NC Cooperative Extension And The Pressley Girls

NC Cooperative Extension in Cherokee County

Over the weekend, The Pressley Girls performed for the Cherokee County Office of the NC Cooperative Extension at Mountain Folk Center Day.

The Cherokee County Extension Office is trying to revitalize the Mountain Folk Center. The facility is located west of Murphy and hasn’t been used much in recent years.

When I was about middle school age one of my closest friends lived at the Mountain Folk Center. Her step-daddy was the caretaker. My friend Tracy, her brother Doug, and I would sometimes sneak into the big arena and run around like we had horses or gather inside one of the buildings where they sold stock and pretend we were running the place.

Looking for crickets


The girls were the first act of the day. We got there a little early to make sure everything was set up and ready to go. As usual, Chatter and Chitter had no problem finding something to do until show time. Instead of tuning up or going over songs they discovered the grass was teaming with crickets-and tried their best to catch them.

The pressley girls at the mountain folk center


The girls did a mighty fine job if I do say so myself. I believe part of their success was due to the excellent sound man. (THANKS Mitchell!)

Chatter and Chitter were blown away by a couple who came all the way from Gainesville GA to see them. The nice folks saw them play at Don Carter Park and liked what they heard enough to come see them again. How cool is that? Very.

Chitter and Chatter


If you made it out to see the girls at Mountain Folk Center Day or if you saw them that night at the Martins Creek Community Center-thank you. We truly appreciate your support!



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  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    YES : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 10, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    b.- I think shorts were in between the bran and the middlin. It was wheat bran with part of the kernel attached. It was part fiber and part starch. I remember the neighbors buying hundred pound sacks of shorts for hog feed. We had to pull pig weeds.
    Scratch feed was a mixture of cracked corn and whole grains like wheat, oats and rye. We threw it out on the ground so the chickens would scratch around and think they just found it there. We had to put out oyster shells for the chickens to eat so their gizzard would have something to work with when they ate it. Most people will have no idea what I am talking about. I hope you do. Gizzards are as good as livers and way better than hearts if they are fixed right. Don’t you think so? Do you remember splitting open a gizzard (kinda like opening an avocado) and turning it wrong side outards to get rid of that gravelly stuff? That stuff from inside the gizzard is rocks they have picked up if they are free range or oyster shells if they are penned up. There is a real tough skin inside the gizzard that has to be ripped out before you cook it otherwise you could be chewing for days. Did your mamma ever put the livers in her chicken and dumplings. Brown dumplins is what I call them. That is the best thing you ever ate. I would fight you for them. Lordy Mercy what memories you recall!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 10, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Are those sweaters and neck warmers Granny’s creations?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 10, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I just had a “light bulb” moment! Don’t have many of those these days. Although it was 64 years later (1927) from your last Civil War Letter of 1863, I found the term “Brand” in a list of purchases that my grandfather made!
    At that time he was raising chickens…
    He had purchased on May 20th
    White shorts 50 bushels @ 1.30 a bushel
    1 1/2 bushels cracked corn..1.80
    3 bushels [email protected] = 3.90
    90 lbs. Brand….1.35
    Every time he purchases Brand it is capitalized like W. C. Penland caps it in his letter….
    He also lists mash, scratch feed and growing mash as purchased…I understand the cracked corn and previous mash as chicken feed but I wonder about the Brand that is listed in with the list of many purchases of wheat and white shorts (corn) I think! I wonder if he, when milling the corn for folks, mixed in the Brand with it? Does anyone have an idee?
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…He owned a gasoline powered mill and ground corn, etc. for folks that brought it to him. I now wonder if the Brand was added to the mix…???

