Granny's Lemonade

Growing up in Appalachia it was heaven on earth
Tipper and Paul - Summer 1970 something

The days have been hot here in Western North Carolina, especially for folks like The Deer Hunter who have to be out in it for most of the day working. The rest of our bunch only has to endure the heat by choice and can run back inside to the cool whenever the notion hits us. 

Growing up the summers seemed to stretch ahead for miles and miles. Once school was out Paul and I felt like we had years before we'd be forced back to early morning bus rides, school, homework, and teachers. Now the summers speed by at warp speed. As hot as it's been I've found myself thinking before I know it fall of the year will be here and I'll be getting out the sweaters and coats for us to pull on before heading out for our day.

The Deer Hunter knows the key to withstanding the heat is to keep hydrated. He drinks water by the gallons at work and at home. I try to keep him a jug of Granny's Lemonade in the frig at home so that he can enjoy a cold glass when he gets home of the evening. 

Granny didn't make lemonade often, so when she did the day seemed extra special. Paul and I would run around the kitchen hurrahing and clapping for the cold sweet glass that Granny sat on the table for us. 

Years ago, when I first decided to make a pitcher of Granny's Lemonade I called her and asked her for the recipe. She said "Lord I don't have a recipe. Just bring some sugar and water to a boil; cut some lemons and put them in your pitcher; pour the sugar water over them; fill the pitcher the rest of the way with water; and let it sit a while."

Easy lemonade recipe 
Hot summer days always take me back to bare feet, slamming screen doors, and Granny's Lemonade.

Tipper

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Watching You

Watching you all seeing eyes is watching you

I grew up singing about the all seeing eye in church and after I discovered how old it is, I'm betting Pap grew up singing about it as well.

The name of the old song I'm talking about is Watching You. It was written by John Melvin Henson and was copyrighted in 1915. Henson, who was born in 1887 in Curryville, GA, also penned Anywhere Is Home, I'll Live In Glory, and Happy Am I all of which are familiar hymns from my growing up years.

When I was researching the song, I was surprised to see more than a few folks thought it was intimidating. I was reminded of the time, Vicki Lane, one of my favorite writers, pointed out the fear in a different old gospel song-He Will Set Your Fields On Fire. When I first read her description I thought "Now that's one of the peppiest songs I know-it's not scary."

I popped in one of Pap's old cds and gave the song another listen, and decided that it could indeed cause fear, after all the song does have a strong warning of what will happen if one doesn't from sin retire-he will set your fields on fire.

I've struggled on more than one occasion to try to describe or explain the strange correlation between fear, religion, comfort, and Appalachia. 

In the same way the people of Appalachia were drawn to the old murder ballads that came along with them over the big pond I believe many of them were (and are) drawn to the gospel songs of dire warnings and consequences.

We filmed the video of Watching You way back in 2010. You'll notice both nephews are in the video. In those days they were picking and grinning with us every Sunday afternoon. (Mark is centered between Pap and Paul and Ben is the arm you see at the very beginning of the video)

 

Watching You is track 15 on Pap and Paul's recent cd Shepherd of My Soul. The cd contains 13 original songs written by Pap, 1 written by Paul, 3 gospel standards (one is Watching You), and one Instrumental Reprise of the first song on the cd. The cd is now available on CD Baby. You can download the entire cd or pick and choose-only purchasing the track(s) you prefer. Go here if you're interested. 

Tipper

p.s. The winner of the Songs of Christmas cd is Sheila Bergeron who said: This will be one of my favorite posts. I especially like when you talk about Granny and Pap. They're some good folks.

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Drawing Lightning

What will draw lightning
Photo Chitter snapped while standing on our front porch of a lightning strike

We've had afternoon thunderstorms for the last several days. I have been so very grateful for the rain and our garden has been too. Thursday afternoon a storm with heavy heavy rain hit at exactly 5:00-you know the time I get to walk across the parking lot and go home. As I waited around for the rain, lightning, and thunder to at least let up a little before I ventured outside I thought about Granny.

When Steve, Paul, and I were growing up, Granny had all kinds of admonitions about storms, specifically about lightning.

According to Granny you can't take a shower, talk on the phone, or run water when it is lightning. You also can't flush the potty or stand by a window.

And, at all costs, Granny said you should have shoes on even if your inside the house when its storming, and she means real shoes not some sort of flimsy house shoe.

Granny had so many warnings about lightning that Paul and I started making up our own.

Like:

  • don't stand on one foot and open the frig or it will draw lightning.
  • don't cross your right arm over your left arm while crossing your left leg over your right leg because it will draw lightning (obnoxious I know)

Silly or not Granny lives by her "lightning rules" and if you happen to be with her in a storm she'll make sure you do too.

