Appalachia Sayings from Appalachia

Appalachian Sayings – Even a Blind Pig can find an Acorn Every Once in a While

Appalachian Sayings - Even a Blind Pig can find an Acorn Every Once in a While

Recently Dolores, a Blind Pig Reader, asked where the blog name Blind Pig and The Acorn came from. I almost answered Dolores back right then and there, but then I thought no I should probably do a post about the name because there might be someone else wondering about it. I do give the explanation on my About Page but it’s easy to miss since it’s not on the main page of the blog.

Once I started thinking about explaining the name, I remembered I did a post about it way back when I first started the blog. Here’s a portion of that post written in March of 2008:

“I wish I could take credit for thinking of the name of the blog, but I can’t. Mr. Larry is responsible for the stroke of genius. I wanted the name of the blog to be Appalachian, meaningful, interesting, and a real attention grabber. I ask lots of folks for ideas and come up with a few of my own. Then I remembered Mr. Larry, how he always seemed to know something about whatever topic I mentioned. So I sent off an email to him as quick as I could. He sent me a long list of names one of which was Blind Pig and The Acorn. I immediately liked the name but what did it mean? I didn’t have a clue. The Deer Hunter explained it to me “It’s an old saying: even a blind pig can find an acorn every once in a while I’ve heard it all my life where have you been?” I called Pap to get his wise opinion. He had never heard the saying either I guess he had been where ever I had been! Pap said “But I know another saying that means the same thing: even a broke clock is right twice a day.”

The meaning behind the name Blind Pig and The Acorn was perfect for me. I didn’t really know if I could accomplish what I wanted to-but sincerely hoped like the blind pig-I’d find the acorn.”

Mr. Larry passed away a while back, but he’ll always be part of the Blind Pig and The Acorn for without him it wouldn’t have its name.

Have you ever heard the saying even a blind pig can find an acorn every once in a while or how about the saying Pap mentioned even a broke clock is right twice a day?



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  • Reply
    Merlin Humphrey
    March 12, 2018 at 7:05 am

    The first time that I heard the expression was listening to “Dandy” Don Meredith announcing Monday Night Football many years ago. A very poor team that was way behind got in a lucky play and finally scored a touchdown late in the game and “Dandy” Don said something like, “Well folks even the blind hog finds an acorn once in a while.” I miss Mr. Meredith.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    December 21, 2017 at 8:40 am

    I was just thinking of a word that my Mother (Mom) used to use and she seemed to be the only one
    that used the word quiet often. I can remember when we children would be having a little ruckus (argument), she would sometimes say, “I am going out and cut a switch and put a Quietus
    to this” She also used “Juberous” of which I mentioned to you some years back. I expect some of these unfamiliar words were English words that came with the people who settled the Appalachians?
    Definition of QUIETUS
    noun qui·etus \ kwī-ˈē-təs , -ˈā- \
    1 : final settlement (as of a debt)
    2 : removal from activity; especially : DEATH
    3 : something that quiets or represses
    • put the quietus on their celebration
    NEW! Time Traveler
    First Known Use: 1540

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    September 21, 2016 at 2:13 am

    I grew up hearing both Blind Pig . . . and Stopped or Broken Clock. My daddy always used ary and nary.
    Just thought of the thing of saying mommy and daddy. I am retired and they are gone, but I grew up saying mommy and daddy and still do. I remember hearing Loretta Lynn on TV, she still was using those names to.
    Hubs and I are Dad and Mom. I joke that our sons called me Hey, Mom as they were growing up. You know, “Hey, Mom. Where is my book bag?” Or “Hey, Mom. When is supper?” I am sure you get the idea. If I write a note to them I just sign it HM.

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    October 7, 2015 at 1:37 am

    I grew up with both. I still use both, especially the one about the clock.
    Also grew up with ary and nary. My daddy used these. I think they have pretty much fallen out of use. I will use them once in a while. My youngest grands love learning the lingo, especially my DGD.
    Thank you for keeping us talking.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 19, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Ewwwww, just finished rereading the comments…Ed, would those “porkers” fed BBQ sauce make a pulled pork, rib-let or whole hog sam-ich?
    This is akin to the four legged chicken! I’ll tell that one someday!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    September 19, 2015 at 7:26 am

    Heard it on Frasier the other day… of all places!!! I immediately thought of you!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Have heard both phrases for as long as I can remember….tho’ it was a hog rather than pig.
    Love your blog and share it with lots of folks.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2015 at 5:50 am

    I heard both, but not in a while, I’m not sure if it’s an encouragement or discouragement, I guess it’s just how you put it in context to the situation..