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 10, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    I’ve found that about all the fish in Swain Co. like the black crickets as well as the brown variety. I’ve also heard that the trout in the park like both varieties but I can’t verify this since it is illegal so I do not do it and I can only go on what two of my old friends told me.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Tipper–I think I know the general whereabouts of the tunnel Don pictures being absolutely laden with crickets, and if someone would figure out haw to catch them readily it looks like a tailor-made fish bait factory to me. The only problem, if I have the right location in mind, is that the National Park Service probably wouldn’t take kindly to a commercial cricket operation in their boundaries. In truth, they don’t seem to take kindly to much of anything involving off-trail adventure these days, but I best not get started on that.
    As for Miss Cindy’s thoughts on the twins staying still long enough to fish, she’s got an excellent point. However, trout fishing, at least the way I do it (fly rodding) actually involves plenty of movement, wading, and action. Moreover, you can talk, not that Chitter and Chatter are in any way suggestive of a penchant for verbosity!
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    November 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    NIta-no duh questions around here : ) YES they are twins. Chatter used to tell folks who asked “Yes and were sisters too!” LOL : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    November 10, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    What a beautiful day for the celebration of the NC Extension Mountain Folk Center Day. T’was quite a difference in the weather from the previous week!
    Here are some posts from my grandfathers ledger (farming portion) in 1911 and before…
    Jan. 5th
    Sold…1# butter… .20
    Sold…1 dozen eggs. .25
    Sold…1 rabbit….. .05
    Jan. 11
    Sold….eggs…….. .33
    Sold….2 chickens.. .50
    Jan. 19
    Sold…2 1/2 dozen eggs… .62
    Jan. 30
    Sold…1 chicken… .25
    Buggy charge for
    hauling Mrs. L—… .25
    He had a horse and buggy and if in a situation someone needed dry transportation, he hauled someone to town or further at a cheap charge of .25 cents..
    ON his list of goods purchased in another portion of the ledger, I notice that he bought 1 can of harness oil…25 cents and one round of horse shoes .24 cents and a used buggy sidl (sic) for .75 cents…
    I think .25 cents for a ride ore the mountains was pretty cheap. Better’n gettin’ wet having to travel “shanks mare”…LOL
    There is more about the purchase/selling of horses, cows and planting/purchase and varieties of apple trees, peach, cherry and pear trees, it goes on and on.
    Farming and living in the mountains has changed thru the many struggles of the settlers and farmers of the mountains..
    I was so hoping that we could make it to the celebration and hear and see the girls preform. They are so sweet and just beautiful…Who needs to warm up when you can warm up running in a sunshiny field chasing crickets!!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Those crickets Don speaks of (I am very sure) are those ugly pale grey cave crickets, not the beautiful shiny black “good luck crickets” the girls were chasing.
    I never kill a cricket in the house or elsewhere, it is bad luck!
    PS..Glad to hear Miss Cindy is closer in Murphy. I was pondering about her, since I had not seen many comments of late.
    PS..3 Goodness Ken, I am hearing about that cold vortex coming in too…Supposed to last a couple of weeks, I hear…brrrrrrr! Does that mean good rabbit hunting on Thanksgiving?

  • Reply
    November 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Ok, duh, I’m a new fan so I have to ask this question, are the girls twins?

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 10, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Congratulations to our singing/playing twins on yet another great performance! I wish I had been close enough to attend and hear them. They are always so willing to help with projects–like getting the NC Folk Center going again! I know those present who heard them had a wonderful treat! Keep up the good work, girls–and thank you!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy, Murphy NC
    November 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

    The girls really did a fine job Saturday. Now that I am living in Murphy I’ll get to hear them more often. They make a grandmother’s heart proud!
    Jim, I don’t think there is any chance in the world that Chitter and Chatter will sit still long enough to fish. The energy of youth is something to behold!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 10, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Congradulations to Patty on winning the book.
    Sorry I missed Chitter and Chatter’s event at the Mountain
    Folk Center. I was busy this past
    weekend getting ready for this
    Winter Vortex a coming…Ken

  • Reply
    November 10, 2014 at 9:10 am

    If I lived closer I would come see the girls play at every show. My cousin owned vacation property close by your hometown until health problems forced her to sell it. I planned to spend some time with her and come see your family at some of the shows. To have folks travel to see the girls is pretty cool. That says a lot!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    November 10, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I hate that Susan and I didn’t make it over, but let the girls know that if they really want to get into the crickets, I know of a place where you can grab them by the handful. It’s in an old, short (40 ft or so), mine tunnel which was pointed out to me by a young local fellow. I forgot to take a flashlight with me, so the photo isn’t great, but you’ll hopefully be able to make them out in this photo – the entire ceiling of the tunnel was lined with them at the very back.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 10, 2014 at 8:33 am

    The girls are so talented at so many things, you must be so proud.

  • Reply
    November 10, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Congratulations to the winner! Also, it is so nice to hear that Chitter and Chatter love what they are doing. God bless their career! One day I will get to meet the girls, your family, and listen to their wonderful voices.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 10, 2014 at 7:44 am

    Tipper-I trust that all those crickets were put or will be put to good use as fish bait. I reckon the trout over Nantahala way would think them a mighty fine treat, and Ken knows what to do with any fish that might be caught.
    He dresses them up in corn meal dinner jackets and practices the mountain version of catch-and-release fishing–he releases them to grease.
    On a different note, I like what the Cooperative Extension folks are doing. I think Don has been in touch with the ones in Swain County about an interesting project celebrating what was once the county’s biggest employer, Carolina Woodturning Company.
    Jim Casada
    P. S. Just be sure you have a fishing license!

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    November 10, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Oh Tipper: Your post this morning makes me even sadder that we couldn’t make Chitter and Chatter’s performance either time on Saturday. We wish them the very best in their upcoming holiday season. Keep us posted on their events!
    Eva Nell

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