Fire Sayings

Old sayings about fire 

My post earlier this week about smoke following beauty reminded me of a few other old sayings about fire-things like:

  • If you play in the fire you'll pee the bed tonight. (Years ago Pap was burning off a small garden area. One of the littlest cousins kept playing in the fire-Pap told him "If you don't quit playing in that fire you'll wet the bed tonight." Never missing a beat the little boy said "I'll be swimming tonight!" We all got a big laugh out of that.)
  • Fight fire with fire. (I've heard this one my whole life-and I might have even said it once or twice-just maybe.)
  • I've got too many irons in the fire. (I've said this one in the last few weeks.)
  • Don't add fuel to the fire.
  • Don't burn your bridges.
  • Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
  • Where there's smoke there's fire.
  • Money burns a hole right through his pocket: (Yep that's The Deer Hunter.)
  • If you play with fire you're going to get burnt: (I think this one is perfect common sense.)
  • Burning your candle at both ends.
  • Burning the midnight oil.
  • That burns me up! (Makes me mad-well mad as fire!)
  • I'm all fired up. (If you say this one you could be mad or just really excited about something.)
  • I'll slap the fire right out of you.
  • Liar liar pants on fire.
  • Light a fire under someone. (This one is usually said like "She lit a fire under him and he finally got the work done.")

If you think of any other fire/burn sayings-hope you'll leave me a comment.


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Smoke Follows Beauty

Smoke follows beauty

Earlier this week we took advantage of one of the ridiculously warm days to do some outside work. We tackled the chore of burning a pile of wood that had literally been waiting on us at least a good 7 or 8 years if not longer...well the stuff on the bottom had been waiting that long anyway.

We're planning on re-doing the raised beds this year and we got all of them pulled up so now we have to re-do them or there'll be no where to plant the veggies in the backyard come spring and summer.

We also managed to clean off the garden debris that we had left standing since last summer in the smaller garden in front of the house and The Deer Hunter worked on the driveway ditches. 

I've always heard smoke follows beauty and it was indeed a beautiful day full of rewarding work. 


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What Do You Say When It Snows?

The old womans losing her feathers

old woman is losing her feathers, old woman is picking her geese phrase It is snowing, esp in large flakes.
1931 Combs Lg Sthn High 1307 The old woman's a-losin' her feathers. (Snow is falling.) The old woman's a-pickin' her geese. (Snow is falling.) 1952 Brown NC Folklore 1,499 The old woman is picking her geese. (It is snowing.) 1997 Montgomery Coll. old woman is picking her geese (known to nine consultants).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


I found the saying about the old woman losing her feathers in the dictionary, but I've never heard anyone say it. What do I say when it's snowing? I say YEAH WHOO HOOO YIPPEE WOOOO HOOOOO!

If you can't tell I love snow! I've always loved it.

When I was growing up if there was any mention of snow I got so excited Granny and Pap probably wanted to smack me. I'd wake up early and run to the kitchen to turn the porch light on and see if it really did snow. 

Since our county isn't set up to deal with a lot of snow the schools always close when it snows here. A day off school was certainly part of the appeal of snow for me, actually it still is. But there's more than that. 

I love the way snow blankets everything and no matter which way I look-it looks like a Christmas card. I love the way it makes the inside of the house seem cozier as we sit by the fire and sip hot chocolate. I love sledding with the girls. I love eating snow cream and reading a book by the heater. 

All day I've been jumping up and down wishing for a big snow while other folks were wishing for 70 degree weather and shorts. I know everyone doesn't love snow like I do. Pap never did care for it, probably because he still had to get out and go to work even if it did snow. And I know if I was like you folks up north who had snow all winter long I'd most likely get my fill of the white stuff...maybe!

It was coming down pretty good for a little while earlier today, but so far we only have a small skiff of snow. So while I'm sitting here typing I'm also hoping the old woman will lose her feathers tonight and I will wake up in a winter wonderland. 


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Appalachian Sayings - Light a Rag

Appalachian saying light a rag

Junaluska Community - Cherokee Co. NC - July 2016

She said a storm was coming so she better light a rag for home and down the hill she went as fast as her legs could carry her.

light a rag = to leave or go; also called light a shuck


I've done no research, but I'd guess the old sayings light a rag or light a shuck originated in the days when folks did indeed light a torch made from rags or shucks to light their way.

I seldom hear either saying today, but heard light a rag often when I was a child. 


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Appalachian Sayings - It'll Put Hair On Your Chest

It'll put hair on your chest

Hiking up and down steep mountains will put hair on your chest. It'll also make you take naps in the leaves.

put hair on your chest = make you stronger


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Appalachian Sayings - Stacked up Like Cordwood

Stacked up like cordwood
Folks were stacked up like cordwood on Saturday at the festival. The local paper said over 16,000 people visited the small community of Brasstown for the John C. Campbell Folk School's Fall Festival. I do believe it was one of the biggest crowds they've ever had.


p.s. A few upcoming performances for The Pressley Girls 

October 15, 2016 @ 4:00 p.m.- Stecoah Valley Center Harvest Festival Stecoah (Robbinsville), NC 

October 22, 2016 @ TBA Cherokee County Fair Murphy, NC

October 27, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

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Brasstown - A Wide Place in the Road

Appalachian saying wide place in the road

If you've never been to Brasstown you might miss it as you drive through if you're not paying close attention. It's more of a wide place in the road than a town.