Tipper 

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Faintified - Feeling Fainty

I feel fainty

faintified, fainty adjective Feeling suddenly weak or faint.
1952 Wilson Folk Speech NC 538 This hot, dry weather makes me feel sickly and faintified. 1967 DARE faintified = having a sudden feeling of weakness, when sometimes the person loses consciousness (Maryville TN); fainty = having a sudden feeling of weakness (Gatlinburg TN). 1995 Montgomery Coll. I'm a little fainty this morning (Cardwell).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

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Although I've felt fainty before, I've never actually passed out. 

Since The Deer Hunter and I never had our wisdom teeth surgically removed we knew very little about the procedure the girls underwent last week. We were totally amazed at the speed with which the teeth were removed and we were surprised that it could be done in a dental office. We wrongly assumed it would be out patient surgery in a hospital. 

The folks who took care of the girls had the process down pat. Kids were going through there like an assembly line on the morning Chatter and Chitter had their teeth out. Lucky for us, the girls were the first patients of the morning.

Chitter went first and seemed fully awake and alert by the time Chatter was finished and both girls were in the recovery area. After about 20 minutes of sitting with them, the nurse said we were ready to go.

While Chitter was talking up a storm, Chatter was still so drowsy I was worried about her and questioned whether we shouldn't stay just a little bit longer. The nurse assured me she was fine and after giving us a list of instructions she helped us out the back door and into the car.

I left worried about Chatter, but it was Chitter who scared us to death. 

We'd barely got back on the highway when Chitter said she thought she might be sick. I was in the backseat with her and as we headed for home she got paler by the second. Twice she leaned over and squeezed my knee with the scariest expression on her face which made me feel totally panicked.

We'd only gone about 2 miles when she said she had to stop and get out because something was wrong. The Deer Hunter pulled into the next gas station and opened the car door for Chitter in case she threw up. In a flash Chitter passed out cold on us. I said "Let's take her back! Let's take her back!" 

The Deer Hunter jumped back in the drivers seat and quickly headed us up the road.

Chitter came back around but kept telling us she couldn't see, that everything was white. I was practically sitting in her lap. I kept patting her face and telling her it was going to be alright.

By the time we pulled back into the dentist office her lips were white as snow leaving the rest of her face the color of ashes.

I ran inside and got one of the nurses, who calmly came out and helped Chitter back inside to a dental chair.

Chatter still wasn't talking, only staring around like a newborn baby. While I was grabbing my stuff she looked at me and said "No separate."

I knew that meant she didn't want to leave Chitter. I said "Yes you're going to separate! Your Daddy is taking you home, you got to take care of yourself and there ain't no where for you to lay down in there anyway." 

Once Chitter was laid back in the dental chair and covered up with a blanket her pretty lips became pink again and her skin gained back its youthful glow. The nurse said Chitter's blood pressure dropped really low, which can make you dizzy, nauseous, and even cause you to pass out. The drop did all three to Chitter. Although rare, the drop in blood pressure can happen after anesthesia is administered during dental surgery. 

Chatter made the trip home without incident. We had a friend staying with us so The Deer Hunter was able to leave her at home and come back and get us.

On the second try Chitter made it home without a hitch.

Later I asked Chitter why she kept squeezing my knee in the car. She said "I knew I was going to pass out, I could feel myself fading away and I thought if I held onto you I'd be holding onto consciousness." I said "Ah that was why your expression scared me so bad. You were conveying that strong feeling of need directly from your eyes to mine." We sometimes tease each other about having spidy senses-you know like spider man. Chitter's face alerted every motherly spidy sense in my body. 

The girls having their wisdom teeth surgically removed made me feel faintified. Actually I still feel fainty about the whole thing.

Tipper

p.s. Shane from the Southern Seed Legacy Project said Owl Produce Market on Asheville Highway in Canton, NC has local June Apples right now if folks are looking for them. He also said it's a great place to find out about lots of old family history and many heirloom tomatoes and beans.

