Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Blackberry Winter

Appalachia Through My Eyes - Blackberry Winter

Today is May 13, 2013. In southern Appalachia the Blackberries are blooming and the temperature at my house is 33 degrees. I’m sure it’s even lower in other parts of my county. It’s still too dark out to see if we have frost-but I bet many areas of western NC do this morning.

*Blackberry Winter- a cold spell of weather which occurs each year when the Blackberry briars are in bloom.

Blackberry Winter is running slightly late this spring-just like everything else has. I just hope it doesn’t do too much damage with it’s late arrival. The Deer Hunter and I have been running late too-so the only thing we have up to worry about is my Blueberries. Granny and Pap spent yesterday evening covering up their tender plants with buckets and whatever else they could find.

How cold is it at your place?


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



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  • Reply
    RB Redmond
    May 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    It was 51 last night when I went to bed about midnight. Brother was acting like it was frigid though, covering everything up outside, and bundling himself up in sweats blankets. Me, I was cool, but not the way Brother seemed to be. He remarked this morning how cold it had gotten, and I said, “It only got down to 51 degrees.”
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    May 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Temps here @ 5:00 a.m. around 38 to 39 degress, felt good, I could of slept on the front porch if I wasn’t afraid of a possum crawling in the covers with me… seen one on the back porch last night,, nasty things..

  • Reply
    Sharon Schuster
    May 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Expecting a frost or freeze tonight in Maryland. Covered up my tender plants and herbs; brought what wasn’t planted yet inside. Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist, wrote a book called “Blackberry Winter.”

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    We are having one of those seasons, too!

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    May 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Brrrrr! Cold, cold on White Oak all day. Higher up it’s still just plain winter- it looks more like early March. Come on Spring!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    There is a very nice lady that used to live in the Choestoe district of Union County Georgia. She knew the mountain poet Byron Herbert Reece when she was a school girl and when I found out about this I began emailing her several years ago. She would write wonderful explications (and still does) about many of his works that interested me. Incidentally, she is the one that told me about The Blind Pig and you Tipper!
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MRS ETHELENE DYER JONES!!!!!!! I hope you have many more!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Where’s spring? Last two mornings it has been 30 degrees here! Have a great birthday Ethelene!!

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    It was 30 degrees at 6:30 this
    morning in Topton and no frost.
    Must have been too breezy, but
    my sister-in-law had frost down
    in Marble on 141.
    I stayed up late last night trying
    to see them coyote eyes. They had
    my little dog just a trembling.
    Happy Birthday Ethelene…Ken

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    May 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    High of 50 today. Yesterday we had ice pellets instead of rain. We don’t worry about frost yet,’cause it’s too soon for most plants to be in the ground. Not that the critters would let them grow, we had one tulip out of 105 actually bloom. The next morning, it was gone, eaten down to the ground. Expecting a high of 60 tomorrow, then in the 70’s the rest of the week.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    May 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I forgot what I intended to add…..

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    May 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Tipper and readers,
    After rereading my post…too late as usual…Please edit as you read and correct misspells, dropped whatevers and left out conjunctions…that goes for this one as well, Thanx…
    B. ruth

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    May 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

    While I stayed under the “kevers”, the betterhalf slipped outside to peek at the produce. No frost here! The blackberries are blooming, not all in full bloom so far. He did put big plastic pots, (we have been saving them for years) over the tomatoes in the raised beds. Also, got the Marconi Peppers covered, all the rest were on their own…We just love us some big Marconi peppers roasted on the grill in the summer, plus they are the most pricy pepper
    transplants that we buy, but worth it….Well, I guess we have one more winter to go…and that is I think Whip-poor-will winter.
    However, several weeks back I was shocked to hear, just at daylight, a Chuck-wills-widow, so early in the Spring. What’s up with this crazy season. Even with the cold snaps, slow start to Spring, we have birds that their babies have left the nest, some still feeding babies, and some building the gourds, and houses..
    A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers took over the dead limb of the large Maple in the yard that the Great Creasted Flycather built in last year. Did they ever put on a show battling for that dead limb. Neither one has a, what you call, beautiful soothing voice so the scrapes, gurgling screams and shrieks went on for a day or two.
    We think the woodpeckers are feeding young since they both leave and come back. That is unless they are carrying that much “poop” out of their nest!
    I often wonder why God didn’t teach them to build a little bathroom on the side of the nest!
    Of course, they do have this great big outhouse, that needs fertilizer…
    Thanks Tipper,
    As usual, I got off on the wrong subject…I’m still Spring Drunk!

