He Threw a Donnick at me!

  Donnick is an old word for a rock

dornick noun A rock or stone small enough to be thrown. 
1975 Gainer Speech Mtneer 9 = a stone small enough to b thrown. "He hit him with a dornick." 1997 Montgomery Coll. = pronounced donnick, usually thrown at livestock to make them move (Hooper).
[< Irish Gaelic dorno´g/Scottish Galic Doirneag < dorn "fist"; cf SND dornack]

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


A week or so ago Jim Casada left the following comment:

Tipper--Bill B.'s usage of chunk, and someone else mentioned it as well, falls in my main linkage to the word.

I wonder if anyone among your readers is familiar with one of the things that I regularly chunked; namely, a donnick.

I heard that word used regularly as a kid, but other than personally using it in writing a few times, I don't recall encountering it in years.

A typical usage would be something like: "If you don't leave me alone I'm going to pick up the biggest donnick I can throw and chunk it at your head."

I was intrigued by Jim's comment so I looked in my dictionary and there the word donnick was! Even though the entry is spelled slightly different (see above) the definition notes it is pronounced the same as in Jim's comment. 

I have never heard the word, but The Deer Hunter said it was common when he was growing up in Haywood County NC. 

How about you-have you ever the word donnick?


p.s. Up coming performances for The Pressley Girls 

  • May 28, 2016 @ 2:00 p.m. Memorial Day Arts and Crafts Festival Blairsville, GA (inside the historic Courthouse)
  • May 28, 2016 @ 5:15 p.m. Relay for Life Blairsville, GA Farmers Market
  • May 29, 2016 @ 11:00 a.m. Valley Town Baptist Church Andrews, NC
  • June 3, 2016 @ 7:00 p.m. John C. Campbell Folk School Brasstown, NC
  • June 4, 2016 @ TBA Art Walk Festival Murphy, NC
  • June 5, 2016 @ 10:00 a.m. Decoration Shady Grove Baptist Church Ranger, NC

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Appalachian Sayings - Spitting Image

The Pressley Girls and Pap
Chitter, Pap, and Chatter 

spitting image = looks just like someone

There are lots of folks who can't tell the girls apart, don't feel bad if you're one of them. Most of the time folks who are around them often pick up on the differences in their personality and use those nuances to tell which one is which. However there are a few people who have trouble distinguishing between the two even though they're around them on a regular basis.

On the other hand, I've never thought they looked that much alike. I will admit, when I look at photographs of them I do see the startling similarities that are found in twins.

From the very first day I laid my eyes upon them I saw Chatter as being the spitting image of her Daddy and Miss Cindy. Chitter on the other hand was a Wilson up one side and down the other as they say.

Today, I still see the family genetics clearly showing themselves in the same manner when I look at the girls.

I've always thought Chitter especially looked like Pap through the brow of her face. After Pap passed away we collected photos to share with folks at the funeral. Ben noticed that Pap had his eyebrow cocked in the same position in most every photo. I said "That's it! Chitter does her eyebrow just like that sometimes!! That's why I always think she looks like Pap!" Another time I think Chitter looks just like Pap is when she squints her eyes. 

We all see things differently though.

Even though I believe Chatter gets her looks from her Daddy's family, Pap always said Chatter reminded him so much of his grandmother Carrie. One time Zelma Mason, who lived down the road, told me the same thing about Chatter-she said "That one is the spitting image of your great grandmother Carrie."

spitting image = looks as if the child were spit from their mouth


p.s. On the day the photo above was taken the girls played at a 9-11 Service. There was even a camera crew there to film part of it for NC Public TV. Chatter got her guitar some kind of all messed up and out of tune. Pap swooped in tuned the guitar and told the girls not to be nervous cause he'd be right there in the front if they needed anything-in other words his helpful and encouraging manner saved the day as it so often did. 

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing this Saturday May 21 at 3:00 p.m. at the Stecoah Valley Center

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Appalachian Sayings - Conniption Fit

Conniption fit

conniption fit = an angry tirade


Usually someone either pitches a conniption fit, throws a conniption fit or has a conniption fit. I've always been too backward to pitch a conniption fit in public...but I sometimes pitch them in my mind. 


p.s. A lot of folks have been asking if The Pressley Girls have any shows booked for this summer. The answer is YES! You can see the list on their website here. If you make it out to one of the shows please come up and say hello, we would love to talk to you. 

