Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – It Looks Snaky

My life in appalachia It looks snaky

In Appalachia the seasons are very distinct-and I’m glad. I dearly love every season, but near the end of each I’m ready for the next one to move on in.

By the time winter’s almost over I’m longing for daffodils and green on the mountains, by the time summer’s heat arrives I run to it with my flip-flops on, and by the end of summer I start savoring the cool morning air with anticipation of fall leaves, cozy suppers, and mornings around the heater before we head out on our busy days.

The growth of green each summer is something to behold around my mountain holler. To watch the woods go from mostly leafless and barren to a thick wall of green that looks impenetrable is amazing-especially when you know in a few months all the green will be gone until it is called forth again next summer.

But come the end of August every year, I’m ready for the green to be gone. Everywhere I look in and around my yard it looks snaky and overgrown. I know it sounds silly, but something about the pressing green makes me feel breathless or maybe that’s just my lack of interest in pulling weeds or trimming flowers that I know will soon be put to sleep for the winter.


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


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  • Reply
    August 25, 2012 at 11:13 am

    You talked of snakes having an “odor”. In 1984 I had a brain tumor. Before it was found, I could not go in the snake house at the zoo. The “smell” of the snakes made me sick to my stomach. Whether it is that all snakes have an odor or just certain ones, I don’t know. But I can now go into that part of the zoo with no ill effects. Maybe my tumor just that could detect them (?) I too will be glad to see fall this year…it’s been so hot here (Tennessee) and the mountains are so beatiful & colorful in the fall.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Re: snake puts off any odor when mad or frightened—don’t know that they all do, but water snakes in this part of the country sure do. Has an almost ‘mild’ skunk smell.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Stephen-yes-The Deer Hunter says he can smell snakes. He says its a very unique smell-and sorta spooky too.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    B-no I havent been counting the fogs-but I hope youll keep track of them for us and let us know what to expect!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    As someone noted, I also was told that snakes smelled like cucumbers and to this day when I smell cucumbers outside, I look around for snakes. But the snakes we had in our barn back in Maryland didn’t seem to have any odor at all.
    There was a small tree along a trail in the Patapsco State Park, MD, that was above a black snake den. In early spring, before the taller trees leafed out, black snakes would generally be sunning themselves in the bare branches of this tree. They would be facing north when we rode our horses out, but the snakes would be facing south when rode our horses back home. I really enjoy your blog, Tipper. Sarah

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

    tipper i am always amazed how your writing is so vivid.. and your photos are so beautiful.. you have an eye for the beauty and simplicity of nature. fall is my favorite time of year.. but also one that makes me very very nostalgic and emotional. i love looking at the colored leaves and see them tumbling along, and the cooler weather and blue blue skies
    im so glad that we can always gather here in the blind pigs home and forget the world outside 🙂
    thank you again for being you
    sending big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    August 24, 2012 at 12:43 am

    This reminds me of a favorite saying of my Dad’s, “That’s too fer and snaky for me”- meaning it was too bothersome and tedious a place to bother going.And as far as smelling a snake, his brother, a forester supreme- swore he could smell a snake when hiking about there in the Ouachitas.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    August 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    We lived in Louisiana a long time but we never got used to it; we had come there from up North and we were used to four distinct seasons, punctuated with distinct weather ways. I guess Louisiana is like Florida without beaches; it’s hot most of the time and even warm in the dead of winter. Swimming in the lake in late November was fairly common.
    We missed our northern climes and especially the distinct seasons’ change.
    Snow was very uncommon and I remember once it snowed nearly ten inches from a storm that blew through. That amount of was unheard of in Louisiana, such a rare event that the plant manager where we worked closed the plant half the day, not because of the driving and travel problems, but because the deep snow was so rare and an unusual delight and he let us employees go home so everyone could play in the snow, and make snowmen and snow forts and have snowball fights and make snow cream. The weather was still warm enough that the snow all melted off within just a few hours.
    We cuss snow up here but can you imagine a life without freshly made snow cream.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    August 23, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    and Stephen….I always heard an old wived tale from kin folks…that if you could smell fresh cucumber in the garden or yard it was the smell of a snake nearby…It only happened to me one time…but some old cucumbers were turning yellow on the ground and I never did see a snake..I for sure did look around as I stepped just in case…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    This one made me think of the many days I spent snake hunting with my .22 on the river back home. Every Spring and Fall I would spend hours canoeing into and out of overgrown inlets and coves trying to spot copperheads and cottonmouths sunning themselves on the over-hanging branches before they saw me. It was a necessity back then, to thin them out, if you did not wish to see them while swimming and water skiing. I am actually very fond of my king and rat snakes etc., because they control the bad ones and varmints, but I have no use whatsoever for the poisonous ones! I actually spent an afternoon rest on my porch with a very nice black rat snake that was extremely shy but friendly. Despite feeding critters grain around here there are no rats either 😀

