Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Like Fighting Fire

Appalachia through my eyes like fighting fire

I go at every thing I do like I’m fighting fire. Makes no difference if I’m cooking supper, working in the garden, or doing laundry. I attack each task like there’s a man standing at the finish line waving a checkered flag.

I’m not sure if I inherited it from Granny, from Pap, or from both of them. It’s a good asset to have most of the time. Working like you’re fighting fire allows you to get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time.

But going at every thing like I’m fighting fire means I often rush through something that should be enjoyable just so I can mark it off my list and move on to the next task at hand.

Sometimes in the midst of a chore-I know I need to slow down-I need to take a moment to look around and see what’s going on. I need to smell the roses and admire their beauty instead of worrying about how fast I can trim them.


colorful work sayings:

  • like fighting fire = completing a chore in a quick manner
  • fish or cut bait = get to WORK and stop wasting time
  • work like a dog = hard work
  • work like a mule = a hard worker
  • workingest = someone who works more than usual


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


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    June 20, 2014 at 6:08 pm

    I can’t wait to hear at least a clip of it on your blog. If only they could have waited a week!

  • Reply
    Susan Cook
    June 20, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Tipper, are we related? Lol I do that .. Go at everything like I am fighting a fire. I can put a whole house out while my husband (and others) are still considering where they left the hose. And yes, I too need to slow down sometimes and look around. Although I find age is a great “slower downer”.
    Have a great weekend.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2014 at 6:42 am

    I’ve always been that way up until the last few years, had to adjust the way I do things,, those things I thought mattered, don’t anymore, and believe me it’s hard to adjust, dang near drive you crazy, but letting go of the way you normally approach things is hard,, but it’s all for the better when more help is needed taking care of one’s you love….

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    June 20, 2014 at 1:39 am

    Slow down Petta!

  • Reply
    Joyce Heishman
    June 19, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I do the same thing, only I call it going at something like I am killing snakes.
    But you are so right, slow down, this life will be over soon enough. I am 70 and it has taken all this time to start smelling the roses. It is a hard habit to stop. May God pour His blessings on you this day.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Oh, yes! I am familar with a couple of them, dog/mule, but the others were now added to my brain load. Hope every one is having a good day! Sometimes I have trouble posting my comments. It takes me at least five or six tries and sometimes I have success, other times I have to wait for later in the day. Any one else having the same problem?

  • Reply
    Jan C.
    June 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Tipper, I remember my parents saying that someone working fast and hard was “going like a house-afire” or that they were “going at it like killing snakes”! Thanks for reminding me of these sayings!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    June 19, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Lookin’ real good behind that rear tines
    tiller, although I DIS-agree with
    everything you said. I’m really laid-
    back, but I seem to get everything done.
    I just let the unimportant things go till I get a roundtoit. A friend gave me one of those years ago, and now I have one of my very own.
    Hope to see you all tomorrow night in

  • Reply
    sheryl paul
    June 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Never heard that exactly, but going like a house a fire was said in my house also she worked like a man.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 11:03 am

    – – a distinction between “working like a dog” and “working like a mule” (or a rented one 😉 ): Perhaps it depends upon the breed or the mix of dogs but sometimes dogs work noisily & frantically without much attention to what else is going on around them which may be why rabbits and other critters get away from them by escaping through other exits.
    Mules, on the other hand, when on task, are persistent and steady. Nike would be proud of them; they “just do it”.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 19, 2014 at 10:39 am

    “Working like a dog” brings forth a mental picture of climbing the steps onto the porch and having to step over an old hound dog to get in the house. Old Blue is laying there with his eyes closed and his chin resting on the floor. Gnats and flies are buzzing all around him and you start to wonder if he is still alive. You give him a little nudge with your toe. Nothing. So you nudge him again a little harder. He opens one eye, lifts his chin, slowly turns his head toward you then puts his chin back down and closes his eye.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    June 19, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Good sayings, I know all of them. Dad would say that he was busier than a cat covering up poop!

