Pigeon Roost

April in Pigeon Roost 2

Bee hive

The 1974 Winter Edition of the Foxfire Magazine contains a compilation of newspaper articles written by Harvey Miller. At the time of the magazine’s publication Miller’s weekly column had been around for sixty years and was till being published in the Tri-County News located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina.

Here are a few of Miller’s April articles. I enjoyed them and hope you do too.


Aspie McCoury who lives on Byrd Creek at Pigeon Roost reports that early Sunday Morning, April 9, when he started on the mountain to feed his cow and mule when there was a heavy frost on the ground that was frozen as hard as a bone, he found coiled up in his path a 2-1/2 foot long green-bellied snake frozen as stiff as a piece of plank. He didn’t know exactly what kind of snake it was, but it was found below an old log house that McCoury had made a tobacco barn out of. The snake was not dead and he throwed it across a nearby fence and went on his way leaving the snake behind to catch mice in his barn if it got thawed up that day as the sun shined out very warm.

Well, the farmers are badly behind with their essential farm work, due to a continuation of inclement bad weather conditions. Even those who just tend a small garden plot has not got it plowed yet.



Have you ever heard of anyone putting flax seed in their eyes to take out something that has got in their eyes? I have had it done to my eye and it done the work, too. The flax seed must be the slickest seed that ever growed. You can have your eye lid pulled up and a flax seed dropped in your eye and talk about an object moving around and around in your eye! It will when you first close your eye and then the flax seed will jump out and if the object is not stuck in your eyeball, the flax seed will clean out your eye. I say to my readers, if you doubt this in the least bit, what I have told you, then don’t try it, as you know a doubting Thomas never has any good results from anything much. But anything I have seen tried and done myself and it worked out fine, I am not afraid to try again. But listen to this now – flax seed is a scarce a seed as I can think of. I wouldn’t know how to start about it to find one. Flax seed poultice is an old time remedy for sprained joints, too.



It’s onion-settin’ time again and several folks here still set out some “tater” onions and some gets’em set out in November.

It’s been a hard winter here on bees. Park Hughes said his bees has all died but four stands. He said it has been too warm a winter for bees.


I hope you enjoyed this peek into the Pigeon Roost area. Amazing story about the snake. They are out and about here, Chatter noticed a corn snake in one of my flowerbeds yesterday.

I was so glad to read the story of the flax seed. When I was a very young girl I heard a lady from church talk about the remedy. Ever since I heard her tell about doing it to her own eye I’ve had that thought pop into my mind every time I get something in my eye or someone near me gets something in their’s, but I’ve never been brave or desperate enough to try it.

Jump over to the Foxfire website and poke around. They are still publishing the magazine and those wonderful Foxfire Books too!

Last night’s video: FRUGAL Kale, Potato, Egg Soup – In Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Rita Speers
    April 19, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    My Mom told me that her grandmother would use a flax seed to clear something out of her eye, but this is only the second time I’ve ever heard anyone tell of it.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 14, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    I’ve never heard of putting a flax seed in the eye. I’m afraid I’d be a little squeamish about doing that.
    I do recognize the bee gum in today’s picture, are you thinking of going into the honey business…in your spare time? I think it would be a great idea!

  • Reply
    Kathy Patterson
    April 14, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    We never used flax seed in our eyes but we would wash them out with warm water when we got something in them.
    Daddy always had a black snake in the barn to kill rats.
    A family of wood rats ended up moving in under our patio this spring. the patio is made of treated wood.
    I poured water down their holes. Then I poured a gallon chlorox down the hole. They moved to the rocks
    where I have my roses planted. Charles and I got Pearl (mini poodle), Blondie (standard poodle), and Susan Smith (Portuguese Water Dog) there as we moved the rocks around with shovel. The girls were great– 2 down. They are as helpful as a blacksnake! Here in the Blue Ridge we have frost until May 15th. This year it is warmer with insects, toads, and barn swallows already out. Our farm’s bear John Black, is out too in full force raiding skunk cabbage and my dog food. Kathy Patterson

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 3:31 pm

    I had surgery on both eye lids this week and am just getting my sight adjusted enough to read this post. I don’t want anything in my eyes right now.
    I need to read your posts from the last three days also. This is the first day I could see well enough to read anything.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 1:55 pm

