Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior

Pass me not

The hymn Pass Me Not was written by Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915). I've read two different stories detailing how Crosby was inspired to write the song. The first: Crosby was visiting a prison as part of a missionary group when she heard one of the prisoners cry out "Lord please don't pass me by." The second: Crosby dreamt that the Lord was walking through her church touching people as he went, she began to pray the Lord would touch her and not pass her by. 

I knew Crosby was a prolific hymn writer-all you have to do is thumb through a hymn book to see old favorites she wrote like: Blessed Assurance, I Am Thine O Lord, and Pass me Not

I found an interesting page here-which lists Crosby's songs as well as the many pseudonyms she wrote under. 

As you might have guessed-I'm partial to Pap and Paul's version of Pass Me Not. I especially like this video of them doing the song. I like how Paul reminds them he's going to do a turn around instead of a break; I like how Pap calls out the first line of the verse to Paul so he remembers; and I love that lovely harmony that sounds like a baby's lullaby. 

Hope you enjoyed the video too!


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig and the Acorn in June of 2013

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Hanging Out Clothes in Appalachia

My life in appalachia - Hanging Out Clothes 

Janet: I like hanging out clothes, it gives me a time to relax and enjoy the gentle breezes outside. I have a silly habit of attaching the clothes pins to the hem of my shorts so I don't have to visit the clothes bag so often. I made my bag from a baby's dress I got for a quarter at a yard sale. You just sew the hem together, button up the dress and hang the dress on a hanger. My neighbor also taught me to always take a damp paper towel with me to wipe the line with.

Ethel: What happy summer memories you've stirred! In my childhood days, nearly every house in the neighborhood had, and used, clotheslines. Mom and Grandma both had dryers, but in the summer everything was dried on the lines outside. When I was very small I loved to play between the lines when there were sheets and blankets on them, it made a sort of tent. Grandma would even hang hers extra low - on purpose! When I was a bit older I was enlisted to help fold things as they came off the line. There is no sweeter, fresher scent than sun-dried laundry! I no longer have the space to hang my laundry out, and I miss it!

Ken: Tipper, I put up a clothes line last fall and went the easy route by fastening it to the end of my porch. That way I can hang out my clothes in my houseshoes and not worry about getting stung by a honeybee or jacket. In my younger days I use to ride my bicycle down to my great uncle's house. He made corn whisky and had a pet crow, which he loved to show off to folks when they came to visit. He'd put a saucer full of whisky on the floor and place that crow down beside it and when it was all gone, the ole crow would just stand there for about 5 minutes. (waiting for the kick) Then my uncle took a shiney washpan, put a couple of clothes pins in it and took the crow out on the porch and threw him in the air. By the end of the day that little washpan had 30 or 40 added pins, stolen from the neighborhood.


I love to hang out clothes. I love walking out into the yard; I love the smell of clothes and linens that have been hung out to dry. But I haven't hung out one load of clothes all summer, maybe I can soon remedy that.


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Sweeping is Important in Appalachia

My life in appalachia sweeping under my feet

 Sweeping Folklore

  • You'll never marry if someone sweeps under your feet. (I heard this one all the time when I was a teenager.)
  • Never sweep twice in the same place. (You'd have to be a much better sweeper than me to pull this one off!)
  • It's bad luck to sweep trash out the door. (I think it's bad luck because then you'd have to clean the yard!)
  • Never sweep after dark. (Sounds good to me.)
  • Never step over a broom...unless of course you're jumping it to get married.

And that concludes my Appalachian advice on sweeping for today. 


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing August 5, 2017 @ 8:00 p.m. Unicoi State Park  in Helen GA.

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Making Ice in August

Ice Harvesting - Library of Congress
Library of Congress - c1907  PENNSYLVANIA--CONNEAUT LAKE 

Gov. Carringer describes event that happened in Graham County NC late 1800s - written and documented by Fred O. Scroggs - Brasstown 1925

"Two men, staunch members of a Baptist Church on Yellow Creek, made a trip to Maryville, Tenn. to market their produce butter, eggs, herbs, chestnuts, chinquapins, deer hams, etc.

On their return they were telling something of the sights of the city, one of which they claimed they saw them making ice in August. This was repeated a few times around the country store and elsewhere until the Deacons decided something had to be done about this matter. So, they brought charges in the church against these two worthy members, charging them with lying.

On being brought to trial in the church, they did not deny their story, but made the church a proposition, that if they would select two more of their most reliable members to go with them to Maryville; they themselves to pay all expenses, and on return if these two faithful brethren did not report true facts etc., then the church could "church them."

The four went to Maryville and later reported to the Deacons that they certainly were making ice in August. Whereupon a meeting of the members was called. The report was heard and by a unanimous vote all four were turned out of the church for lying."


I recently read a fascinating article about the history of ice harvesting in Grit Magazine. I had no idea the use of ice for preserving foods went back so far in time. 

This story, recorded by Fred O. long ago here in Brasstown, makes me smile for many reasons.

While the church members seem downright silly today, if you'd never seen a piece of ice other than during the wintertime, it really would be hard to believe you could buy it over the mountain in TN during the month of August. 


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing August 5, 2017 @ 8:00 p.m. Unicoi State Park  in Helen GA.

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5 Things

Dance musicians week 2017 JCCFS

1. The girls finished up another amazing week at  John C. Campbell Folk School's annual Dance Musicians Week. They were able to take the class because of the generosity of an anonymous person or persons. This is the fourth year the girls have been blessed by the bountiful generosity of that kind good soul. As always the class was full of fun and lots of learning too. In the coming weeks I'm sure they'll share some of the tunes they learned in the class with you. 

Appalachian Men

The Deer Hunter way up on on the right

2. The Deer Hunter is enjoying his new job and especially liked getting to try out their new lift this week. He likes high places-I do not!

