Rabies

Rabies in Appalachia

Rabies written by Larry Griffith

As a boy in the early 1950's I lived on Squirrel Run in Elliot Co. KY. It was called squirrel run because their were so many of them. A man by the name of Johnson lived on the farm in the 1870's and 1880's and paid a bounty on them because they were eating his crops. There is still plenty of squirrels and animals we didn't have back then like turkey, deer, coyotes, and an occasional bear. One thing we did have was mad dogs.

The old house we lived in sat high on one side and low on the other side with the windows low. It made you feel like something was going to jump through one of those low windows. Dad worked away in Detroit which left Mom, baby brother, a brother 1 yr. younger than me, and myself for Mom to take care of. Us boys were too young to be of help so everything fell on her.

My brother and me played out all the time. We really enjoyed gathering beech nuts, and storing them in the Doan pill containers, playing with the puppies, and running our tootle models. The tootle models were nothing but big brushy limbs we drug on the dirt road to make the dust fly. This is just a guess but we must have heard the older folks talk of T-model Fords. Another thing we did was pour sand down the yellow jacket nests. That was a sport to us, and sometimes we got stung. The best thing we had was our pet dog Ole Buddy. I believe he was part shepherd and was our constant companion.

At night dogs would get under the house and fight. Mom would take the little 22 single shot rifle and shoot through the floor. I don't know if she ever hit one, but they would leave. I remember one time her shooting at one out the front door with the single barrel 12 gauge. There was much rabies at the time.

Henry Salyers lived about half mile up the gravel road and he would come down of the mornings with his big double barrel shotgun and check things out. I don't remember him finding any dead dogs or mad dogs but his coming made us feel better.

Dad quit his job in Detroit and came home. He got a job cutting virgin white oak about 2 miles up the holler we lived in. Dad told me a few years ago that some of the white oaks were over 3 foot through.

One day the owner of the timber company, a preacher from TN, was driving down the holler and Mom waved him over to the house and gave him the shotgun and shells. Ole Buddy was mad. He shot and killed him there in the road while we watched. I think he was trying to drink out of a mud hole. Dad came home from work, took the shotgun and killed all the puppies. He wouldn't let us watch but we heard the shots.

All of us had to take rabies shots. I don't remember all the details, but we went many times to the doctor's office. The shots hurt and my brother and me tried to get away from the nurse, but they always caught us.

Oh, I just thought about the new dog Dad got us. He looked just like Ole Buddy and we named him Buddy too. He was an ill natured thing and wouldn't let you near him while eating and didn't want to be petted. He was not Ole Buddy!

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Larry sent me the story about Ole Buddy a few months back. I was reminded of it this past week when a friend's daughter was bit by a dog thought to be rabid. Not only do those shots hurt they are expensive too! I always heard a man down the road had rabies as a child and survived it. Most folks who told the story would end it by saying and that's why he's crazy as a loon.

I also read a scary account of a fox attacking a man who was sitting on his porch last week in GA. As violent as the attack was described I'm positive it would have killed a child or someone who was more feeble than the man who fought it off. 

Anothony Cavender offers the following information about rabies in the book Folk Medicine in Southern Appalachia.

"Many Southern Appalachians believed that snakes and dogs were particularly dangerous during the dog days of summer, when snakes became aggressive and dogs went mad. Remedies for snake and mad-dog bites were essentially the same. Magical cures for mad-dog bites were killing the dog, pulling out one of its teeth, and placing it under a rock; placing the hip bone of a deer on the wound; and killing a chicken, extracting its gizzard, and then hiding it. Another remedy was to kill the rabid dog and apply some of its hair to the wound (thus the phrase "hair of the dog that bit you," which is used today in reference to a hangover cure in which one drinks some of the same alcoholic beverage that one got drunk from). "

Tipper

p.s.

  • The Pressley Girls will be playing Friday May 26 at 5:30 on the square in Hayesville, NC.
  • The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday May 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater in Bryson City NC. The cost of admission is 10 dollars and all money raised will be used for maintenance of the Lauada Cemetery.
  • The Pressley Girls will also be performing Sunday May 28 at 2:00 p.m. in Blairsville GA at the Spring Arts and Crafts Festival. 

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Whippoorwills in Bellview

whipporwills 

 I grew up hearing Pap tell a very silly story about Whippoorwills.

In days gone by, the story was quite popular in our area. In fact the story was so popular a man came to record it straight from the source as they say. Pap was lucky to hear the story from the source and from the later recording. 

