Want Tickets To JCCFS's 2017 43rd Fall Festival? I've Got some to Giveaway!

JCCFS_FallFest_2017

As most of you already know, the John C. Campbell Folk School plays a huge role in our lives. I consider myself very fortunate to live just down the road from the John C. Campbell Folk School.

The first time I remember being at the folk school I was about 6 years old. My school class was going on a field trip to tour the folk school. My Mamaw, Marie Wilson, worked in the craft shop. Instead of taking the bus with the other kids I rode to work with her that morning.

Even though the days, weeks, and years have passed quickly by since that day, I still vividly recall the trip as the beginning of my fascination with the folk school. First there were the carvings-dozens of little animal figures any child would be spell bound by them. I still have a cat and rooster that my Mamaw gifted me.

There was the sliding door refrigerator with more fruit in it than I’d ever seen, and as I wandered around and lost my way there was the nice housekeeper who let me follow her back to Mamaw never scolding me for prowling around and getting lost.

Through the years the folk school continued to weave its way through my life. Pap has performed at many a fall festival and Friday night concert. The folk school even aided in one of the greatest achievements of his musical career when they assisted the North Carolina Arts Council in awarding Pap and his brother the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award for their music as The Wilson Brothers. You can even read about Pap in the JCCFS's History Center

The folk school continues to be a part of my life today.

Chatter and Chitter clogged on the John C. Campbell Folk School Clogging Team for many years; I teach an Appalachian cooking class for them; we all enjoy attending contra dances; and the whole Blind Pig Gang performs at the folk school and is always on one of the stages during fall festival.

When Olive Dame Campbell opened her beloved folk school it was to help our little community of Brasstown and the surrounding area. Her vision was to teach local folks how to use the techniques and talents they already had to better their lives.

To be sure, people from all over the world benefit from the John C. Campbell Folk School. However, every year when we take our place on the festival barn stage, I know Mrs. Campbell would be proud. Not because of our musical awesomeness, but because 4 generations of the Wilson family who live just down the road, have intertwined their lives with her dream.

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Details:

JCCFS Fall Festival - October 7 & 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the John C. Campbell Folk School. Daily admission: $5 for adults, $3 for ages 12-17, and free for children under 12.

The Pressley Girls will perform on the Festival Barn Stage at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday Oct 8. If you make it to the festival PLEASE come up and say hello!

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Live close enough to attend the festival? The Folk School generously donated tickets for me to giveaway. If you want the tickets-leave a comment and tell me. The tickets are good for one day of the festival, whichever day you decide to attend.

To be entered in the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me you want to win the tickets. The giveaway will close on Monday September 25 at 3:00 p.m.

To read a great guest post about Olive Dame Campbell written by Rooney Floyd go here!

Tipper

p.s. Chitter is having a great sale over in her Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. 25% off everything in the shop, no minimums and it even counts on the existing sale section as well! Go check it out! Christmas is just around the corner 🌲  

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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Bleached Apples?

Old way of bleaching apples for putting up

This is the season for apples in Appalachia. I've made applesauce, apple jelly, and apple preserves. Most years I dry at least a few apples, but the pesky squirrels didn't leave me enough to dry this year. 

Although I use my handy dandy dehydrator to dry my apples, I've always been interested in learning more about the way folks in Appalachia bleached (dried) apples by using a sulfur smoking method.

I once read a wonderful clear account of the tradition from John Parris's These Storied Mountains. The ladies he interviewed for the short piece lived in the Bethel area of Haywood County NC.

On the day he visited, they were having an apple-paring bee. In other words several women had gathered together to enjoy the fellowship of one another as they worked on preserving apples for the coming winter months.

Basically the bleaching or drying technique was: 

  • Apples were peeled, quartered, sliced and then placed into a basket
  • While the apples were being prepared, 2 ax heads were heating inside the wood stove 
  • A metal pan was placed in the bottom of a wooden barrel that was sitting outside
  • Once the basket was filled, one of the red hot ax heads was placed in the bottom of the barrel in the metal pan
  • One teaspoon of sulfur was poured onto the hot ax
  • A stick ran through the basket handle and then the basket was hung down inside of the barrel
  • Lastly the barrel was covered with a thick piece of cloth.

After about 30 or 40 minutes the apples were considered bleached or dried. 

As the apples finished they placed them inside a crock and covered it with cheesecloth. The ladies continued to dry apples and add them to the crock until it was filled. When the crock was completely filled, it was stored in a cool dry place until the apples were needed.

