Appalachia

May in Pigeon Roost 2

Best way to eat green onions

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 couple of Miller’s articles published during the month of May. I enjoyed them and hope you do too.

1970

Lester Johnson, who lives on Pate Creek at Pigeon Roost, reported to the writer that one night recently about midnight he heard his hens squalling in the hen house that is located out in the hollow from his home, so he quickly jumped up out of bed and was so excited to see what was bothering his chickens that he only grabbed his flashlight as he ran from the house and didn’t even take anything to defend himself with.

But as soon as he opened the hen house door he found out what was going on. Some kind of wild animal was over in the far end of the building, and was heard gnawing on something, which he was sure was one of his hens.

His flashlight was giving him a little trouble to get it to shine, but as soon as he could discover the animal, he knew what kind it was—yes, a big old coon, but listed in the dictionary as (raccoon).

So Mr. Johnson said he began to look around on the outside of the hen house door to get a club to fight the coon with. But here came the coon right out of the hen house door so close to him that he could of kicked it, as he had not found a stick to strike it with. But it left the rest of the hens behind that it had not eaten, and ran out in the darkness going like a streak of lighting. He said that his hens were so scared that it took them a long time to stop their hollering.

Coons are getting very plentiful in this area since the government stocked this area with imported coons. One hunter here said that a good trained coon dog sold for a higher price than a good milk cow.

The farmers have already put their cattle grazing far out on the mountain pasture fields. But one farmer’s cow who had to stay in the home pasture the other day really scared the other heard of cattle who was also left in the home pasture. But the old cow who was scaring all the cattle seemed to be scared very bad herself, too. Some way, while the old cow was prowling in the barn shed, she pushed her head through the step pieces of a 14-foot ladder and got it hung around her neck. She started running through the fields bawling as loud as she could bawl, and trying with all her might to get the ladder off her neck.

The other cattle in the field didn’t know what it was all about, and they began to run and try to stay out of the way of the cow who had the ladder hung around her neck. After the farmer found out about the trouble, the cow was so worried carrying the heavy ladder that it was easy for the farmer to get hold of her and knock one of the steps off the ladder, freeing the cow from carrying the heavy load so long.

Nelse Whitson is sick at this writing in the Raccoon Branch Hollow near Tipton Hill. He will be 89 years old the 24th day of November. He is going back to the doctor Friday in Johnson City for a checkup, but up this writing he said that he had never spent a night in the hospital.

5/14/70

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1973

Mr. and Mrs. Aspie McCoury of Byrd Creek section of Pigeon Roost spent Saturday night, April 21, visiting their son, Donald McCoury and family. Mr. McCoury said the forest down Lenoir way is much greener than it was on his Big Ridge Mountain range. He said his son’s garden crops was very large and already had onions ready to pull.

5/3/73

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We haven’t had any coons in our chicken house, but a family of squirrels have decided to move in. Interesting the difference between things growing in the mountains this time of the year and things growing farther south.

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

Tipper

Appalachian Cooking Class details

Come cook with me!

MOUNTAIN FLAVORS – TRADITIONAL APPALACHIAN COOKING
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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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Quinn
    May 17, 2019 at 2:11 pm

    That poor cow reminded me of a friend’s goat, who got a plastic feed sack caught on it’s horns. It tried to get in with the rest of the herd but they were so terrified of this Unknown Monster that they ran away from the one with the flapping bag on it’s horns, which made the flappy-bag goat run toward the rest even faster. My friend had to come to the rescue!
    She had another goat who started coming out of the barn after morning chow with a bucket on it’s head – it could take it’s head out of the bail quite easily, and would do so without any help, it just seemed to enjoy wearing a hat for a while in the morning.
    You know, my goats seem pretty low-key, by comparison.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 16, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Tipper,
    I called the Radio station and talked to Donna Lynn to ask her if she could play Ray and Pap’s song,
    ” Cabin By the Side of the Road.” I Love that song! Then I ask her if she’d play “River of Jordan”, by
    Chitter and Chatter. …Ken