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Appalachian Vocabulary Test 88

Appalachian vocabulary test do you know these words

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

 Take it and see how you do!

  1. Case knife
  2. Chinkiepin
  3. Chock full
  4. Chunk 
  5. Cobbled up

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

1. case knife: butter knife. "When you get up, get me the butter and a case knife."


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

2. chinkiepin: a small tree related to the American Chestnut with small round dark brown nuts. "When I was a little girl people always told me I had chinkiepin eyes."


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

3. chock full: full to overflowing. "She left the bathtub stopped up and the water running while she was messing with that phone. I mean it was chock full when I went in there and found it."


A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

4. chunk: to feed a fire with wood. "Don't forget to chunk the fire when you get home or the house will be cold when the kids get home from school." (*as you can see I was thinking of one definition for chunk and my friend was thinking of another)



A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

5. cobbled up: poorly constructed; rickety. "He built her house, but it was so cobbled up I heard you had to scotch things in place to keep them from rolling away on the floor."


All of this month's words are fairly common in my area of Appalachia, how about where you live?


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Green Up Time

Green up in spring

"Have you noticed? It's greening up!" That was a common expression among my Scots-Irish folks in the mountains of Choestoe Community, Union County, Georgia. I like the time of early spring, even maybe seeing some green-up happen when frosts and/or snow still threaten. One year in May, my father had his fields of corn planted and the rows looked lush with green-up growth, the plants abundant, an inch or two high. Then a hard freeze--frost and maybe even snow--came to obliterate the green. The whole field had to be planted again after the cold snap passed. That's part of the unpredictability of spring weather in our beloved mountain area. Green up can occur early; and then have to burst forth again."

~ Ethelene Dyer Jones 2015


I have heard the phrase green up used to describe the greening of spring my whole life. The Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English has this entry for green up:

green up, green-up time noun Springtime.
1976 Dwyer Southern Sayin's 23 = springtime. "It's comin' green up." 1991 Haynes Haywood Home 56 Springtime, just at green-up time, was the time for making popguns and willow whistles....It's the time when buds come on the willows and elders along the branches and creeks and their bark gets loose.  


Every Spring I wish that I could put my finger on the exact moment green up magically occurs. I know it's not an instantaneous thing, instead it happens in small increments until finally it arrives. 

Green up happened sometime since Pap's passing last week. As I looked out my car window this morning I thought "The world is green again." And it is. 


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Appalachian Sayings - Hemmed and Hawed

Hemming and hawing appalachain saying

Quit hemming and hawing and play something!


If you look in the dictionary for hem and haw you'll find Chatter and Chitter's photograph as the example. Those girls hem and haw before they do anything and their hemming and hawing is always accompanied by a whole lot of talking.

I was thinking the saying hem and haw was an Appalachian saying, but turns out it has a much wider scope than that. You can go here to read about the history of the phrase.

Hem and haw is still alive and well in my neck of the woods how about where you live?


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Do You Know What the Word Make Means?

Use of the word make in appalachia

Jan Sullivan left the following comment on yesterday's April in Pigeon Roost Post:

"I love the Foxfire books, and I got them for my mother as presents as she got very old. She enjoyed them also. Sassafras had to be had in early spring because it was a blood tonic to build up your blood for all the work to be done according to my grandmother. I also remember making lye soap and helping my grandmother wash clothes in a big iron pot in the back yard. Papa's flannel's in the spring turned the water all red. It was a hot job. We used a washboard, and carried water from a creek. Hard job then, but good memories now! The other day, at the doctor, I mentioned I was concerned with all the weather change, warm and then freeze, that my garden plants might not "make". Then I had to explain what make meant to the doctor. Anyone else use that word? Everyone have a wonderful spring with all the birds, flowers, crops, kids, and families. Jan"

After reading her comment, I thought the usage of the word make in Appalachia would make a great post. A little later in the day Ed Ammons summoned up the word usage for me in another comment:

In reference to the use of the word "make" in Jan's comment, I have heard and used it all my life. You don't grow a garden you make it. If your peppers grow pretty plants, like mine did last year, but nothing grew on them, your peppers didn't make. If your corn makes but the stink bugs get more than you do that's a different story.
The same usage applies in putting up food. If your jelly don't set, you say it didn't make. If your kraut smells like feet, it didn't make. You have to shake the jar forever before the butter makes.

"Ain't you gonna make a garden this year?"
"I tried last year but the only thing that made was the weeds."
"I know what you mean. I planted some late beans but the frost got them before they could make."

