5 Things

1. Living in a holler in Appalachia is thought to be poor living by some. Not me. I think living in a holler in Appalachia is one of the best places to live in the whole wide world. Your house is nestled down safe from the cold winter winds and a short climb up the ridge gives you a view of paradise.

2. Do you ever wake up feeling ornery? Every once in a while I wake up feeling rebellious and defiant for no good reason. I don’t think most people would describe me as rebellious and defiant-at least I hope not. But on my ornery days I have a feeling of superiority that I know I don’t deserve. It’s like a cuckle-burr stuck under the back of my hair that pokes and prods me to go out slaying and defeating my foes. Chatter and Chitter describe it as a gleam in my eye and a smirk on my face. Pap would tell me it’s the Devil and I better do some praying, but I know he has the same feeling sometimes for I’ve seen it in his eyes.

3. I think I missed my calling. I should have been a linguist. Of course I only care to study the Appalachian Language so that might not have worked out so well. Or maybe I can look at it like this: I am a linguist since I share so much of the rich colorful language of Appalachia here on the Blind Pig.

4. I’ve been pondering one of the greatest mysteries on Earth: Why does a tenor voice complete harmony? The high tenor of traditional Appalachian music melts into other voices in such a manner that…well I’m incapable of describing the beauty of it. If you don’t believe me go listen to these songs:

In the Garden


Southern Moon

Little Bessie

5. Fall of the year is inching itself closer day by day in the mountains of Western North Carolina. I’ve spotted reds and yellows shinning along the ridges over the last few days and the John C. Campbell Folk School is gearing up for their annual Fall Festival. This year marks the 42nd year of the fantastic two day festival. The Blind Pig Gang will take the Festival Barn Stage at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday October 4. Be on the lookout for a ticket giveaway and a guestpost written by Rooney Floyd about Olive Dame Campbell-if you didn’t know she’s the wonderful lady who founded the folk school.



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  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    September 23, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    Wow! Never thought of mountain living as poor living. Long after city folks have starved to death, the mountain folks will be surviving on skills they learned growing up. That’s why I’ve always been blessed to have grown up on a farm where we learned how to make some pretty darn good meals out of things city folks would toss away.
    We get a pretty good laugh sometimes to see barbecue pork ribs and fried chicken wings so “in” now, when we’ve been eating them that way since we were toddlers, often bought for a nickel or dime a pound then, when almost everyone else was passing them by at the butcher store. hee hee
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    September 23, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Lovely post, Tipper.
    I’ll wave down from Sunrise Ridge here in MO, but the rest is pretty much the same.
    Love those great tenor voices!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    I’ve never lived in a holler but I’d sure like to try Maybe not too far down from the ridge, though, because these days short slopes are a much better bet for me than long ones, and I’d like to be able to get to the view from the top now and then.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    My Wife tells me I wake up Hangry, it’s a combo of Hungry/angry.. Once I’m fed I’m O.K…

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Ron-thank you for the comment! Yes I think a hike up the ridge would help me on my ornery days : ) Yay for your Cherokee Purples! Mine are almost gone-only a few green ones left hanging around when I looked over the weekend. Why 5? Because 5 was always Grannys favorite number…because there was 5 of us: Pap, Granny, Steve, Tipper, Paul.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I live in a holler of sorts, even though it is on a hillside…hollered out with a bigger hill on either side and behind us…ha
    I’ve been called that there name more’n onest! Just like this morn’in!
    “Why are you actin’ like an ornery old cus?”
    “Well, I said, ’cause I am and ’cause I can…and I’m nye near 75 and I have a notion to do hit!”
    You are “linguistity”!
    Now then, look that there made up word in the Appalachian book a words…ha Love it, your so good
    at it too! Fer as I can cipher, I bet that Jim probably has heered the word hisownself!
    Ewwwwww, hurts my yeers…Could you imagine blue grass without tenors…ohhhh nooo!
    PS..In The Garden..was just beautiful, one of my favorite hymns!
    The Falling Leaves drift by my window…the falling leaves of red and gold…
    We was just driving down by a woodland and right there, just one leaf of red, the rest were yellow green…”Now how’d that one leaf just pop up painted red like that, so beautiful.” I said to myself!
    The answer was whispered…”Did you expect less of me”, HE said!
    “Why of course not,” I blurted out loud! AMEN

