Appalachia Pigeon Roost

February in Pigeon Roost 2


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 the February excerpts from the magazine.


The people here still quote from the 16th chapter of Ezekiel in the Bible, and the 6th verse to stop nose bleed, etc. Some of the folks seem to have more success in stopping the flow of blood quicker than others do. I have learned that one man once was brought three miles away to a man who was bleeding so bad after he had a tooth pulled. It is said as soon as the man who was sent for passed by the man who had the tooth pulled, the bleeding stopped.

And old-timer here reported that she gets relief from arthritis soreness and pains in her legs by wearing copper bands on her legs. But we don’t know her directions on how or when to wear the bands. Here in this hill country, home treatments like that are the people’s own secrets.




The J.W. Webb store building at Relief is being torn down this week and the lumber in it will be moved to Pigeon Roost.

Well, the gentle cow that Shirrell Griffith took to his mountain place known as the Will Gouge place on the head of Byrd Creek at Pigeon Roost tamed the two wild calves and he brought the cow and calves to his home place at Tipton Hill on Saturday, Feb. 15th. Charles Griffith, his cousin, hauled them home in his jeep truck.

The calves went wild last fall when they started to bring the other cattle off the mountain before winter weather began. They tried every way to tame the calves. That did not prove to any avail even such as feeding them brown sugar, but not anything helped until they took a cow out there on the mountain.

Mr. and Mrs. Fairell Tipton, who recently sold their interest in the store at Tipton hill to Mr. Masters, are now in North Wilkesboro, N.C. where they plan to visit their son-in-law and daughter for a long definite stay.




The writer recently seen an unlucky egg, the first one that I had seen in many a day. The unlucky egg is very small and round like a ball. I remember when anybody at my parents’ home would find one of these little kind of eggs in a hen’s nest, Mother said they should bring bad luck if those who found the egg in the hen’s nest didn’t throw them across the house top and bust them. As I remember once about throwing one of these little old unlucky eggs across the top of the house six times before I ever bursted it. The unlucky egg sure is hard and I think the rule with the good luck sign is that you had a dozen times to throw them across the house to burst them.

Luther Bennett and son, Hubert, of Baily Settlement brought a turn of white corn Friday to Hughes Brothers’ corn mill on Byrd Creek at Pigeon Roost where it was ground in to meal.



I’ve never heard of unlucky eggs. Our hens haven’t ever laid an egg like he described, but every once in a while they do lay a longer oblong shaped egg.

My favorite line from these excerpts is: “Here in this hill country, home treatments like that are the people’s own secrets.” It’s a good example of how Appalachian folks tend to keep their personal issues private.

Be sure to jump over to the Foxfire website and poke around. They are still publishing the magazine and those wonderful Foxfire Books too.



Come cook with me!

Location: John C. Campbell Folk School – Brasstown, NC
Date: Sunday, June 23 – Saturday, June 29, 2019
Instructors: Carolyn Anderson, Tipper Pressley

Experience the traditional Appalachian method of cooking, putting up, and preserving the bounty from nature’s garden. Receive hands-on training to make and process a variety of jellies, jams, and pickles for winter eating. You’ll also learn the importance of dessert in Appalachian culture and discover how to easily make the fanciest of traditional cakes. Completing this week of cultural foods, a day of bread making will produce biscuits and cornbread. All levels welcome.

Along with all that goodness Carolyn and I have planned a couple of field trips to allow students to see how local folks produce food for their families. The Folk School offers scholarships you can go here to find out more about them. For the rest of the class details go here.

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  • Reply
    February 27, 2019 at 8:59 am

    The old-timer who wore copper band to get relief from arthritis was way ahead of the big companies who have made a fortune selling copper infused items to alleviate pain.

  • Reply
    February 27, 2019 at 8:37 am

    I have heard some of these Tipper. Well just about 4 days ago i was gathering the eggs and got one of the little eggs but i didnt throw it away. I will have to take a pic and show you. I have heard about the nose bleeds or bleeding any where. It works! God Bless

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 27, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I recall not so many years ago the idea of wearing copper for arthritis was a big deal. If I’m not mistaken John Wayne wore a copper bracelet on at least one of his wrists.

    I’m guessing the unlucky egg has something to do with a hen stopping laying. If so, I suspect it was very unlucky for the hen.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 27, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Tip I believe that there is lots of stuff in life that is true if you believe it’s true. I love these old stories of a simpler time, they remind me of my grandmother.
    The food that the chickens ate back then was entirely different from what the chickens eat now. I’m sure that in some ways then was better because there was no GMO corn.

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    February 27, 2019 at 7:52 am

    P.S. I am not gonna cut myself to see if the Bible verse works…!!

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    February 27, 2019 at 7:50 am

    I have heard about the Bible verse stopping blood. And a friend of mine in Marietta GA wore homemade copper bands on his wrist for arthritis. He said it worked. I might oughta try that on these knees!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    February 27, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Grandmother pow wowed and the best thing she did for me was get rid of a wart on my thumb. She spit on her finger, rubbed the wart, said a bible verse and in a few days it was gone. I thought that was the greatest trick ever. When I asked her to teach me she said it had to go from female to male and male to female. I asked my brother to do it and teach me but he said he was not interested in such mumbo jumbo. I am sorry now her art was lost. She also stopped bleeding for a friend and removed warts for several neighbors.

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    February 27, 2019 at 7:38 am

    My dad had painful arthritis. He wore copper braceletts and leg bands. This helped relieve the pain. I aquired them when he passed. Still have them. He wore them all the times.

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