Appalachia Appalachian Dialect

I’m Giving Away a Rooster!


Mommy Goose Rhymes from the Mountains by Mike Norris B

This is my third post about Mike Norris and his book Mommy Goose Rhymes from the Mountains. I’m a fan of the book if you haven’t figured that out by now. It is filled with 50 original rhymes written by Mike himself. The book uses the rich colorful Appalachian Language that I so love.

It is wonderfully illustrated with photos of over a hundred hand carved and painted works by Minnie Adkins who has permanent collections in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Kentucky Folk Art Center.

Here are two poems from the book-the first of which is very appropriate for today’s giveaway.


The rooster started pecking at Granpaw’s legs,
Then tried to flog Granmaw as she gathered eggs.
Granmaw boiled water,
While I churned butter.
The next night we had fried chicken for supper.



Benjamin Grimes
Went down in the mines,
But only lasted three days.
The note from the clerk
Said, “Unwilling to work,”
But Ben said it wasn’t that way.

“Had nary a trouble
With pick or shovel
Till something come up grey.
Not a loafer or shirker,
But one thing for certain,
I’d druther draw breath than pay.”

I especially enjoyed the first poem because of a story my friend, Trevis, told me.

When Trevis was a little boy he stayed with his grandmother during the day while his momma worked. Every morning he’d walk to the barn with his Mamaw to feed the chickens and take care of the other chores after his grandfather had left for work. He said one morning his Papaw’s favorite rooster attacked Mamaw. Before Trevis knew what happened Mamaw had reached down and taken care of Mr. Rooster-in other words he’d never attack anyone again. That night they had the chicken for supper and Papaw didn’t know he was eating his favorite rooster till later! Trevis said his Papaw was mad, but his Mamaw said she was tired of that mean ole rooster bothering her.

In addition, you can purchase a cd of the book which contains a song Mike wrote about Mommy Goose. The song, along with the music, is in the back of the book so anyone interested can learn it themselves. The cd also contains a very nice narration of the book by Mike and a conversation between Mike and Minnie that will leave you smiling for the rest of the day.

I asked Mike where the best place to purchase the book and the cd was and this is what he said:

The Mommy Goose: Rhymes from the Mountains CD is now available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Music, and a bunch more places online. Check it out on iTunes and listen to samples of the tracks here:

If you have the book without the CD, it’s really not complete, as the song, narration, and 40-plus minute conversation with Minnie are a key part of the project. (And physical CDs can be ordered from Amazon.)

Bookstore versions of the book may be ordered many places online, but Amazon and The University Press of Ky [it’s the university press of the whole state, not just UK] are two good sources.

minni atkins blue rooster

If there is a child in your life or a rhyme loving adult like me, I suggest you buy Mike’s outstanding book and cd for them. Both items would make dandy Christmas presents. Preserving our language is a cause that is near and dear to my heart and I commend Mike for trying to keep our rich colorful Appalachian Language alive.

Minnie generously donated one of her Blue Roosters for me to giveaway as part of my Thankful November Series. Minnie Adkins is a featured artist in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Kentucky Folk Art Center.

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win the Rooster. *Giveaway ends Saturday December 3, 2016.



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  • Reply
    December 10, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    I appreciate hand crafted things and the work involved. That rooster is great and I would treasure it. The little girl next door takes care of their four hens. She has trained them. She carries them around and teaches them tricks. If they misbehave she spanks them and puts them in time out!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I love the idea of a book in rhyme to help pass along and preserve our way of talking! Just awesome! the blue rooster is great also.

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    December 1, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Love the rooster poem. Reminded me of my Grandaddy and Granny. Sounds exactly like them.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Carol-yes prayers are needed! So very thankful for the rain too : )

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Tipper, love that blue rooster. The Kentucky educational tv channel did a segment on MInnie and her folk art and the book. She is such a talented lady. Said she started carving as a child to make toys to play with. I will give the rooster a good home in Kentucky. Glad y’all are safe from fires.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    Tipper, this little blue rooster looks like some that I saw in Elliott County, KY when I visited there in 2003. Visiting there was another of my Bucket List adventures. My Grandma was born in Elliott Co., KY and came to WI in 1904 when she was 8 years old. Her Grandma Lyon came to Elliott Co. from Scott Co., VA after her father died in the Civil War, and her Grandpa Lyon’s family came to KY from NC. I love all the history, songs, stories, dances and crafts of Appalachia…..what ever the state. Grandma’s sister Carrie married an Adkins fron Elliott Co., maybe a relative of Minnie’s. Also got my one and only taste of “shine” on that trip. A little goes a long way.