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    May 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

    In Shelton, Connecticut, 12-miles due west of New Haven, we measured 50-degrees F. at 7:30 this morning. Unusually chilly. We read that this spring of 2013 is the coldest on record, due, of course, to Global Warming.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

    It was 38 here this morning, in the foothills of Caldwell County. However, the sun has appeared and it will be a chilly but beautiful day.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Central Texas here – we are usually picking dewberries (basically wild blackberries, sometimes called Brazosberries)on Mother’s day but it’s been a cool spring here too – maybe two more weeks before we will get any. Our peach crop is forecast to be only 1/4 of normal (if there is such a thing as normal) due to the unusually warm winter, then the late freezes and frosts taking the blossoms. We’ve set several records for lows here this spring. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the rain that often comes with the cold fronts so the drought is still in full force.
    Tomatoes, peppers, onions, and okra look good – so do the potatoes; but the beans and squash which came up first disappeared over night two weeks ago and the peas and eggplants are being stubborn. The end of the week is supposed to bring 90 degree weather so maybe that will coax them up – and hopefully I can replant the beans and squash – maybe they’ll will still have time to make before the heat of summer hits if this cool trend continues.
    I envy you folks your true seasons. As someone once said, here in Central Texas we have two seasons: summer and “not summer”.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 13, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Since I’m retired I have no idea what the temp. was at daylight but at 8:00 am it was in the high 30s here in Bryson City and I see no evidence of frost. I have tomatoes, squash, potatoes and peppers which are doing fairly well so I hope they weren’t bit. Everything else is waiting to peep out of the ground so it is ok. It seems that many of us get the “Grow Bug” at the first warm days of Spring and wind up sweating Dogwood and Blackberry Winter each year often followed by re-planting. My Bride and I have spent several days selecting her flowers for the flower beds and I hope these aren’t bitten as these get more expensive each year.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

    35F when we woke up this morning (in the mountains between Sylva & Franklin). We were relieved because our garden is sprouting now! Yay for no frost here:)
    PS The buds are just beginning to come out on our blackberries around here. I hope that doesn’t mean we are in for yet another Blackberry Winter!

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    May 13, 2013 at 9:22 am

    We had a shivering 50 degrees here in Aiken, S. C.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 8:56 am

    It was 37 here in Kentucky this morning. We have pepper plants up so we covered them with plastic yesterday evening. I think it is supposed to be a little warmer tonight – I’m hoping we don’t have to cover them again this evening.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 8:50 am

    The Recovering Yankee writes from Morgan county KY:
    ‘Twas right cool here this morning, there was frost on the windshields but no ice in the puddles from last night’s rain.
    ‘Blackberry Winter must be the antithesis to Indian summer.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    May 13, 2013 at 8:34 am

    We covered up some stuff last night, but just barely missed getting a frost O:) Now if we can survive tonight, we should be okay. There’s too much to cover up here, so we just do the best we can and hope for the best.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    May 13, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Blackberry Winter indeed. Most but not all our blackberries are blooming right now. It was 34 on this side of the mountains, but I did not notice any frost on my early morning walk. I saw the forecast is for 83 on Wednesday…one strange set of weather patterns.

