Appalachia Gardening


Today’s guest post was written by Ethelene Dyer Jones.

Walking in paps garden

Chatter’s bare feet in the soil. It all took me back to memories of the delight of that new-turned earth and the prospect of a garden! I’ve borrowed the first line from a poem by Emily Dickinson, “I never hear the word escape,” so I want to give her credit for that line. Anyway, here’s what I wrote about Chatter’s Saturday experience of bare feet in new-turned garden soil.


“I never hear the word escape”
Except I think of new-plowed ground,
The soil turned up by early plow
And all the treasures therein found.

The loam itself, a warming bed
To sink bare toes within,
And little critters, unearthed now
That rest upon my hand.

The pebbles washed upon the land
From some far-distant flood
Are polished gray, collector’s piece,
Memento found, I’ll frame in wood.

But best of all this treasure
Turned up in early spring;
The promise of a garden’s yield
That summer’s bounty will bring.

by Ethelene Dyer Jones


Ethelene was inspired to write the poem Escape after reading a post I wrote a few years ago about Chatter getting to walk barefoot in the fresh plowed garden while her sister was out gallivanting.


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  • Reply
    Chuck Howell
    May 15, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    The Man behind the Plow,
    The Mule pulling steadily
    Fragrant soil exposed & ready
    For seeds aplenty
    My Childhood was the better for this
    Joyful watching

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    I’m late today commenting. I loved Ethelene’s poem. I loved to walk in freshly tilled soil. I love to stir the hills up in a mound to plant the squash, cucumbers or stick a tomato in a hole dug in the middle of the circle. There are some that laugh at the way I plant. Making rings, mounding, making a deep ring for water to seep in…But, it works for me.
    Today was recognitions and graduations for our grandchildren. We ran from one school to the next, morning and afternoon, only stopping for lunch inbetween..
    I could sink my tired feet into some soil and wiggle my toes around…before I bathe to relax these tired muscles…
    Loved the post Tipper…and Ethelene…
    PS…It was hot tilled ground today…with storms predicted…for tomorrow..

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 22, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    and Oh Yeow! I forgot to tell Ethelene how I really enjoyed her poem. It brought back memories of walking the furrow behind the plow looking for arrowheads and Red Puppies.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 22, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Barefoot season started the 1st of May and nobody mentioned it. If it was 50 something years ago, my feet would be brown (tanned and dirty) and the bottoms as tough as whet leather by now. I’d be walking down the middle of a gravel road and not thinking a thing about it. I’d be stepping on waspers and bees knowing they can’t hurt me unless they get between my toes. If I was 50 some years younger now, I would be strolling around the mall and those callouses would be only on my thumbs.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 22, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Ethelene sure writes beautiful words,
    remembering how both girls love to look
    for arrowheads in fresh plowed ground.
    I remember following behind daddy when
    he plowed our fields with a horse. It
    felt good to wade barefoot in the soil.
    Gosh, that was a long time ago…Ken

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Was the new ground Earth dry or wet and squishy? I can picture the ground oozing through Chatter’s toes and around her feet. I wonder what else Chatter was helping her feet feel. I loved the poem; it made me feel the ground under my feet.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    May 22, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Oh the beauty of God’s earth and the meek who will inherit it.I truly enjoyed Ethelene and how she is so in touch with Mother nature like you Tipper. Great post.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Excuse me- sorry about the misspell, Ethelene; such a habit, due to my ‘line’…blame my parents.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 9:53 am

    You made it real, Etheline 🙂

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I concur – lovely poem –
    I’ve always loved going barefoot whether it was in fresh turned or recently disked soil, or the deep mud of field irrigation, or through tickly grasses – it always makes me feel so alive and in touch (in every way) with the earth.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    May 22, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Thank you and well done, Ethelene. There is indeed something magical about both the smell and feel of newly-turned soil in spring. In addition to the anticipation of another year’s produce, it hearkens to earlier days when others before you worked and loved it just as well.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 22, 2014 at 7:23 am

    Lovely poem, Thank you Ethelene. The picture itself is enough to make you pause and take a breath, remembering the feel of fresh soil under bare feet!

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