    My Pa used to use the twisted up corner of his pocket handkerchief to get debris out of our eyes. If that didn’t work, the box of flax seeds would come out. It always worked, as far as I recall. I think that drug stores used to carry flax seed specifically for that purpose.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    April 14, 2022 at 10:20 am

    I love Foxfire books! I am not sure I would be brave enough to put a flaxseed in my eye. Anything to do with eyes make me wig out! Lol

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Fascinating little stories from an earlier time. How casually the man just threw the snake over the fence as it lay frozen. Long ago my uncle brought a frozen snake to my attention, and advised me to be aware the snake was frozen and would thaw and be good as new. they taught so many simple things back then that are good to know. I had never heard about the flax seed getting something from the eye, but learned very young a lot of tears is the best natural eye cleaner in the world. Wondering what is meant by a “tater” onion.

    • Reply
      Kathy Patterson
      April 14, 2022 at 4:23 pm

      Around here a tater onion and a walking onion the the same. The main onion head has little onions branched off to it side.
      Our tater onions aren’t very big but they are interesting to see and raise. Kathy

  • Reply
    Betty Blalock
    April 14, 2022 at 9:28 am

    When I was a child, My grandmother put flaxseed in my eyes to get out debris, and it worked. I haven’t thought of that old time remedy in decades.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 9:02 am

    I’ve only read about the flax seeds but don’t know anyone who has done it.

    I wonder if the snake lived. It might have been some unusual color of a black snake. I have seen snakes that got caught out in the cold and they were so stiff they could barely move but were alright when they warmed up.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 9:01 am

    I didn’t know it could be too warm a winter for bees. The snakes can stay frozen year-round as far as I am concerned. Poison and traps will take care of the mice just fine. The thought of putting flax seed in my eyes makes me wince. I love reading Foxfire magazines and books.

  • Reply
    Darlene Harbour Boyd
    April 14, 2022 at 9:01 am

    FLAX SEED to remove something from your eye works!!!!!! My grandmother used it and my dad passed the knowledge on to me! The rest of the world hears us talk and discounts our IQ by 30 points but we know we are some of the most resourceful, common knowledge (not common any more) blessed people on the earth.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    April 14, 2022 at 8:15 am

    I’ve read many of the Foxfire books through the years and find them very interesting and educational. While on vacation a few years ago, we visited the Foxfire site. They have a nice book store and numerous log structures there. It is a remarkable place.

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 8:04 am

    The flax seed is a new one on me. Mom just squirted a little water in our eyes or used the corner of a handkerchief. Personally I’d be afraid of that seed scratching the cornea.

    When the Foxfire books first came out everyone seemed to snatch them up. They’ve been a blessing and a curse: a blessing to record mountain ways so that they’re not lost. A curse when certain high and mighty personalities come here thinking we are ignorant and stuck in our ways. I’ve had to set a few straight about their condescending remarks.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 14, 2022 at 8:01 am

    Never heard the one about flax seed. I could use some though about this time of year. Pollen gives me fits. I just about go crying.

    Sure would like to know about the greens bellied snake. Cannot think what it might be. Wonder why it was out in the weather.

    Corn snakes are pretty but seldom.seen, or at least I have seen very few, maybe three or four ever. I guess a lot of people seeing them have thought they were copper heads but they aren’t really that much alike.

  • Reply
    Glenda G. Page
    April 14, 2022 at 7:49 am

    Interesting read….I have all but the first three of the Foxfire books and they are all an interesting read. I also enjoyed the Kale soup recipe, but my kale is not quite as ‘frilly’ as yours. I will have to find some of that kind as it looked yummy. Can’t wait for Friday’s read. God Bless

  • Reply
    April 14, 2022 at 7:28 am

    I’ve heard about putting flax seed in your eye too but never tried it. Flax seed are not scarce these days as mentioned in the article, they are easy to find and purchase.

  • Reply
    Kay Rash
    April 14, 2022 at 6:37 am

    I remember when I was a little girl that Daddy had a little box of flax seed just for removing something from your eye. I don’t remember h him ever using it.

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