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    May 13, 2013 at 8:15 am

    LAWRENCEVILLE,GA.-46°at 8:00 high today-70°
    No rain in the forecast We’ve had a lot of rain this spring. Everything is so green.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 13, 2013 at 8:12 am

    It was 39 here in Black Mountain at 7:45, probably colder earlier. I am so ready for warm weather.
    Happy Birthday Ethelene!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    May 13, 2013 at 8:02 am

    My dear friend Rhonda was always referring to Blackberry Winter. She passed this past Easter; this phrase will always remind me of her.

  • Reply
    Janice McCall
    May 13, 2013 at 7:54 am

    66 here in Ocala, Fl, but expecting a record low of 51 tonight. Hopefully this little cold front will bring our garden some heavenly rain which it likes so much better than well water.

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    May 13, 2013 at 7:54 am

    It was 40 in North Alabama. The record is 39, and some people said it was 38 in the low area.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Tipper–Forty degrees here in upstate S. C. at daylight–the coolest I can remember this far into spring. That’s only a few degrees removed from frost, but we will be okay. However, plants which like heat, such as tomatoes, just sort of stall while it’s that chilly. I guess it doesn’t really matter, since I’m way later than usual getting garden truck in. That’s thanks to too much turkey hunting travel and difficulty in getting a day when the ground was dry enough to plow. However, I’ve got about 75 tomato plants in and another flat to go–beans, crowder peas, zucchini, and a bunch of other stuff will be planted in the next two or three days.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 13, 2013 at 7:38 am

    The weather channel says its 37 here this morning and the neighbor’s roof looks white. I am running late this year too. I don’t have anything planted. Last week’s flooding rain dampened my efforts until Saturday. The ground was still a little too wet but I decided to put out some tomato and pepper plants anyway. As I was starting to get out my stuff, the sky started to darken and before I could get it all put back, it came a gully washer. “Rain that flew in sideways!” Rain that blew in one side of my carport and out the other. Two days worth of rain in ten minutes. The rain pouring over the gutters and the wind blowing it against the windows actually scared me a little. The neighbors lost half of a Bradford pear tree but they won’t stand up to a healthy sneeze anyway.
    Maybe the ground can dry out again this week enough that I can get something planted before this coming weekend’s deluge.
    PS I do have some volunteer squash plants coming up. They are descendants of last years “Squash That Ate Connelly Springs”

  • Reply
    steve in Tn
    May 13, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Thirty Nine degrees in west tn. If it frosts, so be it. Nature can’t be controlled all growing season. A few good crops the last few years have the freezer full anyway, and out of 80 plants, surely I will have a few tomatoes regardless of the weather.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 13, 2013 at 7:30 am

    One year in May my father’s corn crop was up and doing well. And the cold, cold snap took all the crop out. My good farmer Dad replanted and made a good (though later than usual) crop! Despite “blackberry winter” and other challenges, the spirit of getting along and doing what has to be done is definitely a part of our Appalachian upbringing! How thankful I am for this spirit of “derring do”! Have a happy, though chilly, May 13 (and I’m having a happy birthday, too!).

  • Reply
    Susi Pentico
    May 13, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Wow, not heard that phrase since a youth. Wonder how far up the country that folk language migrated because so many of these sayings and words I heard when around family gatherings.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    May 13, 2013 at 7:18 am

    36 over here in Unicoi, TN, with a very spotty frost. I was out early checking on my blueberries, strawberries and raspberries and all seems ok. If not I would have gotten the hoses out and sprinkled everything down before the sun hit them. It’s been so wet over here that I haven’t gotten my garden out yet, so no worries there.

  • Reply
    May 13, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Feels like a lovely morning – in October! It was 35 around 6AM, but the sun was already bright. Expect it will warm up and be perfect for working outdoors. Maybe it will knock back the black flies – that would be a gift!

  • Reply
    Cathy Jones
    May 13, 2013 at 6:33 am

    It was 28*, at 5:30a.m., here in S. Michigan. : (

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