Appalachia Gardening

A Spring Saturday

Yesterday, we helped Granny and Pap get the garden at their house ready for planting. There was tilling;

there was brush cutting;

there was visiting;

there was flower looking;

and there was fried potatoes, cornbread, black eyed peas, and ham for dinner. It was a pretty good day.

What did you do?



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  • Reply
    Nancy M.
    March 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Sounds like y’all had a good time visiting and working! We’ve been tilling up our garden too.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Sounds like you had a real nice day. It is still too wet and muddy in our garden spot to do any tilling.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    March 21, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Well, woke up first, then ate some fried eggs and toast honey made for me then I headed off to Norris Lake for lake clean up day. Did a load of work from 10:00 until about 3:30, shoveled gravel, raked a lot, and raked some more around our camp site.
    Got home around 4:00, got the lawnmower ready and then mowed the yard for the first time. Had to move a big maple that I chopped down this winter with an axe. Jacob and Joshua helped me chop it up(Have to teach them the skills of a woodsman) Joshua and I planted a tomato plant and did some other yard work Sunday afternoon them mamaw and papaw came over for a visit. I was dog tired, had washed all three cars Friday evening.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

    It is that time of year. I heard motors of all sorts over this past weekend, chain saws, tractors lawn mowers and dirtbikes. Seems that I don’t hear them as much as the summer wears on.

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Jerry-yes I’ve heard that saying about the oak leaves. Check out this post I wrote last year for more garden folklore from Appalachia:
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 8:34 am

    A fat eddie sounds yummy : ) That is exactly the way the Blind Pig gang eats their hotdogs too : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    March 21, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Not much of anything. It was a lazy weekend here. Those don’t happen often.It was nice.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    March 21, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Tipper, your day sounds so wonderful. Love the menu for dinner. I spent my day at John C. Campbell Folk School taking photos and learning how to share them digitally. Met many nice people and loved getting out and taking the pictures. The birds all seemed to come out Saturday and the martin gourds were busy. I made some good shots there I’ll share on my blog later. Today a pair of cardinals were carrying on at my house and all kinds of birds were singing. The squirrels seemed even more active. Think they knew today was the last day of winter?

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Cleaned house, treated myself to a Fat Eddie (Local eatery that opens in the spring) hotdog with all the fixins. Met with a nice lady to get her vacation rental on line. By the way, every area likes their hotdogs different ways. Round these parts we eat chili, onions, slaw, mustard and ketsup on a grilled bun. Yum, yum. How does your part of the country like their hotdogs?

  • Reply
    Jerry McKelvy
    March 20, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Here in south Arkansas we have a saying to not plant your seeds until the oak leaves are as big as squirrel ears. I would be interested in knowing if folks in Appalachia have heard of that or if they have any sayings like that.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 20, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    The thing about growing garlic is that you can dry it and keep it but if you want to can it, you shouldn’t. You see that grated and ground up garlic in oil in those little jars but they put phosphoric acid in it to kill the c. botulinium toxins and process it at very high temperatures.
    Uncle Bill Neary left me his garlic and I grow it … well, it keeps coming back. He probably smiles back down here from up there.
    When the garlic first shoots up I know it didn’t matter what the groundhog saw, spring is soon here.
    This Saturday it was up all over the garden and everywhere I had spilled some of those little bulblets that seed up on the stalk of the garlic.
    Northern Indiana is a lethargic garden and only the daffodils have poked up through last fall’s leaves.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Mom just lay there. She doesn’t talk much any more. People soon dispair in a nursing home. Getting old happens in the springtime, too.
    We drove the six-hour race to get to Glasgow, Kentucky before it got too late to come back Saturday. We sat with Mom a while and played the harmonica.
    We drove the six hours back in darkness, ever’body in a hurry.
    Where are they going?

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Sounds like a Saturday well spent. I like all the visiting and eating as well. They just seem to go hand in hand! My potatoes are through the ground and growing.

