Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – What Is It 5?

My life in appalachia - Fire Starter

Can you guess what The Deer Hunter is holding? Depending on where you live-people call it by different names. Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you what we call it.


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


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  • Reply
    January 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    We just called it a torch.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Nancy Wigmore
    January 17, 2012 at 8:55 am

    It looks like a lighterknot to me! Have a great day! Thanks for your posts!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 12:32 am

    I’ve no idea but reading all the responses has been educational and fun. I can’t wait to see the answer.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    January 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    You got me. I’ll just go along with the majority.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Is it a bundle of white sage? Burning sage was traditionally used by the Hopi Indians for warding off “evil spirits”. Probably not a bad idea to help start off the new year!
    John Pallister
Twitter @PointlessPicks

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    That is a pine knot, a piece of fat wood or kindling!
    By the way, I received my copy of your book. Very nice!

  • Reply
    SandyCarlson (USA)
    January 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Your post and the comments have me thinking! Great shot.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    So nice to have time to visit. I’ve missed your blog terribly.
    Grandpa called it a pine knot torch. Not sure what y’all call it. LOL

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    When I was a lot younger and dumber us boys would wad, roll or twist up paper or rags and dip them in gas or kerosene or lighter fluid and set them on fire and use them to burn out hornet, yeller jacket and wasper nests. We would then use the little larvae for fish bait, if we hadn’t cooked them too much.
    It looks like it could be something like that, too.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    January 15, 2012 at 6:33 pm


  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    That appears to be LIGHTER KNOT and the easiest source is from an old rotted pine tree but I’m thinking Pap had to cut this from a fresh log or piece of timber in order to have a not-so-flammable “handle” attached to hold it like that

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    January 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Lighter knot-our fire starter of choice around here-just a little dab’ll do ya!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    While I’ve never used, or even seen one, my first thought was a pine-knot torch.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    i would call it a torch.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Looks like a piece of ‘rich pine’ to

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    January 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Lightered or lighter- knot… I think you’re right Vicki

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    January 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Bet it’s a twist of tobacco.

  • Reply
    Madge @ The View From Right Here
    January 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    My guess would be a natural torch or fire starter…

  • Reply
    Kenneth Hoffman
    January 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Tipper: my guess,also would be a pine knot, my dad had a name for it that i cant put down know “cable branch slang” hope all is well. regards from sunny az. k.o.h

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Looks like it might be a lightered knot, they musta been goin to build them a fire before the skin’n started.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    It is the Olympic torch flame on its’ way through NC to London. 😉

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Jim-If it indeed a rich pine knot it has a handle for pulling it out of the fire once it is started. He can pull it out, put it out and use it again the next morning. Maybe he is ingenious instead of wasteful.
    It could still be the overly well done turkey leg.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    That’s some big fat Cuban cigar. Ha! Ha! No It looks like a pine cone or a morrel mushroom burning in a metal holder of some type to light the way to the out house or to keep mosquitos away. I don’t think it’s keresene because I don’t see any smoke, only flames. Therefore, it wouldn’t be anything that would be used to get rid of bees or wasps by “smoking” them out.
    Maybe someone was making deep fried ice cream and left it too long in the oil.
    I am anxious to hear the answer tomorrow.

  • Reply
    kathryn magendie
    January 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

    Bradley’s comment made me laugh!
    I could make a good guess . . . 😀

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    January 15, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Like the others, my guess would be “pine knot.” If so, it represents the concentration of resins at the juncture of tree limb and trunk. When the tree dies and rots away, this is virtually all that remains. While a very good fire starter, it tends to crackle and explode a litte, so wear some old clothes when using one.
    The term “fat wood” I’ve seen used around here from time to time, particularly when it’s sold to tourists who otherwise have trouble with the concept of matches in the age of Bic.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 15, 2012 at 10:44 am

    If it’s a pine knot, my Florida Cracker father would have called it a lighterd knot. With the D.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

    A pine knot ?????

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I have carefully studied this object for sometime this morning. I have noted what appears to be a flame at one end, the position the fingers are grasping the object, the fact that is obviously outside the house. After looking at this and using all the imaginative powers at my disposal, I have ultimately come to the conclusion that I ain’t got no idea what that thang is!

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    January 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I think it is what you call a fire started which is a knot from a tree that is broken off so the softer part of the knot can be placed to start a fire. I’m not really sure of this as I have never used one. I wonder if the early living humans used them once fire was discovered.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

    My best guess is some kind of torch. LOL
    I can see you trapesing through the woods carrying that. tee hee

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    January 15, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Lightered knot.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    January 15, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I believe it is a knot of fat lighter wood. The secret weapon for starting fires. For the longest time I had my scouts thinking I was magic on rainy campouts. It is good to have knowledge of different woods when it comes to burning fires. Back in college I attended a party at a farm house. As I drove up I saw flames shooting out of the top of the chimney. One of the guests had put a whole armload of fat lighter on the fire. Ignorance could have created a tragedy. This week I had a first grader randomly ask me which I thought was stronger: fire or water? We had a really interesting discussion about the power of each. I can only imagine what your readers would have to say.

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    January 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I’d have to go along with a pine knot or torch.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    January 15, 2012 at 9:34 am

    pine know or fat wood. We call it pine know around here.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 15, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Is it a pine knot? It’s shaped like one but I guess it would have to have something to ignite.
    Tipper you do come up with some interesting things!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    January 15, 2012 at 9:29 am

    burning pine knot.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 15, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Tipper–It appears to me to be some type of flame to light a fire. Here are possibilities:
    (1) Rich pine (fat pine, lighter wood, heart wood), although if this is the case the Deer Hunter is mighty wasteful in that he’s got a might big chunk of wood.
    (2) Newspaper wadded up and soaked in kerosene.
    (3) An old-time night torch of the kind sometimes used by ‘coon hunters and frog giggers before flashlights, head lamps, and such like came along. Unlikely, because it isn’t big enough and would be a reverse anachronism (now there’s a $10 word for you).
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

    That could have been turpentine as well….I wouldn’t recommend either even with the tiniest tips soaked in either liquid…too dangerous…
    I know these fuels were plentiful around the farm…for medical treatments as well..I got my (rusty)..foot plunged into a can of kerosene (after they pulled out the old rusty nail) when I was a (screaming) kid…LOL
    Thanks Tipper….I’ll hush now!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

    OK, will be back 🙂

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 15, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I was thinking about this I finished my post…I remember my Grandmother on my Fathers side keeping a tin of a small amount of kerosene…with sticks of fatwood or some type kinling with just the tips sticking into the liquid…she would use that to light and used it to light the wood sticks in the old cast iron cook stove…
    We were always warned to stay away…and in a few minutes it seemed that stove was roaring hot…
    Tipper..Thanks for the memories

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    January 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Tipper that looks like a pine knot tourch old timers used to carry .

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    January 15, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Pine knot fire starter or fatwood?
    Can I have two guesses…? Sure looks warm…since…
    it’s cold here again this morning!
    Me thinks it will have to warm up to snow! Granny said…LOL
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 15, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Looks like a pine knot (liter knot) to me. Some call it fat pine. We called it rich pine. It’s whats left when a big old pine tree dies and rots away.
    Or, it might be a turkey leg that somebody cooked way too long.

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