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    August 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Great job on describing fall coming and the snaky look. Many times when people are giving me confusing directions to some place I will respond with ” sounds to dark and snaky for me”
    Have you ever heard anyone say they could smell a snake or do you think a snake puts off any odor when mad or frightened. Have a great day and a super time this weekend. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

    Once, when I was just a big dumb little kid, I was walking out the road above the ‘baccer patch out in front of my daddy. Suddenly he yelled “Stop.” So what did I do? I ran! When I realized what he said, I stopped and turned toward him. He then yelled “No go on!” What did I do then? I ran back toward him. When I realized what he had said this time, I turned and ran again. The next time he yelled “Stop,” I stopped! I’m glad I did! I had run across a big copperhead three times.
    Again, God looks out for babes and fools. I wasn’t no baby!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    You hit the nail on the head again. Seems that before a season
    has ended, I’m ready for the next.
    By late spring the leaves have
    formed a thick barrier, holding
    most sounds of highway traffic in
    the distance. I love it when the
    snow starts fallin’. That’s my
    favorite time of the year…Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Perry
    August 23, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    You are a photographer and you must love the special light that fall brings. It does something special to photos unlike the other three seasons. The air is clear and the light just seems to make things crystal clear. Keep up this blog. I am on it every day even if I don’t comment frequently.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Thanks everbody for making me smile for alot of reasons. The whole thing conjures up a flood of memories of my grandmothers (GaGa and Ma), farm houses, barns, creeks, riding my horse,my childhood friends, etc. “Don’t you play in that ole snaky creek, you hear me” echoes in my head as the screen door slams behind me on the way to get my pony or later my horse and go play in the snaky ole creek. My hideout was under the bridge. Our farm was divided by the road one way and the creek the other.I couldn’t be out of sight from the house long before I would hear Pa’s truck start up. He would come and park and the barn and start walking until he saw I was alright. We’d wave and we’d go on about our business. Okay, well now
    I’ve got a tear or two. By the way I live in central Ky. and my dog got bit a few years ago in the woods behind our house by a copperhead the vet said. Watch out when you go in them snaky places. Judith A.

  • Reply
    Joy Newer
    August 23, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Tipper like you i love the changing of each season, as i was reading your comments i was finishing up on a slice of watermelon and thought about the only thing i don’t like about the ending of summer is i will miss the Farmers market, because having no space to grow a garden i am able to get my vegetables their in the summer months,i do some container gardening but my patio is very small, i know we are not to envy but i do, i envy your wonderful garden. As you were describing the seasons in my mind it was like you were also describing the human body,in the beginning our body is like springtime, new beginnings, then we blossom into summer,i see fall as are elder years, then our winter time comes the sleep of death,my thoughts were full of how we are so much like the seasons,being an elder guess i am allowed to get carried away. end of comments, God Bless You All. Grandmother Joy.

