Appalachia Pigeon Roost

January in Pigeon Roost

snow covered woods

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 old-time saying is still going the rounds here that when it comes the first good snow of the season, if you will get out and wade in it for a little bit, you won’t never have a cold all winter long. But who here still makes a practice of this I can’t get no report on. Although it’s the truth away back “yander” I recollect seeing folks both young and old splitting through a purty good snow barefooted, and the boys and men had their britches leg rolled up to knee length. Well the wimmen folks in those days had to hold up their dress tails, too, while they waded through the snow barefooted. As you know, the dress style was so long in the length that the dresses nearly drug the ground every step they took, and a lot of times you could see dress prints in the snow when they waded it about knee deep. Folks back in those early days thought it was real fun to wade the snow, especially the first snow, what they called a warm snow. I imagine that snow is snow anyway the weather may be, and all of it is as cold as ice.



Nelse Whitson, who said that he was 86 years old, told us Monday, the day after Christmas, that it would be a good prosperous crop year the following summer for a snow on the ground Christmas Day meant that it was a good prospect for a bumper yield of crops. Well, we had a white Christmas here—the first one several people said that we had had in seven years. It was really a bad snowy day on Christmas and the snow reached out far away from here.



Here is the report of one year’s weather record kept by Donald McCoury of the Byrd Creek section of Pigeon Roost and is for the entire year of 1962. 128 rainy days; 45 storms; 35 snowy days; 58 frosty mornings; 105 foggy mornings and two days of sleet. Mr. McCoury said there is an old saying, “If every morning in August is foggy, there will be 31 snows in the winter.” There were only 24 foggy mornings in August of 1962.


I’ve heard about going barefoot in the first snow of the year being good for your health, but I’m not sure I could wade barefooted in knee deep snow 🙂

I’m hoping our snowy Christmas day means my summer garden will be extra productive this year!

Jump over to the Foxfire website and poke around. They are still publishing the magazine and those wonderful Foxfire Books too!


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  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    I am sitting here barefoot as I write this, I never wear shoes or socks in the house except when getting dressed to go somewhere. We never had much snow in Greenville County, SC, but I have went to the mailbox or done other quick things outside in winter barefoot in my younger days. I move too slow now to go out in the winter.

    I had a neighbor that went barefoot year round.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    January 13, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    It amazes me to hear about the long skirts dragging thru the snow and dirt. Now we have sidewalks and we are all wearing mini skirts. Just doesn’t seem right.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    my husband always thought it was weird when we first married i went barefoot all the time…even in winter i’d run out to the mailbox or whatever barefoot…never got yea i do run around barefoot, even Christmas eve went over to deliver Christmas eve dinner barefoot…in the snow….

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 10:27 am

    My parents hardly got any snow in their growing up years in the south but my grandmothers would not have let them go barefooted in the snow. Now in the summer it was done. I grew up where snow fell quite deep in the winter but Lord have mercy, I wouldn’t have gone without hat, mittens, coat and boots. lol I did so enjoy reading the magazine articles with words I haven’t heard in many, many, many years. Yander, Purty good snow, britches leg rolled up, I recollect and I reckon,

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 9:54 am

    My mom and I have to as a child wade in the snow. This brought back that memory. I probably wouldn’t do that today. People get sick easily now I think. Dont know why though.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 13, 2021 at 9:33 am

    I don’t know what qualifies as a fog but down here on the river we get a lot of fog. Last week we got four straight days of fog. All day long. The days when you got into the upper 50s with sunshine, we barely got out of the 30s.

    One year I kept count of the days in August I saw fog. 28 days I saw some. Guess how many snows we got that winter. None! I guess it’s like the words in the song “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere”, I reckon it snowed somewhere.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 9:08 am

    I’ve never heard that wading in snow keeps colds away. I’m sure Mom never heard that saying either or she wouldn’t have made us wear two pairs of socks back in the day when we didn’t wear long pants.
    I’m anxious to test the old saying about a white Christmas meaning a bumper crop.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 8:08 am

    If it means being prosperous, I would have tried it had I,known after all the previous year’s events.
    I’ve always heard the fogs in August would equate to following winter’s snow occurrences.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Foxfire books have a world of helpful information, but a little skeptical of the wading the snow for preventing colds. I waded a lot of snow because at one time they did not call off school unless it was so deep the superintendent could not get out the door. 🙂 My sister and a friend along with myself thought it would be really neat to get out in a deep snow and take pictures in our swimsuits. We still have the pictures showing our extreme silliness. We caught a lot of colds, but they seemed to come when the mountains filled with bloom.

    Your posts are so full of depth and helpful information. I sure appreciate this, and I hope that all your readers will jump over on YouTube and catch your wonderful and accurate portrayal of life in Appalachia. Subscribing helps the channel, and a thumbs up is nice too. I want to get this right that one of your twins still features handmade jewelry on Etsy. A nice walk finding stones, polishing, and crafting jewelry would be a nice addition to your videos. Your family is so gifted that they have many talents to share. It is well known that Appalachians are known for unique and wonderful crafts. Whatever you do seems well received.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    January 13, 2021 at 8:00 am

    I think maybe the Deer Hunter could go barefoot in the first snow if that was him lighting the sparkler in the deck. Never heard that saying though. I probably was barefoot in the snow some time or other as a kid. I used to “skate” on the mudpuddles. Then the ice would break, my feet would get wet and my socks turn to ice. I don’t know how I lived through those years.

    I did grow up with the saying about fogs in August equals snows in winter. Never knew anybody to have checked up on it though. I wonder if the original version might have been “about as many” and gotten changed into “will be”. Us human creatures are awful bad to drop qualifiers out of information we repeat.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      January 13, 2021 at 9:43 am

      I think that’s Paul lighting the sparklers. He used that same scene for the intro on his Auld Lang Syne video last week. When Tipper used it in her My Life in Appalachia 4, I thought I had already seen it so I didn’t watch it right away. But I caught on and caught up.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 13, 2021 at 7:06 am

    Yes, we had our snow on Christmas but I didn’t go walking bare foot in it, I hope we still have a good year. I think we will!

    • Reply
      Margie Goldstein
      January 13, 2021 at 8:41 am

      When I was a kid, one of my highlights of my life was getting out in the snow barefooted while mommy hollered I’d catch pneumonia. I thought the cool fluffy stuff was wonderful and I remember at night watching the fallen snow sparkle under street lights so in my mind the sparkles were literally diamonds uncatchable by most folks and I always figured to be one who would snatch a diamond in the snow. It snowed good on Christmas this past year so here’s optimism in a sooth saying! We shall see. God bless us in this new year.

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