Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Christmas

Appalachia Through My Eyes – December = Evergreens And Pinecones

My life in appalachia december = evergreens

“December is laughter and full hearts and the glad hubbub of company coming. It’s mountain women gathering pine cones and galax and holly and weaving them into many-splendored things to garland Christmas mantels.”

~John Parris –¬†December in the Hills

—-

It’s been a long time since Parris wrote the quote above, but the sentiment is still alive and well in Appalachia. I enjoyed gathering with other mountain women a few days ago to weave our own many-splendored¬†things to garland Christmas.

Tipper

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14 Comments

  • Reply
    Tipper
    December 14, 2014 at 9:21 am

    Dolores-thank you for the great comments! To keep the greenery fresh you can indeed spray it with water-or even set it out in the rain : ) They will last quite a long time unless they are too close to a heat source.
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    RB
    December 12, 2014 at 1:51 am

    Did a bit of work with pine boughs myself today.
    Explained to Bro Tom what I wanted to do below the front windows of the house, mainly a sprays with beautiful red bows on each lit up by spotlights on each one.
    Well, either he wanted to help or misunderstood and thought I was telling him to do it, but out he went cutting down pine bows, only to come in an hour or so later and say, “Rose, I did those pine things you wanted and it isn’t pretty.” Awww-LOL
    I went out to see what he’d come up with. He apparently had no clue because he hadn’t gotten them hooked together end to end, was trying to bunch them altogether with bread wrapper ties instead, and no, it wasn’t pretty. So I brought it all in the house, assorted it all by size, got some floral string and made them, showing him how I was doing it as I went along, just in case he ever wanted to do it himself.
    They turned out beautifully, we put them on the front of the house under the windows and are well pleased. As soon as we get the spotlights, the vignette will be complete – a lovely accompaniment to the candles in the windows, the lighted trees on each side of the front porch, the lighted railing on the side porch, and the lighted sculptures on the front door and the back porch railing, just like a Hallmark card. ;o)
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Memories and traditions being made before your very eyes….any given day in Appalachia!

  • Reply
    Tamela
    December 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    You’ve stirred my creative juices: perhaps some live oak leaves for green and the autumn red oak leaves for red. . . plus the various red berries around and some mistletoe (yes, it grows here in Texas but its a misty green-gray leaf). Thanks – I think I feel a little Christmas spirit after all. . . .

  • Reply
    Ken
    December 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Tipper,
    We use to shoot out Mistletoe when I was just a boy too. That was one way to make some Christmas money. We’d have a poke full and sell it to some Yankee neighbors in a distant holler. Most of these folks were older folks but they sure knew how to decorate with things of nature. We’d get $2.00 a bag. That was a ;pt bacl om tje late 50s.
    I remember daddy coming home one
    day for dinner. He worked for a
    lot of folks doing carpentery
    and rock work. He was replacing
    some boards on this house when
    the wife came out to tell him
    something. He was under the porch
    and she fell through mostly on
    him. Immediately he pushed her
    back up through the crack to
    safety. She wanted some Mistletoe
    with berries, so daddy told us
    and that was the start of us
    getting Mistletoe to sell…Ken

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 11, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Tipper,
    and Don and Jim…
    The Christmas Cross is beautiful, a great job putting it together. Also a beautiful picture of “a teaberry in the snow”! That sounds like a song someone could write about mountain greens collecting…say one line in the chorus could be something like, ‘Only as He could show it, we found a teaberry in the snow!”
    Oh well I digress!
    So Jim, the scary parallel thing! I do that with Tipper quite often and I know she is not an ‘older wormen’ like myself. I tend to think it is a ‘mountain magic connection’ being attuned to our heritage! Maybe or not? Still it is scary!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS..The place where Don composted the Christmas Cross will always grow the best rhodies’, azaleas, ferns and any acid lovin’ vegetable crops!
    Just sayin’!

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    December 11, 2014 at 10:09 am

    This is exactly what I needed to awaken my Christmas spirit. I had not thought about making a gumball tree, but I have plenty of locust limbs awaiting. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 11, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I got to thinking – even if it’s not legal, there’s a slew of rhododendron hells that I’d like to sic some wreath-makers on, particularly if they’d take the whole blankety-blank thing for decorations.
    Seriously, two low-growing plants which would make for excellent Christmas decoration are teaberry and partridgeberry. Teaberry leaves change to a reddish hue, and of course both have the pretty red berries. The berries from teaberry plants are delicious; those from partridgeberry are bland. Teaberries often share territory with galax, and both are commonly found in the vicinity of mosses, so there’s potential for doubling up.
    Here’s some winter teaberries (or rather one teaberry – I’d already eaten the rest):
    http://home.comcast.net/~doncasada/Pictures/TOI.jpg

  • Reply
    dolores
    December 11, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I have never had the pleasure of going out and gathering whatever I see to make a wreath. I think it is something I need to try. To keep it fresh looking do you mist it? I did not know that misteltoe grew wild; I never thought about how it grows. Interesting!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 11, 2014 at 7:38 am

    This post, along with B. Ruth’s comment, brings back warm memories. Momma loved using greenery and other things from nature in her Christmas decorations. This past weekend we were at a party where they had bare limbs adorned with gum drops the way Mom used to put them on the thorns of honey locust limbs. How that stirred my soul.
    Then B. Ruth’s mention of shooting mistletoe showed how scary the parallel course of aging mountain minds can be. My next column for the “Smoky Mountain Times,” already written, deals with boyhood memories of mistletoe shooting expeditions.
    Jim Casada
    http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    December 11, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I have never seen that verse..I love it! We gather ground pine,hemlock,and a little red berry that we’ve always called swamp berries. I think they are actually a type of rose hip. Because it’s usually cold here,the things stay pretty a long time. I have never gathered mistletoe..never seen it growing..but a friend of hubby’s says it does. I think if it did,my folks would have used it(I am certain!),so I don’t think it does.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 11, 2014 at 6:50 am

    For the last few years, I’ve made a Christmas Cross on Christmas Eve. I just walk over and pick some of whatever strikes my fancy. That has included broom sage, some unknown grasses, goldenrod, magnolia leaves, ground cedar, nandina leaves and berries, privet berries, hemlock, eastern red cedar white pine, and jack pine boughs, wild ginger leaves, red sumac, boxwood, woolly mullein, and in some years, some leaves from either young southern red oaks and/or from hawthorns.
    Here is a photo of last year’s cross:
    http://home.comcast.net/~doncasada/Pictures/MerryChristmas2013.jpg

  • Reply
    Tipper
    December 11, 2014 at 6:23 am

    B.-we used all the things you mentioned along with some magnolia leaves, some dried okra spray painted red, and some store bought berries. The prettiest addition we used was dog hobble. I’ve often noticed the purple cast the leaves get in the fall and winter months but I had never thought of adding dog hobble to Christmas greenery. The purple cast makes all the green seem brighter. I don’t know the scientific name for dog hobble but hopefully another reader does and will tell us what it is!
    I didnt know you could get mistletoe without shooting it out LOL : ) That is the way we gather it too.
    Tipper
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia
    http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 11, 2014 at 4:55 am

    Hey Tipper,
    What are some of the evergreen and etc. you gathered? I see pinecones, Holly, spruce, and maybe boxwood. I am sure there are more, maybe cedar, ground pine and Galax? Just pondering!
    Thanks for this post,
    PS..While it is warmer, I need to go “shoot out” some mistletoe down by the lake or river! Did you ever do that, when the very biggest bunch of mistletoe is so high in the tree, and out on the littlest limb? Also being, there would be no way to climb to it, without breaking the limb and falling many feet to the ground!

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