A few statements made by the ladies:

"First off, I want to tell you there is nothing better than bleached apples except ripe apples right off the tree. You can't tell the difference nine months later."

"I have bleached apples right up into May every year, and they're just as fresh and crisp and juicy as when I peeled and quartered them."

"We dried apples too back then. But when I found out about using sulfur I never dried any more. Bleaching them with sulfur is easier and better."

When I first read the apple bleaching piece from the book I thought "Well that's nice, but we've come a long way since then and I'm sure sulfur is poison and it's a wonder those folks lived so long (one lady was in her 90s)."

Soon after I dismissed the idea of using sulfur I read about the health benefits of sulfur being added to dog food. That prompted me to do some Googling around. I quickly discovered sulfur is still used in preserving/drying/bleaching fruit...only today its large companies that are using sulfur not the average home preserver.

Even though the use of sulfur in the dried food industry is FDA approved, there are folks who think it's dangerous and should be avoided.  And there are companies who dry fruit without using sulfur. 

I know there are still folks out there who use sulfur to dry their apples each fall. Someday I hope to witness the technique for myself, until then I guess I'll have to be satisfied with the account of Mr. Parris. 

Tipper

p.s. Chitter is having a great sale over in her Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. 25% off everything in the shop, no minimums and it even counts on the existing sale section as well! Go check it out! Christmas is just around the corner 🌲  

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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The Pressley Girls' First CD...It's Almost Here!

The Pressley Girls - When It Ends In A Walk

The Pressley Girls - CD photo shoot 2017

It seems like it was only yesterday that I was stirring around the house and heard the catchiest tune coming from Chatter's room. I knocked on her door and said "I like that where'd you learn it?" She sheepishly looked at me and said "I wrote it." I said "WHAT!!!??? You wrote that? I LOVE IT!" 

A good three years later, I'm still loving the song and the girls have chosen it for the title track of their very first cd!!!

When it Ends in a Walk written by C. Pressley

Our days were numbered and they were few
But it felt like the start of something new
You had to leave and go back home
But it left me here wondering to roam

Sometimes love happens fast 
And its hard to make it last
And its easy to laugh and its easy to talk 
But its hard when it ends in a walk

Talking about life with you made me feel understood
And I would trade everything for another day if I could
Its funny how love can be even when its going to end
You still follow it through the dark and around the bend

Sometimes love happens fast 
And its hard to make it last
And its easy to laugh and its easy to talk 
But its hard when it ends in a walk

As you walked me to the end of the road to say goodbye
All of our adventures flashed before my eyes
But it was worth it every time 
Because the memories we made will forever be mine

Sometimes love happens fast 
And its hard to make it last
And its easy to laugh and its easy to talk 
But its hard when it ends in a walk

It's hard when it ends when it ends in a walk

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I can barely wait for everyone to hear the cd! I'm going to let you have a sneak listen today. Here's the title track When it Ends in a Walk.

When It Ends in A Walk

(Just click on the button to hear the song and then you may need to click on the back button to come back to this page)

I hope you enjoyed the sneak listen. We hope the cds will be available for purchase in the next few weeks-I'll keep you posted!

Tipper

p.s. Chitter is having a great sale over in her Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. 25% off everything in the shop, no minimums and it even counts on the existing sale section as well! Go check it out! Christmas is just around the corner 🌲  

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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Appalachia Through My Eyes - Granny's Zinnas

My life in Appalachia - Granny and her Zinnas

I've never seen Granny's zinnas as pretty as they are this year. She saves her seeds from year to year by snipping off the dried seed heads in late fall and storing them in an old paper envelope till the next spring when she plants them again. 

Granny is continuing to improve and has even felt good enough to can a few runs of greenbeans over the last week. We were able to get her one of those life alert things and she wears it every day. 

Tipper

p.s. Chitter is having a great sale over in her Stamey Creek Creations Etsy Shop. 25% off everything in the shop, no minimums and it even counts on the existing sale section as well! Go check it out! Christmas is just around the corner 🌲  

p.s.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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Fail Not

Fail Not

"When I was helping clean out my great-aunt's house after she died, we found an envelope with a lock of auburn hair in it. On the envelope, she had written, "my mother's hair." It was especially touching because her mother had died suddenly of the "apoplexy" when my aunt was 8 years old. There must have been something special about a lock or strand of hair.

