Look the Beans

My life in appalachia look the beans

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

Look transitive verb To examine (food), inspect for dirt or foreign objects.
1982 Slone How We Talked 62 Some of the greens we used were not cooked, but eaten raw. They were "looked" (checked for bugs and rotting spots), washed, sprinkled with salt and wilted or "killed" by pouring real hot grease over them. 1990 Bailey Draw Up Chair 12 I told her, "Now you be sure to look the beans," 1933 Ison and Ison Whole Nuther Lg 40 Look the beans = to inspect dried beans or other food for foreign objects. 


2017 Brasstown "Why those beans were so pretty you didn't even hardly need to look them."


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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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Dinner Time in Appalachia

Silver queen corn in brasstown

"Yep, dinner at noon and supper late in the day.

My Grandma W. Cooked dinner everyday on the wood-burning cook stove. In summer she cooked by burning corncobs left from shelling corn for the livestock. Corncobs make a quick heat and burn out fast, letting the kitchen cool down a bit after cooking.

The meal is much as you described, the pork was grown, processed, and cured right on the farm. Much of what we ate was called side meat. It was greasy and it was quite tasty. The grease was saved to make lye soap.

Leftovers were sometimes put in a hollowed out piece of stone called the spring house. It was outside the smokehouse, about the size of a bathtub. No spring ran through it. We pumped cold well water to put in it. There was no electricity until well into the 1950s, then a refrigerator called a Crosley Shelvedoor assumed leftover duties.

Some leftovers stayed on the table til supper. After dinner everything was covered with a square white cloth, nothing fancy. I am guessing it was made from flour sacks, there were always seams in it.

In summer sliced tomatoes and fried corn were delicious additions to dinner."

June 2016 ~Eldonna Ashley 



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It's Lay By Time

Packsaddles hide in the corn and sting you

Lay by verb phrase To leave a crop to mature after hoeing it for a final time late in the summer. When a farmer has the crop "laid by," the labors of plowing, planting, and cultivating are over, and he can sit back until the crop is ripe. 1834 Crockett Narrative 154 Having laid by my crap, I went home, which was a distance of about a hundred and fifty miles. 1905 Cole Letters 80 Soon as crops is laid by if I live expecting to here from you soon I remain your son. 1953 Hall Coll. Bryson City NC The spring of the year come, why [Jake Welch, a neighbor] went to plowing and planting his corn, and beans, and potatoes, and things-cultivating that stuff at home. He'd take care of that ontil he got through and got his crop laid by. He'd generally get it done laying by corn in the latter part of July. (Granville Calhoun) 1955 Dykeman French Broad 322 The third or fourth week in August, when crops were "laid by" and "garden truck" was at its most plentiful, families within a radius of many miles put finishing touches on their arrangement to attend camp meetings. 1976 Carter Little Tree 90 "Laying -by" time was usually in August. That was the time of the year when farmers were done with plowing and hoeing weeds out of their crops four or five times, and the crops was big enough now that they "laid by," that is, no hoeing or plowing while the crops ripened and they waited to do the gathering. 1979 Smith White Rock 47 All cornfields were hoed at least three times; the last time was called "laying it by." 1995 Weber Rugged Hills 67 "Well," someone will say, "the corn is 'laid-by' for this year." What they mean is that there will be no more hoeing or cultivation. Crops are now tall enough so that they won't be crowded out by weeds. Any weeds growing in the rows will be left where they are. 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


We didn't plant any corn this year, but Granny has more than made up for it. She's planted corn at pretty much every corner of her garden and yard. Every time I think she's through with her corn planting she'll tell me she planted a few more little rows. None of her corn patches get enough sun so it's doubtful any of it will actually make, but she sure does like planting it and hoping it will. 


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How to say Completely in Appalachia

How to say completely in Appalachia
I was plumb happy that our friend David played our gig with us on Sunday

In Appalachia we have many ways to express completely or all the way

  • clean through: The bullet went clean through his hand and into his brother's back.  
  • done dead: The snake was done dead when I saw it.
  • plumb: I walked plumb up to the gap of the mountain.
  • eat up: She was eat up by bug bites.
  • slam up: I'd be covered slam up with bites too if I went traipsing around half naked. 
  • slap: She didn't get home till slap dark and I was worried to death.
  • pure out: That boy is pure out sorry. He's been that way since the day he was born I reckon.

 I'm sure you can think of more ways to express completely-leave a comment and share any you think of with us.


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Appalachian Vocabulary Test 101

Southern accents

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. Law: interjection or exclamation of surprise or admiration. "They law I ain't seen you ages! How in the world have you been? Come on in will you stay for supper?"

2. Law: federal or state law enforcement officer. "She was carrying on so that I reckon they had to call the law on her. Sad sad situation."

3. Least: smallest. "She had the least feet of any woman I ever saw. They were just like children's feet."

4. Let on: to pretend. "Let's let on like we didn't get him nothing for his birthday, then we'll send him in the back bedroom to find his present."

