Everything Had a Purpose

rich pine

Daddy and mama purchased a piece of ground that was covered in second growth pines. In clearing a house place, daddy pulled up a lot of pines by the roots with his mare, Maude. 

The wood he burned, but it created quite a pile of pine stumps which dried over the years into fine, fine kindling as daddy called it. 

He would chop off a good sized root and split it into small slender pieces with his double bitted ax. My job  was to carry it in the house and drop in a box which sat under the cook stove. 

The next morning long before daylight while our rooster and the neighbor’s rooster were crowing, he arose and started a fire for mama to cook breakfast. The stump pile has nearly disintegrated now but holds many fond memories; my cousins and I played in and around the stumps many a time. Our hound and Heinz 57 dogs kept snakes and skunks at bay. The free range hens, as they are now called, loved to lay eggs in the stump pile. 

Everything had a purpose on a mountain homestead.

—Gaye Blaine

Last night’s video: 5 Things About Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    October 15, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    My parents grew up with parents that already were strong in their abilities to waste nothing and my parents gathered all that knowledge and more going through the depression era. From growing their own food, preserving it, and teaching their children to not be wasteful has been passed on down to younger generations. I have to fight myself to not become a clutter person. Meaning when I try to clean out a drawer or clothes, sometimes I think maybe I can use this piece of material into something else useful. I do finally break lose and have a good heart feeling when I can donate something that would help someone else.
    I enjoyed your video too and thought about those 5 things for Appalachia listing my words:

    Beautiful Mountains & streams
    Love of Family & Faith
    Families that played piano and old pump Organ
    Salt of the Earth People (I’ve heard this phrase used all my life from my people who lived in NC, E TN, NW AL, & NE MS.)

    These words warm my heart, they are remembrances of Strong people.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2021 at 11:10 am

    I sometimes get on my own last nerve, as I have a tendency to fall back on my raising and try to save everything. The neat side tries to declutter and keep everything organized. I was raised by depression era parents who saved and made a purpose for everything. Twigs from under trees in a dog food bag help get fires going. Twisty ties from bread are wonderful for other things, and I use the flat ones to stick on the end of my tape so the end can be found. Especially glass pickle jars make wonderful containers for nails or just about anything. I declutter constantly out of a fear mostly. that somebody will have to clean up after me when I leave all my junk behind. I would hate for the youngsters in the family to think I have a treasure trove only to find bags of fabric scraps, twigs for fires, and empty plastic gallon jugs. It was my raising and the memory of how much plastic bags and twisty ties would have helped my Grandma. Plastic jugs would have saved her so many trips to the spring and well with one old bucket. Those inventive folks were the original recyclers. I am glad I was taught, but wish they hadn’t taught me so well to hang onto everything.

    • Reply
      October 15, 2021 at 11:15 am

      Keeping an eye on your numbers, Tipper, and hope all your readers run over to YouTube to give you a thumbs up on ALL your videos. I knew this was gonna happen!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Growing up we didn’t have a wood stove since our home was close to town had electricity and plumbing. However, after I was married my hubby and I elected to install a Buck Stove to heat our small home. It was more work, but the heat was so much warmer and I could cook a few things on it using the cast iron Dutch oven sitting on top of it or boil water in my kettle. After moving from the mountains of WV to the Piedmont of NC, we went back to electricity in our home. I sure miss the Buck stove during the cold spells or when the power goes out. I was taught to not throw away anything that could be reused, recycled or given to someone else. Didn’t matter if it was food, clothes, furniture or whatever. My mom always told use “Waste not, want not”. I’m very thankful she did.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    October 15, 2021 at 10:46 am

    I, again, agree with each of these comments. You are so right, Tipper, you have the best commenters! I live most of the time wasting-and-wanting-not. But, sadly, during busy times of my life, I get a throw-away-and-buy-new mentality. I do believe that God wants us to be wise with the blessings He gives us. Our weekly groceries are a daily blessing from Him, and so is the toothpaste we buy, and the car we own, etc. Every little thing is. I am sure He wants us to be conscious of how we take care of the things we have. I love hearing how other people live frugally and wisely, and I try to implement those things that I can into my life, too. One of the things I love about cooking from my pre-1970 cookbooks, is that a lot of them have weekly menus. For the full week you use leftovers in the next day or two’s menus, or you put the half of an ingredient that isn’t used for that day into the fridge, and in the next recipe or two, you use that up. Nothing goes to waste. In today’s cookbooks, if you have a week of menus given, everyday has new ingredients for the recipes. You might only use 1/8 of a teaspoon of an expensive spice or other item, and then it sits in your cupboard for five years never used again. It is so expensive to follow the newer menus today. I like these WW2 magazines I found in a consignment store in Pennsylvania (and have since bought more on eBay or other second hand stores). They give menus for the full month, for all three meals each day, giving desserts and packed lunches for each day, too. And they have recipes for every item on the menu, including for the new cook – how to boil potatoes, or whatever. I love these little magazines. They were written to help housewives stretch their rationed food during the war. You do spend a lot of time in the kitchen, making everything from scratch. But it is all fresh foods – clean eating before it was a fad! And when I spend a month only making the menus in one magazine – I save so much money at the grocery store. And – I feel so healthy after eating that way. No prepackaged foods or fast foods for a whole month! I enjoyed this post, and loved the comments! I like all the memories of how things use to be. Those make me more determined to live my life more old fashioned, and really better than todays way.