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Tooth Pullers

Pap School Pic

Jerry Marshall Wilson - Pap

 

tooth drawers, tooth pullers noun A pair of pliers, often used to extract an aching tooth.
1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 34 He also owned the only "tooth pullers" in the settlement; a pair of universal forceps that he designed, forged, fired out, and wielded with barbaric grit. 1982 Slone How We Talked 104 Tooth pullers or tooth drawers. A kind of pliers made in the blacksmith shop. Mountain people endured a lot of pain, and had to. Each community had someone who owned a pair of tooth-pullers. I remember my father had some and kept them in the drawers of the sewing machine. Every few weeks someone would come with an aching tooth. Father would sit him down in a straight back chair, give him a good "swig"of whiskey, take one himself, and pull the tooth. The patient would wash out with another mouthful of moonshine, and they both went back to work. 1994-97 Montgomery Coll. tooth drawers I sent the daughter to borrow Frank's tooth drawers (Cardwell); tooth pullers (Adams, Brown, Cardwell, Jones, Norris, Weaver).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

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When Pap was about 13 years old he had horrible toothache, the kind that keeps you up at night. One morning just after dawn he decided he couldn't lay in that bed one more minute and suffer. He quietly slipped out of the house and headed over the mountain to see his Grandpa and Grandma who lived in Pine Log. As he reached their house the sun was coming up. 

Pap's Grandpa said the only way to fix the tooth was to pull it. He got a pair of pliers and tried to pull Pap's tooth. Pap said the tooth just wouldn't budge, but the pain was so bad he couldn't stand it and wanted that tooth out in the worst way.

His grandparents had an old sliver of mirror hanging outside where you could see to shave or comb your hair. Grandpa was afraid he'd hurt Pap if he pulled anymore so Pap decided he'd pull it himself. While looking in the mirror, he got the pliers around the tooth. Pap pulled as hard as he could for as long as could, which wasn't all that long because he passed out cold from the pain.

Pap's Grandpa and Grandma decided they didn't care what it took they were going to get this boy to the dentist-and they did. The dentist pulled the tooth and that ended Pap's horrible toothache. 

Tipper

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Sow True Seed Cucumber Reporting @ Large Update 2

Sow true seed marketmore cucumber

Sow True Seed Marketmore 76

Here's my latest update for the Blind Pig and The Acorn's Sow True Seed Cucumber Reporters @ Large project. 

Slicing Cucumber Muncher: We've never grown this variety before, and I'm not sure we will again. The muncher has produced great for us, but I don't think it has much flavor. 

Richmond Green Apple: I haven't harvest one of these yet. Weird it's like I didn't even plant them although I know I did. 

Marketmore 76: This one is described as one of the best all around cucumbers - even good for selling at the market. I've never grown it before either and like the muncher I haven't been very impressed by it. 

Boston: According to the description, this is the cucumber for pickling and I've already pickled some of them. Good producer with a good taste.

Bush Pickle: I grow this one every year because it produces great and tastes great. 

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

If you signed on to be a Cucumber Reporter @ Large send me an update when you get a chance and I'll share your report with everyone.

If you have a fool proof dill pickle recipe I'd love to have it. I've tried lots of recipes: ones that use a crock and ones that pickle in the jar. I haven't been pleased with any of them. The pickles either don't have enough flavor or get soggy or both!

Tipper

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It's True...The Pressley Girls Have Big Teeth

The pressley girls have big teeth 

The girls inherited my big Wilson teeth. I've known that since their first adult chompers came in.

Theirs seemed even larger than mine, because instead of their top front teeth coming in together or at least within a few weeks of each other, the girls each sported one big tooth on top for a good long time. The one large tooth hanging down in front of their smile looked so comical The Deer Hunter took to calling them The Tooth. 

The subject of teeth has been the most popular topic of conversation around the Blind Pig house over the last few weeks. The girls had their wisdom teeth removed...yep that's 8 wisdom teeth. The removals went mostly well and the girls are on the road to recovery. 

As we marveled at the speed of the procedure-under 45 minutes for each girl's 4 teeth, I was reminded of a story Pap told me about one of his friends. The incident took place many years ago.

One of Pap's friends went to Asheville to have his teeth pulled and be fitted with dentures. On his way home he had a flat tire. As he was bent over changing the tire someone came up behind him and pecked him on the shoulder. When he looked up a gentleman asked if he knew how to get to the apple orchard.

Having all your teeth pulled can cause quite a bit of bleeding and not wanting to spit blood by the man's feet, Pap's friend just shook his head no instead of trying to explain he wasn't from the area and didn't know where no orchard was. 

The gentleman went back to his car and Pap's friend got back to fixing the flat. A few minutes later the man came back and pecked him on the shoulder wanting directions to a different location. Pap's friend couldn't hold it in any longer and the blood spilled down both sides of his mouth as he tried to spit it out. The gentlemen started backpedaling and qickly ran for his car.

Later, as Pap's friend told him about the incident he said  "Why Jerry he thought I was one of those vampeers." Pap's friend was upset, because he'd worn his best white shirt and kept it perfectly clean until the man came around asking questions.