  • Reply
    Janis Sullivan (Jan)
    November 30, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Tipper, Not only are you in a very talented, blessed family, but you know so many talented and kind people. The people that write on your blog are kind and talented too. I feel so good just reading and listening to every bit of it. Thank you so very much for everything. Jan

  • Reply
    Gloria Strother
    November 30, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Love the rooster! I’ll have to look for the book. I know I would enjoy it. Have a few mean rooster tales to tell from growing up years myself!

  • Reply
    June jolley
    November 30, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Mamaw had every right to kill that rooster. You haven’t lived until you have been flogged by a rooster.

  • Reply
    Jeanie Ahrens
    November 30, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I love folk art and I love the rooster! My dad grew up in Georgia and one day, when he was a young boy, they killed and ate his favorite chicken. Until he died, he never did like chicken!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Barbara-thank you for the comment! We are safe from the fires. My heart goes out to those who are not. I would have never dreamed of forest fires in the mountains of NC and TN.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 30, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    I love wood carving – my granddad did hands! Very detailed. I also have boots he did and a yoke. Real treasures as i can remember his hands were always busy.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I was listening to our Christian Radio Station today and just as I dialed the number, Donna Lynn played ‘Away in a Manger” by Paul and Pap. After we talked a jiffy, I asked for “Working on a Building” by the Pressley Girls and Paul. They do such a great job together. …Ken

  • Reply
    Patsy Small
    November 30, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I love the rooster. It reminds me of my husband’s rustic style of carving. Thanks for all the great giveaways. I was the happy winner of a knitted hat a number of years ago and I still love that hat and wear it every winter (already wore it once this year).

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    As you already know, I love the people of Appalachia because they are my kin. No where else is there a people who live each day with the love that they do. All things are observed with a clarity and purity of understanding and expressed in a simplicity of language, art and music that exists only among Appalachian folk.
    When I look at Minnie’s blue rooster, I get pure and simple delight. My face smiles, my heart feels light and happy and my memories take me to the sights and sounds of my Pawpaw’s yard full of hens, roosters and little dibbys all around my feet! Thank you, Minnie and Tipper for this moment of happy childhood given to me today when I read the blog and saw the wonderful rooster!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I have a friend who is still living and he’s at the Old Folks Home near the Baker Furniture Building. I went to his brother’s funeral about a year ago. Anyway, Ralph Hardin use to carve Rooster’s out of Laurel Bushes and he did such a good job with his pocket knife. …Ken

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I enjoyed Ed’s story of him punting that rooster. Some of them are just mean and ornery creatures, most of ’em make it to an early supper.
    Years ago, I was at this woman’s house and noticed she was so fond of them black and white cows. She had them setting around everywhere there was a table, even her curtains were poke-e-dot. We had a Guernsey too, but for milking. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 30, 2016 at 11:55 am

    When I was coming up my family raised chickens for hatching eggs. The eggs had to be fertile so one out of every ten chickens was a rooster. I had to help feed, water and gather eggs every day. Most of the roosters knew where their next meal was coming from and that failure to maintain their composure could result in their becoming a next meal.
    One rooster, however, was a nonconformist. Whenever I would come in the door he would come at me full charge. It wasn’t that he scared me. Or that I thought he was going to hurt me. But, I always had all three hands full and if he tangled up my legs, I could fall down and spill everything. And worser yet I could fall in chicken deposit.
    I had gotten pretty good at kicking a football but I didn’t play, so my talents were languishing. I saw an opportunity to showcase my abilities. For several days I went in the chicken house empty handed. I would fend off the monster then go back out for the feed and water.
    Then, my opportunity came! I stepped through the door and Mr. Rooster spied me. He came at me like an armored knight astride a magnificent steed. I quickly calculated the angle of approach and determine that today was the day. I put a perfect toe into that hurling hunk of gallus domesticus and punted him against the opposite wall.
    Mr. Rooster lay there for a few seconds before he could get up and stagger to the other end of the building. After that he never ever met me at the door. He recovered fully and resumed his roosterly duties but dared not challenge me again.
    All the roosters looked pretty much the same but this particular one was easy to identify, at least from my prospective. While all the rest of the fowl flock gathered around me when I brought their meal, there was one lone rooster that always headed for the other end of the building.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 11:31 am

    We just received this book as an early Christmas present from one of our neighbors and we love it! We have been to the KY Folk Art Center and have seen Minnie’s awesome collection. These are two extremely talented individuals!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Love the beautiful folk art rooster.
    Anyone have suggestions as to getting my hens to lay again. Their molt has finished as all of the birds have full plumage again. Should be soon. I’m anxiously waiting. Thanks

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

    A rooster gets two chances at my place. One for accidental, two for bad idea. Come at me a third time and say goodbye to the hens, little man.