    Donna. : )

    • Reply
      Carla Plott
      October 15, 2021 at 3:08 pm

      Oh Wow…..I would love to find some of those old magazines with that info!!!! I agree so many of todays menus call for crazy expensive ingredients. Food and gas are going up daily and we are having to start really looking at what we spend on groceries but I still want to eat clean and good but we have to watch our sugar and carbs now. I love this blog and all the wonderful information and memories she shares.

  • Reply
    Kat Swanson
    October 15, 2021 at 10:39 am

    Growing up,yes, everything was used again and again….animals ate our scraps, apple peels cooked to get pectin for the next batch of wild grape jelly, an old dress or shirt had enough strong fabric somewhere on it to use as a quilt square. I was often given a paper poke and told to go pick up woodyard chips to make the bag a fire starter. This upbringing is now haunting me as I am trying to down size my lifetime collection. My Folgers coffee red containers are all used in the workshop to organize parts… many old buttons make great crafts…the remains of crayons can be melted in a tiny metal cup to make a wonderful colors cake for my grandson to use…odd socks are sent to the local school for sock puppet making. I can not break myself of this urge to use everything again.’s my nature . I have a wonderful memory of my daddy watching me turn my worn out soft leather boot into the pocket where you put the rock on my slingshot I was selling …I got 22 pockets from one boot! This reusing EVERYTHING is a challenge now for this total packrat. I have decided to call myself a reclamation artist…like the ones featured at that Baltimore museum where a prisoner’s sock became his needle work thread…and old flattened metal cans became parts for an airplane. My old bottles make a bottle tree in my yard and look great in the sun…my broken dishes are used in my mosaic tabletops. I GET to lead this creative life but I always remember my elders that HAD TO reuse out of necessity. One of my favorite quotes is by William Morris. ..HAVE NOTHING IN YOUR HOUSES THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW TO BE USEFUL OR BELIEVE TO BE BEAUTIFUL.
    THAT covers a lot!!!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2021 at 9:40 am

    I know and remember as a child, daddy and momma never wasted anything. My dad would use our mare ( Ole Nell ) to pull logs out that daddy had cut with his big chainsaw. Goodness, its was heavy. I don’t see how he used it all day like that. All different kinds of wood. Then he would bust it and we would put it in the sled he built himself. Ole Nell would pull it to the house and we would stack it along our dirt road. How times has changed.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 15, 2021 at 8:17 am

    That’s me to. Don’t throw anything away that has a foreseeable use or for which a use can be invented. That is especially true of the farming life on mountain land with little or none of the best farmland of nearly flat terrain with deep, moist, fertile soil but rather has steep, shallow, rocky and somewhat infertile soil. Can’t afford to waste anything. And the idea of preparing for changes of season has to be in one’s mind year-round.

    Off today’s subject but I was struck yesterday evening with the similarity of the comments on Corie’s post. Not only did they say BP&A readers have a similar view of Cory herself and feeling for her but also of all you all and of marriage generally. She has lots of help anytime she needs it from ‘her people’ both actual and virtual (actual but never met and further away).

  • Reply
    Kathy Gautier
    October 15, 2021 at 7:35 am

    Good Morning to all, I am waxing nostalgic this morning after reading this post. I remember “Fat lighter” Grandma used to start her wood heater and fire in the fireplace. I loved the smell of the fat lighter sticks. These posts make me long for a time long gone by and at the same time appreciate the times we live in now. Thank you Tipper for your blog and the memories.

  • Reply
    Tina Huffman
    October 15, 2021 at 7:03 am

    Ms. Tipper…I just wanted to be the first to bid you good morning! I hope this day finds the Deer Hunter, yourself, Granny, Paul, the girls and their beau’s blessed by the Almighty! As to not wasting…I have been making conscious effort with food and trying to not throw anything away. Have even gone so far as to use old hot grease to kill weeds and spoilt milk to fertilize roses. It feels productive to repurpose cooked veges into soup. All in trying to be more frugal and creative. It has brought about strange looks from my family over the dinner plate. As my momma would say, “eat it or starve”.

    • Reply
      October 15, 2021 at 7:25 am

      Tina-That’s wonderful! Good morning to you and I hope you have a great day 🙂

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    October 15, 2021 at 6:29 am

    Fat wood, lighter pine, or as my father called it, rich pine is really good tinder. I use it regularly to get campfires going.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 15, 2021 at 6:19 am

    I love how our ancestors used everything with no waste. When my Grandmother died we found hundreds of little balls of string of different kinds in her house. My Grandmother wasted nothing. Most of the balls of string came off feed sacks and the actual sacks were used to make aprons. She wore aprons all the time to protect her clothes.
    They were a thrifty people, unlike the people of today. Today we are a throw away people. Use it once that throw it away!

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