Appalachian Vocabulary Test 102

Word usage in north carolina

It's time for this month's Appalachian Vocabulary Test. I'm sharing a few videos to let you hear some of the words. To start the videos click on them and then to stop them click on them again.

1. Look over: disregard. "Every time they hand out raises they just look over him and that man does more work than anybody there."

2. Loafer: to loiter or go about aimlessly. "Granny was always accusing Pap of loafering off somewhere with out telling her where he was going."

3. Liked to: almost; nearly. "I liked to have broke my neck on that bicycle in the yard. I've told them and told them to put them things up when they're done riding them."

4. Leader: tendon. "He pulled that big leader that runs up the back of your leg. Why he can't even walk today. Don't know why in the world a grown man thinks he needs to play ball."

5. Leastways: at least; at any rate. "I"m tired as all get out but leastways I've got that chore done for another year."

Hope you'll leave me a comment and let me know how you did on the test. All of the this month's words, except leader, are common in my area of Appalachia. 


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How Bad a Liar is He?

Funny sayings from appalachia

"I'm telling you he's such a liar he's got to get somebody else to call his hogs!"

Other noteworthy liar sayings from Appalachia:

Liar liar pants on fire
Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining
If his lips are moving he's a lying
That dog won't hunt
Lie like a dog

Please leave a comment and add any liar sayings that come to mind-I know I left out a bunch. 


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The Easiest Salad

  Easy summer salad

Come summer, you can count on Granny having a simple salad of cucumbers, onions, and tomatoes in her frig or on the table if you're sitting down to eat. 

A few years back I asked Granny who taught her to make the summertime salad. 

There were eleven children in Granny's family and nine lived to adulthood. Granny was the third youngest of the family. By the time she came along some of her older siblings had moved out, married, and had children of their own.

Granny used to spend the summer with her sister Dorothy in Gastonia. She babysat her nephews and helped out around the house. 

Dorothy served the simple salad for supper almost every day. Granny said she just loved it-so she asked her sister where she learned to make it? Dorothy surprised her by saying "Why mother made that for us all the time when we were little. Don't she make it for you and the rest of the bunch at home?"

For whatever reason, their mother Gazzie had quit making the salad by the time Granny came along, but thanks to Dorothy the simple recipe survived and was passed along so that I might enjoy it my whole entire life. And since Chitter made the salad for our supper the other night the recipe will go on to another generation of this family. 

To make Granny's Easy Summer Salad:

  • dice up an onion-some cucumbers-and tomatoes
  • toss them all in a bowl
  • salt to taste and put it in the frig for a couple of hours.

A few years back when I mentioned Granny's simple salad here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn more than a few readers had their own versions of the salad. 

Sandy: I thought I was the only one who ate this. I chop it fine and eat it in the middle of the night on ciabatta bread grilled in olive oil. I put a bit of garlic in mine too or rub the bread with a clove of it. Oh yum.

Mrs. K: This is my favorite salad, but like everyone else, I have my own adjustments. I chop up the tomato and cucumber, salt them and let the whole mess sit until it gets juicy, then add a bit of oregano, some olive oil and wine vinegar along with some crusty bread chopped up. Yummy. Growing up, everyone had gardens in our neighborhood and we kids used to go picking to make tomato and cucumber salad. I just love it!

Wanda: I love this--usually put a little olive oil & lemon juice on it too. It's one of my favorite nighttime snacks with the leftover cornbread from supper.

Bill Burnett: My Mom made a similar salad in the summer since we always raised a large garden and ate whatever was in season. She often added a little sugar & vinegar adding a great sweet/sour kick to the great flavor of the fresh veggies.


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Until Then

Pap and Paul keeping the music alive 
Pap and Paul playing in Gainesville GA

Paul's still working through old music recordings and videos of Pap. He's been uploading some of them to our Youtube channel. Thanks to the great folks at Ridgeline TV we have several complete concerts preserved on dvd from performances at the Historic Union County Courthouse in Blairsville GA.