I'm very familiar with all the the uses for the word make that Jan and Ed describe. Here a few more common usages:

make - train to be or become. "I'd like to see my boy make a teacher. All the kids round here just love him."

make - to use in place of. "I'd make that old bowl for a flower pot if I was you."

make - to determine in one's mind. "She said she made it in her mind that she would finish school no matter what come along."

make up - to collect an item. "They're going to try and make up the money to fix the roof at next week's benefit."


p.s. The winner for the dvd of my favorite Blind Pig videos is...Cullen in Clyde who said:

"Seems the more water over the dam, the more things seem to be connected; more things AND more connected. Thanks for sharing these."

Cullen send me your mailing address and I'll send you the dvd!

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I Love Popcorn!

This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn in 2011.

Easy way to pop corn 
I love popcorn. I remember when I was little Granny would pop it in one of her big stock pots on top of the stove. A few years later she got an electric popper. It was light beige-like a tall cylinder. The popper had this little impression on the top where you could put a pat of butter. The heat from the popping corn was supposed to melt the butter allowing it to drip evenly over the popped corn, only it never worked like that.

I can't remember the first time I saw or ate microwave popcorn. I do know I've eaten my fair share of the stuff and enjoyed every bite of it even though I've always heard microwave popcorn isn't very healthy. 

How to pop old fashioned popcorn in the microwave 

Several years ago, while blog hopping, I discovered you could make your own bag of microwave popcorn. All you need is popcorn and a paper bag. A paper lunch bag works perfectly.

When I first started making my own microwave popcorn I fiddled around with the amount of corn and the amount of time needed to cook the corn until I found what worked for my microwave. I put 1/4 cup of popcorn into the bag and fold down the top 2 or 3 times and cook it for 1:46 minutes on high. Once the corn is popped you can add melted butter, salt, or other condiments.

You can re-use the bag over and over until it finally gives out. 

Easiest way to pop popcorn 

If you like popcorn and you use microwaves, give this method a try. You may have to adjust the amount of corn and/or the amount of cooking time till you find what works best for you. Making your own microwave popcorn is much much cheaper than buying the pre-packaged stuff.


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Appalachian Vocabulary Test 87

I am proud of my appalachian language

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

 Take it and see how you do!

  1. Brogan
  2. Braggety
  3. Bounden to
  4. Botherment
  5. Boogerman 

A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

 Brogan: a coarse heavy shoe; a work boot. "He come stomping in here with his ole brogans on and left mud all through the house!"



A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

 Braggety: boastful; self important. "That man ain't nothing but braggety! Every time his mouth opens he's telling about how good he is at something."



A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

Bounden to: obligated; to be certain. "They're bounden to know we'd help them if they'd only let us."



A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

Botherment: a nuisance. "Having to go to the tag office ever year and stand in line ain't nothing but a botherment to me!"



A video posted by Tipper (@blindpigandacorn) on

Boogerman: the Devil. "You better straighten yourself right up and I mean it! The boogermans gonna get you if you keep acting ugly."

All of this month's words are still very commonly used in my part of Appalachia. What about where you live?


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Do You Know What a Brush Arbor is? Cause Chitter don't!

Brush arbor in appalachia
Photo from Fentress County Family Photos

brush arbor noun A frame shelter, sometimes temporary, constructed of vertical poles secured in the ground and supporting a series of large, horizontal limbs on which fresh brush and smaller limbs are placed. The structure, usu adjacent to a church or cemetery, provides shade and shelter for preaching and worshipers, esp during the late-summer revival season. 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Sometimes when I get an old Appalachian word, phrase, or piece of folklore on my mind I'll test it out on the girls to see if they know what it means. Sometimes they quickly tell me the answer letting me know the piece of heritage has made it down to their generation. Sometimes they don't have a clue what I'm talking about and that always makes me a little sad. 

The other day I had brush arbors on my mind so I yelled down the hallway and asked the girls if they knew what a brush arbor was. Chatter said nope she didn't have a clue. Chitter said "Of course I know what it is." I said "Well what is it?' She said "Its when a bunch of churches get together and burn brush." The Deer Hunter and I are still smiling about that answer!

In today's Appalachia the brush arbor revival has been replaced by tent revivals. They usually have a rather large one in Andrews each year. Even though the service is held in a tent I still hear folks refer to it as the brush arbor meeting.


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