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My Mamaw was a dour woman, although we could always make her laugh when we were little. She came to live with my folks, and she didn't always see eye to eye with my mother (her daughter-in-law) who loved "the arts". The first time she saw a ballet on TV at our house, Rudolph Nureyev was dancing and when she saw him leaping around she shook her head and said "Well, he's just showin' out." She also "warshed, renched and dreened" her dishes. She made the very best chocolate pie I've ever eaten and I do miss her. She was almost 98 when she died 22 years ago.

Granny is always worrying about somebody taking a bad cold. Today the girls went to the gym to swim and Granny is convinced they will be sick. She said "Nobody ought to swim in the wintertime." I said "It's inside they have a dome they cover the pool with during the winter. It keeps it really warm." She said "That don't matter nobody ought to go swimming in the winter or they'll take a bad cold."

Oh my, oh my, such a host of spunky grandmothers remembered here. And so many memories.

My Grandma Della Carter Stephens Bruce (she was married twice) was only about 5 foot 4 inches or so tall with brown eyes and dark brown, nearly black hair which she wore in a braid wrapped around her head. We think she was part Indian. As a single mother during the Depression she walked miles through the woods to do people's laundry for fifty cents. To help feed her four children she took up squirrel hunting, carrying the overalls she wore under her arm until she got out of sight in the woods. Besides being a hunter, she was a gatherer of wild fruits and herbs of all kinds, walking a mile or more from home to gather huckleberries, blackberries, peaches, walnuts, hickory nuts and greens. And then she had about a half-acre of garden which she tended with just a hoe except for the initial plowing. It was far more than she needed for just herself but she gave it away first as fresh vegetables then as canned goods.

My two favorite things that she fixed was a chewy gingerbread and dry apple stack cake. One or the other, sometimes both, could usually be found under the cake cover on top of the old wooden Gibson ice box. But she also made the grandboys shirts out of the cotton feed sacks. She wouldn't give just one of us one. She had to have one for both my brother and I before we got it. I was baptised in 1966 in a blue and white gingham shirt she made for me.

One of her expressions was to say of someone's bad judgment that they would "suck sweet sorrow" as a consequence. She said "hope" for "help" as in "Law, if I'd a knowed you was a doing that I'd a come over and hoped ye."

She hoed her garden in the mornings for two or three hours. Once when a visiting preacher was staying with us, across the hollow from her place, she was mistaken and hoed the garden on Sunday morning. When we told her, she looked thunderstruck and said, "Law, don't tell the preacher." In the main though, she was rather quiet and unemotional.

When she died at age 92 I think it was, her hair was still not yet completely gray. I miss her. She was as good as gold to my brother and I. God grant than I may leave as many and as good memories with my own grandchildren.

My granny Minnie Daniels built their own cabin in eastern Kentucky, she made her own medicines and when we got sick she took care of us. I remember she mad something that we called "poo poo' salve because that is what it looked like. If you got any kind of wound she would smear that on and next thing you know the wound would be gone. She drank only Sassafrass Tea and she called buttermilk "clabbered milk"
I used to sit on her lap and comb her hair, which reached past her waist. She had the greatest stories that she would tell me. She smoked a clay pipe and sometimes corncob if we didn't have the money.
She wore sunbonnets and made the greatest quilts which we would take to town and sale to the people there. There wasn't much my granny couldn't do and I am not young anymore but I still think of her.

I seen and I never seen were common phrases when I was growing up. Teachers tried to teach us not to use them, my grandma W and my mommy never stopped using them,

If we got a new toy, perhaps a hula hoop, we would take to the farm on Sunday afternoon. We would show my Grandma W. Her response was invariably the same, "Why, I ne'er seen the like,"

I wonder what she would think of all the games and apps on our tablet and phones. Music, CDs, DVDs and so many things would astound her!

Granny was telling me and Paul about something the other day and she said "You know he's like that Duracell Easter bunny he just keeps a-going."

Tipper as I get older and my Mother gets older I think of my dear sweet Granny more often. I miss her sweet little round face.Her little black curls and big beautiful brown eyes. She always made you feel like you were her favorite grandchild. We lived about four hours away when I was younger from my Granny. But when we would go to the mountains to see her she always had a double layered chocolate cake made just for me. I remember waking up in the morning smelling bacon cooking and her humming a gospel song. I wish I had appreciated that special time when I was younger. I wish I would have really listened to all of her stories. She was a wonderful Grandmother and I can't wait to see her again when I get to the other side of glory.If we can teach our children anything about growing up, it is to enjoy the little things in life because those are usually the most important things in the world and it is the small things that you remember the most.

