He Didn't Say Pea Turkey - He Just Left!

He didn't say pea turkey

pea turkey noun A call for turkeys to eat; also in fig phr not say pea turkey = not say anything, the term expressing displeasure with another's lack of manners or breach of etiquette; somewhat milder than never say dog
1940 Haun Hawk's Done 63 All that bunch of starved chickens and turkeys started after me. I seed I might as well go back and feed them . . . . I was shucking away and calling the chickens at the same time, "Chickie, chickie - pea, turks, pea, pea, pea, pea" when all at once I took note that I had a red ear. 1976 Dwyer Southern Sayin's 9 never said pea turkey = never gave an invitation or offered information. 1997 Montgomery Coll. (Cardwell); He got up and left without saying pea turkey (Ledford). 

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Seems like I've heard someone say pea turkey to describe a person not saying anything about a certain subject, but I just can't quite think of who it was. I know I haven't heard the phrase very often.

I asked the girls if they knew what pea turkey meant. They both guessed it meant a little turkey. Who knows how they got that!


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Appalachian Sayings - All Vines And No Taters

All Vines and No Taters

all vines an' no taters
Used to describe something or someone very showy but of no substance. "He'll never amount to nothin'. He's all vines and no taters." Probably was suggested by sweet potatoes, which produce a lot of vines and, if grown incorrectly can yield few sweet potatoes. 

Mountain Range A Dictionary of Expressions from Appalachia to the Ozarks written by Robert Hendrickson


Lots of folks have been busy digging the last of their taters as they prepare for the coming winter. As I watched a couple along the roadside gather theirs I was reminded of the old saying all vines and no taters


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing on Sunday October 8, 2017 @ 2:00 p.m. at the JCCFS Fall Festival - Brasstown NC. 

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Mean As A Striped Snake

My life in appalachia Light -  Mean as a striped snake

The other day I ran into an old friend.  After catching up with each other a bit he said "Well where in the world have my girls been? I haven't seen them around this year. They're still mean as striped snakes ain't they?"

I told him the girls stayed pretty busy these days so they were't around as much. I also assured him they were still mean as striped snakes. 

Truthfully, the girls aren't mean at all. They are slightly mischievous and tough as a pine knot when it comes to taking care of each other or anyone they care about for that matter. 

The phrase mean as a striped snake is one I've heard my whole life. In most instances the phrase is said in a teasing manner about a person who is mischievous but not truly evil spirited. 


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Appalachian Sayings - Help My Time

Appalachian saying help my time

Chitter, Morgan, and Chatter - 4th Grade Martins Creek Elementary

help my time interjection A mild exclamation of surprise.
1924 Spring Lydia Whaley 2 Well help my time. 1993 Ison and Ison Whole Nuther Lg 29 = an expression used as a soft exclamation. 1996 Montgomery Coll. (Cardwell).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English


Last week one of the girls' elementary teachers was cleaning off her computer and found the photo above and sent it to me. When I saw it I said "Help my time wasn't that just yesterday? How did they grow up so dadjimmed fast!"

Help my time is a saying of exclamation that is still very common in my area of Appalachia. 


p.s. The Pressley Girls will be playing TODAY Saturday June 10, 2017 @ 8:00 p.m. at Vogel State Park - Blairsville GA.

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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 - 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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