Momma and the Pheasant

canned food

“Mama never dried fruits or vegetables, but she shore canned ’em. We’d have more canned jars, (some 1/2 gallon) than you could shake a stick at, cause we had a pretty big bunch of boys.

One time just after school, a pheasant flew threw the kitchen window, took out 4 window panes, cleared the table and hit the wall on the other side.  Mama had her mama visiting and it ’bout scared her to death. But mama wrung that succer’s neck, and put him in the sink. She had it cleaned before we got there and had him on cooking, met us on the porch and told us she had a
treat for supper. She had got a pheasant without going hunting.”

~Ken Roper



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  • Reply
    Jennifer Daniels
    May 11, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Thank you for sharing that story! Ken’s Mother, Mae Roper (my ‘Mae Maw’) was an amazing woman! I love to hear all of the stories my Daddy tells, but especially the ones about her. I don’t know how I missed this particular one…but I needed that smile today. Thanks again Daddy!
    I give honorto all of the strong, beautiful, faithful women who have touched, inspired & greatly impacted the lives around them. Happy Mother’s Day to all.

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Haha whew ! That could’ve scared the hide off me too….. but I could settle back down a quick as she did enough to stick it back on 🙂 I’m thinking that pheasant would have been a pleasant and very tasty meal, I’ve never eaten one, …wouldn’t take me long to dig in though 🙂 🙂

    • Reply
      May 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      I cannot type when I’m going to fast ;), so to correct my goofy typo’s above …”but if I could have settled back down as quick ‘as she did ,enough to stitch it back on :)… 🙂

  • Reply
    May 11, 2018 at 11:39 am

    I was just a little thing when that happened, probably the 2nd or 3rd grade, and if I had to guess, I’d say AW Griffgrowin had it about right. But in the mountains, we called them a Pheasant. A friend of my dad’s called them Pheas-nuts. His name was Vincent Jones and he let me Rabbit Hunt on his property in Nantahala. It was years later that I was able to re-pay him cause he was able to get a deer crossing the road in front of him. He was old then, but he was an excellent shot,
    he whistled at the deer until he could load his gun and by then the deer had started running down the mountain. When he shot, he hit it right between the horns and in the head. Vincent show us where he thought it dropped and me and my daddy and brothers carried that thing back up and loaded it in his truck. …Ken

    • Reply
      Papaw Ammons
      May 11, 2018 at 8:25 pm

      It may have been a grouse. I didn’t see it. But you would have been in the 2nd or 3rd grade in about 1956 or 57 when Captain Cashatt was doing his work to establish a ringneck pheasant population in our part of Western North Carolina. I know to a certainty that what I saw was a ringneck pheasant. I saw several of them in flight but one walked right out in the road in front of me. I wasn’t sure what I had seen so I went to the library and looked until I found it. I had seen quail and grouse all my life and this bird wasn’t either of them. It looked like a grouse in coat and tails. Arrayed for coronation. They looked like a peacock in flight and were almost as brightly colored.
      But I acquiesce! Maybe Captain Cashatt only released his birds as his house. Maybe they didn’t fly far away from the nest. Maybe he failed in his mission as I have in mine. What does it matter?

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    May 11, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Tipper–I loved Ken’s story. Other readers raise the matter of the term pheasant. That’s what almost all old-timers in the Smokies called ruffed grouse when I was a boy. You would occasionally hear the term “partridge” or “pottiges” used, but more often that was applied to bobwhite quail. If you had mentioned a grouse to my grandfather he would have looked askance at you, but he could talk readily about “pheasants.”

    The event Ken describes happens with surprising frequency. I can recall at least three occasions in my youth when a grouse flew through someone’s window much like he describes.

    They are indeed delicious eating and Ken’s mother did what any sensible mountain woman would have done. She made fine use of what the good earth had provided.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 11, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Wonderful story!
    Sounds like something my granny would do!
    We’ve been fortunate with turkey–my son has broungt in two this season.

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    May 11, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Ah, Ringneck Pheasants, absolutely gorgeous colored bird. What a delightful gift to have one fly right into your kitchen. That story would have tickled my daddy. My dear daddy probably walked hundreds of miles with his well-trained bird dogs hunting for those birds. He had trained his dogs well and when they flushed a bird up, he never missed the shot. He cleaned them and my mother, being the best cook I have ever known, would fry them up and make milk gravy and biscuits. To us it was a King’s meal. You can have steak or lobster – but to me nothing beats fried pheasant, grouse or squirrel with milk gravy and biscuits.

  • Reply
    Papaw Ammons
    May 11, 2018 at 8:46 am

    There are those who will say that the bird that flew into Ken’s kitchen couldn’t have been a pheasant because they are not native to this country but I know different. I saw them myself. Ringneck Pheasants! They may have not been native but they were there and might still be. I know of one retired military man, Ivey Wesley Cashatt, who bred and raised the bird and there were probably others. He lived near east end of the T A Sandlin Bridge over Fontana Lake.
    I know what I saw were ringneck pheasants and not grouse or some other game bird. There is no mistaking the ringneck rooster with its long tailfeathers, greenish head, red face and white beak. And of course the white ring around it’s neck. I lived only about 4 miles from Mr. Cashatt and Ken lives about 14 but those birds can fly. And they are fast, too. As fast as 60 mph according to Google. That explains why Ken’s mother’s catch couldn’t get its brakes on before it crashed through the window.

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    May 11, 2018 at 8:03 am

    What a story! And pheasant is so delicious!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 11, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Well, it is smart to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. It is being resourceful. Besides, there was a kitchen window that had to be fixed so she needed to make lemonade in a lemon situation.

  • Reply
    aw griffgrowin
    May 11, 2018 at 7:56 am

    I had a friend that had a similar thing happen while at a drug store in a small town. The bird flew into the large glass window. Several people didn’t know what it was but my friend did and took it home and ate it.
    Ken, I used to hear people call ruffed grouse, pheasant. Was that a ruffed grouse?

  • Reply
    lynda bishop
    May 11, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Great Story Thanks

  • Reply
    Kimberly Rodriguez
    May 11, 2018 at 7:54 am

    LOL! Love it! Reminds me of an incident from my youth. One Summer morning, Grandma Josephine was looking out the window over the kitchen sink & what should she spy but a huge turtle. She turned, looked at me & asked “Would you like some Turtle Soup for lunch?” 🙂 And sure enough, butcher knife in hand, we quartered & cleaned that turtle. In no time, she put that meat on to boil & we had some mighty fine Turtle Soup for lunch. <3

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 11, 2018 at 7:03 am

    That’s a wonderful story, thanks Ken. We have always been a resourceful people, knowing how to make the best use of what we have!

  • Reply
    Sheryl A. Paule
    May 11, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Wow, imagine, the first delivery service

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