Drop back by in the coming days and I'll tell you more about the girls and share some tooth related Appalachian things with you. Oh and my statement about the girls having big teeth has now been verified by a professional, in the dental surgeon's words "They both had unusually large wisdom teeth."

Tipper

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Julia's Cucumber Salad

Easy cucumber salad with vinegar

During my lunch break a few weeks ago at work, Julia let me taste her cucumber salad. It was really good. I knew I had eaten the salad before at potlucks and maybe even at a restaurant, but somehow I had never thought about making it myself until I tasted Julia's. 

Easy cucumber salad vinegar onions sugar

Julia's Cucumber Salad

  • 2 medium cucumbers sliced thinly
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (more or less depending on your preference)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place cucumbers and onions in a bowl.

Mix all the other ingredients together until well combined and pour over cucumbers and onions. Toss the whole thing around a few times to evenly coat the cucumbers and onions. Chill in frig over night or at least a few hours to give the salad time to marry as The Deer Hunter says. 

I know this is a common summer salad with many different variations. If you make it with other ingredients or in a different manner please share your recipe-I'd love to try it too.

Tipper

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Oh When I See That Southern Moon

Paulpapblackwhitelarge_2

Paul and Pap's repertoire included many songs written by the The Delmore Brothers. The talented brothers were among Pap's all time favorite groups. He enjoyed their playing and thier harmony singing, but as a songwriter himself he was totally blown away by their song writing skills.

The Delmore Brothers were farm boys from Alabama. Their heyday was in the 1930s and 40s but their songs are still popular today, especially in bluegrass/old time circles.

The brothers played radio shows, were members of the Grand Ole Opry, and were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Even though I've been familiar with The Delmore Brothers my entire life as I began to research their songs I was amazed at how many famous standards they wrote.

A few I have on the radio player; Blow Your Whistle, When It's Time For The Whipporwill, Southern Moon Shine Down Again, Weary Lonesome Blues, Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar.

Others that come to mind include: Browns Ferry Blues, Midnight Special,  I Won't Be Worried Long, Sandmountain Blues, She Left Me Standing On The Mountain, Happy On The Mississippi Shore, Put Me On The Trail To Carolina, I've Got The Big River Blues, and tons more!

Paul and Pap's harmony on The Delmore Brothers song Southern Moon Shine Down Again is outstanding. 

Southern Moon written by Alton Delmore

Blue and lonesome 
Lonesome and sad
Longing for that south land
And the best times I have had

Oh when I see that southern moon
I want to croon a lonely tune
I want to meet my sweetheart there in the lane
Hear those fellows lonely refrain 
Oh southern moon shine down again

There I was happy
Nothing worried me
Southern moon was shining
Shining down on me 

Oh when I see that southern moon
I want to croon a lonely tune
I want to meet my sweetheart there in the lane
Hear those fellows lonely refrain 
Oh southern moon shine down again

Steamboat move me down the river 
Stop and wait for me
I will help you load your cargo
If you'll ride me free

Oh when I see that southern moon
I want to croon a lonely tune
I want to meet my sweetheart there in the lane
Hear those fellows lonely refrain 
Oh southern moon shine down again

 

I hope you enjoyed the video! Jump over to The Delmore Brother's website to read more about the song.

Tipper

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Black Racers and Hoop Snakes

King Snake in Appalachia

Last weekend Miss Cindy came over to visit, as she was leaving she found a snake on our front porch. We all ran out to see it and by then it had wedged itself between the stair runner and the wall. I said I bet it's after the baby birds. The Deer Hunter said it's just a King Snake leave it alone. Miss Cindy went on her way and we all went back the house. 

A few hours later Chitter discovered the snake was indeed after the baby birds. A few sprays from the water hose sent the snake off the porch into the yard and over the bank. 

I couldn't resist telling the girls "You better watch out it might be a hoop snake or a black racer." 

As long as I can remember I've heard stories about hoop snakes and black racers.

The gist of the hoop snake stories: a black snake loops itself into a hoop and then goes rolling after whoever disturbed it. Some versions claim hoop snakes have stingers on their tails to sting you.

The gist of black racer stories: a black snake races or chases you once its disturbed. Every time I think about a black racer I see a field of tall lush green grass with a jet black snake slithering through it at break neck speed. (break neck speed: is that a phrase you ever use?)

Along with hoop snakes and black racers, Appalachia also has stories about joint snakes. Although the stories aren't as common, the gist behind them is a joint snake can break itself into pieces and then put itself back together again. I guess the breaking of joints is a defense mechanism of sorts. 

Tipper

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