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    March 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Tipper: still enjoying yesterdays coffee,i miss so much when traveling,by the way thanks so much connecting me with my cousin in oregon. still making big n.c. plans, by the way your best bet for weather in late summer and early fall. seems to me we want to see all those leaves change color. regards k.o.h

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Didn’t get much done Saturday. My
    plans didn’t work out the way I
    wanted, but it was a good day. At
    least I’m well!
    Jim’s comment provided a nice and
    thoughtful present for his grand-
    daughter, the flowers handed down
    from her grandfather.
    Talking about all that good soul
    food is gonna cause me to start
    peeling taters…Ken

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    March 20, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    ahh tipper that sounds wonderful… actually the whole day does… just being together and helping and laughing and enjoying the weather.. it was cold here. and in the 30s so not much doing outside.. i dont even see a bud of anything around here. *sigh* hubby did take me for a ride.. just to get out and it was nice… after my stay in the hospital.
    thanks for sharing as always.. and those potatoes sure looked good.. yummmm
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    What a perfect day, Tipper! We worked in our gardens yesterday too. We went to the beach and gathered peat, then brought it back and spread it on top of our garden plots. We had a tiny bit of sunshine, but it was mostly spitting snow and rain at us. Still, it felt good to be outside working. It would have been even better to come home to some fried potatoes though! YUM!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    The sun poked his lazy head out yesterday and we all worked like crazy folks on many projects. The lambs and their moms finally got to come out of the barn and are now in the pasture figurin’ out how things work out there. And we pumped water from one end of the Market Garden, today the other end gets worked over.
    My second oldest and her husband came for a visit, she’s sicker than a dog and hoping the sick is all worth it this time – they’re working on staying pregnant and finally havin’ their first. So it was a good day, hard, but good. (Its a secret over at my place but I figured I could say stuff here – you know, hard to keep a momma quiet)

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    It rained and rained so I worked on our income taxes, on my blog, and vacuumed the house. Just an ordinary day here in the canyon. The rain continues today, the roads have turned to mud, snow is falling in the hills across the road, and I went out to get some more wood to bring in to dry,I got soaked, and that’s about it for me. Have a nice Sunday.

  • Reply
    grannis little corner
    March 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    With all of the flooding and hard rains that we got, this warmer weather and nice spring breezes a blow’n, it’s startin to dry things up nicely, but still too wet to do anything here. It sounds like your day with family was very fruitful and pleasant.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    March 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Two comments:
    1. Chatter (I think, but maybe it’s Chitter doing the sawing) must get her jeans from the same store that our oldest boy Joshua does – they have the same sorts of deoorative holes.
    2. The holes in the blue jeans reminded me – when thinking of Lisa’s request for lyrics – of the song “Life gets teejus, don’t it.” When a mountain boy or girl is feeling fretful, a listen to it helps give a little light perspective.
    Doc Watson recorded it back in the 70’s, but it is a lot older than that. It was written by Carson Robinson – probably in the 1940’s. Here’s some verses:
    The sun comes up and the sun goes down
    And the hands on the clock go round and roumd
    I just git up and it’s time to lay down,
    Life gets teejus, don’t it.
    Old hound’s howling, so forlorn
    He’s the laziest dog that ever was born
    He’s a-howlin’ ’cause he’s settin’ on a thorn
    Just too tired to move over.
    Roof’s a-leakin’ and the chimney leans,
    An’ there’s a hole in the seat of my old blue jeans
    Now I’ve et the last of the pork an’ beans,
    Just can’t depend on nothin’
    The cow’s gone dry and the hens won’t lay
    And my well dried up last Saturday
    My troubles keep pilin’ up day by day
    And now I’m gettin’ dandruff.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    It was a bit too chilly for outdoor chores up here yesterday, but I did strip the beds and change from fleece sheets to flannel, another sign of spring!
    I see from your picture that you know at least one of my Grandma Dolly’s secrets for the world’s best fried potatoes, “Use a cast iron skillet, cook ’em high and don’t turn ’em too much.” Once again, you have stirred a pleasant memory and my appetite!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 11:57 am