I really loved the last two words in the letter...fail not. I'm sure their life was hard with all the back-breaking work of living in 1870. But, what encouraging words. Fail not."

Donna Wilson King - January 2016

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Since Donna left the comment above, I haven't been able to get the simple phrase out of my mind. 

Fail not.

When studying on the phrase the first thing that comes to mind is: don't fail! You know like: "Don't mess up." or "Do it exactly like it's supposed to be done and it will be right and if you don't it will be wrong."

The other thing that comes to mind, which is what I've been thinking about, is a hopefulness or a source of encouragement. Fail not: "I know you can do this and you will. or Fail not: "I know you will make it through to the other side and everything will be alright."

How could so much meaning be conveyed in such two little words?

Tipper

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Hello Andy!

Today's guest post was written by David Templeton.

Gizmo advertised in magazines

Hello, Andy! ….… Hello, Davo! … Le’me outta here!. Le’me outta here!

By David Templeton

Like most kids in the 1950s, I dreamed about getting every gizmo advertised in the back pages of just about every funny book I picked up. What kid didn’t? Think of it: A Polaris submarine of my very own; six feet long and room for a bunch of kids inside it. Who wouldn’t wish they had that little HIT miniature spy camera, not that there were that many miniature spies around. How about Sea Monkeys depicted as little human or primate-looking creatures? How do Chia pets grow that green fur?

How about those X-Ray specs advertised in comic books? The ad intimated that with those glasses maybe you could see through clothes and flesh all the way to a body’s skeleton or the bones in your hand? Some mischievous guys probably had even more prurient fantasies.

For just twelve cents you could become a regular Charles Atlas. I wasn’t going to be one of those skinny wimps, sand kicked in the face at the beach, never getting the girl, and getting bullied by guys who themselves were probably Charles Atlas graduates.

I could get the money. Sometimes I went up and down the road finding pop bottles (they were commonly called “dope bottles” back in 1950 Kingsport.) and taking them to the store and getting the deposit back and I could eventually garner enough from the 2-cents-each deposit refunds and save up till I could buy one of those comic book fantasies. If I helped my brother Ed with his GRIT newspaper sales, sometimes he would give me a quarter. If I worked for Missus Christian across the river pulling weeds out of her tobacco plants I could earn a whole half-dollar a day.

So with a little ambition I could get the money.

The hardest thing was to decide which thing to buy. I wanted just about every one of those gags and gizmos. Well, no, not really. It wasn’t a hard decision. I always had only one real, continuing dream … one wish … one fantasy: To be able to throw my voice.

Remember the picture in the comic book ad? A man walking around kinda slumped over, lugging big box on his back and apparently a voice coming from somewhere inside the box saying “Le’me outta here!! Le’me outa here!!”

That would be the coolest trick, the funniest trick I could ever play: To be able to throw my voice, like it was coming from that box, or the next room, or from inside an outside toilet.  “Help! Le’me outta here! You know, like those, uh, what do you call them? Ventricles … or something like that … ventriloquist, that’s it; like they do.

You could order instructions for twenty-five cents “Learn How to Throw Your Voice. Become a Ventriloquist”. The better ones were a dollar, twenty-five and with those you got pictures and instructions but you also got the main ingredient, the central device that would work to throw your voice when you placed it in your mouth on your tongue and sqwenched up your voice and talked like you were somewhere else. A little round, paper disc, about the size of a nickel, with a little metal clip or something on it, and that’s what you would put on your tongue to cause your voice to be thrown as you spoke but tried not to move your lips.

So, I sent off my dollar, twenty-five in coins along with a SASE and ordered me a ventriloquism kit. Excited … Didn’t tell nobody. I wanted to puzzle people when it came; puzzle them as to where that voice was coming from once I got the hang of ventriloquism and started throwing my voice. It was hard to keep from laughing when I thought about it.

Ran to the mailbox every day. One day it came. I didn’t rip it open and put it in my mouth right then. I already knew how it worked. I got me a big pasteboard box and went out to the front yard and waited for people to walk by. 

I put the voice-throwing disc in my mouth, put the box on my shoulders and when people walked by I would walk up and down and say “Help! Le’me outta here! Le’me outta here!  Saying it through the special disc, you know.

And, my buddies would walk by and I would say, “Help! Help! Le’me outta here!” And, they’d say, “Huh? What’re you talking about?” And I’d say, “Don’t that sound like somebody’s in this box?” And, they’d say, “No, Just sounds like you talking!” I could tell they were determined not to let me have my fun nor admit that I could throw my voice. But I put the box away and went in the house and began to practice in front of the mirror, and learn how to talk without moving my lips and how to disguise my normal talking voice.

