Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Smells Good

My life in appalachia - smells good

Do you know what I’m holding in the photo? At least one of you do-because one of you sent it to me in the mail. I’m sure many of the rest of you know too. I was only going to ask you to guess what the item was-but then I started thinking about its most notable feature-it’s smell.

From there my mind jumped to the title of this post Appalachia Through My Eyes – Smells Good, and I began to think of all the smells of my homeland. Things that immediately came to mind:

  • bacon frying in Granny and Pap’s kitchen
  • waking up to the smell of The Deer Hunter’s deer roast after its been cooking all night long in the oven
  • the smell of the woods after it rains
  • snuggling in my bed with sheets that have been dried on the line
  • the smell of Champion (or whatever its called now) when I was little and we’d visit Canton-Pap would say that’s the smell of money
  • the electrical smell of the heat the first time you run it in the fall
  • the spring air in my backyard-perfumed by Trailing Arbutus
  • the summer air in my backyard-perfumed by Carolina Spice Bush
  • the dusty wet smell of my driveway on a dry hot summer day when it barely rains enough to settle the dust
  • the smell of hair products that linger in the air of the girls room after they leave for school every morning
  • the smell of fresh cut hay
  • the acrid smell of black walnut hulls
  • the smell of wood smoke curling out of our chimney and settling around the holler in the cold air

Leave me a comment if you know what I’m holding-and add a smell to the list too!


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




You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Dana-So good to hear from you! And I’m thrilled to hear about your son’s project!! You can go here: see the different articles I’ve written that are connected to Appalachian Remedies. Please let me know how his project turns out. I’m so glad you enjoyed visiting the Blind Pig-and I hope you’ll come back often!

  • Reply
    Dana Holmes
    November 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Hello, I apologize in advance but I have no idea where to send you a message. I live in Kentucky and most of my family is from Eastern KY. My son is in the 6th grade and is doing a project about Appalachia traditions and culture. At first he wanted to do coal mining, but now he isn’t sure. Your site is plum packed with knowledge and I wanted to kindly ask if you have any more ‘home remedies’ you could share with us. I believe he wants to do his project on that and I can remember alot of those stories as a child. I understand if you’re busy and cannot help, but I wanted to let you know that your site is wonderful!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 11:19 am

    I have no idea what you’re holding, but it is pretty! 🙂
    I haven’t smelled line-fresh sheets since I was a child, happy memories there! It was also the custom around here, back in the day, to rake your fall leaves to the side of the street and burn them. Smelled divine!
    Two of my favorite smells are freshly cut grass and the smell of the air with a thunderstorm approaching.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    November 3, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I’m with Charlotte and Darlene! I love the smell of a horsey barn. Even more, I love the smell of a field with cows and horses because there’s their smells along with fresh trampled grass and hay. I love the smell of a just-washed dog. There’s a certain pipe tobacco I specially love the smell of because it smells like my Daddy who passed in 1990.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I just thought it was a tiny pumpkin, but pretty sure that’s not right~
    Some of my favorite smells: aspen tree’s, the smell that releases when you crunch through dry fall leaves, fresh mown hay, lilac bushes, baking bread and pumpkin pie~

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    Coffee in the morning. Puppy breath. Lavender and rosemary. Old Spice aftershave. Good cigars. Fall laundry fresh off the line. Alfalfa hay. Granny’s perfume,Taboo. The smell of a vehicle engine that has been successfully put back together. A lover’s neck. Gun cleaning kits.mmmmm T

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    November 2, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I have no clue to what you are holding…my favorite smells are sliced appples drying, apple butter cooking on the stove, the smell of freh cut hay,the smell of the barn filled with horses..

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    November 2, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Love the smells of the holidays, turkey, country ham and all the trimmins’, fresh cut cedar, and peppermint. Also love the smell of gunsmoke on a cold still morning.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 2, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Tipper–I wrote an extended comment this morning and obviously it never went through. I won’t reincarnate all the smells I mentioned, but I will provide the “proper” name for the plum granny, since apparently no one else has. It’s a Queen Anne pocket melon.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    November 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    mmm tipper i am loving all the smells everyone has mentioned.. how about sweet grass.. smelling molasses cookies baking, the top of a babys head when you are snuggling,
    the ocean breeze, fresh cut pine boughs, leaves burning in the fall,lilacs of course and coffee as the others have said..
    thank you for sharing.. and as for the little squash looking thing.. i dunno what it is.
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    Mike Echols
    November 2, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    the worse thing I can think of is to have a dern cold,and can’t taste or smell ANYTHING!!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Babies after bathing and talcing, or do they use that any more.
    What in the world are you holding?