Old Man Jeff claimed to have been responsible for choking out  the Whippoorwills in Bellview (a local community). Pap said back then Whippoorwills were so plentiful that fox hunters said they interfered with their hunting.

Old Man Jeff and his brothers were out fox hunting one night and the Whippoorwills were so loud they couldn't hear the dogs running. Old Man Jeff told one of his brothers to pull out his shirt tail and tie a knot in it-to choke the Whippoorwills. As soon as he tied the knot the birds quietened a bit. Old Man Jeff told him to tie another one and the birds got even quieter! Old Man Jeff instructed his brother to tie one more knot and as he tied the last knot all the Whippoorwills fell out of the tree dead and there hasn't been a Whippoorwill in Bellview since!

The story or should I say "tall tale" is funny enough, but Pap says the recording was even funnier.

At the end of the recorded story you can hear a lady say "Anybody who'd believe that is standing on their head!" The interviewer asks who the lady is and Old Man Jeff says "That's my crazy old woman she don't believe nothing!"

I love hearing the call of the Whippoorwill. The sound is kind of eerie and lonesome. Seems each year I hear them less. In some areas the Whippoorwill population has been decreased by as much as 80%-not because of someone choking them out with their shirt-tail, but by the continued spread and sprawl of people.

Tipper

p.s.

  • The Pressley Girls will be playing Friday May 26 at 5:30 on the square in Hayesville, NC.
  • The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday May 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater in Bryson City NC. The cost of admission is 10 dollars and all money raised will be used for maintenance of the Lauada Cemetery.
  • The Pressley Girls will also be performing Sunday May 28 at 2:00 p.m. in Blairsville GA at the Spring Arts and Crafts Festival. 

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Kraut

Old timey kraut

kraut
A noun Sauerkraut, widely made in the mountains, stored in barrels and kept for winter consumption. The food is the most significant German contribution to mountain cuisine, and the term is one of the very few from German in the mountain vocabulary.
1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 289-90 In the vocabulary of the mountaineers I have detected only three words of directly foreign origin. Doney is one. Another is kraut, which is the sole contribution to highland speech of those numerous Germans (mostly Pennsylvania Dutch) who joined the first settlers in this region, and whose descendants, under wondrously anglicized names, form to-day a considerable element of the highland population [note: sashiate is the third word, according to Kephart]. 1939 Walker Mtneer Looks 3 The German word kraut survived, for the obvious reason that there was no equivalent in the technical vocabulary of the Scotch-Irish housewife. 1960 Mason Memoir 15 The barrels were utilized as containers for the storage of such mountain comodities [sic] as saur kraut, pickled beans, bleached apples, and pumpkin butter. 1962 Hall Coll. Newport TN A pregnant woman will spoil kraut or [the] mash for a run of liquor...A woman, when her menstrual period is on, when she makes kraut, it'll rot. (Burl McGaha) GSMNP-80:15 We would put a cloth over the kraut now and pickled beans, and we'd put this big plank and then we'd hunt and get us a big heavy rock, wash hit off right clean and put it on the plank and that would mash it down in below kraut, and that's how we would have it, you know, the kraut and pickled beans, [and] you know that kraut was so good we would just go get us a handful, squeeze the juice out and just eat a handful. 1977 Madden and Jones Mt Home 27 Pickled beans and kraut were kept in large stone crocks in the spring-house. 
*B verb To make sauerkraut of.
1917 Kephart Word-list 413 I don't do like old Mis' Posey, kraut my cabbage whole. 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

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More than a few interesting tid-bits in the definition for kraut from the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English.

I wonder if Kephart's statement about the three words is true? And I wonder what in the heck sashiate means?

I've always heard a woman who is menstruating can't help put up kraut or pickled beans and corn, but never heard about it effecting liquor. And I've never heard anything of the sort said about a pregnant woman.

Papaw Tony said his mother would make several crocks of kraut each year. She would can the kraut as a crock made, but she left the last run of the year and they would eat that crock before using the canned kraut. Papaw's mother krauted the core of the cabbage to. Similar to the person in the definition, Papaw would sneak and stick his dirty little hand down in the crock and dig around until he found a core to eat. 

I can't imagine krauting a whole cabbage-I wonder if it would work?

I'll leave you with a few kraut posts from the archives of the Blind Pig and The Acorn

Tipper

p.s.

