How Does My Garden Grow?

Planting a fall garden

We're still getting a few tomatoes and beans from the garden. I've been really excited about our first ever grape harvest-they were so pretty! I'm hoping next year the vines will produce even more.

Growing apples in western nc
This summer brought our largest harvest of apples and I'm pretty excited about that too.

Growing pumpkins and watermelons in western nc

We still have watermelons, pumpkins, and winter squash varieties hanging on for a little while longer.

Planting turnips in the fall

A few weeks ago we got our fall garden planted. The turnips are mostly up, but the kale and collards haven't shown their faces yet, I sure hope they decide to.

Since my cucumbers are almost gone I'll give my final report for the Sow True Seed Cucumber Reporters @ Large Project in a week or so. If you were a cucumber reporter @ large please send me your final report and any photos you may have taken during the growing season. A big thank you to those who've already sent theirs!

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls' Schedule for this week: *Saturday September 3 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA | *September 4 @ 2:00 p.m. Heritage Day Blairsville, GA

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Appalachian Vocabulary Test 91

Old words used in western nc

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. 

Take it and see how you do! 

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

1. Dutch oven: a heavy cast-iron pot with a close fitting lid and often with three feet on the bottom for cooking over an open fire.

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. Dinner bucket: lunch box. "He left his dinner bucket sitting in the woods where they were working, I'll have to pack his dinner in a sack until he goes and finds it."

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. Dauncy: sickly. "I told her she needed to rest but she wouldn't listen. After working so long in the hot sun she's laying on the couch feeling dauncy."

4. Destryoment: destruction. "The floods in Louisianan have caused total destryoment."

 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. Dido: a fit; can also be used to describe a circular motion. "I can't believe anyone would cut didos in a church parking lot. I'd be afraid I'd be struck by lightning for doing that!"

All of this month's words are common in my area except dauncy. Hope you'll leave me a comment and tell me how you did on the test.

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls' Schedule for this week: *Saturday September 3 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA | *September 4 @ 2:00 p.m. Heritage Day Blairsville, GA

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Corn and Potato Chowder

Corn chowder recipe

I like to make a pot of soup or stew on the weekends for an easy supper and to provide lunches for myself and The Deer Hunter during the coming week. I don't make them as often during the summer months because it just seems like soups and stews are better in the winter. 

A few weeks ago I saw a recipe for Summer Corn Chowder in a Mother Earth News magazine. Since this is the season for corn I thought I'd give it a try. 

Mother Earth News Summer Corn Chowder

  • 6 ears sweet corn 
  • 2 large onions (one diced, one quartered)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 stems fresh thyme, tied together (I didn't have any fresh so I used a little dried thyme)
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 cup unpeeled, red-skinned potatoes, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated or pressed
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (I didn't have any fresh so I used dried)
  • black pepper to taste

Easy recipe for corn and potato soup

Cut kernels off cobs and set aside. 

Place cobs in a large sauce pan with 2 quarts of water. Cut one onion and two stalks of celery into quarters and add to the water along with bay leaves, thyme, and a teaspoon of salt. Bring mixture to a boil and let simmer for an hour.

Take out the cobs and strain the liquid to remove the other items. The recipe said you would have about 2 cups I had more like 4 cups. Rinse pot.

Cook half of the corn in a small pan along with half the broth and simmer about 10 minutes. Blend the cooked corn with an immersion blender or food processor.

Add butter to large sauce pan and cook diced onion about 5 minutes. Add potatoes, the rest of the corn, garlic, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the rest of the stock. Simmer until the potatoes are tender. Stir in blended corn, cream, parsley, and pepper. 

Corn and potatoe chowder recipe

The chowder and a cake of cornbread made a tasty supper and the left over chowder with a sleeve of crackers made a tasty lunch for the following work week. If you'd like to give the recipe a try-jump over to the Mother News Website to print it out. 

Tipper

p.s. The winner of the Rada Pie Server is...Sandy who said: Thank you for the opportunity to win a nice pie server. "I have never made blueberry pie but that may change after reading the recipe. It looks like it should be really good." Sandy send your mailing address to me at blindpigandtheacorn@gmail.com and I'll get the pie server to you!

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls' Schedule for this week: *Saturday September 3 @ 8:00 p.m. Vogel State Park Blairsville, GA | *September 4 @ 2:00 p.m. Heritage Day Blairsville, GA

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Jesus Won't You Come By Here

Jesus won't you come by here - now is a needy time

Uncle Henry and Tipper tasting an apple from one of his trees

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you just keeping getting bad news? That's the kind of week it's been around the Blind Pig house. As I worried about people who lost loved ones and people who are praying they don't lose a loved one I was reminded of a song Pap and Paul used to sing Jesus Won't You Come By Here. They learned the song from the movie Sounder. I believe it's an old negro spiritual although I've never heard anyone sing it other than the folks in the movie and Pap and Paul. 