Unusual for me to be home alone-especially all night-but I will be tonight. I was down at Granny and Pap's earlier. When I was leaving Granny said "Now I'm going to walk out on the porch so I can see you get home. And you call me as soon as you get in the house."

In years gone by that would have annoyed me, but not now. I said "OK" and started up the hill. I smiled all the way home at Granny watching out for her 45 year old daughter and believing she could stop anything that tried to harm me by simply watching when she can't hardly get out of the house anymore. What a blessing to be loved.

For Shirla--- to make butter, there is more than one way. Scoop cream off and put it in a jar, shake it, it will separate and ready when see the yellow blobs in the milk. Then what you can do is wash it with cold water, using a paddle or spatulas to squeeze out any excess milk which will make it go rancid faster (this wouldn't be an issue in a big family with a lot of younguns).

For cultured, what I did was scoop out cream, pour about 1/3 cup of sour milk or butter milk in it, set on counter until thickened and then churn or shake in jar (today can use mixer but not food processor as it warms the cream past desired 60 degrees and it doesn't separate). Then repeat straining and rinsing the butter.

Another way for cultured butter is if you have milk Kerr grains, make kefir first, then pour in about 1/3 of a cup of kefir per quart jar. Set out on counter until it is about 60 degrees then repeat process to churn it.

The buttermilk from cultured butter is the best! Save 1/3 jar of it each time for starter (after drank down, always keep that much. Then set it out on counter pour in milk (best way to use up what was left after making fresh butter), cover with cheesecloth or think cloth like floor sack (keeps bugs out) and leave it til thick then put lid on and refrigerate.

My grandmother loved to set a jar of fresh milk on the counter and let it clabber up to drink it.

I am so glad I found your site!I am in north Mississippi;maybe not in Appalachia but I hold the same values.I am now a great grandmother and hope that my grands and greats have the same fond memories that the people here are writing about.I never had a grandmother.I know what I missed by reading these posts.God bless you all.

I just found your page after "googling" icicle pickle recipes. I've now wasted quite a bit of time :), enjoying all the links, music, memories and recipes you have so graciously shared. I especially smiled with the stories of Granny's comment about "pineys". The year before my husband's 93 year old mother died, we talked with her as much and often as we could. One story she told us that when she was a young girl they weren't allowed to say peony. Because it sounded like "pee". So they always called them "pineys". Miss her lots now.
Thanks for sharing your heritage

After the Jonquils came into full bloom one early Spring, I remember my Granny standing on the porch. Her big pocket apron on. Her favorite one that went around the neck and tied in the back at the waist...Holding a cloth handkerchief in her hand and with the other hand holding on to the porch column, she shouted to my Mom, who was in the yard inspecting the Spring flowers..."Those "white pinies" (peonies) will soon be bloomin'! You'd better dig you up a bunch of 'em and take to Tennessee for they shore need divid'in!"
Mom didn't dig any up until early Fall for she knew that they would transplant better....
Thanks Tipper,

My Granny was something. She was kind, strong, and did not allow foolishness to interfere with work. She made the best everything to me. Many times when I am overwhelmed with work and life I think of what she told me when I had one of the first of many great life disappointments. "Sis", she would say, "you have more metal in a minute than they have all day". Thank you Granny, that has perked me up many times during my life. This post is for you. Martha Watsie Pedigo Hughes 1908-1994

Granny recently taught the girls how to crotchet. They've both made a scarf. Once Granny seen what they were capable of she told them "I was going to make you a sweater for Christmas. Now I'll just start it and you can finish it up. That will save me a lot of time."

ask Granny if she ever made an
"Apple Buckle"....I know blueberry is the most common.
I think I made one except didn't have the crispy topping on it, when I thought it was a quick cobbler...because I added more milk flour and sugar to the base before pouring in the fruit and the mixture came up through the fruit like a must be a buckle!
I recall ever seeing a buckle recipe on your blog, Tipper...did I miss it?

I have so enjoyed this treasury of granny stories, but Tipper, your story of the canning jars made my day! I came away with a delightful image of your granny. Thanks--all of you--for sharing.

B.Ruth-I'm sorry the wind broke your plants!! We were lucky-didn't get any wind just lots of rain! Pap said he didn't know if your idea would work-he'd just let nature take its course : ) Wonder if you could cut the broke leaves off down near the bottom of the plant and hopefully more would grow?