  • The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday May 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater in Bryson City NC. The cost of admission is 10 dollars and all money raised will be used for maintenance of the Lauada Cemetery.
  • The Pressley Girls will also be performing Sunday May 28 at TBA in Blairsville GA at the Spring Arts and Crafts Festival. 

 

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Sing that one about that Ole Boy that went and got in Trouble

The Pressley Girls If it hadn't been for Love

The Pressley Girls - Fall 2016 Marble, NC

We've been learning the Steeldrivers song If it hadn't been for Love for the last two years. It's an awesome song and man did the Steeldrivers do an amazing job on it. Their version is just wow.

The girls and I thought we'd never get the hang of the song, but Paul kept encouraging us and Pap said Paul and the girls' three part harmony really made the song come alive so we kept at it.

We didn't even know Granny had noticed the song until one day she said "Sing that one about that o'le boy that went and got hisself in all that trouble in Birmingham and Louisiana." 

Every time we practice Granny makes us sing If it hadn't been for Love before we quit. 

Paul put up the video below a couple weeks back. It's full of mistakes-Chitter swaps two of the lines and Chatter says the wrong word at some point, but the video still ended up with a good feel to it. We filmed it just before Christmas and if you watch the bloopers at the end you can see it was a stormy day with the lights trying their best to go off. 

I hope you enjoyed Granny's favorite song. 

Tipper

p.s. Today is the last day to enter the book giveaway-go here if you missed it. 

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Funny Rabbits

My life in appalachia - Rabbits

Chitter snapped this picture out her bedroom window.

Mr. Cottontail pranced back and forth so long that we decided he must have been posing for her or laughing at us because he just ate the tops off all of my beans. 

I tried to remember all the rabbit folklore I knew to share with you, but only 2 things came to mind: the obvious a lucky rabbit foot; and you shouldn't kill rabbits to eat until after the first few heavy frosts in fall to make sure any wolves (parasites) on the rabbit are gone.

I checked with Frank C. Brown to see if he had any good ones to add:

  • A rabbit cannot be trapped in a new box trap-you must use old boards to make the box
  • If a rabbit being chased by dogs stops and licks his paws-the dogs will never find him (I know a beagle down the hill who would disagree with this one)
  • Seeing a rabbit while fishing is bad luck
  • On the first day of the month say Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit and you'll get a present before you know it (I hope all of you will be saying Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit with me on June 1)

Seeing Mr. Cottontail out Chitter's window reminded me of some of her silly videos from snap chat that make her look like a rabbit. 

Click on the video to start it and then click on it again to end it. 

 Aren't I just a pretty little rabbit? I think my ears are to big though. So I'm thinking about having just a little bit of bunny botox!

I'm just a little rabbit. They told me I could be anything. So do you know? Do you know what I said? I said, bite like a spider, run and sting like a rabbit!

Let me tell you something in rabbit world. I just saw my best friend Benny's foot hanging on a chain in a little treasure shop. That's messed up its not lucky for the rabbit!

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Hope you enjoyed the silliness and if you've got any other rabbit folklore please share it.

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing TODAY Saturday May 20, 2017 @ 2:00 p.m  at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center - Robbinsville NC and Sunday May 21, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m. at Mount Moriah Baptist Church - Murphy NC. Their summer is schedule is filling up-to see a complete list of performance dates go here. If you make it out to any of the shows please come up and say hello!

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Mountain Ivy = Mountain Laurel = Rhododendron

Mountain ivy in western north carolina

ivy noun
(also ivy bush, ivy tree) The mountain laurel tree (Kalmia latifolia). Same as calico bush, mountain ivy.
1883 Zeigler and Grosscup Heart of Alleghanies 196 The arborescent kalmia and rhododendron, which grow along almost every mountain stream, have a practical use. The ivy and laurel, as they are locally called attain, in some of the fertile coves, a diameter of three inches, and the roots are even larger. 1928 Galyon Plant Naturalist 7 Mountain laurel, known to the mountaineer as "ivy," reaches its maximum development in the Smokies. It is not unusual to find arborescent laurels one foot or more in diameter and many feet high. 1982 Stupka Wildflowers 80 Usually the attractive pink or white-saucered flowers are so abundant that the mountain laurel in full bloom is one of our most spectacular plants. It flowers in May and June, the later blossoms ordinarily occurring on plants growing in the higher altitudes. "Ivy" and "calico-bush" are among its other names. 1997-2001 Montgomery Coll. ivy bush (Cardwell); ivy tree (Brown).