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I loved everything about your post this morning. I have been having connectivity problems, so on late this week. It has become a regular part of most days.
    One great thing I love about Appalachia–I have lived in hollers, on mountains, in suburbs, and coal camps. I loved it all because mostly it has always had my kind of people.
    I loved Miss Cindy’s post about the buckets, because I have a bucket addiction. I just cannot seem to have enough of them, and have one in the garden for a chair so not so much bending.
    I really like that high tenor sound, and hearing it used to make me so homesick when I lived elsewhere.
    It is sad when anything is so unbelievably beautiful that the entire vocabulary of words cannot do justice in the description. The Appalachian dialect comes as close to being descriptive as anything, since sometimes a “my oh my” is all we need to give anything justice.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    September 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Tipper:You shore ginerated some fine comments frum your fateful readers on this post. Wunderful and meaningful!
    I will be over on 10-03 for a multi-class reunion for Hayesville High School. THEN we will ‘circle the Square’ in the evening. Hope yuns are there! Loved your last performance ‘on the Square!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 22, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    1. ♫ I wonder if there’ll be hollers in heaven?
    If there ain’t then I don’t want to go.
    You can have your mansion on the hilltop.
    I’ll be content in the holler below.♫ ©
    2. I don’t ever wake up ornery but it don’t me take long to get that way.
    3. But you are a linguist. Who else has a monthly vocabulary test?
    4. My daddy was a singer. He sang it all. His best voice was tenor but he could fill in for whoever was missing. Sometimes he sang more than one part. ♪♪ Daddy sang bass, Daddy sang tenor and all the parts that come between there.♪♫♪
    5. Yep, Fall is waiting with its paintbrush. Most of the corn here has been harvested and the winter wheat has taken its place. The soybeans are beginning to yellow.
    Today is a dreary day just like yesterday. It’s been months since we’ve had one and now we have two. Some people don’t like dreary days but I find them comforting.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Fall got skittish and has gone into hiding around here with temperatures hovering in the upper 90s. Even so, with the sun moving south, you can see from the “color of the air” that fall isn’t too far away. You can smell it too.
    You offered lots of good food for thought today; and, even if you were feeling a bit ornery, you offered good music to soothe the savage beast – – its also good for folks like me who want to practice harmonizing when nobody’s listening! 😉
    I like Miss Cindy’s message about buckets. Just so happens I made putter seats with a couple of 5 gallon buckets for my Dad’s and uncle’s 95th birthday this summer – both still active and enjoying keeping their hands busy in the garden or at the tool bench no matter what they can or can’t see so these buckets have pockets for tools and a padded seat to rest on. Sounds like a challenge for your readers: how many uses can you think of for a bucket? I’ve got my list growing right now!

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    September 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Tipper, I recently discovered “Howell Branch” road just out of Daybook N. C. I am Plum Proud!
    Also a Honeycutt Branch road is nearby. My great grandparents, Dillard Howell and Sarah Honeycutt are buried on the ridge just above the location. (Holler) When I get rich, I’m gonna buy a place there. My father George, was a logger in the nearby Smokey Mountains, when he courted my mother, a schoolteacher at Oconaluftee in the early 1920’s. He had a Hudson Speedster, she was very impressed, to say the least. When they halted logging in the Smokies, Mother Lona Helen Cordell and dad sorta eloped and moved to West Virginia where I was born. Pocahontas county is known as “The birthplace of Rivers” and “The heart of Appalachia, being almost in the middle of the mountain range. My Appalachian Roots run deep. I’m still walkin “Plum Proud” here in Los Angeles, Ca. Thanks for making my day!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Like you, I live in a holler
    surrounded by my beloved Mountains.
    A tornado recently hit in my area,
    wore itself out, took out many
    poplars, but never bothered any
    houses. No one was hurt either.
    I was touched by Sheryl Paul’s
    comment because I had a friend
    from Fort Myers. He and his family had Tindell Farms and had
    many acres farmed in Cuba. When
    Fidell took over, they lost 42
    Tractors and only escaped with
    their lives. He’s gone now, but
    Dale will always be my friend.