One of the first times we played at the courthouse without Pap a lady came up and told us she'd give anything to hear Pap harmonize with Paul on the old song Until Then one more time in the courtroom. I think nearly every time they did the song there they received a standing ovation for it. Their harmony certainly did shine on that one.

Until Then was written by Stuart Hamblin. He also wrote It is No Secret. Hamblin was a very interesting man you can read more about his life here

Here's a video of the song, courtesy of Ridgeline TV

I took Granny to get her hair done yesterday morning and on the way back she asked me to stop by Pap's grave for her to check on the flowers. As I helped her get out of the car and walk up to the grave she said "Lord I miss you so Jerry and wish I had you back." I said "I know I miss him too, but he was ready to go-you know he was a doer and he was tired of not being able to do; of having to get help for every little thing he needed to take care of." Granny said she knew that was true and she knew he was tired of being in pain all the time. I wish I had thought to remind her of the first line in the song:  

My heart can sing when I pause to remember a heartache here is but a stepping stone along the way that's climbing always upward this troubled world is not my final home.


p.s. We'll be playing at the Historic Courthouse on September 22 this year. Go here for more details. 

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Appalachia Draws You Back

Sense of place in appalachia

"Even if you have lived most of your life "off", there is something that draws you back here if you were born here. If it's those generations of ancestors buried in its rocky soil or not, something has you hanging on like the tree roots wrapped around the boulder on the side of a mountain highway. Like the old joke about why there are the pearly gates in's to keep the mountain folks from going home on the weekend. A lot of my childhood was spent going home on the weekend."

Vernon Kimsey - September 2016



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Wandering Back in Time

  Wandering back in time in Appalachia blindpigandtheacorn
1940s era Nehi soda bottle found up the creek

Back when I first started writing here on the Blind Pig and the Acorn I followed Terry Thornton's blog. Terry has since passed away, but his writing strengthened my belief that we need to understand what went before to gain a hope for the future and an appreciation for the present. Terry documented not only personal details about his life, but also described in detail the landscape of his homeplace in Mississippi and the many changes he'd seen take place over the course of his life. 

I live in the same mountain holler I grew up in and even though I don't consider myself an old timer like Terry was, I too have seen great changes in my lifetime. One house is gone, five have been added, fields have turned to lawns, roads have been re-worked for better access and too many trees to count have been taken down to make room for all the growth.  

I've always been intrigued by the trails and old road beds that run through the acreage surrounding our land. Pap could remember when they were traveled by people, sleds, wagons, horses, mules, and a few cars.

Growing up we had gravity water (water that came from a spring up the mountain). I always enjoyed going up the creek with Pap to check on the water. He told me stories about the cornfields that used to be on the sloping sides of the ridges, he showed me where a stone stable had stood for horses, and he pointed out old house places and told of the people who had lived there. Even though the houses were long gone having been erased by time and nature, Pap made it all seem so real to me.

As I've traveled the same trails with the girls during my life as a mother I've tried to point out the changes I remember. At one creek crossing I can recall there were a few logs rotted and turned green with moss that were left from a wooden bridge. There were random car pieces here and there including the dash of a model t Ford. 

Most of the trails have grown up with trees, saplings, and bushes because there's no need to walk them now. And as with each passing generation children who might have played along the trails as we did have more and more to occupy them indoors. 

I've always thought if I could sit quietly by one of those trails and wait I'd eventually be able to see some of the folks who traveled the paths in days gone by. Maybe it'd be some of my ancestors walking to check on a neighbor or work in the corn, maybe it'd be settlers who lived before Pap's time, maybe it'd be my cousins, my brother, and me walking, arguing, playing, and keeping the paths wore.


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Christmas in July

Christmas in july in appalachia 2

The old saying Christmas in July means something happened smack dab in the middle of the summer that rates right up there with Christmas.

Why do I feel like its Christmas in July? 