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    September 17, 2015 at 11:58 pm

    I’ve heard both sayings, though I can’t remember from whom. Many people don’t know pigs and bears and many animals of nature will eat acorns. In fact, bears eat them in the fall to fatten up for hibernating.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I have heard Pap’s saying about the clock but first heard about the blind pig when I discovered your blog. And what a great discovery it was!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 17, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I’ve heard it as a Blind Pig, a Blind Hog and a Blind Squirrel. Since Deer eat so many acorns I guess it would work with a Blind Deer also.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for the comment-I still hear those terms in my area of Appalachia : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Clint-thank you for the comment! Hear it in my head?-thats the way I hear it with my ears when I say it LOL : ) Hope you all are well!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 17, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve heard the phrase all my life. Another one I haven’t heard often but really like is “Even a skunk can smell a scoundrel.”
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 17, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Way back when our mountaineer ancestors raised hogs, they just notched the pigs ears and turned them lose to forage. They mostly ate chestnuts, acorns and whatever they could root up. In the late fall they would go out and pick out the ones they wanted to slaughter. Some people didn’t like the chestnut or acorn flavor, so they penned the hogs up and finished them off with corn.
    The meat and lard from these foraging hogs was better tasting and better for you than today’s factory farmed, commercially produced pork. Pigs then suffered the same fate as modern ones do but they, like their owners, where allowed to run free until the end of their life. Those that were penned up to finished off on corn (or whatever) had it made too. They only had to lay in the sun and wait for the farmer to carry their food and water too them. Some old time farmers built their hog lots around a spring so that fresh water was always available.
    A blind pig nowadays wouldn’t have a problem. It would be crammed into a pen where it was only a few inches from the hormone and antibiotic laced crap they call pigfeed. Pigs in the wild find food by smell as well as sight. So a blind pig might fare very well in years when the mast was plentiful. But! Pigs can be cannibalistic! So in lean years not only might the blind pig not find the acorn, his hungry kith and kin might find him to be a tasty treat.
    I wonder if you put barbecue sauce in your pig slop, would the meat have a better flavor?

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    My gosh, another Jeanne (Jeanie) from Wisconsin. Can I change my “handle”? In my area of Wisconsin, which is just about all of the state as we moved around quite a bit, the phrase is very common. Even the broken clock saying is often heard, but the “Blind Pig” is an everyday expression. Have even heard my kids use it….don’t know about the grand children….I will have to listen more carefully.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    September 17, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    We say akern too. I knew what it meant but the only person I ever heard say it was actually my gynecologist & I can never remember what he was talking about. He would be surprised to know how many times the title of your blog makes me think of him!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Long have know the phrase about the clock but didn’t learn about the pig and the acorn until I discovered your blog. However, already knew about the squirrel – in our area “Every squirrel will find a nut if they just keep digging.” Given the double meaning of “nut”, it can be taken several ways: 1)persistence pays off;2)even with hard work, you may not have the best outcome; 3) like some “news” reporters, if you keep dredging in the muck you’ll find the ‘skeleton in the closet'[the”nut”] (how many metaphors can we mix here!)

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    This is my Favorite blog. You seem
    to relate to all ages and you blog
    about Mountain things that I like.
    You’re a Keeper! …Ken

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Gee! Thanks for the info. I guess being a city girl, I missed these sayings. I like that everyone enjoyed your post and added their knowledge. Great to learn something new today!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Have heard both expressions. Often “blind squirrel” is substitued for “blind pig”.

  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    September 17, 2015 at 11:37 am

    My Dad and his family would use “Ary” and “Nary” Man fishing a hiker walking by……”Aryn?” Reply “Naryn.”
    Translates “catch one?” “Not a one.” I never hear this. Anyone?

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    September 17, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Hadn’t heard the blind pig one until I discovered your delightful blog, but I’ve heard the clock one all my life.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    September 17, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I always wondered about it’s meaning also. Thank you for the explanation. I love hearing about the history of the area and Appalachian heritage since my Dad is from Eunaka and Copper Creek area and my Mom was from Saltville Virginia.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    September 17, 2015 at 10:47 am

    The version of the saying I heard out here on the edge of the plains was slightly different: “Even a blind sow will find an occasional acorn”. I guess making the pig a sow was supposed to give it even more of a disadvantage.
    Have heard the clock saying pretty much all my life too.