Blind Pig The Acorn
Celebrating and Preserving the
Culture of Appalachia

Was goin' to ask Granny or Pap or you Tipper,
My squash plants got several broken stems the other evening during (what has now been recorded as a 0-F tornado by the National Weather Service, which means 80 MPH winds), bent the plants over as well. I wonder if I could cover the hollow stems with platic wrap and put a rubber band to hold them so the next rain or insects will not crawl down into them and rot the main stem and kill the plants...I was sick as my squash plants were just beautiful and full of blooms and baby squash! Did either of you'all ever hear of it?
Thanks Tipper

you should be puttin these songs on CD's and selling them thru your site.

love this site. These are my peoples people

So many posters talk about snow cream and it seems most think it is a mountain folk kind of thing. I never saw a mountain until I was grown but we had snow cream. We too were very poor and so a special treat made with such simple ingredients was wonderful. My parents were older when they had kids. Sometimes friends thought my mother was my grandmother. Anyway, when two of us were arguing, my mother would say,"the pot can't call the kettle black", which meant both were equally guilty. If you were thinking of doing something to get back at some one the words were " don't cut off your nose to spit your face" which meant you will be sorry. Thanks for all the delightful reading. I didn't really have grand parents and it seems I missed a lot.

I have been looking for someone to sell me some fresh cow's milk for about 35 years. My neighbor and dear friend owned a dairy farm and was not allowed to sell the milk to individuals due to government regulations. No matter how hard I begged, he still refused. Imagine my excitement when my daughter's friend sent me a gallon. I immediately started the "clabber" process to make my butter. I left the jar on a table in my sunroom for about 12 hours, where it was about 75 degrees. The cream never separated as I remember it did when Mom made butter. I still tried to churn it. Since a churn was not available, I used a Pampered Chef pitcher that has something similar to a churn's dasher. After 15-20 minutes of churning, I got less than 1/4 cup of butter. What did I do wrong? Did the plastic container prevent the milk from clabbering? Mom used to say the milk was 'blue john' when it was ready to churn. Have you ever heard it called that?

Now that we have that "hard rock candy" recipe, I was wondering if?
Does Granny or any member of your family or you have a good recipe for fruit cake? I really don't want one that takes the whole dried or candied friut stand. LOL Maybe one with, our Appalachian fruits, candied cherries, dried apples, and Black Walnuts...You know one that doesn't weigh a ton and is not dry as toast!...I remember my Aunt in Canton making one that would melt in your mouth...not dry or heavy but moist with bits of fruit and nuts in it...I thought Mom had a recipe but the ones I have found were like mine, too full of candied red, green cherries, pineapple, etc. etc. and not enough liquid to make it moist...I know, I know that most folks loaded those dry cakes down, (especially here in the South) with Brandy or Rum...but I want one that is moist without the strong stuff!
Thanks Tipper, Your friend and hungry Christmas treat gooroo!

Does Granny have a recipe for Hard rock candy...Maybe the one that is in long sticks, then snipped in bite size pieces and rolled in powdered sugar (to keep from sticking) recipe....

I don't know what made me think of this...Maybe it was looking out the window and seeing the frost on top of the green truck, or the leaves on the Hickory that were gold last Monday and are now a peanut butter brown...LOL
I also so some smoke rising from the bottom of the hill, I guess someone that way has a fire in the woodstove.
My Grandmother would make me peanut butter toast on a wood fed little black stove...To this day I am not sure how she did it. For every time I got thru the dining room to the kitchen, the toast was sitting in the pan on the stove. I never once caught her cooking/baking it. She loved it fixed this way and thought I would too, as children love peanut butter...and I did. I have tried to fix it here in my electric stove, but cannot! I had the most unusal flavor but good, sort of like roasted peanuts but with toast...I was too young to think of asking her how she did it or if there was a special recipe for it...Lost forever only in my memory!
Thanks Tipper,

My great grandmother, aka "Granny" was to me the strongest person I have ever know. As a child she was amazing to me. She was sweet and kind but defiantly not a women to be messed with. I remember the old house where she lived as if I where there yesterday, the back room full of mason jars, the old gas heaters and the front porch was the gathering place on a warm summers day. The saying that I remember most was "heavens to mergatroy", when something upset her. I miss her everyday and I dedicate this to her, Sadie Salome Smith 1915-2005

My Grandma W. had lots of sayings. My favorite: If anyone did something that she disapproved of she said, "We'll, I guess they're just as happy as if they had good sense."

She cooked a big hot meal for dinner at noon. Leftovers would get "het up" for supper.