  • Reply
    Kempie Rackley
    November 2, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I haven’t seen a plum granny fruit since I was a child (a few years back). It is such a sweet smelling fruit but you don’t eat it.
    Nothing smells as good as the first cup of coffee in the morning with warm bread baking in the oven.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    November 2, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    Well! I’ve never heard of a plum granny. Interesting.
    The smell of stew cooking. Apple pies and apple butter. The smell of fall in the air. Wet leaves. Cow pastures, that brings back childhood memories.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I guess most people would think this stinks, but I like the smell of a barn where the calves have been held and the hay in the manger, cooking turnip greens, and of course, the fresh, powdery smell of a just-bathed baby.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I have no idea what that is that you’re holding!! But…one of the most wonderful smells to me is of Cookies baking in the warm kitchen when it’s cold outside! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Smell of dry leaves as you walk thru the yard

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    My first thought was a persimmon but then it didn’t look right, so i don’t have a clue.

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    The Smell of Coffee brewing in the morning. The smell of freshly cured tobacco. The smell of a hayloft after the bales have been loaded. Etc., etc.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    November 2, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    My favorite smells are: sweet annie, rosemary, lavender, mugwort and sage!
    No idea what that pretty little thing is…..

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    November 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    This looks like a pome-grant. I liked your list of smells. This posting brought back many memories of growing up in Southern Appalachia. At this time of year, I recall pumpkin pies baking in the woodstove and the smell of spices filling the kitchen.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    night blooming jasmine, the clean smell after a rain, coffee first thing in the morning.
    I guess one of those heirloom tomatoes.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    November 2, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    I’m not sure what that is but I can’t wait to find out! I remember the smell of the fresh tilled earth at planting season,apple pies that my mother baked,all the different aromas when mother was canning the harvest,fresh baked bread,the woods where we played,the aftershave my dad used and my old leather motorcycle jacket. Oh and the tobacco my grandfater chewed that I got very sick on a few times!! I remember it was called Mammoth Cave twist tobacco.
    Great post, thanks!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Walking into Granny Mandy’s kitchen and smelling her apple pie baking in the oven–Heaven!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    I have never seen the thing you are holding…pretty though. I can remember the smell of my Grandpa’s cherry flavored pipe tobacco.

  • Reply
    jackie shound ringersma
    November 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    It’s a plum granny, for smell and decorating only, not to eat. My favorite smell in the fall, apple butter when its ready to go in the jar, scorching pumpkins on Halloween night, and of course that turkey roasting in the oven

  • Reply
    B f
    November 2, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    a plum granny for sure
    irecognized it as soon as the picture came up ,i,ve always grown them till this yr when i could no longer putout a garden b/cause my husband had passed away early this yr ,put a bowl full out on a table and they smell up the whole house
    oh the memories and yes the amish always have them to sell or they do here

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Its pretty but I ain’t got no idea
    what it is. I see things like that
    at the grocery store to accent the
    coming of winter. When piled in a
    craft basket, they make a great
    conversation piece and nice to look at.
    Enjoyed all the descriptive smells
    bringing back those memories…Ken

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    I have no idea what you are holding. Interesting. The scent of ripoe pears immediatley takes me back to my childhood.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Tipper, I AIN’T GOT A CLUE!
    Smell: The smell of roasting chestnuts on a cold winter’s day…

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Looks like a pomegranate type thing.
    The smell of fresh cut cedar when Dad was making something in his shop. The first few drops of rain on dry cement. Mom’s pork roast. Ironing, using spray starch. Fresh ground and brewed coffee. Fancy expensive candles at stores. Bacon!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I have no idea what that is that you’re holding but it’s very pretty!
    I was just saying to myself as I walked out into the frosty morning-“self it smells cold out here!” I would say that’s one of my many favorite smells.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth K
    November 2, 2011 at 10:15 am

    A melon of some sort, not sure which, although plum-grannie tops the list.
    As for good smells, my favorites are shortbread baking in the oven, homemade pomanders curing in a bowl of spices and wood smoke.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I think it’s a plum granny. When I smell the fragrance of a Mimosa tree, it reminds me of the happy times I spent playing in my aunt’s yard with the beautiful scent filling the air around us.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I thought it was a persimmon, too. I love the smell of coffee brewing in the mornings when you were outside and could smell it from the barn or the smell of food cooking around a campfire.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 2, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Well, I’ve never seen that thing your holding, but I trust your going to tell us about it. It actually reminds me of those funky little two color tomatoes that you and the Deer Hunter had this summer.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that before where I live.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Loved your list of smells, I think mine could be a mile long, bet yours could be to if you kept a running list. And David Templeton’s precise memory of unwashed denim – right on, dead eye. I miss that smell.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    November 2, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I saw for the first time this year what you are holding but forget what the Amish guy told me what it was I think it was some kind of pomegranate but it sure smelled good, they were selling them for air fresheners.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    November 2, 2011 at 8:50 am

