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.
The Rev. and Mrs. J. H. Arrowood, an elderly Pigeon Roost couple, are probably the only family in the Carolina mountain country which will still buy roasted coffee beans and grind their own coffee. The Arrowoods grind their own Coffee as they use it on an old-time coffee mill. They claim the flavor is much better when its is fresh ground.
A peck size, hand-made split basket has been used in the family home of Harvey J. Miller for about fifty years to carry eggs to the country store. Miller says the basket was made by an uncle, Monroe Miller, who had a reputation as a basket maker. The rugged construction of the basket and the fine handiwork illustrates Miller’s skill. The basket has taken on a rich coloring like the close-grained bak of a growing tree. The handle of the basket is polished as smooth as though it had been carefully sandpapered and then hand-rubbed. It is made of white oak wood.
Pigeon Roost farmers report that pole cats damaged meadow land during the dry weather. The little fur bearing animals root so many holes in the ground searching for worms and bugs that they destroy, the growing grass. Hunters say pole cats have increased in numbers. This is because their pelts bring little money on the market and because they have to be shipped by express.
The small trees known locally in the Pigeon Roost section as “bead-bush” blooms in the late fall. It is said the tree is called “bead bush,” the presence of the seed pods which resembles beads in appearance gave it that name. The trees have a number of other names such as “wych-hazel” or “witch-hazel,” “snaping hazel,” more appropriate of them all, “winterbloom.” The forked twigs of the “bead-bush” trees are sometimes used as divining rods in efforts to locate buried treasure and underground water. The dried green leaves of “bead-bush” are sold on the local herb market.
If we have snow on the ground Christmas day, the mountain people say it is a good sign that it will be a good crop year the next following season.
The majority of the farmers here have sold their tobacco crops and some of them met with some great difficulty in getting their tobacco dried sufficiently. So on the warehouse floors and at the market sales, their tobacco was marked wet, which pulled the price of it down considerable.
Deer hunting and squirrel hunting is now over for this year. Several hunters report that it has been a very good hunting season for them.
So with the coming of Christmas and the New Year, I’m sure we all have many things to be thankful for. This writer wishes you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
I hope you enjoyed the peek into Pigeon Roost via Mr. Miller. It’s funny, I used to work with an Arrowood and he was totally crazy over coffee and did indeed grind his own coffee beans 🙂
Jump over to the Foxfire website and poke around. They are still publishing the magazine and those wonderful Foxfire Books too.