Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Mudholes

My life in appalachia - mudholes

Who knew mudholes could be so pretty. While we were out and about on Saturday-I noticed the reflection of the trees in a mudhole. Of course when I took the picture they were upside down-but I could see the beauty that would appear once I rotated the photo. As I snapped photos of the reflection I felt as though I was looking into a different world.

Once we reach adulthood most of us fail to notice mudholes-other than as a nuisance we have to walk through, drive through or warn our children to stay out of.

When I was a kid I loved to play in mudholes-they were like a mud pie making center all set up for you in advance. Once the mud dries completely-you’re left with mud pie slices already cut (cracked) into pieces if you can pry them out.

One day when the girls were 3 or 4 years old-I was planting flowers someone had given me. The flowers were in an old washtub. I had put off planting them for several days and there was a good bit of mud in the tub from where I had watered them.

It was late evening and I was tired from a long day. Finally I had the last clump planted-I headed around the house thinking of baths for us all and rest for me. In my short absence the girls had found the mud in the bottom of that washtub. They already had it up to their elbows.

My first instinct was to be mad at them for making such a mess. But reason floated in from somewhere and I reminded myself they were going to get a bath anyway-their clothes were old-and mud was fun. So I sat on the bank and let them make a bigger mess till it was too dark to see.


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


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  • Reply
    March 2, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I have always loved playing in the mud. When I was a child making mud pies and mud bombs, then as I got older riding through the mud puddles with my bike and a little older riding ATV’s and being covered head to toe and now digging in the mud to plant things.

  • Reply
    February 23, 2012 at 8:31 am

    I love your photo and who knew mud could reflect such prettiness. What fun, to let the kids play like that. It brought back memories of my kids and seeing them dirty from playing, it just warmed my heart. Even though it made a bit more work to clean up.

  • Reply
    Wayne Newton
    February 22, 2012 at 11:26 am

    On Grandpa’s farm there were many mud holes, mostly dirty-brown, with all the trash floating toward the edges when I rode my bicycle through.
    The most memorable was the “Clay Pit,” where the chinking for all the tobacco barns came from.
    This was one of the few clay sources on the farm. In these mountains, it’s hard to imagine clay being a “seldom seen”, but in Wiregrass Country most of the soil was a sandy loam.
    In one of the annual Corn Cob Wars, someone decided that this clay was a good source of ammunition.
    In the heat of battle, many are victims, without knowing where the missile came from.
    Suddenly, with a loud SPLAT!!, Cousin Gene was struck, and in the next moment everything stopped. Gene jumped up holding the side of his head, which was covered with a glob of red clay.
    In the pandemonium that followed, the small syrup can that held more of them disappeared under a manger in the floor of the barn, and the war was not so much fun anymore.
    No one ever “fessed up” to the deed, but from that day on, everyone had to pass through a security check-point before entering the barn. I was forced to undergo the check twice.
    There were few things more fun than to ride my bicycle through a big mud-hole, uncertain of how deep it was, and what might be submerged in the muddy brown water.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    February 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Love ’em. Always have; always will.
    And lets not forget tadpoles, a wonder of this particular form of evolution that never ceases to amaze.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    February 22, 2012 at 8:25 am

    We used to love to play in mud. It was especially fun to build mud dams in the creek beside of our house.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    February 21, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Spectacular photo!!! Thanks for t reminder, too. We grownups need to slow down every so often & see through the eyes of a child-

  • Reply
    Madge @ The View From Right Here
    February 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, who woulda thought?! I like it!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    February 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Thanks for the memories Tipper, I loved mudholes.. we played in them until we got the toe itch…Susie

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    It’s wonderful you allowed your girls to enjoy their youth. The photo looks like it would make a great jigsaw puzzle, with the “murky mud reflecting”.
    I enjoy your site ever so much, keep the blogs a-coming. Thank you