The time between dinner and supper was called "evening." EXAMPLE: Bill came came by this evening, but he wouldn't stay for supper.

Well Tipper, here I am blogging about one of my Grannie's when I was trying to find a recipe for Pear Preserves like hers! I am so excited with this DOES make me GRIN from ear to ear! I was blessed to have three Godly Grannies and have such good memories of each one. As I sit here watching my chickens scratching around in the garden, I think about my Great Grandma (though we said, "Grandmaw") living ON the Blue Ridge Parkway, (they sold some of it to the WPA when they were building it....)Her "Outhouse"...was decorated with an old wash bowl and pitcher, curtains on a tiny window, and a Sears & Roebuck catalog along side....the rooster crowing SO early in the morning as I snuggled down under the old feather tick. She would be in the kitchen building a fire in the cook stove. I miss the smells from the wood, her flitters, and bacon frying...oh my - I'm getting real nostalgic here!!! When she would call us in, we would 'spread' the table, sometimes 'set' was used. It was always on an old oil cloth tablecloth. She was a special woman who loved us and loved the Lord. Everyone knew it too!

Thank you for this website!


The whole Blind Pig Gang has fell in love with the music of Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three. The other day the girls were down at Granny and Pap's, and Pap was listening to their version of The Devil Ain't Lazy. Chitter said Granny looked over at her and said "The Devil ain't lazy but Granny is."

Whenever I would act up as a kid my Granny would always say "Now Marcie your Dennis is showing." This was her way of letting me know that I was being as stubborn and mule headed as the rest of the clan and she was losing patience with me. I love her and sure miss her now that I am a mom. I wish my son could of gotten to know her.

My Mamaw taught me many things...a lot just by just watching her like a hawk. She's passed on, but etched in my mind is a picture of her hands rolling biscuits and placing them in the pan like they were fragile as a newborn. I watched those same hands sew (a tiny apron for me!), make medicine, wash clothes, wring a chicken's neck, and even kill a snake with a brick in her hand. Talk about superheros--Annie Mae Rollins was mine. P.S. I say Miller

A priceless memory comes to me when I hear the word Granny. Once as a small child I sat in the living room at a large family gathering. Across from me was a very elderly woman who engaged me in a strange conversation about Christmas. I seemed to be the only human in that large group who actually would listen to her. Thanks to my raising with respect to elderly, I sat there and listened quietly to this old lady's rantings. Frail and thin, her voice was strong with Appalachian dialect. She told me of all the useless gifts people got her each Christmas, and especially rebuked a daughter-in-law who, "never gits me anything I like." Later on in life, I realized this was my one meeting with my great Grandmother "Gramma Tory", otherwise known as Victoria Elizabeth Emmarie Ardelia Williams. We children would recite all the names as a proud accomplishment. She was known for being spunky and plainspoken. She raised a large family with a trifling husband, and walked or rode a horse everywhere. Born in 1874, this lady never had a luxury.
I sat there as a child not realizing this was a Grandmother, and she did not seem to know nor care that I was a Grandchild. A moment in time that still haunts me. Priceless!

I live in the mountain of East Tennessee (tellico plains) and have also been blessed with many mamaws. While all haven't taught me things, my great mamaw walker reminds me of your grannies. She was born in robbinsville in 1920 and has passed me plenty of wisdom. She's an awesome woman who still gets up every Saturday mornin to make her world famous biscuits and gravy for the entire walker clan ( we're pushing over 50 if we're all together) my most favorite Sayin is "don't be like the rabbit who's been pricked by the entire briar patch" haha. Thankfully we start young where I'm from or my daughter wouldn't get to grow up with her great great mamaw walker and keep the wisdom flowin through the generations. Glad I stumbled across your site :)

So glad I found your site, as a young'n I spent many a happy summer on my Uncle's farm (old home place)just north of Weaverville, in WNC.

Reading some of these stories here takes me back to those times, and how truly special they were.

Some of my best memories were watching my Granny cooking on a wood stove and wondering how she knew how much wood to chunk in it to get it to the right temp to cook her fluffy "Cat Head" biscuits.

My "Mama" had two sayings that I'll always remember but have never heard elsewhere. If we were hanging around in the house on a nice day: "Mess and gom, mess and Gom -- all you children do is mess and gom and I don't have time to clean up after you."

And the other, to let us mean she meant business after asking us to do something and we tarried: "You don't believe cow horns will hook, do you?" A threat that there would be consequences if we didn't do it NOW. :-)

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