Labor Day Labor


laboring in Appalahcia

The Blind Pig family spent Labor Day laboring.

The girls have several landscaping jobs in Brasstown. They maintain the yard for the folks and do everything from mowing/weed-eating to planting. Their good friend and mentor Tim Ryan played a role in the girls getting the jobs. They worked for Tim a few years back on larger landscaping projects. He recommended them for one of the maintaining jobs and that lead to the others. The girls enjoyed having flexible jobs that allowed them to concentrate on their college studies and once they graduated they kept the jobs.

The girls stay busy with their various part-time jobs, their own entrepreneurial pursuits, and of course their music. Add in the need to stay with Granny during her first days at home from the hospital and their filled plate over flowed.

The Deer Hunter and I volunteered to help them get one of their jobs out of the way before the owner came for a visit. It’s a beautiful old house in a pretty spot…a pretty shaded spot. To say the house is in the woods is an understatement. The woods come right up to the edges and all those trees make a huge mess. Fallen leaves, sticks, and bark everywhere. So there were a blue million sticks to pick up not to mention the mowing, weed-eating, trimming, leave blowing, and sweeping.

By the time we finished I was exhausted, but I was also amazed and more than a little proud. As The Deer Hunter and I sat and rested for a minute I said “I can’t believe they do all this by themselves, that they’ve been doing it all this time by themselves.” The Deer Hunter had been to the house before when he was dropping off stuff for the girls. He said “This ain’t nothing you should have seen how overgrown it was when they first started taking care of it.”

Once we finished we headed over to Miss Cindy’s to help her dispose of a tree that The Deer Hunter cut well over a year ago. He kept meaning to go back and clean up the big pieces, but first one thing and then another kept him from getting it done.

We got it done by working together. The Deer Hunter sawed while Miss Cindy, the girls, and I moved the wood.

I did more work on Labor Day than I’ve done all summer long. I was so tired, but it was a good tired-does that make sense?

There is something so rewarding about using your hands, feet, back, and entire body along with your brain to get a job completed. Most days I sit at a desk and while I’m working the entire time, there isn’t the same satisfaction that comes from hands-on phyiscal work like we did on Labor Day.


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  • Reply
    Darrell Keith Cook
    September 8, 2020 at 9:51 am

    Hi Tipper, I enjoy reading your blogs each day. I get much satisfaction seeing your family so close and working together.
    Sadly, many families are not so close- at least outside of Southern Appalachia. I am a twin. I think my twin brother Gerald is the epitome of what a Christian man is supposed to be. I could tell you some twin stories, maybe later. May God bless you and all your family.

  • Reply
    Leon Estes
    February 10, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    Yes, a good tired is a good thing!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I know just what you mean about a good tired. Once a career advisor told me to ask a few people who know me best what kind of job they think I should look for. A forester I worked with one tough winter in the woods – who I now consider one of my best friends in the world, even if I see him maybe once a year if I’m lucky – thought for a second and then told me, “You’ll never be happy in a job that doesn’t have a physical, outdoor, component.” I’d never thought of it exactly that way, but reckon he hit the nail on the head.

  • Reply
    September 8, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    When we bought this place back in 03 an Elderly Lady who lived next door would see me working on the place clearing and burning, and she came over one day just to say hello and I will always remember what she told me . ” Son the more you do the more you see what needs doing”. Wow, that is true.