  • Reply
    Beth Taylor
    September 17, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I have heard both of those sayings from my grandmother my whole life. Have you heard if wishes were horses then beggars would ride? That was another one that was hers and it drives my husband crazy To this very day. I do so enjoy your blog. Beth from Illinois

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I’m from Wisconsin and I heard the pig and acorn saying but it was a blind squirrel instead of a pig. I do remember hearing expression about the clock.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 10:05 am

    G’mornin’ Tipper,
    I can’t remember when I didn’t know of that saying, don’t know where or when I picked it up but it’s often used at our house. When I first saw your blog I knew right away what it meant…* My goodness! I’ve been reading this for HOW long now? Thanks for all the acorns…

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 17, 2015 at 9:13 am

    I had heard the saying many years ago and when I discovered the website, I knew exactly what it meant. I didn’t know at the time that it was going to lead to years of fun and information.

  • Reply
    Marcus Gampe
    September 17, 2015 at 9:11 am

    I am born in Germany and my parents had the saying about a blind chicken finding a grain.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 17, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I have heard both but not very commonly. There is a related ‘pig’ one which is “like a hog eating acorns, never look up to see where they come from”. It was several layers of meaning; ingratitude, irreverence, short-sightedness, materalism and gross appetite. Back in the day when having one or more hogs was common folks understood those depths of meaning so as to communicate a lot with a pithy saying.
    My Dad favored a saying about needing something “about like a hog needs a sidesaddle”. I expect we know just how much that is.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I guess I must been wherever you and Pap have been. I never heard either saying, but have often wondered how on earth you came up with the name for your blog. Glad you found your acorn!

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    September 17, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Tipper: The pig and acorn is part of my ‘education’ from my Daddy. But the broken clock expression is new to me. Wish I had known it back in my ‘teaching’ years! I would have ‘pulled it off’ with some of those sassy teenagers!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Lynn David Shackelford
    September 17, 2015 at 7:39 am

    I come from southeastern Oklahoma and my folks come from Arkansas. I was raised with the same saying but it had a phrase added to it. Even a blind hog can find an acorn once in a while “if he roots long enough.” I personally took that a person’s chances of being lucky is increased by the amount of time and effort he puts into some endeavor.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 7:39 am

    I am surprised you had never heard the term. I grew up in northern VA, about 25 miles south of DC. We were considered just outside the foothills of the Appalachians. I grew up with the “even blind pig finds an acorn once in a while” saying. I didn’t hear the “broke clock is right twice a day” until I got to Knoxville 35 years ago. A lot of wisdom in both saying …

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    September 17, 2015 at 7:33 am

    The version I’ve always heard on he blind pig is:
    “Even a blind pig will root up an acorn every now and then.”
    On the clock, I’ve heard Pap’s version plus:
    “Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”
    The only problem here is that you’re rooting up acorns day after day, year after year. It reminds me of some words I both heard and said a few eons ago:
    For better or for worse,
    for richer or for poorer,
    in sickness and in health,
    to love and to cherish.
    Thank you for being a daily high point for all of us.

  • Reply
    barbara Gantt
    September 17, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Growing up in Lenoir, I never heard either of these expressions. I am happy to know the orgins of this blogs name, Barbara

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 7:19 am

    My Dad used that expression all of my life – mainly directed at me! He meant that even I could get it right once in awhile!! We were from the beautiful hills of West Virginia.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    September 17, 2015 at 7:17 am

    No I never did hear the complete saying, but heard reference to Blind pigs and acorns.

  • Reply
    September 17, 2015 at 7:02 am

    First heard the expression on TV coverage of a NASCAR race. One of the crew chiefs said it in an interview after he had made a good decision. He pronounced it AY-kern. Is that how you hear it in your head? 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 17, 2015 at 6:46 am

    I’ve heard about the bling pig and the acorn all my life, heard about the broken clock also but heard about the pig much more frequently.
    Mr Larry had a high IQ and a wide range of knowledge. Sometimes it was fun to just throw him something at random and sit back and watch him go to work on it. He had lots of fun coming up with names for your blog.
    I do enjoy a good mind, and Mr Larry’s mind is one I miss.

  • Reply
    Glynn Harris
    September 17, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Absolutely have heard the “blind pig – acorn” saying all my life. Haven’t heard the clock one but it’d work too!

  • Reply
    Katherine Harper
    September 17, 2015 at 6:01 am

    Hi Tipper, my daddy was from Madison County & I remember him using the expression of the blind pig and the acorn. I don’t think I have heard it used at all down here in the Piedmont though. The name of your blog caught my eye and drew me in right away! Thank you so much for keeping these sayings, stories, recipes, etc alive. They mean so much — especially when they evoke such good memories of times, places & people dear to us. Bless you!

  • Reply
    Doris Noland Parton
    September 17, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Yes, it means that anyone can get lucky sometimes. It was a favorite expression on poker night when I used to play with friends.

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