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    August 23, 2012 at 10:42 am

    When my nephew was in first grade he was asked by his school teacher to name the four seasons. He quickly said, “dove, deer and rabbit” but just couldn’t remember that “turkey” came next. The teacher was not impressed, but my nephew’s father was proud as a peacock.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    August 23, 2012 at 10:14 am

    Any time there is anything more than mowed grass in a yard, I think “it looks snaky!” LOL!!!!
    I am SO paranoid about snakes and that is probably because Grandma always talked about places looking snaky.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    August 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Our four distinct seasons is oe reason I love our mountains. You are wise to be cautious about the snakes this year, I have heard of several Copperhead bites in the area. This may be caused by some of the dry weather we had earlier since snakes will migrate to water and that’s where many folks build their homes and plant their gardens.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    August 23, 2012 at 9:51 am

    “It looks snaky”, to me that is an old, old Appalachian sayin’!
    I can just hear my grandmother, don’t you go around those tall weeds, “Hit looks snaky to me!”…
    Of course, everywhere out of her sight looked snaky to her…LOL
    Loved your post this morning. Did you or are you counting the morning fogs…I of course forgot to count starting on the first of August…but I remember at least two thick ones, but they did’nt last long, dissapated real quick.
    Would that mean a thick fluffy softball like thick snow, that melts by noon? I haven’t seen a “wooly bear” since earlier in the summer and he was all amber brown color, no black on either end. No hornets nests either, but could run into one I guess at any time…Lots of yellow jackets in the ground around here, much to my husbands chagrin. One he missed before mowing and came running into the house, swatting and bringing two with him in his hair…It would be funny if it was not funny! Got stung several times, and me hopping around the bathroom swatting one he brought in as well…He got his revenge last night…The last nest by the apple trees, this one by the muscadines…smart alec varmits..
    Later and I loved your post again…the cool mornings do make us look forward to fall…Not so sure about a hard winter though..
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I have always hated fall. It’s my daughter’s favorite season and she never understood why I dread the depressing and lonesome months of September and October. I always schedule my vacations during that time in an attempt to run from it. This years spring and summer heat and drought just might make fall look a bit more pleasant.
    They say we don’t have poisonous snakes in this part of KY. I try to believe that every time I find one in my garage an cellar.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I totally agree. You’ve done an eloquent job in describing the changing seasons. As I read I could almost see and feel each one!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    August 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Time to start thinking about final weed pulling which seems endless to me. Snaky is a good word to describle the amount of growth and what needs to be trimmed. There are, however, some plants, bushes that I can’t trim until into the fall. It has been a beautiful summer. We are so blessed!

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    August 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Our grass and weeds to be cut so bad. No interest in doing it. We dont have poison snakes here so done really mind if I find one. I remember when I lived in NC being nervous all the time that I would step on a snake. We had a huge rattlesnake in our year when I was a kids. Never got over that trauma. Remember my Dad yelling at me to go in the house. Here in Vermont, we have 4 very different seasons. I like all of them, Barbara Gantt

  • Reply
    Jen Y
    August 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Oh I would love to have lush green everywhere in August. It has been known to happen here but most years by August all the green undergrowth has shrivelled up, died & the grass is brown & crunchy & the dogs stir up little dust clouds with every step. We usually stop mowing by the end of June – not enough green for me but I am ready for those cool fall temps!

  • Reply
    steve in tn
    August 23, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Let each season last as long as it wants because at the end of each we are a little older. We should hold each one as long as we can and enjoy the next.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    August 23, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I’ve been asked “what’s your favorite time – winter or summer?” I always say that I much prefer spring and fall.There’s such a sense of renewal and hope then – being in FL we’d always try to do a getaway to the mountains to “charge” up. By the way, I’ve started leaving your blogsite “up” as I check mail, etc. so I can hear the music — starts my day of nicely.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 23, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Science calls it biomass. You call it an impenetrable wall of green. I like your description best!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Tipper that post can make one anticipate fall even more!

  • Reply
    B F
    August 23, 2012 at 7:23 am

    you sound like i feel , theres just a lot about snakes that i dont like and i seen a lizard in the garage , dont you just love that?all the greenery makes snaky places look evil , once i was pulling weeds and when i finished there came a snake out of the grass , oh my it rattled me good ,

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 23, 2012 at 7:04 am

    Tipper, I am soooo enjoying these cool mornings we’ve had this past week.
    I share your love of each of our seasons. Even in winter when the mountains are stark and bare I find them beautiful. You can see every contour that is hidden during the summer lushness.
    I know what you mean by snaky looking. Towards the end of summer things start breaking down in preparation of fall. It creates a thickness near the ground that had a distinctly snaky look.
    Fall is coming!

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