  • Reply
    Tim Ryan
    September 7, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Tipper, your daughters have pulled my ox out of the ditch more than once. Landscape gardening has been my life’s work since I was in high school. It all started with my high school librarian, a widow who needed help in the yard. By the time I was in college I was mowing every house on her block, and every customer had extra work to do when the grass was mowed. Eventually a commercial landscaper became aware of my work, offered me a job, taught me to draw landscape plans, took me to wholesale nurseries where he bought plants, and put me on the road to my career. Now I’m winding down, but nothing has given me more pleasure than passing along a little of my enjoyment to Katie and Corie!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 7, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I would have like to have a piece of that tree younz are cutting up. I had a maple tree about a foot in diameter growing up into the power lines that had to go. I carefully cut it, a little at a time so it wouldn’t short out the power lines. I left the stump about head high.
    I burned all the top in my burn pile but left the stump intending to let it dry out down into the ground then burning it. I never got around to the burning part so it stood there for a couple of years. Fall before last I decided to tackle it again. I started ripping off the bark and discovered it was permeated to the heart with insect and water damage. The effect was interesting. I decided to save a chunk to make a stand for my little anvil.
    The piece was crumbling in places. A wire brush took care if that. It was full of ant holes and the ants that made them. It had worm holes too but I didn’t see them. I put it in the dry for a few week so the insects would leave it. Well, they did or I thought they did.
    Next came the finish. I chose spar varnish. It dries almost clear with just a touch of yellowing which turned out to be perfect for that wood. I decided to fill all the holes and cracks as much as possible with the finish. As I began to apply the varnish, ants began to appear. I guess the smell of the varnish disturbed them. I brushed them off at first but then decided to just paint over them and pick them out later. When I got through with the first coat there were still ants appearing but after that they are all entombed inside. After picking off a bunch of dead ants I applied a second and third coat of spar varnish. I think it turned out perfect and it ain’t nothing but a chunk of an old maple stump.
    A little research reveals I am not the only person who likes the look. They call it spalted maple and it is very expensive as wood goes. I saw one piece on the internet 12″ by 18″ for $120. I have the stump and a couple of 12″ by 12″ slices I saved. I guess if I was selling it I would have to ask $500 for all of it. But I ain’t selling it! I’ll send you a couple of pictures if you want to see them.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2017 at 11:02 am

    The deer hunter sure makes sawing look easy. It hurts my back now just cranking the blooming thing. But whenever the jobs are done, it’s a good feeling. The log the Deer Hunter is sawing looks like Oak, and the cuts are short enough just for my stove. I love working in the woodpile. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 7, 2017 at 10:44 am

    How well you describe the way I am also. I just could never get the satisfaction from paper and computer work that I can from working in the garden or yard. It stems from how I was raised and I know I don’t fit in the computer and cell phone world of the information age. But then Dad was never quite a fit with the industrial age. He always had at least one foot back in the agarian era.
    You know, you have told us enough about the girls that it is apparent they were raised well. Bless their hearts, they won’t be “mainstream” (how I am coming to dislike that word!) either but thankfully they are better than that. I have a ‘sticky’ yard to and playing pick up sticks is constant. It takes some strength of character to do a hard job when there is no-one there to see that it gets done.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    September 7, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I labored on Labor Day digging a trench to bury a conduit to get future wires under a driveway that is scheduled to get paved.
    It is a good feeling to accomplish something tangible and at age 69, I tell people that if you don’t do it yourself, it won’t be long before you CAN’T do it yourself!

  • Reply
    Pat Dobbins
    September 7, 2017 at 9:49 am

    How true your statement is, ”we got it done by working together ”. I live in the northwest part of Texas but have seen how people have come together from all over the state (including in the town I live in) to help those who were devastated by hurricane Harvey. They were and still are working together. And I pray for the people who live on the East coast and right now Florida that the damage won’t be as bad. It sure does feel good when you’re helping someone and working together.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Hopefully Miss Cindy has a fireplace or stove to use all the good seasoned wood in. That guy who predicts the weather in KY using tree bark and woolly worms said we should buckle up, stock up and get ready to wrap up. Thank God we still have girls like yours who are not afraid to get their hands dirty and do physical work. I hope their rewards are great!

  • Reply
    Debbie Nobles
    September 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

    So true. I wish they lived down here that’s the kind of help I need.Too many folks here get on a riding lawn mower and just buzz around the middle.They don’t take the time to weed and clean up.You have two special girls.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2017 at 9:13 am

    “Good Tired” vs “Good and Tired”. If I describe myself and “good and tired”, I’m referring to the kind of tired one feels when a person has pushed through something that had to be done – almost exhausted and more than ready to rest, get over it, and get on with other things. Feeling a “Good Tired” comes when one may not have been feeling well for a time, then tackles a job, feels everything mentioned before but realizes a body couldn’t have even tackled the job earlier – it includes the satisfaction of knowing that one is on the mend and one’s strength is returning even if not yet up to full speed. I felt it after recovering from a sequence of surgeries that kept me out of the loop for almost a year; I felt it after a year and a half of recurrent illnesses in 2015 & 2016 – there is almost a giddiness feeling assured that “happy days are here again”. I sincerely hope that is what you are feeling!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Your girls have learned a good work ethic by example from their family. I fully understand what you mean about a “good tired.” You can also SEE the results of your work—not usually possible with ‘desk work.’