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 10:05 am

    It’s SO-OOO good to be back in Kentucky….
    Long years ago, when I first came here, the saying was just as the song goes: “In school, they teach the 4 Rs; readin’ ‘ritin, ‘rithmetic and Route 23.” and yes, as soon as the boys could get way from the farm they went north to Ohio and Michigan to get real jobs. I was told that the personnel managers along the way had an unwritten rule: “Never mind if he can’t read or write, if he comes from the mountains, give that man a job, for all he knows is ‘work’.”

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 9:52 am

    After reading your vocabulary post yesterday I guess I was thinking about it as I went to sleep last night. I dreamed about some of the things my parents and grandparents used. One of my dad’s in reference to someone cheating was, “He’ll get his ‘comeupance’ some day.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Fighting fire must be something in the appalachian genes. My aunt used to tell me to stop saying I worked like a dog on my job. She said dogs don’t work, but horses do.
    For many years, I have trained young new hires on their job. As mom would say, most of them wouldn’t work in a pie factory sampling pies. I’d love to see todays young folks work like fighting a fire.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 19, 2014 at 9:30 am

    That just means you have lots of things going on in your life.
    How boring it would be if you did not have the next job to look forward too. They say “give a busy person a job and you know it will get done quickly.” They do not have time to waste.
    A minute lost is gone forever.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    June 19, 2014 at 9:29 am

    My mother used to say “working (or going about something) like I was killing snakes with a hoe”.

  • Reply
    Louise Grenell
    June 19, 2014 at 9:27 am

    My Mom always said Dad kept the road hot! He worked like it all had to be done in one day. I guess I inherited that way of working from him.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Tipper, you would have to work like fighting fire to get all you do accomplished. I would like to add to the list, and this is used for a hard-working woman who will tackle a man’s work. Rarely heard, but you will occasionally hear the expression, “She worked like a man.” I have been accused of the latter.
    My parents “worked like dogs” and they let no grass grow under their feet. The role models were there for us, and my Dad loved work. He taught me to love work. Fortunately, I can stop and smell the roses in the winter when they aren’t growing.

  • Reply
    Gina S
    June 19, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Work like there’s no tomorrow comes to my mind. I’ve run around like a chicken with its head cut off while trying to finish my work. Mama often said she worked like a Trojan. Daddy didn’t say much but he always got the job done. Appalachians don’t seem to subscribe to the slow and easy gets the job done, do they.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    June 19, 2014 at 8:36 am

    I can identify with all the Appalachian terms about work–from “fighting fire” to “workingest”! Most of my life, I, too, have been on a race to get things done. Even in this “golden age” (Is it really “golden”?) when I’ve had to slow down more than I would like, that urge to get on with tasks still persists. I often find a little release by simply stopping, thinking about the situation, and maybe composing a few “poetic” (or not) lines about a subject that has crossed my mind while I was working away! That brings a little reprieve! And I’ve learned to date these journal entries. Later, when I read the lines, the scene flashes back, and I realize it was good for me to take a little break and maybe kindle the fire of creativity.

  • Reply
    Roy Pipes
    June 19, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Daddy used to say, you go at work like you’re fighting fire – like you’re trying to get finished.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    June 19, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Tipper: Nothing would please us more than to make the 20th performance of those beautiful girls BUT we are bound in TN! I hope everything goes great for the evening.
    Regards, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Old Long Ears
    June 19, 2014 at 7:29 am

    One of my favorites came from an Alabama blacksmith (living in Tennessee at the time), when I asked if was staying busy: “They’re working me like a rented mule.”

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 19, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Tipper, I guess that’s why I like working with you. We both seem to be goal oriented…..get the job done in the shortest amount of time. My friend Saleh tells me that my Ayurvedic Type is Petta. Which means I do everything quickly, so I guess that means you are Pitta as well.
    You have also defined the only problem with doing things quickly is we forget to smell the roses along the way in our rush to the finish line.

  • Leave a Reply