  • I got a new car! Not brand new, but new to me and pretty new too considering my old one was 12 years old and the one the girls drive is 18 years old. Wow 18 years old! Anyway-so very nice to be able to drive to and fro and not worry about ending up on the side of the road which has happened several times in the last year. Of course those side of the road break downs almost always happened when it was coming a torrential downpour and I had a trunk full of guitars or groceries. 
  • The Deer Hunter got a new job with more money and less STRESS!
  • The Pressley Girls' first cd is getting close to being finished and it sounds AMAZING!
  • We've had plenty of rain this summer. 
  • I'm no longer feeling the suffocating broken hearted despair over losing Pap. I still mourn his passing and I know I always will but at least I'm not wallowing in grief like I was last July.

In honor of my Christmas in July feeling I'm giving away 2 of Pap and Paul's Songs of Christmas CDs.

To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends Sunday July 23, 2017.

If you'd like to buy one of the cds go here


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The Zombie Apocalypse

Zombies in appalachia

Have you ever watched a tv show or movie about the zombie apocalypse? I don't watch much tv so I can't really say I'm up on the whole zombie phenomenon, but it is a subject I've had fun discussing with the folks at work. 

For the last few years we've teased each other about our survival plan for the coming zombies. Those of us that have worked there longest say we'll trip the newer employee to give us more time to get away. My boss seems to think if you have an aliment of some sort zombies will overlook you so she plans to scream out that she has a disease. We have a small kitchen in our area so if we're locked in for a while we could cook...if we had any food. Then there's the huge bank of windows-seems like a zombie would just break right through, but some folks think their reflection in the glass will confuse them causing them to pass up our building for another one. Silly I know, but an ongoing bit of fun that makes the work place more enjoyable.

In the last few years our county has been besieged by drug problems which have caused all sorts of problems we've never had to worry about.

Problems like people stealing every thing that's not tied down while folks aren't at home and even people trying to steal things when people are at home!

Pretty much every day the sheriffs department arrests a new string of people for having drugs in their possession, making drugs, or stealing to buy drugs.

I've taken to saying the ever increasing segment of people who've become so addicted that they've lost their own lives are the true zombie apocalypse.

We live in such an isolated area we've never given much thought or worry about any of those addicted folks bothering our home. Our house is at the end of the road with nothing behind it but woods in all directions. In all the years I've lived in this holler there has never been a stranger wandering around...until last week.

Chitter was home alone one morning. As she sat on her bed, working on a piece of jewelry, she noticed someone walk directly by her window. She jumped up and looked out the other bedroom window as the man went on around the back of the house. He was dirty, barefoot, and looked like he'd had the same clothes on for several weeks. He was also sneaking along. Chitter knew the doors were locked so she got one of her Daddy's guns and immediately called him. As Chitter stood in the back of the hallway praying her Daddy would hurry and praying she wouldn't have to do more than hold the gun she heard the man come up on the porch and try to get in the front door.

By the time The Deer Hunter came flying up the driveway the man was gone leaving nothing but two half eaten apples in the fire pit that he'd picked off one of my trees.

We reported the incident, but when the deputy came out all he saw was a blacksnake in the greenhouse, the stranger was long gone. The deputy said there'd been an increase in drug related break-ins lately and advised us to keep things locked up tight.

Even though nothing was harmed or taken, other than the apples, we have all been rattled by the incident. Especially Chitter. I guess we feel like we've been violated even though we haven't really.

Maybe it's that our safety has been violated.

We've taken for granted that our remote location surrounded by family would protect us from the assault of those who would do us harm. I've never given one thought to going out after dark to lock up the chickens when The Deer Hunter is off hunting, now I find myself reluctant to even go outside during the day and it makes me mad at myself and at the man who tried to get into our home. 

Even though we don't live by the side of a busy road it's been made clear we too are vulnerable to the assault of the increasing drug problem facing our county and much of Appalachia. 