    We cleaned up the yard a little, but it is too chilly here to get to much done yet. It sure did feel good to get out, though.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    March 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Tipper–Thanks to a run of warm weather and something of a recovery from a prolonged period of the mullygrubs, I emulated some of your activity. I’ve got onions and taters in the ground (the signs were good for root crops), and I also planted two rows of glads in my flower garden. Most of the bulbs came from Dad’s, and that gives them special meaning to me. Beyond that, they should be prime for cutting about the time of my granddaughter’s birthday in June. I carried glads I grew to the hospital for her mother the day she was born, and this year I hope to give her a birthday present of glads which were originally started by her great grandfather.
    Beyond that, the garden is completely tilled, about half of the raspberry canes have been put in proper shape, the blueberry patch has been prepared for another year (I have huge, 40-year-old bushes which produce increidible amounts), and the thornless blackberry patch is in good order. Now if I just had the tomato flats started (tomorrow, I hope), green peas in the ground, mustard and turnips planted (tell your father I’m planting them in Bryson City too and there should be plenty to share again), etc. It’s a time of year when there just aren’t enough hours in the day, and on top of that the opening day of turkey season is less than two weeks away here.
    In short, I was busy like you folks, but Miss Ann has been under the weather and we sure didn’t feast the way you did.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    March 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Temps in the 30’s yesterday,forecast was expecting snow on Wednesday. We think it’s spring, but the weather isn’t so sure. We stayed busy indoors with chores.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Put up the homemade shepherd’s hooks my husband made for me.
    Filled the birdfeeders.
    Took the cats to the vets to get their stitches out.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Lisa-Songs that come to mind-Poor Man-its the first song on my player-and its from theDepression years-and was even written by Frank Proffitt who lived in NC. It wasbased onhis real life experience of trying tofarm during a drought and then the rainfinally comingand washing every thing away. Another is Hard Times Come Again No More-it was writen by Stephen Foster-so itis from the 1800s. It is number 72 on my musicplayer.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

    How wonderful of you and your family to help out with the spring spruce-up at Pap and Granny’s…
    I didn’t know until yesterday,..(while doing the estate sale thing at Moms)..that …
    Twitter, Tweets and Face book are not a new thang! Nothing new under the sun, I suppose!
    Noisy groups, flocks, pairs and at least one gaggle was doing the Tweet and Twitter thing in the sun and shade yesterday…From the top of the trees to the lowest shrubs there was (face booking) face-offs. Twitters landed on the ground in such a tumble with tweeting of such magnitude you would think that it was going global! What a display of courtship and territorial fights and flights! Tweeting, “My tree, my bush, my gourd,” my and mine tweets were rising up to the heavens! “He’s mine, she’s mine and back off, I don’t know you!” Would the courting and nesting spot every get decided?
    Later as Twitters got a tiny bit quite, I couldn’t believe that I heard another soft tweet so sweet coming from a shelf under the deck…One pair of twitters (House Finches) got a jump on Spring and their brood hatched. The excited sweet tweets were being made with the arrival of Mr. n’ Ms. Finch as they took turns toting food to the nest!
    Thanks Tipper…Happy Spring!

  • Reply
    Debra Ann Gray- Elliott
    March 20, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Made me miss my grandparent’s…

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    March 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I was reminded of a comment I read in some book or another in which the author said: the garden begins as symmetry, then evolves into chaos. Pretty as a picture in either case.
    I can’t wait.
    Spent my day on Deep Creek fishing, or, rather, trowing lures in the water. Reminds me of another truism and popular bumper sticker: a bad day fishing is better than a good day working.
    It was.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    March 20, 2011 at 9:17 am

    We spent the day cleaning up from winter winds, hauling dirt to areas where a neighbors cattle had ‘visited’ our yard and literally sunk in after heavy rains the other week and cleaning up debris along the creek that had overflowed its banks after those rains.
    I’m still thinking about gardening but am afraid to do much yet. It was so good being outside in fresh air and sunshine!

  • Reply
    My Carolina Kitchen
    March 20, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Cornbread and black-eyed peas for dinner? Yep, I would say it was a very good day Tipper.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2011 at 7:38 am

    i love the visiting shot. this post has filled me with nostalgia and a longing for family times. my dad and mom, and all their brothers and sisters and all my grandparents are deceased. our family is down to my brother and 4 cousins and their children and we are all scattered all over the states. i have no family but my husband and dogs and i miss these family time like yours. enjoy them while you can, time is fleeting faster than we think. thanks for my visit with your family.

  • Reply
    Mark Selby
    March 20, 2011 at 7:25 am

    What did I do? I spent the afternoon doing Spring Cleaning tasks at the living history farm museum where I volunteer. Exchange Place ( is an 1850s East TN farm, portraying life as it was on the farm back then. A fine group of service learning students from East TN State University put in a hard afternoon’s work to help make Exchange Place ready to greet the busloads of elementary school kids who will start visiting in April. It was a good day.

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Two Bears Farm
    March 20, 2011 at 7:23 am

    Yum, sounds good! I made jambalaya. There weren’t any leftovers!
    Can I ask for your help on something? I’m writing bits and pieces of that piece of Appalachian fiction and I want to incorporate a few lyrics from an Appalachian folk song into the next bit I write. I want the lyrics to generally have something to do with things will be okay or embracing what is to come. The song needs to have been around since the depression time-wise. Does anything come to mind?

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