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    September 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Though I’m unable to put in the hours of physical labor I used to when younger and in better health I still get the same satisfaction doing physical labor where you can see the results you refer to. I think some of the “Good Tired” you refer to comes from the mindset that “Man (&Women) shall live by the sweat of their brow” we were raised with. I have also found that there is a difference in mental tired which I was when I was flying a desk as a supervisor for NC DHHS and the muscle tired that comes with doing the physical labor like landscaping and cutting and handling wood like you did on Labor Day.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 7, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Tipper–I thoroughly enjoyed your phrase “good tired.” I’ve never heard it put quite that way but there’s a lot to be said, at the end of a day’s hard work, for being blissfully bone weary, dog tired, flat worn out or however you state it.
    That’s because there’s quiet satisfaction in a job well done, vittles somehow taste better when you know that the sweat of your brow has earned them, and I often envy our forebears and the way they would sit in rocking chairs on the porch (or in colder weather, by the fire) enjoying a day’s end time of contemplation and reflection. They didn’t have a computer calling them; a TV tempting them; and certainly no iphone, smartphone, or other gizmo. They might make some music, listen to nature’s chorus, enjoy conversation, or maybe just savor the undeniable pleasures of the sounds of silence.
    Theirs was a simpler life and I rather think that in many ways it was, while a harder one, also a happier one.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    September 7, 2017 at 8:52 am

    This makes me remember when Daddy bought some bottom land that had to be cleared. I was too little to work on that but remember that it was a massive undertaking. Sadly it had reverted to the wild over the years.
    I have a lot of mixed feelings about that bottom. There is a beautiful little shallow sand bottomed creek running through it and and when I was a child a railroad track also. There was once a road through and out the other side but that has been removed from the road system and has just about completely returned to the wild. There were several pretty big houses on that road that had been abandoned and I was always fascinated by them and spent time wondering about who used to live there.
    A lot of the bottom once belonged to my grandfather and I remember the land being irrigated from the creek one dry year. Ditches were cut along the field’s end and water pumped from the creek. We were allowed to play in the water–Mama didn’t know about this. She was phobic about drowning and would have never allowed it. That was the scene of a terrible cotton field later on that was higher than my head. It took more than one day to pick a whole row. It would make a pretty good horror movie!
    My best friend and I spent a lot of our teen yrs. in the bottom walking and talking and dreaming and playing in the creek. My brothers found the tree where we carved out initials fifty years ago. I had completely forgotten it.
    Well, Tipper, your post sure kicked off a stream of memories for me this morning! Wish I could hear the train moving through that bottom one more time.

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    September 7, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I sure would love for them to be on the cleanup from Irma here in Fla! We have battened down the hatches now and would appreciate all your prayers!

  • Reply
    Eleanor Loos
    September 7, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Tipper, it’s so good to see a family work together as well as you do. You’ve trained your girls in a fine manner. Blessings on you all. Eleanor Loos, Columbia Station OH

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 7, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Tip, I’ve learned since I moved to Murphy how satisfying working outside is. It somehow feeds the soul. For all my working career I lived in a house with no yard to mow. I didn’t like to mow so I selected a house with no yard. I used to say “I don’t do mow”. Well I moved to Murphy and bought house with a yard and I’ve learned to “do mow”. I’ve not only learned to do mow, I’ve learned to enjoying mowing and weed eating and other yard work.
    I’ve been working since spring on that wood pile. I cleared and burned ( I’ve also never burned before!) every piece of wood that I could pick up and carry, or roll, to the burn pile. It has been a very satisfying labor.
    So on labor day I was so happy to have you guys come and help cut up and move all that wood that had been too big for me to move. The Deer Hunter’s chain say is much bigger than mine and did the work in short time.
    I am so grateful for all of you coming to help. it was a family laboring together on Labor Day!
    A great BIG Thank You!!!

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