laurel noun Cf rhododendron. 
A variant form larel.
1939 Hall Notebook 13:1 White Oak NC larel (Fay Leatherwood)
B (also laurel bush) The mountain term for evergreen rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum and Rhododendron catawbiense), which grows profusely at elevations below 5,000 feet and covers extensive tracts in thicket. Also used in compounds (as flat laurel, laurel bed, laurel patch, laurel slick, laurel thicket, mountain laurel) and in place names.
1890 Carpenter Thunderhead Peak 142-43 There for the first time we saw the tangle of rhododendron which is called "laurel," and forms a dense thicket along all the mountain streams. 1937 Hall Coll. Cosby Creek TN We have white laurels and red laurels here in the mountains. (James Benson) 1939 Hall Coll. Deep Creek NC They fought right down to the foot of the ridge into the flat laurel and commenced barkin'. I though [the bear] was treed. (Mark Cathey) 1974 Underwood Madison County 9 Roderick Shelton and his descendants peopled the area now known as Shelton Laurel. 

~Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

Ivy blooms in the mountains

I have one more quote for you.

Dykeman The Tall Woman Pg 304 I've always thought the ivy was about the prettiest thing growing here, the way it clings to the mountains, the way it comes in the cutover places and covers up the scars with blooms in spring. 

As I look at the ridge above our house I so agree - the Ivy is about the prettiest thing growing here.

Tipper 

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday May 20, 2017 @ 2:00 p.m  at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center - Robbinsville NC and Sunday May 21, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m. at Mount Moriah Baptist Church - Murphy NC. Their summer is schedule is filling up-to see a complete list of performance dates go here

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Appalachian Vocabulary Test 100

Old words used in the mountains of appalachia

The Deer Hunter and Pap talking over the garden - 2012

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.

 

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1. Keen: to wail; sharp or high voice; sharp piercing eyes. "He has a keen voice. When he gets excited his voice just gets higher and higher!"

 

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2. Knob: a high point on a mountain ridge. "He said he jumped the biggest bear you ever saw up on Mary Mason Knob. I didn't even know there were any bear around here, but that's what he said."

3. Knotty head: small fresh water fish; same as a hornyhead. "Back in the day when I worked at Lake Logan in Haywood County a knotty head jumped into one of the row boats. It was making such a racket that the other girls and I were afraid to go see what it was."

 

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4. Kernel: a swelled lump underneath the skin. "I'm taking Tommy to the doctor first chance I get. He's got a kernel the size of your thumb under his arm. Hal says it ain't nothing but I'm worried about it."

 

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5. Kerslunge: splash; plunge. "She was going across the foot-log in them slick shoes and kerslunge! She went right off in the deepest side of the creek. I know it embarrassed her to death."

 My thoughts on this month's words:

  • Keen: I can just hear Pap describing somebody's high keen voice. I've also heard the word used to describe somebody's eyes, but probably the most common usage I've heard is a keen hickry.
  • Knob: This one seems so common that I can't believe it is used mostly in Appalachia, but it was in the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English so maybe it is?
  • Knotty head: hornyhead is much more common in my area.
  • Kernel: I've heard Pap and Granny use kernel to describe a growth that comes up under the skin, but not really anyone else.
  • Kerslunge: Pap is the only person I've ever heard use kerslunge, but what a word! It sounds like what it means. I was tickled pink to see it in the dictionary.

Did you notice this is my 100th Appalachian Vocabulary Test? Wow I can hardly believe it. I only share one a month, so that's quite a few years worth. Seems like I ought to do something special for number 100 so I think I will!

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Southern Mountain Speech by Cratis D. Williams. *Giveaway ends Sunday May 21.

Hope you'll leave me a comment and tell me how you did on the test!

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday May 20, 2017 @ 2:00 p.m  at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center - Robbinsville NC and Sunday May 21, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m. at Mount Moriah Baptist Church - Murphy NC. Their summer is schedule is filling up-to see a complete list of performance dates go here

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The Mountain Ivy is Blooming

Mountain ivy



Over the past week, the Ivy around my house has started to bloom. If Ivy makes you think of the green vine that often overtakes everything in it's path then you may be wondering why in the world I think mine is blooming. 

I'm talking about the bush like tree you see in the photo above.  All my life I've heard it called Ivy. Sometimes Mountain Ivy but mostly just Ivy. The correct name for it is Mountain Laurel.

