Appalachia Riddles

Riddles 8


After reading my riddle posts from Sidney Saylor Farr’s book My “Appalachia – A Memoir” The Deer Hunter gifted me with “Way Down Yonder on Troublesome Creek Appalachian Riddles & Rusties” by James Still. Here’s a riddle from the book:

“Way down yonder at the forks of Troublesome
I found a pile of timber;
I couldn’t stack it, I couldn’t whack it,
For it was awful limber.”

More than a few of you got the answer to the last riddle in case you missed it-it was a baby nursing.


Appalachian Cooking Class details

Come cook with me!

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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  • Reply
    March 9, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    I am reading this 12 hours later than normal when I came back here to copy your birthday cake recipe. Gosh, this is a tough one! I’m going to guess timber rattlesnakes. They are too limber to stack, but I couldn’t resit whacking at least a few those timber rattlers that are so common in the area. After all, that’s why we carry a hoe everywhere we go, even to the outhouse. : )
    Tamela, I hope you are reading this! My brother had a health issue about two years ago that scared him enough to go to the doctor for the first time in ages. He first noticed ‘blue sweat’ on white t-shirts, socks and bedding. Let’s just say it got worse! The doctor must not have known the Blue People story was a hoax, as he explained the blue body fluids were common among those folks. Thank God my brother never turned blue like they did, unless it was during a time I didn’t see him for several weeks. Blue Boy only lasted a short time-maybe a few weeks. Don’t think I didn’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror waiting to see if the genetics thing was coming after me!

    • Reply
      Tamela Baker
      March 30, 2019 at 4:30 pm

      Shirl – Fascinating – did your brother ever get good diagnosis?
      P.S. – I like you idea for the answer to the riddle; Sawdust makes a lot of sense too – don’t think a “limber” sawhorse (suggested elsewhere) would be much good!!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    I also thought of “river cane”/bamboo/sorghum/corn although all of these could be “whacked”. What about wild grape vines? They are difficult (though not impossible) to whack but must be “whacked” before they can be stacked; but they can be made into furniture like timber can. This one’s a puzzler.
    Saw the mention of “Troublesome” and an article I read in Smithsonian magazine many years ago came to mind. Have you ever heard of “The Blue People of Troublesome Creek”? If I remember right, the story was later disproven but it was an interesting read and for a time I used it as an introduction to the genetics unit.

  • Reply
    lc barn
    March 9, 2019 at 10:14 am

    My guess is that the answer to the riddle is logs being floated on the river to the saw mill.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2019 at 9:42 am

    The only thing i can think of is cane or cane poles. God Bless Tipper! Good one..

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    March 9, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I’m going to guess river cane, though it is a stretch to call it ‘timber’.

    I sure could use a patch.

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