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Cool picture Tipper. You have a good eye for an unusual shot.
    When the Deer Hunter was little the house we lived in had a big dip in the drive between the gravel road and our house. Once when it rained that dip filled with water and the Deer Hunter wanted to “swim” in it. I said “ok but don’t come back to this door till you are ready to strip and come in.” He played his fill in that mud hole and had a great time. When he had had enough he came to the door…mud from head to toe. Couldn’t even tell what color his hair was but he was happy with a smile that went from ear to ear. Those are precious times to remember!!!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    February 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Well, ain’t that a great “upside-down-turn’er-uppper.” LOL
    Love the photo…
    It’s warm here today and can’t wait to come up our driveway where the little grey mudholes are in the shade…The butterflies just flutter up at the last minute after taking in all those minerals in the mud…
    I loved making mud-cakes and pies when I was a girl…My friend used to make little potatos and peas for our old aluminum toy pot, and we picked plantain leaves for the greens..Then had those wonderful mud cakes and pies..Those were the good ole days…
    Thanks Tipper, great post

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    February 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Great photos, and thanks for making me remember all the fun we had as kids playing in mud puddles…lol I remember one pony I had as a child used to love to roll in mud, the problem was he liked to do it even if I was riding more than once I had to jump off because he wanted to roll in the mud…lol

  • Reply
    sandy kalvaitis
    February 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    If you decide to print this in black and white I would love to buy it.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    February 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    What nowaday child is not less who has never walked in a mudhole and soothed their bare, burning feet.

  • Reply
    John Ratterree
    February 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    If more kids got to play in mud there would be less strife in the world (and stronger immune systems too!).

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    That’s a great picture. I recon
    about all of us have enjoyed playing in a mudhole. When I was
    younger and riding my bike, don’t
    think I ever missed many mudholes.
    And a mud patty is a good cure
    when them waspers don’t want to
    be a part of a fishing trip…Ken

  • Reply
    Tim Cuthbertson
    February 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Tipper, that is a great photo, but I really love your story about coming to your senses and letting the children go ahead and play in the mud. It reminds me of a story my wife tells about herself.
    When she was a small child, she was at her grandparents’ farm in north Alabama. Her grandfather grew watermelons for market. He was going to let her have her own watermelon to eat, but her mother said, “I need her to come in and take a bath.” The grandfather said no, let her have the watermelon. So she ate and played in the watermelon, making a super mess. Then her grandfather picked her up, handed her to her mother, and said, “Now she needs a bath!”

  • Reply
    Judith Curry
    February 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Thanks for the reminder and the picture.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    February 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    tipper that is such a beautiful simple picture… its gorgeous and i thank you for sharing with us.
    it reminds me of an old photo.. of long ago times.
    it is neat to see things in different ways.. havent you ever walked to your car from the store.. and seen a rainbow on the ground… from oil or other substances.. and the way it sparkles in the sunshine.
    have a wonderful week.. and sending big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    That photo is beautiful, Tipper!Playing in mud is such a great way to spend time for kids…love it!

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    My mud pies were decorated with yellow bitterweed blooms, and made in the crib at the barn where we had our playhouse.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    i am an old time mud lover. i waded through every mud puddle I ever saw and it was fine since i rarely wore shoes. the mud in Kentucky makes fantastic shapes to dry in. we used to use old cookie cutters and place them on rocks to dry, and they got hard as rocks.

  • Reply
    Barb Johnson
    February 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

    One of my favorite things to do when I was a little girl was to make a huge mud puddle under my swing and drag my bare feet through it while I would swing back and forth. So glad my mom let me do that as often as I wanted!

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Such fun memories of making mud pies and frog houses. Also liked stomping in the mud holes,til I found one that had a ragged piece of glass in it that stuck in my foot.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    February 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Thank you, Tipper, for reminding us that mud can be GOOD! That’s especially timely seeing that we are firmly into “primary” season. It’s gonna be a LONG 19 months.

