Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Chopping Wood

My life in appalachia chopping wood

Spit in your hand when chopping wood for good luck ~Appalachian Folklore

The Deer Hunter came into some free wood recently so he’s been a happy chopper. I think he religiously spits in his hands every time he goes to the woodpile, but don’t tell him I said so.


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

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  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Our Dad use to say chopping wood was “the work that warms twice” and it does!!!
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 30, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    A man with a woodpile has a place to put his frustrations. He can put a face and a name on every block of wood he cleaves. He can destroy all his enemies in order and fear no retribution. When he has reestablished his proper place in the world, if he still needs firewood, he can call me. I have issues to settle too.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    August 30, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    The heat so nice it warms you twice! LOL- Happy Labor Day

  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    Tim-Thank you for the comments!! The Deer Hunter has been on the look out for a splitter for the last few years-but so far hasn’t found one that fits our budget LOL : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    On Saturday, August 30, 2014 10:04 AM,

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    When my arthritis ain’t acting up, I love to work in the woodpile. I usually buy a load or two of logs, saw ’em up, and bust with my wood splitter. Got to get cooler for me tho.
    I’ve known people who spit on their hands before busting their
    wood. But I suppose they’re making sure their hands don’t
    A few years ago the Deer Hunter
    and I halfed some Birch trees.
    I saw right off that he was very
    good with a powersaw and fallin’
    trees. All I did was load and
    stack, talk, and have fun…Ken

  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I’m sure it is good luck if the ax doesn’t slip from his hand.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    I’m definitely with the Deer Hunter on this one!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    August 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I’d say Deer Hunter had been spitting in his hands before, since he luckily received free wood.
    I also received a free gift of a peck of peaches last week. Since I dared not to ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’, I quickly put them in the freezer before they got any riper.
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…I thought I would like to have more of those free peaches for various other recipes…Then I thought “be careful for what you wish for” for a grove of peaches or an orchard of apples or in Deer Hunters way a forest of trees…Means a lot of hard work…spit or no spit!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Have you or the Deer Hunter read the essay, The Good Oak by Aldo Leopold? It’s one of the essays in A Sand County Almanac by Leopold. I know you’d both enjoy it!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

    I’ve heard that many “good luck rituals” and “twwadi”‘s (“the way we’ve always done it”‘s) come from practical origins. Does anyone know what this spit origin might have been? perhaps lubricating the hands?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 30, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Axe handle, shovel handle, hoe handle, bat. A handful of dirt and spit to make it stick. A ditch, a row, a winter’s fuel, a two run single. Good luck to the onlooker if a wooden hand slips from a determined man’s hands. Tar, resin and friction tape are cheap but spit and dirt are free and always there when you need them.

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    August 30, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Tell Deer hunter he needs to build himself a wood splitter, it’s a whole lot easier on the hands and back!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 10:04 am

    ***News Flash***
    Gas Powered Hydrological Wood Splitter adds years to your Life.. Listen to Haul Parvey for the rest of the Store At 6:00,, I’ve been there done that…

  • Reply
    August 30, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Being a city girl, I never really chopped woods until we headed to our home in NC. Of course, we used a wood splitter, that is, after the trees were placed in neat little piles just the right size. I hope the Deer Hunter doesn’t have too many callouses.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

    When I saw my Daddy spit in his hands before he took the axe in his hands to chop wood, I thought he was just doing it so his hand would be more supple on the axe handle. I did not know he was fulfilling an “old” saying common to our Appalachian ancestors! Glad to learn this! After crops were “laid by,” another hard job began: that of getting in from the forest the wood required to fire the furnace for our six or more weeks of sorghum-syrup-making in the fall. This cutting of trees, splitting logs and cutting the wood for the syrup furnace, and hauling and stacking it was a hard, hot job for those weeks before syrup making started in September.

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    August 30, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Baseball players do the same thing.

  • Reply
    Sue Simmons
    August 30, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Tipper, I have seen my uncle’s and my brothers and father spit on their hands before chopping wood,but I never knew why. Thanks,after 55 years I have the riddle solved. SUE

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