  • Reply
    Lonnie Baker
    November 30, 2016 at 9:24 am

    Would love a blue rooster. My favorite place to eat in Waynesville is The Blue Rooster.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 9:11 am

    That’s a pretty confident looking bird there. He’d look great with my other poultry perched on top of the sideboard so please add me to the drawing for him as well as the book (I love rhymes and humor with a little bit of history [Benjamin Grimes ref to Black Lung] thrown in).
    PS: after not getting to the Post Office for about a week, I finally went yesterday and there was my Heirloom Plants book! I’ve started browsing it and am looking forward to time to sit and read this weekend! Lots of fascinating history about these plants and many interesting ones I’ve never heard of but wish I could taste.

  • Reply
    Carol Rosenbalm
    November 30, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Hi! I haven’t written any comments lately but I’m a faithful reader! Will you tell your friends to pray for firefighters and all involved with the Gatlinburg, Tn fire!
    I read where I think your end of Appalachias has had fire too! Hopefully there will be no more! We’ve got rain today and it’s such a feeling of peace that God is still in control!
    Thank you
    God bless!
    Carol Rosenbalm

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 30, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Geeese will attack people also. And in the coal mines the dust has to be watered down or the miners have to breathe and eat it. It can cause a dust explosion. Mr. Norris really speaks to Appalachian situations.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I did the same thing with a turkey gobbler that Trevis’ mawmaw did with the rooster. We had one that attacked everyone except Dad. I was getting an armload of stove wood and saw him watching me. I picked up my brother’s tiny ball bat and held it on top of my load. When he got near my leg I turned and whacked him upside the head. He fell and didn’t kick around like chickens that had their necks wrung. I tried to revive him with water but Dad said I had drowned him. He went in the freezer for later.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:28 am

    What clever rhymes! That color blue on that rooster would be stunning in my kitchen 🙂 Many blessings for a wonderful day!

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:27 am

    My stars, what a treasure! That happy rooster sure made me smile this morning while thanking the good Lord for giving folks the ability to bring out the joy in a simple piece of His nature. Thank you for your wonderful blog and the special giveaways you offer, and the kind email the other day.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    November 30, 2016 at 8:26 am

    I love the rooster story. My Moma had many stories about my Dad making her help to kill the chicken for supper. That rooster is a dandy to have for my house. The grandkids would love it.
    Tipper are you close to any of the fires? We have been following the news. We would always vacation in Cherokee and Gatlinburg . My Dad grew up in Waynesville. It was all home to him.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2016 at 8:17 am

    That’s a great giveaway(a collectable for sure). I’ve always wanted a blue rooster, and would give it good care. Also, chickens are permitted in the city where I live.

  • Reply
    wayne smith
    November 30, 2016 at 8:05 am

    I like minnie’s rooster

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 30, 2016 at 8:03 am

    Tipper–I don’t recall any specific rooster paying the ultimate price and ending up on Grandma Minnie’s table, although I’m sure that happened and happened often. What I do recall is Grandpa Joe’s interesting and highly effective way of “catching” hens.
    He had a really long cane pole fitted out with a short piece of the old-time black nylon fishing line and a small fishing hook. When Grandma needed a hen or two to bake (hens were baked, while the young chickens called fryers were fried), he would get his “hen fishing” pole and a handful of scratch feed and head to the chicken lot.
    Once there he would throw out the scratch feed and then “bait” his fishing pole with a kernel of corn. He’d patiently wait until a hen that hadn’t been doing her laying duties in satisfactory fashion got off on her own a bit then drop the bait right in front of her. Invariably the hen would gobble up the baited hook and he would pull her in, hand-over-hand down the pole. The hen would flop and squawk and make a terrible fuss, but soon enough a neck wringing took care of that.
    I suspect the PETA folks who get so upset about the ‘possum drop over your way every New Year’s wouldn’t have approved of Grandpa’s method, but it was highly efficient, quick, and he always got the hen he wanted without unduly bothering the others. Incidentally, the flock never learned, because he’d do the same thing a week or so later. For me, and I reckon all boys are a bit bloodthirsty, the whole process was a fascinating delight.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 30, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Love the rooster and the rhymes

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 30, 2016 at 5:52 am

    That’s a cute rooster! It looks very cleverly made from a tree limb? How can someone look at a tree limb and see a rooster hiding in it! Also can’t help but notice that it’s Christmas at the Blind Pig house.

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