The video below was filmed back when Paul was in college. I love seeing Granny's old furniture with the handmade slipcovers and the matching curtains she made. I went with Pap when he bought the furniture from a man who looked like Orson Wells. The man was drinking wine-which totally shocked a 7 year old Southern Baptist girl. I remember Pap laughing when he told Granny I was afraid of the man because he was holding a wine glass that had apparently been filled many times that day.

 
The song conveys such a plaintive sound of need that it looks like more folks would sing it. Even with the compelling need of the words the beauty of the human spirit comes forth in the harmony and Pap's high tenor.

My Uncle Henry suffered a significant stroke on Thursday and things aren't looking so good for him. If you've got an extra prayer or good thought please send it his way.

Tipper

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Wildflower Weeds

Chicory growing in western north carolina
I have Chicory about everywhere along the roadside...the blooms are beautiful blue in the morning. Italian herbs have I...Oregano and Basil for spaghetti pie...LOL I grew the little Mexican Gherkin last year...fun to watch and eat...sort of a sweet/sour taste. Loves the hot muggy weather.

Your post reminded me of this poem...Hopefully not a widow, but me in the future...

"A poor old widow in her weeds
Sowed her garden with wildflower seeds;
Not too shallow, and not too deep,
And down came April drip-drip-drip.
Up shone May, like gold, and soon
Green as an arbour grew leafy June.
And now all summer she sits and sews
Where willow herb, comfrey, bugloss blows,
Teasle and pansy, meadowsweet
Campion, toadflax, and rough hawksbit;
Brown bee orchis, and Peals of Bells;
Clover, burnet and Thyme she smells;
Like Oberon's meadows her garden is
Drowsy from dawn to dusk with bees.
Weeps she never, but sometimes sighs,
And peeps at her garden with bright brown eyes;
And all she has, is all she needs--
A poor old widow in her weeds."

by Walter de la Mare...Peacock Pie

I just love me some wildflower weeds....

B.Ruth ~2015

----------------

I hope you enjoyed the comment and the poem B.Ruth shared back in 2015. I'd say the widow had discovered what it takes to be happy in life: be satisfied with what you've got.

Tipper

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Gathering Shocks of Fodder

This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and the Acorn in 2009.

Growing corn for fodder

When Pap was a boy, corn was the most important crop folks grew-I guess it still is for many farmers. Corn not only helped people survive through the winter, it was also necessary to ensure the farm animals survived the winter months too.

Here in the Southern Highlands of Appalachia, it was typical for folks to leave their corn in the field until it had been frosted on a few times and was completely dried out before the process of gathering was started. The corn in those days was different from the sweet corn most of us are familiar with today. It's often called field corn.

Pap's family's first step in the process was to top the corn. The tops of the corn stalk were cut out just above the ears of corn. As they gathered several tops and bundled them together they became tops of fodder for the animals. Pap said tops could be stored out in the field and didn't have to be stored in a shed or barn. The topping portion took up to a week or more to complete depending of course on how much corn you had.

Corn for fodder

The second step was to gather shocks of fodder. They would go back to each stalk and pull all the dried leaves from it, tying the leaves into shocks of fodder. Pap said these were usually kept inside the barn or corn crib. This process also took about a week or so depending on the amount of corn.

The last part-was actually gathering the ears of corn. Pap said folks in this area sometimes waited as long as December to gather the corn. Leaving the ears on the stalk longer ensured the corn was completely dried out. After gathering the corn, most folks left the shucks on until they needed to use the corn. Pap said leaving the shucks on helped deter mice and weevils from getting in your corn. Although, Pap does recall some folks hosting corn shucking parties where folks gathered to shuck corn and visit with one another.

Pap's favorite part of gathering corn was the camaraderie. Neighbors would join together to help one another with their corn. Pap said the women would always cook a big meal for the men to eat. Even though they were working in the field all day, Pap said corn gathering was still fun to him.

Bullard House

Recently Pap and I have been assisting a local historian document the oldest houses in our area. One day last, week Pap took us to the old Bollard place. I've drove past the old house my whole life and never realized it was there-tucked back in the woods.

Exploring old houses

We were amazed the house still had a few personal items in it even though it is falling down and slowly being reclaimed by nature. While we were there Pap's memories started bubbling up to the surface of his mind and he recalled one corn gathering dinner from his childhood that took place in the old home.