5. Lamp chimney: the glass globe of a oil lamp. "I was cleaning down at Granny's and I didn't mean to but I broke her best lamp chimney. She said it was okay, but I still feel bad."

All of this month's words except lamp chimney are common in my area of Appalachia. The only person I've ever heard use lamp chimney was Pap. 

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


p.s. Here's some sunshine from The Pressley Girls


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Grandaddy Longlegs

My life in appalachia - Granddaddies 

I call it a Granddaddy. Some folks call them Daddy Long-Legs or even Granddaddy Long-legs. When the girls were babies I didn't want them to be overly scared of creepy crawlies so when they pointed one out, I didn't make a big deal out of it even though I didn't like them myself.

Over the years I've wished more than once that I had passed my fears on to them. Like the time they brought me a handful of hairless baby mice they found in the wood pile or the time I saw two long kicking granddaddy legs sticking out of the corner of Chitter's mouth. I never found the rest of him I'm positive it's cause she ate him.

I've heard the story of the granddaddy being the most poisonous spider ever, but not being able to bite you because it's mouth is too small. You can go here to find out if it's true or not (it's not). Frank C. Brown's collection of North Carolina Folklore has this to say about Granddaddies:

7611 When ones cows have strayed from home they can be located by saying this to the granddaddy spider: "Granddaddy, Granddaddy where are my cows?" He will point one foot in the direction in which they are. 

I asked Pap if he'd ever heard of a granddaddy helping you find your cows. After he quit laughing he said no he must have missed that one.


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A Body

Its got to where a bodys got to lock the door

"It's got to where a body can't even leave the house without locking the door behind him."


body noun Someone, a person (often with reference to oneself), a term in common use among older speakers observed by Joseph Hall in the 1930s. (Note: the combining form -body is more prevalent than -one to form indefinite pronouns, thus anybody, everybody, somebody).

1895 Edson and Fairchild Tenn Mts 370 A body can't git along here. 1924 Spring Lydia Whaley 2 To know when soap is finished you cool it 'till a body can keep a finger in it. 1937 Hall Coll. Upper Cosby Creek TN Fever weed breaks the fever on a body. (Veenie Ramsey) 1939 Hall Coll. One-armed Jim is right feeble. I reckon a body'll find him dead somewheres. 1940 Haun Hawk's Done 48 There wasn't anything a body could say to Barshia that would do him any good 1962 Dykeman Tall Woman 93 When I brush his hair just right, a body would hardly notice. 1969 GSMNP-25:1:30 A body thought about it back then. 1989 Smith Flyin' Bullets 40 "A body never knowed when they just might come in the middle of the night," Delia said, "and drag ye out of bed, and take ye out to kill ye, fer no reason a'tall." 1997 Montgomery Coll. Could a body buy that there dog? How can a body live on such piddlin's? (Brown)
[cf Scottish usage: "If a body meet a body coming through the Rye"; DARE esp Midland]

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


The usage of the word body described in the dictionary entry is still alive and well in my part of Appalachia. 


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June = The Month for Weddings

  Wedding customs from appalachia
June is one of the most popular months for weddings. Appalachia has many interesting customs and sayings surrounding matrimony one of which is a shivaree.

A shivaree is a loud greeting given to newlyweds on their wedding night and includes banging, hollering, and serenading. Putting the couple in a wheel barrel and pushing them around is sometimes part of the fun as well. Over the years many of the traditions have fallen by the way and I don't know anyone personally who still observes the custom.

Pap and Granny dated a short three months before they ran off and got married. Granny tells that she was all for getting married, but after it was over she was deathly afraid to go home and face her mother.

When they told her mother, Gazzie, she warned Pap to be good to her daughter or else! He followed through on his promise to treat her right all the years they were married.

The Deer Hunter and I dated for four years before we took the plunge. We tease about how if feels like we've been married 40 years. It's actually been closer to 25. Our wedding was small and inexpensive. All these years later my favorite part of the wedding was using his grandparents rings as our wedding bands. 

A few other Appalachian customs or sayings concerning weddings:

  • If someone sweeps under your feet you'll never marry-I heard this one my whole life.
  • The couple jumps the broom after the service to signify crossing over from single life to married life.
  • The word courtin was used to describe a couple who were serious in their relationship and most likely headed for matrimony. When I was a teenager someone was always asking me if I was courtin yet.
  • This last one is for all you quilters. When young ladies gathered to put the finishing touches on a new quilt they each held a piece of the quilt and someone threw a cat onto the quilt. Whoever the cat jumped off closest to was the next girl to be married. 

Drop back by in a few days and I'll share what the Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English has to say about shivarees and if you'll hop over and visit Beth at Tennessee Mountain Stories you can read a great post about weddings in Appalachia. 


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing at Unicoi State Park this Saturday June 17 at 8:00 p.m. 

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