My little sister had got a “Raggedy Ann” doll and also a matching “Raggedy Andy” doll for Christmas. Remember those? Cloth dolls. And, hers were big dolls, come up almost to your knee.

We didn’t have a TV yet, didn’t get one till about 1955. We listened to the radio in the evenings, Mom sewed our clothes, Dad nodded from a day’s work, and my brothers and sisters just played around the house. Maybe did homework.

So, that evening, while we all sat around the living room, I got out Raggedy Andy and sat down with him on my knee and I slipped the magic disc onto my tongue, and I wiggled Raggedy Andy and I said “Hello, Andy!” and then I said with my disguised voice “Hello, Davo!” Not real loud but kinda sharply … Hello, Davo!!

And, Mom said, “David, Honey, you need to be quiet; Patty’s (my sister) trying to study.”

And, I’d shake Raggedy Andy again and say, “Hello, Andy!” and, with my (I thought) disguised voice, “Hello, Davo! Hello, Davo!”

“Mom, would you make David shut up!” Patty yelled. 

“Be still, David”, scolded Mom.

“That’s not me.  That’s Andy. Don’t that sound like Andy … like Andy’s talking?”

“It sounds like you, being a pest!” scolded my sister.

That night, next day, in the house, out in the yard in front of my buddies, nobody could be made to think that voice was coming from anywhere but me. Not from the box, not from Andy, not from the outhouse; just me sounding dumb.

After weeks of trying to get the hang of ventriloquism, the art of throwing my voice, I finally threw the magic disc in my dresser drawer with the miniature camera, and the X-Ray glasses, and the Charlie Atlas lessons, and finally conceded that I had been hoodwinked by another page of funny book gimmickry.

But …

I still think it’s just a matter of practice. Where is that magic disc? 

Hello, Andy!  Hello, Davo! Le’me outa here! Le’me outa here!

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I hope you enjoyed David's post as much as I did! While the gizmos I remember are slightly different, I do remember being a kid and wondering if any of those things would really work. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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Finding A Place To Quit In Junaluska - Cherokee County NC

Alvin Yonce and Tipper - Junuluska - Cherokee Co - 2017

Alvin and Tipper - September 2017

A few days back I had the great good fortune to spend a little time with Albert Yonce. Albert is 95 years young and as you can see from the photo he's still spry as a young man. I can assure you he's pretty charming too. 

Albert told me he came from a family of long livers. He said his daddy lived to be 92 because he just couldn't find a good place to quit along the way.

Albert said his daddy was a logger and he moved the family all over Long Branch until he finally moved them to Junalusk'ie and the children told him they weren't moving again! His daddy was also an old time Baptist preacher who quoted long passages from the Bible right up until his death. 

Albert's family is famous for another thing besides longevity - growing Yonce Beans. If you missed my post about Yonce Beans you can go here to read it.

After that first year of growing the Yonce Bean we fell in love with it. We grew two plantings of the bean this year. The first planting produced at least four good pickings. The second planting didn't do as good and we only got one picking from them because it was during the driest part of the summer.

Alvin told me his grandpa was the first to have the bean seed that he knew of.

Five generations later, the family is still planting the Yonce Bean and saving the seed from year to year. And if you hadn't already guessed, Alvin is still growing the Yonce Bean and saving the seed for next year too. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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Appalachia Through My Eyes - Yellow Jewelweed

My life in Appalachia - Yellow Jewelweed

The orange colored jewelweed grows all over my mountain holler, but I've never seen the yellow variety until this past weekend. Let me tell you it is beautiful! Especially when its growing right beside a patch of the orange as it is at my friend's house. 

I was pleased as punch when my very young tour guide showed me how to pop the small seed pods by gently touching them. I love it when I see kids who know the same little tricks I took joy in as a child.  