Mountain laurel in appalachia

But this is what we call Mountain Laurel or in most cases just Laurel. Can you see the difference from the first photo? Notice the leaves are longer, thinner, and a brighter green. The blooms are different too. The real name for this one is Rhododendron.

 To make things even more confusing Ivy and Laurel often grown side by side. 

Blooming Ivy Bush or Blooming Ivy Tree

Ivy

In places Ivy and Mountain Laurel grow so dense and thick that they are called "hells". I've read accounts which claim the first men who surveyed the lines between NC and TN encountered Ivy and Laurel Hells so thick that they placed boards on top of them and walked across instead of attempting to go through them. Sounds like a tall tale, but who knows maybe it's true.

Mountain Laurel and Mountain Ivy

Tipper - Just after we moved into the house Pap built
 
One of the best play houses I had as a kid was right in the middle of a giant old Laurel that had Ivy growing around it's edges. The Ivy and Laurel were already there just waiting for Pap to build a house and for a little skinny girl to take over their branches and dark leafy floors.

Blind Pig reader, Bob Dalsemer, once shared a quote about Ivy from renowned ballad collector Cecil Sharp with me:

"... it is quite in accordance with the habit of the mountaineer to call things by their wrong names, e.g. Laurel for Rhododendron; Ivy for Laurel; Vine for Ivy; Biscuit for Scone, etc." 

For me-Mountain Laurels will always be Ivy and Rhododendrons will always be Laurels even if the names aren't right.

Drop back by in a few days and I'll share the dialect documentation from the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English about Ivy and Laurel.

Tipper 

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5 Things

Blacksmith class at JCCFS in Brasstown NC
1. The Deer Hunter got to take a blacksmithing class at the John C. Campbell Folk  School and boy did he enjoy himself! He made hooks and fire pokers to get the hang of things and then he got to make what he wanted to: a knife, a fire starting striker, and a blanket pin. 

How to know when you need new boots
2. I've always teased The Deer Hunter about how hard he is on clothing and footwear. I tell him he'd be a great test dummy for some company that makes shoes and clothes for the working man. Thankfully he's also ingenious about getting every last bit of use out of the things he wears. Case in point: the sheet-rock screws that are holding the soles onto his boots.

Jim and jesse videos on the cell phone

3. Paul looking up an old Jim and Jesse song for us to learn on his smart phone made me smile. 

Ben meets Del McCoury

Del McCoury and my nephew Ben

4. I've been a Del McCoury fan for the last 20 years. One time my nephew Ben ran into Mr. McCoury at a rental car place somewhere up north. When Ben sent us the photo above it tickled Pap to death-well actually it did me too. Last week Ben emailed me to say he Del McCoury would be playing just up the road in Hiwassee GA later this year and that we should get tickets to go. I've seen The Del McCoury Band before and they put on a great show. Ben's email reminded me of 2 of my all time favorite Del McCoury songs: Mill Towns and Let An Old Racehorse Run. (click on the song titles to go listen to them)

Yellow Violets in Appalachia

5.  The tall yellow violets that grow wild in the woods surrounding my mountain holler always make me think of stately ladies watching over the forest to make sure all is well. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday May 20, 2017 @ 2:00 p.m  at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center - Robbinsville NC and Sunday May 21, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m.  at Mount Moriah Baptist Church - Murphy NC. Their summer is schedule is filling up-to see a complete list of performance dates go here

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Our Mother's Day Meal

Favorite foods from Appalachia

Yesterday we cooked a Mother's Day supper for Granny and Miss Cindy. As I was cooking, I wondered if there was anything that I could snap a few photos of and share the recipe with you. 

While I was wondering I was reminded of the bit Grandpa Jones did on Hee Haw  "What's for Supper?" A little googling around turned up this video and led me to discover someone has created a Facebook page dedicated to the man and the bit, Grandpa Jones, What's for Supper?

Here's we had:

  • Baked pork roast with potatoes and carrots 
  • Sweet corn from the freezer that we put up last summer
  • Deviled eggs 
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Miss Cindy's homemade bread
  • Homemade sponge cake with strawberries and whipped cream

Turns out I've already shared 4 of the things we made for our Mother's Day Supper. You can click on the links below to see the post and the recipe for some of our favorite things to eat.

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing Saturday May 20, 2017 @ 2:00 p.m  at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center - Robbinsville NC and Sunday May 21, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m.  at Mount Moriah Baptist Church - Murphy NC