After a day spent in the field the men were sitting down to eat. A team of horses with a wagon load of corn was standing by a couple of sheds up above the house. There was also a team of steer hitched to a wagon full of corn. The steer had real long curved horns. Pap said something spooked the steer and they took off on their own, running into the horses. One of the horses was cut by a steer horn. The horn sliced the horse's stomach open and part of it's insides came out. Pap said he'd never forget his Grandpa washed the horse's guts off with soapy water and tucked them back inside it's stomach and sewed the wound up with a piece of sea grass string. The horse lived.

Corn gathering

Nature has laid claim to the old homeplace. It's hard to envision the woods surrounding the house being open enough for wagons to travel through, hard to imagine folks gathering to eat in the old house. But the wagons, the corn, the food, and the sea grass stitches are still there, locked in Pap's memories.

Tipper

p.s. The Rada Pie Server giveaway ends today-so be sure to go enter if you haven't!

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing tonight Friday August 26 @ 6:00 p.m. at the Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris, GA 

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Appalachia Through My Eyes - A Normal Appalachian Family

My life in appalachia a normal appalachian family

When I saw this photo I took of Chatter and The Deer Hunter I really liked it, but couldn't figure out what I wanted to say about it. Chatter was walking by the computer so I asked her to take a look and tell me what she thought the photo was saying to her. She said "It looks like a normal Appalachian family to me." I said "Yep that sounds about right."

Tipper

p.s. The Rada Pie Server giveaway ends tomorrow-so be sure to go enter if you haven't!

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing this Friday August 26 @ 6:00 p.m. at the Crane Creek Vineyards in Young Harris, GA

Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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5 Things

Pap was Carrie Coleman Elliott Wilson's grandson

Pap at the Coleman Reunion 2015

1. The second Sunday in August was the Coleman Reunion. It's always good to see the family who attend and there's plenty of good food to go along with all the fellowship. Although I've been enough times to know, I had forgotten they read aloud the names of family members who've passed away since the previous year's reunion. As soon as the reading begin I knew they'd call Pap's name and I knew I'd cry. He loved being with his people. I did cry, but I smiled through my tears.

I've been smiling and studying on the exact way Pap's name was read since hearing it. 

Jerry Marshall Wilson grandson of Carrie Coleman.

Grandson. How long has it been since Pap was called a grandson? A long long time. He loved his grandmother Carrie and had so many fond memories of her. I know he would have been happy to have been recognized as being her grandson once again even if he was no longer here to hear it. 

Yellow jackets on the rise in western nc
The Deer Hunter scoping out a yellow jacket nest under Granny's porch

2. This has been the year for yellow jackets and Granny's back porch has been the place for them. First there was the nest I noticed in an old pair of shoes. Then the nest Granny discovered under the porch while she was standing talking to me and The Deer Hunter while we worked in her garden. Granny was standing over top of their nest and they stung her 4 or 5 times before she could get in the house. The next nest was in a paper box and just for good measure there was one more under the other side of the porch. Yellow jackets love Granny's porch. Paul had to take care of the nest in the box after dark one night. Since I was the one who first noticed it I asked Granny if Paul got rid of it and if the nest was as big as the box was. Granny said "Yes and Lord there was enough bees in that box to sting everybody from here to Murphy and back and all the way to Copperhill TN." 

Blooper from the Blind Pig and The Acorn
3. Over the years we've uploaded well over 100 videos to youtube. Every once in a while I'm reminded of a video I've almost forgotten about when someone comments on it. Recently I was reminded of a bloopers video I made back in 2010. I had high hopes of doing more blooper videos-but somehow I never got around to it. If you'd like to see the bloopers video-go here. Hard to believe how young the girls look-and that neither one of them played an instrument well enough to play and sing back then. 

Apothecopie natural health products from appalachia
4. Earlier this month, Chatter opened her own Etsy Shop - Apothecopie. This is what she had to say about it: 

"I started making soap as a hobby, but after researching skincare products as a whole I was shocked and saddened by the chemicals that are used. I decided to raid my cabinets and get rid of all the harmful products and gradually replace them with all-natural products. I quickly learned that all-natural products purchased at retail stores are expensive and in fact most of the time are not really all-natural. I decided I would start making my own all-natural products. My goal is to make simple skincare products, therefore keeping the price down and ensuring my products can be available to a wider audience. To me all-natural does not mean a bunch of fancy ingredients, it means simple recipes using quality materials. I believe that since our skin is our largest organ we can improve our health by simply being aware of what we put on it."

It’s Almost Time for School to Start

  Jenkins family Culberson NC
Geneaieve, Louzine (Granny), and Mary - Culberson NC

County Schools are gearing up to start a new school year. Most of the colleges in the area have already started their fall semester.