  • Reply
    Joy Newer
    February 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Seventy some years ago remember well my girlfriend and i were making mud pies and they had a cherry tree in the back yard and we picked the cherries and covered our mud pies, we thought that was the best cherry pie,can still remember the taste after all these years. .those were the days.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    February 21, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Bare feet or boots meant good old fun playing in mud holes! I always let my boys play in them and they’d make roads around them with their big old Tonka trucks. They still thank me for letting them have such fun.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    February 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Thanks Tipper for having eyes that “see” mudholes and the awareness of all around you and most of all for sharing it with us.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 9:13 am

    This picture could win a contest…it takes a pro to come up with an idea like that. I love it! Anyone who doesn’t like to play in mud occasionally is just too stuffy for my liking. I greatly admire your parenting style…allowing your girls to enjoy the simple things in life is key for them becoming happy adults.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    February 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I have a set “twin” aunts that are only a few years older than me and when we were little I remember them always making mud-pies. I think I probably gave in and played in the mud with them. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 21, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Tipper—Count me as one adult for whom mudholes and their perimeter have considerable importance. There’s no place where it easier and more convenient to read “sign” than in the soft mud surrounding shrinking mudholes. About this time of year I’ll be checking out turkey tracks (the seasoned eye can distinguish between those made by hens and those of gobblers) in anticipation of the coming rites of spring. At other seasons it’s a way to check for deer movement or, for the trapper, the forays of critters such as foxes, ‘coons, and coyotes. As Deer Hunter, I’ll bet he utilizes them as well (whether he’s ever thought of it or not).
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 8:43 am

    We got my youngest sister to eat some mud pie after much coaxing, but she never would let us put her in the ceder chest playing what we called hidey-go-seek. I love that picture. It truly says beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

  • Reply
    Lonnie L. Dockery
    February 21, 2012 at 8:41 am

    …and that kind of parenting is the reason they are such good girls today. Love the picture!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    February 21, 2012 at 8:38 am

    I love the photograph! I think that is a keeper. We used to put our boots on and then splash in the mud. Good memories!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    February 21, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Mud, wonderful glorious mud! We lived on a dirt road until the county came and put tar and gravel on it. After a summer rain it was so much fun to walk along the side of the road where the fine powder like dirt was bunched up and now was a slick gooey mess. That stuff squishing between my toes was just wonderful! We used our Georgia red clay for all kinds of fun things like little volcanoes, pottery and even war paint when playing cowboys and indians.Playing in a mudhole was just as much fun. I’ve built bridges across them,sailed ships on them and blew the dam to drain them. What a wonderful playground for a child! Thanks for sparking the memories Tipper.
    Ron Banks

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 8:28 am

    Being able to find the beauty in a mudhole is one of the secrets of a happy life that we have as children, but often lose in adulthood. A child will go out of their way to splash in a puddle of water. A little mud never hurt anyone and like you say it can be washed away. Love your picture! It does seem like looking into a different world. Your girls are lucky to have a mom who can share the joy and find beauty in a mudhole with them!

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    February 21, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Beautiful photo, Tipper! When my son (now 35) was a tyke and would come in the house at the end of the day covered in dirt, I’d say to myself, “Well, he must have had a really fun day today!” My mother used to refer to it as “good clean dirt”. Many of us don’t get enough time to play in and enjoy nature. It’s very therapeutic.

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 7:31 am

    What a beautiful photo, the edge of the puddle looks like a frame!
    You’re so right Tipper, it’s all too easy in our crazy-busy world to lose sight of the simple joys we knew in childhood. These are the small pleasures that feed the soul, even for an old grandma like me!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    February 21, 2012 at 7:23 am

    I like to walk in the garden barefoot when it’s muddy. And have been known to help with making mud pies on occasion

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 21, 2012 at 7:19 am

    That sound like a great end to a day!

  • Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Little girls just can’t resist making mud pies if the opportunity is there can they? As for the big ones….. I wonder.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    February 21, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I’ll bet you wish you had a picture of that scene now!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    February 21, 2012 at 5:24 am

    What do you mean, you sat and watched? I’ll bet a quarter you checked to see if anybody was looking and got in there too. Come on now! Fess Up! You can call it Mud Therapy.

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