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Water in Appalachia

Mountain water

On Mountain Water by David Templeton 

One of Life's greatest pleasures for me is wading and swimming in some sweet water stream that has come down out of an East Tennessee or Southwest Virginia mountain. I allow that I will also stick my face down to the water and drink until my belly hurts and that I will find some flat rocks and send them skipping over the water, counting how many times I can make each one skip; I got nineteen one time.

Where one ends up is usually not the result of some well-planned journey but more accidental. I don't get to live in Appalachia any more. My father lost his job of work at the defense plant, he had no skills, he heard about a place in Indiana that would hire him, a new start sounded good, and so we left Tennessee. I was fourteen. A part of my psyche never grew up past fourteen. For sure, I have remained Appalachian, lo these fifty years on.

Here in Indiana the land is so flat that I can almost watch a train coming from tomorrow; see until the Earth curves away. The land is flat. The land is flat and well-farmed. From the land, up here, water comes colored like coffee with cream. And, I can see many rivers and streams but I can't see clear, clean water in any of them. That's not to condemn the farmer; it's just the way it is. But the water is dirty, the streams and lakes. Not poison but unclear, giving the sense of unclean, and uninviting. It doesn't hurt the snakes but people don't swim in these waters.

We swam all the time back there in Hawkins County. The water was cold but it was crystal clear and refreshing. As a kid I didn't think about the water, not philosophically, not scientifically; I didn't think about it at was there. I was born with it all I was born with a kid, some things don't beg reflection.

It is remarkable though that water so abundant in the hills was often a scarcity in our home. Up the dirt road where we lived the water utility didn't come that far. We had to carry water home or sometimes we had a well. The well wasn't deep so the water wasn't clear all the time. Dad tried to dig his own well one time. Took a forked twig from the apple tree and doused around the yard till it pulled hard down and there he dug. When he hit solid rock he covered up the hole and soon packed us up and moved us to a place with a spring and a spring house right there in the yard.

Now there was sweet water. And, fresh-churned butter from a butter mold, kept in a crock in the water in the spring house. And sweet milk, cold. And all the mountain spring water we ever wanted, crystal clear. It ran out and down a little stream with water creesies in it and the cows drank from it and then it finally went murmuring on down to the Holston.

God gave us rainwater, too. Mom had a rain barrel. My four sister's and Mom's Cherokee black hair was washed and rinsed in it. And, when there was enough, clothes were washed in it.

I don't stop missing all that was the mountains. The breathless beauty, the heavenly peacefulness, the simple ways of the folk, and, yes, the clear clean mountain waters. Maybe more than anything, I miss the mountain waters. I miss the mountains and I miss the waters. I know nothing else to drink will ever be as perfect as that.


David wrote this guest post way back in 2009. He now resides in his homeland of Appalachia and I'm positive he's enjoying that wonderful mountain water that he so beautifully described. 


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Making Pickles

How to make bread and butter pickles
Pickling's More'n Cucumbers - Murphy (Mountain Cooking by John Parris)

"To many a mountain woman who grew up at a time when the kitchen stove occupied most of her 16-hour-long day, pickling is a heap sight more than just preparing cucumbers.

"It's most every thing," said Mrs. Tennie Priscilla Cloer. "It's meats and fruits and vegetables."

"I came along at a time you had to plan ahead for the long, cold winter months when the food came mainly from the cellar," she recalled. "You pickled and preserved all sorts of things."

"We pickled beets and beans and corn, watermelon rind and tomatoes and kraut, cherries and apples and peaches," she said...

"Pickling's a lot different now from what it was back when I was coming on. Back then we didn't have glass jars. We did our pickling in two-gallon and three-gallon stone jars and put beeswax paper over them as a cover. "I was 18 years old before I ever saw a glass jar. The first ones were half gallon jars and very thin. Later they got out a green glass jar and it was better, didn't break so easily."

"As a child, I remember my mother used 30-gallon cider barrels to pickle her beans and kraut and corn in. She had one barrel full of beans, one full of kraut, and one full of corn. It was enough to last the family over the winter."


So far, I've only made one run of pickles this summer, but I'm hoping to make more. Here are some of my favorite pickling recipes.


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