    “Plumgranny”……and I love the earthy smell when driving thru the mountains…Beans and turnip greens and cornbread…and to me..the odor of honeysuckle in the late Spring, Purple Wisteria and our big old Magnolia which sometimes is so strong it is intoxicating…is Summer at home!
    But their is nothing that reminds me of Grannies like boxwood…and my Aunts the paper mill in Canton and the one at Enka…as well…depending on which way we come in to town…LOL
    Thanks Tipper…for the memories

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 8:48 am

    looks like what I’ve seen called a “Tigger Melon” (like Tigger in Winnie the Pooh), all stripey.
    a couple smells I love… the smell of sweet corn when you first take it off the stalk & husk it~
    and the sweet aroma of apple wood smoke~
    talk about “taking me back”… 😀
    Thanks for the walk down memory lane, to when times were simpler and a might slower~

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 2, 2011 at 8:48 am

    I can remember the smell of fresh split wood. If the fall we used to “bust” heater wood and stack it to dry for the winter. Each different kind of wood had its own distinctive odor, especially the oaks. Some were quite pungent. When I was young I could tell you what kind of wood it was with my eyes closed. Now I work in a warehouse where stuff is stacked on wooden pallets. As I walk amongst them it sometimes catch the smells of a childhood long gone.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    November 2, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I remember the smell of Mom frying country ham and the coffee that used to wake me each morning , loved those days.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    November 2, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Smells link us to all parts of our lives. I love to catch a whiff of something that brings back a memory. I love the smell of Autumn leaves…the smell of my husband’s leather jacket…rain…fresh brewed coffee…WD-40…cut wood…a camp fire..I could go on forever and tell you a wild story about each one. 🙂
    Just Jackie

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    November 2, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I think it is a ‘plum-granite’ in your hand.
    I will add to the scents, Granny’s lilac bush in the spring, a crock of cream souring to make butter, apple butter ripe with cinnamon and cloves, and the yeasty sourdough starter crock.

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 8:24 am

    no clue what you are holding. and i love the smell of wood smoke and bacon frying too. i love the smell of vanilla candles, which i have been burning the past few days. and the smell of cookies baking like mother used to do. and the smell of turkey roasting on holidays.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    November 2, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Used to be, overalls were unwashed when you bought them and Mom always bought me and my brothers new bib overalls when school started each September. There was an aroma, new, unwashed denim, indigo, that I still can summon in my mind and when I do, I hear the school bus coming up the hill and it’s not quite daylight and I smell my new denim britches, still stiff and new, as I pull them on, Mom scolding, “You’re going to miss the bus.”
    Where’s my pencil box?

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    November 2, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Your blog just brought up some good memories! I read once that people remember the smell of burning leaves in the fall more than anything else. Like you, I love the smell of the fireplace. Also, I love going to a friend’s home who always has the coffee going; the smell welcomes you in!

  • Reply
    grandpa ken
    November 2, 2011 at 7:53 am

    When I read the word smell I thought of my year+ in Vietnam crazy how the mind works. Vietnam had a smell that I will remember all my days. Yes the smells of home and the good old USA come to mind both good and bad all of them are comforting. HOME I love IT

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 7:47 am

    I feel like I could have written some of that. Add the smell of coal burning in the buck stove. native West Virginian here.

  • Reply
    Rose C
    November 2, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Bread baking is the best! No idea of you are holding.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 2, 2011 at 7:38 am

    That’s what old timers called a “Plumgrannie” possibly from pomegranate though it is different from a true pomegranate. I remember being disappointed when I discovered that, like vanilla and fresh ground coffee, it smelled much better than it tasted. I raised these and decorative gourds when I was a young’un and sold them for a nickle a piece which I thought was “Big Money” in the mid fifties. When I saw this picture I could still smell the sweet aroma. Thanks for the pleasant memory

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 7:35 am

    tigger melon? Smell great dont they? Wish the flavor was a bit better though :). Deer certainly enjoy them !!

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    November 2, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Tipper: Right off I would say pome-grant-it but I would be guessing! So I reckon I better not guess!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Vera Guthrie
    November 2, 2011 at 7:17 am

    I am thinking it is a Persimmon. I remember the smell of sweet potatoes baking in Mama’s old wood cook stove.

  • Leave a Reply