Even though I no longer have children in the K-12 school system, I still feel the excitement of getting ready for a new school year. I’ve been hearing other parents talk about buying school clothes and rounding up the supplies on the class lists for a few weeks now.

A few months ago the local school board published a book:  A 90 Year Historical Journey of the Cherokee County Board of Education February 11, 1926 – February 11, 2016 compiled by R. Gregory Chapman.

The book takes a fascinating look at the history of public education in Cherokee County NC. It brings to light many schools that no longer exist, most of which I’ve never even heard of.

Since 1859 there have been 75 established schools in the county. 

Soon after the book was published, Paul purchased a copy and while we were looking through it I was reminded of a story Granny told me about school.

Granny loved school like nobody you’ve ever seen. Homework was a joy for her-she couldn’t wait to get home and get her lessons each night.

When Granny was in third grade she went to Walker School (one of those 75 established schools-I've never heard anyone mention it but Granny). For homework her teacher asked her to make an apron. Granny wasn’t really capable of making the apron so Granny’s mother, Gazzie, helped her make it.

Granny didn’t want to go to school and admit her mother did her homework and she didn't want to lie about it either. Granny said she hardly slept a wink, tossing, turning, and worrying about what she was going to do. 

The next morning as Granny stood at the bus stop with her sister Geneaieve and her niece Mary she prayed something would happen to keep her from going to school that day.

As the bus came into view and begin to slow down for them to get on Granny dreaded seeing her teacher even more.

Just as they were about to step up on the bus the driver said “No school today girls. The school house burnt down last night.”

When Granny tells the story she says “Was I ever happy!” Of course she wasn't really happy the school burnt, but as a third grader who didn't want to lie or admit she couldn't complete her homework she did feel immense relief. 

After things were sorted out Granny’s school moved into the Ranger Church for a while and then into Colis Church which was on the road to Hiwassee Dam. By the time Granny was in 5th grade the Ranger School had been built and Granny finished out her elementary years there before moving on to Murphy High School.

If you’d like to purchase A 90 Year Historical Journey of the Cherokee County Board of Education February 11, 1926 – February 11, 2016 compiled by R. Gregory Chapman you can find it on Amazon here.

Tipper

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The Easiest Blueberry Pie and a Giveaway

  Easy blueberry pie

Mary Jo is my great aunt. She was Pap’s mother, Marie’s, sister. Mary Jo was one of the younger siblings and Marie was one of the oldest. That family logistic meant that Mary Jo was more Pap’s age than his mother’s.

Mary Jo used to hold the Elliott family reunion at her house every summer and one year she taught Granny to make a delicious apple pie that was quick and easy to make-go here to see the apple pie recipe.

The other day Miss Cindy brought me a bunch of blueberries.

Blueberries are my favorite fruit and let me tell you I can put them away-eating them by the handfuls throughout the day. But the amount Miss Cindy brought was unrealistic for even me to eat before they went bad. I was trying to think of a something to make with a few of them when I thought of Mary Jo’s Apple Pie. My next thought was why couldn’t I replace the apples with blueberries? I did and the pie was very good.

Blueberry pie -the easiest recipe

Tipper’s Blueberry Pie

  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ stick butter
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • 1 unbaked pie shell

Place blueberries in a small sauce pot with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for 5 minutes with lid on, checking to make sure they don't scorch. 

Pour cooked blueberries and liquid into an unbaked pie shell.

Melt butter, remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon plain flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a slightly beaten egg.

Pour mixture over blueberries. Bake in a 350 oven for 35 minutes.

Print Tipper's Blueberry Pie (right click to open link and print recipe)

Best recipe for blueberry pie

See my pretty pie server in the photo above? Its the Rada Pie Server.  This is what Rada says about it: 

"This stainless steel pie server is designed with a wide, serrated edge that makes it ideal for cutting and serving delectable desserts. Pies, round cakes, and other desserts are a snap to handle with this cutter pie server. The serrated pie server is also a must for serving pizza and quiches."

Rada was nice enough to send me a pie server to try out. The Deer Hunter and I have been married for over 20 years and this is the first pie server I've ever had. I guess I waited all those years to start with the best because the Rada Pie Server is better than any of the ones Granny ever had when I was growing up or the ones I've used at potluck dinners over the years. 

The nice folks at Rada generously offered a free Rada Pie Server to a Blind Pig and the Acorn Reader. To be entered in the giveaway for the pie server, all you have to do is a leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends Friday August 26. 

Jump over to the Rada site and look around. You can order directly from them-and if your kids or grand-kids are looking for a fundraiser for school events they can help you out with that too!

Tipper

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