Wild apricots

 3. Remember when Chitter was wishing she had some wild apricots? Well the girl pretty much has them taking over the entire backyard this year.

Blind Pig

4. Did you know I sometimes dream about you? The other night I dreamed it snowed-in JULY! As I was walking through the snow to the chicken coop I was thinking I needed to come up with something to talk to you about on the following day. Suddenly I thought I know they'd like to know it snowed five inches in July! Now that I think about it, if it snowed five inches in Brasstown during the month of July the whole world would want to know about it!

Ashokan Farewell

5. The girls have been trying to learn Ashokan Farewell. If you've never heard it you need to! Don't wait on the girls go here to hear it for yourself and then you can have it going round and round in your head like I have for the last few weeks. So breathtakingly beautiful that it almost makes me cry with happiness. 


p.s. The winners of my July in Christmas giveaway are:

*Ann Applegarth who said: Your litany of good news is a Christmas gift in July for me, Tipper! God bless your family!

*Sherry Whitaker who said: Blessings, blessings, blessings...showers of blessings indeed! Praise the Lord!

Send your addresses to me at and I'll send you some outstanding Christmas music!

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Leather Britches

Shucky beans

leather britches, leather britches beans noun
Green beans put on a thread or string (as at a bean stringing), dried in the pod by hanging on the porch or by the fireplace or by laying in trays or on scaffolds in the sun, and preserved for later boiling in water and winter consumption. 
1913 Kephart Our Sthn High 292 Beans dried in the pod then boiled, "hull and all," are called leather -breeches. 1939 Hall Coll. Hazel Creek NC They'd dry their beans, yes. They'd dry leather britches beans they called it. I dry mine in the sun. My grandmother dried hers on a string, hung them up in the porch or around the fireplace and dried 'em. I still dry those leather britches beans. That's what they called 'em then. (Clara Crisp) 1957 Parris My Mts 212 It's a flour sack filled with dried beans-in-the-hull which mountain folks call "leather-britches." 1975 Jackson Unusual Words 155 Dried beans had numerous names-leather-britches, fodder beans, shuck beans, and dry hulls. 1977 Shields Cades Cove 36 These were known as "leather britches" beans, and when rehydrated, cooked, and properly seasoned, they were delicious. 1978 Montgomery White Pine Coll. III-2 Our beans we would dry them. They called them leather britches, and you'd string them on your string till you got something like a yard long, then you'd hang them in the smokehouse or somewhere when it was warm weather and they'd dry out. Then all you'd have to do in the winter if you took a notion for green beans why you could go get your leather britches and put them in the water and soak them overnight and you'd just have a  livelier spell of green beans than you ever had when they come out of the garden. 1982 Smokies Heritage 66 = long string beans strung together by needle and thread then hung upon the cabin or smokehouse wall to dry. 1986 Ogle Lucinda 50 So they would dry fruit and berries of all kinds also string green beans with a needle and thread and hang to dry. These were called fodder or leather britches. 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


It's been a few years since we've strung up any leather britches, but we've got them on our to do list for this summer. If you've never had leather britches they are very good, but have a completely different taste than fresh green beans or ones that have been canned. 


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing August 5, 2017 @ 8:00 p.m. Unicoi State Park  in Helen GA.

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Summertime in Appalachia

Appalachia in the summertime
It's summertime in Southern Appalachia. The sun is beating down like the oven door has been left open or someone thinks its still cold weather and keeps chunking wood in the heater.

No matter which way you look the landscape is lush and green with blooms that intoxicate the air with their sweet alluring scent. 

Gardens and orchards are hanging heavy with nature's bounty just waiting to be picked. Folks are taking advantage of the hot sultry air by wading in creeks and rivers and taking swims in lakes, ponds, and pools. With the kids out of school this time of the year is perfect for camping and playing in the great outdoors. 

Summer is the season for homecomings, decorations, and all day singing on the grounds. People in Appalachia take the opportunity summer offers to visit one with another as they talk about those they miss, those that are still hanging on, those that are coming along, and the heat.

You might remember me saying I wish the girls would learn the song Summertime for me...well they never did! But Paul and one of our long time friends Wayde Powell III managed to film themselves doing the song not once but twice.

 Was that some fancy picking and singing or what!

Summertime will be gone before you know it so soak up all you can. 


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The Owl is Still in Wilson Holler

Appalachia owls

Several years ago I shared a story about a plastic owl with you, if you missed it you can go here to read it.

The fake owl is still alive and well in Wilson Holler. One day last week I noticed he'd moved out to Granny's to keep an eye on her garden. 

The only owl folklore I can think of off the top of my head comes from an episode of Andy Griffith: if a couple sees an owl in broad daylight they're bound to marry.

I checked out the Frank C. Brown Collection of NC Folklore and found these tidbits:

  • When you hear an owl hoot after night it will rain in about 3 weeks (Sounds kind of vague if you ask me!)
  • To make a hoot owl stop hollering, take a string and tie a knot in it and it will stop (Ah ha! This must be the origin of the whippoorwill story Pap told me.)
  • When the dogs tree, if an owl hoots on the left there is no need to go to him, because he will leave before you get there; but if one hollos on the right, you will be sure to catch whatever has been treed. (Makes me wish I could ask Papaw Wade if he followed this folklore when coon hunting-I sort of doubt it.)
  • If a coon hunting party hears an owl laugh just as they are setting out for the night, they will go back home. But if he "holloed" "Coon," they will have good luck. (Never heard an owl laugh but now I want to.)
  • Someone dies every time an owl hoots. (Like much Appalachian folklore this one is pretty extreme!)
  • If an owl hoots on the west side of the mountain it denotes good weather. 


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