  • Reply
    Dee
    May 16, 2019 at 10:29 am

    I agree with TMC that was a good read and I could remember back or just look around where I live now. Mary our oldest little neighbor girl raised chickens for the last four years as part of her 4 H she is off to college. I remember the varmints of fox, racoon and hawks that tried to get her chickens and sometimes made away with one. The chickens are gone now and her youngest sister has a goat as her 4 H project. The goat resides in the chickens fenced in area. Sometimes in Spring bears come down from the mountain and I sure hope they don’t visit the goat.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 16, 2019 at 9:46 am

    Tipper,
    When you live on a farm, you learn the sights and sound of Animal Life. We had about 75 chickens and one night we heard the dogs taking on fiercely. A huge blacksnake had swallowed a hen Whole. Daddy came out with a Flashlite, got himself a Mattock, and under the floor he went. In a few minutes he came back out with a Dead Snake that was longer than a Hoe Handle. He cut the snakes’s belly open, but he was too late, the snake had smothered the hen and swallowed it.

    The four feists could hear chickens in the roost behind our house and if they heard them squawking, they’d immediately go and tree that thing. Me, or Harold, or John would go after that ole Posseum. A dog can see in the dark, and they were a looking at that booger. When one of us shot the .22, it was over. The feists never let the rascle hit the ground. They protected all the hens that had little ones, and wouldn’t suck an egg if you gave one. …Ken

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 16, 2019 at 8:46 am

    I have had a large Coon hanging around for a while but my main problem is the fact that so many people have quit hunting rabbits, last year I planted beans three times only to have the rabbits nip the plants off shortly after they broke through the ground. I have an abundance of rabbits again this year, every day I see from one to three feeding in my yard and they have basically lost their fear of humans, they will run off a few yards then go back to grazing. Now I’.m just waiting for the rabbits groundhog helpers to show up again to help destroy my small garden.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 16, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Yep, them chickens furnish an easy meal for a variety of critters. There are more varmints now than there was then even, coyotes, fire ants, armadillos and probably others we don’t know about.

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    May 16, 2019 at 7:50 am

    This post reminds me of how spoiled we have become. Most of us simply pick up a chicken at the grocer unless the are as fortunate as you, Tipper. I hope you are still enjoying your eggs and raising your chickens still. I well remember the old flashlights that one sometimes had to shake to get a light. With my solar flashlight I can depend on light as long as sun or electricity remains available. We have come so far, but left so much that is important behind.
    Everybody once had a watchdog, and they were worth their weight in gold. If they didn’t chase the chickens, suck the eggs, and if they barked at prowlers they were the most loved animal on the farm. We all remember them with their ordinary names such as Rex, Wolf, Fido, or Spot. We had a Brownie that was priceless. Now they are simply relegated to being our challenge question on social media. Not certain I like the change, but sure is great to go on You Tube and fix minor problems with my washer. Meanwhile, I just must check each morning with The Blind Pig, as that is the only way I can reach back from my present and see my wonderful past. The calamities are now funny, and the folks back there are unmatchable. No, I do not have rose colored glasses, as folks back in those days were truly awesome.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    May 16, 2019 at 7:32 am

    I always enjoy Harvey Miller’s personal touch. We need more of that kind of reporting.
    Tipper so many of your postings send me off on another tangent. I was talking to a neighbor the other day and he was telling me about the chickens he had lost recently. Although we live just a short ways out of town we have plenty of wildlife. The area I live in has scattered patches of woods with some patches being small all the way up to several acres. Less than one half mile from my house there is a 25 acre lot that a deputy sheriff bought to deer hunt on. Well anyway my neighbor traps this area. He not only is protecting his chickens but coon hunts too and takes the coons out in the country to release. This young man is no blowhard and he has caught 40 coons this yr. right here in this area.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 16, 2019 at 6:34 am

    That seems like a different lifetime than the one we are living now. We all have thing that our life is focused on theirs seems centered around producing enough food to feed their family while ours seems focused on our phones and social media.
    It makes me wonder what life will look like fifty years from now!

  • Reply
    Tmc
    May 16, 2019 at 5:41 am

    A good read kinda gives you the sense of being one of their neighbors down the road.

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