolina border. 

Our season started out with heavy rains; at one point some of the plants were under water. Once the ground began to dry a little, they started to recover and were on their way. I tried the Suyo and the Muncher along with Marketmore seeds I had saved previously. 

The Suyo is a real garden wonder. Not only a prolific producer, but tasty as well.  It stays crispy for days after picking. It has earned a spot in my garden in the future.

The muncher did not bear well. The plants were beautiful, but didn’t have a lot of cucumbers. I probably would not plant this one again.

The marketmore continues to put on fruit. It continues to be my favorite, the flavor is good, it produces a lot, and stands up to the weather well.

The only pests we had this year was the Mexican bean beetle. They seemed to favor the muncher more than the others.

Even though the recent drought has been hard on the garden, we have harvested a lot of cucumbers. Thanks for including me in the cucumber trials. 


If you signed on to be a Cucumber Reporter @ Large leave a comment with your final report so that everyone can see how Sow True Seed Cucumbers did at your place. 


p.s. If you live close enough to attend and haven't entered the JCCFS Fall Festival ticket giveaway-go here to enter!

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this week: 

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig And The Acorn by Email

How to make Gritted Bread from Fresh Corn

Growing field corn

A few years ago Pap taught me to make gritted bread. He remembered his mother making a version of gritted bread that used dried corn and one that used fresh corn. Today I'm going to share the fresh corn version with you.

Pap said after the corn was picked it was allowed to dry out slightly. A grater, usually a homemade one, was used to remove the corn from the cob. After mixing sodie (baking soda), salt, buttermilk or sweet milk, and an egg or 2 with the corn it was fried or baked and eaten as bread. Pap says this 'fresh' version of gritted bread was made at the end of the growing season when the corn began to harden, but wasn't dried completely.  

Grating corn 

Pap used Granny's grater for the corn we used. He said when he was a boy most folks had a homemade grater. Some folks used nothing more than an old can with nail holes punched in the end or side while others used more elaborate ones made from a piece of tin stretched over a board with parts of the tin tore back to form the 'graters'.

How to make gritted bread

Pap's Fried Gritted Bread

  • 1 ½ cup grated corn
  • 2/3 cup plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoon sodie (baking soda)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease

Add flour, salt, and sodie to grated corn.

Add beaten egg to milk and stir; add bacon grease to milk mixture and stir.

Pour milk mixture into corn mixture and stir well. Pap said the batter should be like pancake batter. If needed additional flour or milk can be added to thicken or thin.

Cook in hot frying pan as you would pancakes.

Print Pap's Fried Gritted Bread (right click to open link and print recipe)

Gritted bread 3

Pap said he should have fried it like potato cakes but since we were talking-he forgot and poured the whole pan full. Once it was browned on one side-he cut down the middle and flipped both pieces so the other side could cook.

So what did I think-I liked it! When we made the other version of gritted bread with dried corn I could only imagine eating it if I had to. The fresh corn version was very good and I could see how folks would enjoying eating it plain or with a smear of honey which is how Pap likes it.    

Have you ever had gritted bread-or even heard of it?


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at the following places this week: 

September 24, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Chattahoochee Mountain Music Festival
Don Carter State Park Gainesville, GA

September 25, 2016 @ 10:00 a.m. Oak Grove Baptist Church Hwy 294 Murphy NC

Subscribe for free to Blind Pig & The Acorn by Email