You can go here to read about the orange jewelweed that grows at my house. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

Appalachia Through My Eyes - A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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Harricun

Harricun in Appalachia

hurricane noun
A variant forms harricane, harricun, herrycane
1942 Hall Phonetics 42 [harik'n].
B
1 A severe windstorm.
1834 Crockett Narrative 150 In the morning we concluded to go on with the boat to where a great harricane crossed the river, and blowed all the timber down into it. 1966 DARE = a destructive wind that blows straight (Cherokee NC). 1969 GSMNP-38:135 A windstorm, we called it the young hurricane. 1982 Powers and Hannah Cataloochee 421 He said that he wished they'd come a herrycane and blow the cranberry bushes out of the ground. 1995 Montgomery Coll. (Cardwell, Shields).
2 A growth of cane or other plant in an area where trees were appar leveled in the past by violent windstorm.
1834 Crockett Narrative 151 We cut out, and moved up to the harricane, where we stop'd for the night 1918 Combs Word-list South 34 = a thicket of cane or other underbrush. 1996 Montgomery Coll. (Adams, Cardwell, Ledford); = also refers to laurel thicket (Ellis).

Dictionary of Smoky Mountain English

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Pap said the word hurricane like the noted variation harricun. I've heard other old timers say it like that too. A man I worked with back in the day in Haywood County NC said it that way and now that I think about it he was about the same age as Pap. 

When The Deer Hunter and I were first married and still living with Pap and Granny harricun Opal screamed through our surrounding area. 

With all the talk of hurricanes during the last few weeks the subject of Opal's damage has come up more than once at work. One lady's husband works for the electric company, she said Opal was a 500 pole event for Blue Ridge EMC. Pap's power was off for several days after the storm and if I remember right it was in late September or early October. 

I'll never forget the first time I walked up the creek after Opal. The trees were just laid over in places like a giant pushed them as if they were weeds in his way. There wasn't nothing to hurt up there, but down in the settlements a lot of trees fell on houses, cars, and of course power lines. 

Our area isn't expecting a lot of damage this go around and I'm thankful. But my heart sure goes out to all the folks who have been in the path of the recent hurricanes. I send them all God Speed. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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Some Pretty Guitar Picking

Pap and ben

Pap and Ben

I'm going way back in the history of the Blind Pig and The Acorn to share this week's Pickin' and Grinnin' in the Kitchen Spot. The video is of my oldest nephew Ben picking out a great tune written by David GrierEngagement Waltz. The video was filmed over 9 years ago. 

I've had Ben on my mind a lot this week. He and his sweet wife gave birth to a beautiful healthy girl, Margaret Evelyn. Month's ago she was given the name of 3 of her great-grandmothers so she was bound to enter this world a little bit ahead if you ask me. To say we're all crazy about her is an understatement.

Way back when Ben came along he was Granny and Pap's first grandchild. His birth made Paul an uncle and me an aunt for the first time. We were all wild about him!

You've probably heard the saying about how the first child gets a picture taken of every little thing they do while the children who follow mostly get school, birthday, and Christmas pictures taken of them. That was sure true for Ben. If his mother wasn't taking pictures of him Granny or I was. 

Ben was the center of all our lives. With Pap, Granny, Paul, The Deer Hunter, and me he had a whole tribe of adults to spoil him-not to mention his momma and daddy. Similar to the first baby picture overload phenomenon we remember all sorts of things Ben said that we thought was cute yet I can't hardly remember anything his sweet sister and brother said. 

Every time we eat a bologna sandwich The Deer Hunter or I am likely to say something about ba-bonie and kook-aid because that was one of Ben's favorite things to eat and drink. And even if I'm alone and notice it's coming a down pour of rain I think to myself 'it's a yaining it's a yaining' because Ben said that too! Somewhere along the way he started saying his name was Be-bo so we all took the cue and started calling him Be-bo. I taught him to feed his riding horse Ole Paint grass and I taught him all I knew about grasshoppers. 

I don't remember if it was when Pap died or later that summer when Ben's other grandfather Robert died, but we were all gathered up watching old home movies. We came to Ben's first birthday party. The house was full and he was opening one present after the other. Just a few minutes later the scene changed to another first birthday party...for Ben. His brother Mark said "Are you kidding me??? He got two parties???" As Mark fussed about the injustice of the way Ben was treated as a child compared to how he was treated we all got a good laugh. Truthfully Mark and April are just as precious as Ben. There is just something about our human nature that remembers and recalls that first baby that first grand-baby or for me that first feeling of becoming an aunt or in this case an Auntie Titter for the first time. 

 

Ben was still in high school when we filmed this video. Now he's the daddy of a sweet little girl who made me a great aunt and Granny a great grandmother for the first time. At the very end of the video you can hear Pap say "That's pretty good Be-bo." I think Pap would say the same thing about little Margaret. 

Tipper

p.s. The Pressley Girls will be performing Friday September 22, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Blairsville, GA. 

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