  • Reply
    Ken Ryan
    September 22, 2015 at 10:25 am

    I loved your post this morning…and the comments and the music. I, too, am fascinated by the high tenor harmony in bluegrass and mountain music. It is so unique and special. Y’all do a fantastic job with the music.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 22, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Our sourwood trees are turning red, the early harbinger of Fall. We are looking to our first Fall in our recently completed house in Brevard.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    September 22, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Love this post! The hills and hollers are a special place indeed!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 22, 2015 at 10:07 am

    and Cindy….I couldn’t stand it! Just had to do it! Can’t let an opportunity like this pass!…ha
    Cindy…Tipper should really put your thoughts in your comment this morning on her “bucket list”!
    Thanks…yes, pun intended!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    September 22, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Love starting my day with The Blind Pig, especially the music!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I have even more respect for you knowing that the orneriness creeps in on ocassion. I think a little ornery is a good thing. There are some folks out there that need to be put in their place every now and again. It adds a little mystery and a tinge of darkness to your persona. If we were honest, we would admit to feeling the same way at times.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I find your five things quite thought provoking. I enjoyed reading truly honest feelings; feelings I sometimes have and can relate with. However, I could never be an Appalachian linguist. I’m learning from you and I just enjoy every minute.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 9:26 am

    Amen to the tenor! Love, love, love to hear four part harmony. In our church ,the tradition is a capella singing, although we’ve gotten away from it in the past number of years. I miss it!

  • Reply
    Henry Horton
    September 22, 2015 at 9:25 am

    New to Appalachia,
    alivin in a holler
    ‘neath the ridge line;
    soon’s the chiggers
    go t sleep
    be bushwackin a trail
    to the ridge top
    where an old bent tree
    makes the perfect bench
    fer sittin in the morning sun;
    second cup o coffee!
    Pleased as punch
    t’ be livin on a hillside
    lookin at the ridge
    across the way
    watchin the show begin;
    first fall,
    in living color,
    Blue Ridge Mountains,
    North Carolina!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2015 at 9:21 am

    When I joined a ladies group, the girls introduced themselves and told where they live. Most of them were born and raised in Happy Hollow. They all said “holler” and that’s when I knew we would get along just fine. I was raised in a holler and agree with you about it being the best place to live in the whole wide world.
    BTW, Happy Hollow is located right behind the Jim Beam Distillery with everyone, including the church, using the same entrance. I’ve often wondered if that has anything to do with how the holler got it’s name…

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    September 22, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Both with words and photographs you paint five beautiful and touching portraits this morning, Tipper. With your presentation goes this idea: If each of us could write down five things daily that move us, what a keepsake journal we would have! Today, already, I’ve written about one: a rainbow! (see my today’s Facebook postint) What symbolism (and promise) seeing one should bring to mind!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 22, 2015 at 7:50 am

    Tip, I love the 5 Thing edition that you’ve added to the blog. I like to see what you are thinking, I love THAT you think. Lots of people don’t think. A life without thinking would be so boring.
    You need to add the word “bucket” to your Appalachian Pig Collage. We, you, use a lot of buckets. We carry things in buckets, we store things in buckets, and we sort things in buckets. Buckets are ever present. They are on the porch, in the basement, in the garage, and in the utility building. Sometimes buckets even find their way into the kitchen. What would we do without buckets. There is even one in one of the pictures today.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 22, 2015 at 7:24 am

    I have to say I love this blog, especially the words. It is interesting that I a fifth generation Floridian find so much that is the same in my family. Most people think of Florida via the newer people that live here. Well, this is not who we are, we are very much like you. We were raised to say yes maam and no maam, please and thank you etc. I know that both sides of my family came originally from NC, not the mountains that I dearly love, but along the Atlantic Coast. Prior to that England & Scotland which is probably why they moved to Florida….to be surrounded by water.

  • Reply
    Hazel R. Carr
    September 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to IN THE GARDEN this morning. Will listen for others later. Thanks.
    Hazel in West Palm Beach, FL PS I’m an alto – so I enjoy harmony.

  • Reply
    Beatrice Bland
    September 22, 2015 at 6:27 am

    I love this and it is so nice to have you share your tales. Our home places should always be dear to us.

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