The main drag of Brasstown consists of the stores you see in the photo-most are filled with amazing art and other handmade items crafted by folks from the area; the Brasstown post office is just beyond the stores off to the left; and just behind the camera shot is Clay's Corner and the John C. Campbell Folk School.

There are two times a year our small abode of Brasstown becomes over run with a mass influx of people. One of the events takes place every New Year's Eve when Clay's Corner hosts The Possum Drop. I've never attended the event but folks pour into the area by the thousands. I hear it's big doings.

The second time of the year is coming up this weekend when The John C. Campbell Folk School will hold its annual Fall Festival on October 1 & 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 12-17, and free for children under 12.

Over the two day event literally thousands of people visit Brasstown. The preparation, execution, and clean-up of the festival is really an amazing thing to see up close.

Weeks before the festival I start noticing the folk school is getting ready. By the day before the festival the whole area has been transformed with ornate ticket booths, streamers, signs, pumpkins, flowers, corn stalks, and even stakes driven beside the road ways to keep folks from parking where they shouldn't. Then it happens! The festival is full of amazing crafters, artists, exhibits, musicians, dancers, food, and a whole lot more-including thousands of people criss-crossing the folk school grounds. As soon as the festival ends the folk school gets right to work putting every thing back like it was and by the end of next week it'll be like it never even happened. The folk school has the hosting a festival thing down pat. 

If you're planning on attending the JCCFS's Fall Festival I'll offer a few tips in case you've never been before.

  • traffic can be extremely heavy so if you plan to be at the festival to catch a certain performance you will need to allow for extra driving time
  • the festival is spread over a large area which means you may be walking a far piece from where you park
  • most of the walking will be on trails so sturdy shoes will be your best choice of foot-wear
  • there aren't any ATMs and while many vendors are able to accept plastic you may run into a few who can only take cash
  • there are many food vendors to choose from so if you want to make a day of it you don't have to worry about going hungry

Chatter and Chitter will be clogging with the Kudzu Kickers on the Festival Barn Stage at 1:20 p.m on Saturday October 1st and they'll also be performing as The Pressley Girls on the Festival Barn Stage at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday October 2nd.

If you make it to the festival PLEASE come up and say hello! If you'd like to see the complete list of performers for the two day event go here.



p.s. A few upcoming performances for The Pressley Girls 

October 2, 2016 @ 2:00 p.m. - Fall Festival JCCFS Brasstown, NC

October 15, 2016 @ 4:00 p.m.- Stecoah Valley Center Harvest Festival Stecoah (Robbinsville), NC 

October 22, 2016 @ TBA Cherokee County Fair Murphy, NC

October 27, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. Wofford College Spartanburg, SC

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Appalachian Sayings - Plumb Foolish

Appalachian sayings plumb foolish

Brasstown - May 2016

foolish about, foolish over adjective phrase Fond of, infatuated with to the point of lacking judgment.
1925 Dargan Highland Annals 202 But he's foolish about Ben. 1956 Hall Coll. Del Rio TN She is plumb foolish over him. (Louisa Metcalf) 1989 Smith Flyin' Bullets 56 Reed was "full of jokes and awful foolish over th' young'uns." 1997 Montgomery File He's just naturally foolish about ramps (55-year-old woman, Jefferson Co TN).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Let me tell you what we're plumb foolish about.

The Deer Hunter is plumb foolish about hunting-I bet you could have guessed that one.

Chatter is plumb foolish over chocolate covered raisins.

Chitter is plumb foolish over rocks.

Granny is plumb foolish over crocheting.

Paul is plumb foolish over tennis-I bet that one surprised you. 

I'm plumb foolish over Appalachia: the people, the food, the music, the colorful language, the sustainable lifestyle, the history, the folklore, the soaring mountains, and the deep dark hollers. 


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Appalachian Sayings - As All Get Out

Cute as all get out

as all get out = extremely

You can be:

tired as all get out
mad as all get out
happy as all get out
pretty as all get out
stuborn as all get out

You can see the as all get out list could easily go on and on

Several years ago a young guitar picking fellow came by to see one of the girls and he used the phrase as all get out. As I heard him talking out on the porch I thought "Well apparently that old saying is going to go on for at least one more generation."

You can jump over to the English Language and Usage page to read a thread about the origin of the saying as all get out. The page also shares some of the oldest documented usages of the phrase. 


p.s. The girls call miniature donkeys baby donks. The item Chatter is pointing to in the photo is actually a donkey hitched to a wagon of sorts. The donkey is at the Union County Historical Courthouse in Blairsville GA. The road the girls travel to college has a pasture with a miniature donkey in it, the girls are always telling us about the cute baby donk in the field. 

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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. 

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