When It’s Time For The Whippoorwills To Sing

Spring In Appalachia

Today is the first day of Spring. Most of us don’t look to the calendar for notification that spring has arrived-most of us look at the world around us. We look for the first crocus bloom, bloodroot bloom, or maybe the first Lenten Rose. For sure most of us look for the Daffodil blooms that line our roads and yards.

bridal wreath bush

Granny taught me to look for the blooms of the Bridal Wreath Bush-I’m not sure that’s it’s real name-but that’s what Granny calls it.

A few years ago I asked folks what harbingers of spring they remembered looking for from their childhood.

  • Mrs. McCoy said her Mother always aired out all the bedding, quilts, and pillows in Spring.
  • Mrs. Tanner said when the Bloodroot blooms.
  • The Deer Hunter said “why of course the first gobble of wild turkey season”.
  • Paula said when she sees the first Robin in her yard she knows it’s spring.
  • Tony said when it’s time to go ramp digging.
  • Several people said they listen for the first whippoorwill to tell them spring has sprung.

For this Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot Paul and the boys tackle an old Delmore Brother’s song-When It’s Time For The Whippoorwills To Sing.

Hope you enjoyed the old song. For the second year in a row, I’m welcoming Spring by dancing the Gisburn Processional. More to come on this year’s Mountain Folk Festival in the coming days.

So what signals Spring’s arrival for you?



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  • Reply
    Joanne Clagg
    July 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Has anyone made a cd of their music? I love it.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Daffodils, robins, trees budding….
    Funny….I just wrote a post about this very same thing and I hadn’t even read yours yet.
    Great minds think alike!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    When I hear the peepers and the forsythia blooms.

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    March 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    You’ve talked about it already: The time when people set their fields on fire. Few things tell me it’s Spring better. The white smoke rising up into the sky off over the hill or down there in the holler; the sweet, sharp smell wafting though the air, then, I crest the hill and see the burner watching the fire line, raking away to control the burn or just standing there almost in a trance, transfixed by the flame. I think it’s more a tonic for his soul and his spirit than it is a farming process. Seems like there’s an old gospel song about that, getting your fields set on fire.

  • Reply
    March 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    tipper, I could not get the comment link to work on Berea post, so am writing on this one. Chitter and Chatter are beautiful. I wish we could still stay at Tavern for 1 dollar. Wow! old time prices for sure. I to am glad we have indoor water and wouldn’t you like to see our ancestors faces if they could see us drink water out of plastic bottles?

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    March 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Tipper: I long for the Dogwoods to bloom for it is time to catch a batch of Crappie. Maybe another month for that to happen. Let the Whippoorwill sing in Spring and a time on the lake.

  • Reply
    trisha too
    March 22, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    the daffy down dillies, iris, and bare naked ladies all start to come up in my yard–and the robins and red winged blackbirds show up again, too!
    (It snowed 9 inches here this weekend, covering all of the aforementioned flowers. *sigh*)

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    March 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Lovely post, Tipper!
    I want to sing and dance, for me, is a sign it’s spring! 😉
    Happy Spring to you and your loved ones, Tipper! :))

  • Reply
    March 22, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I have always looked for the Oak trees to start budding. This past Wed, we all went to a couple state parks. It was the perfect spring day. I looked up to see if the grand daddy of all oak trees was budding out. Nope. On Sat., it started to snow. By the time it stopped, it was Sunday evening and we ended up with 7 or 8 inches of the white stuff. It is already mostly gone today.
    March for us is the wacky weather month, and I hope this is the last of winter for us.

  • Reply
    March 22, 2010 at 10:10 am

    It’s spring when I hear “do we have to wear a jacket?” when the girls want to ride their bikes.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

    I love the way Pap and Paul blend their voices together. Good job on the song!
    I know spring is coming when I see the little flowers popping up but mostly I know from the critters. The birds talk more and the squirrels are more active and my tom cat starts getting his ears chewed up. Spring is his busy

  • Reply
    Chef E
    March 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    What I call a false spring has whisked through, but I suspect we might have one last freeze before it is here to stay…
    I love the letter series you are doing…what a great opportunity to get into their hearts and heads…

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    March 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    I saw my first robin last week and I know spring is coming soon. I also look for the bulbs pushing up through the ground in my beds around the yard. Ah, I love spring and wish it would last all summer.:)

  • Reply
    March 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Hi Tip, Our Crocuses are the first blooms in our yard—to signify that it’s officially spring. The Daffodils have not bloomed yet –and because of the long, hard winter–our spring will be a little late this year. We have Robins in winter–so that can’t be a sign for us…
    Great post.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    March 20, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    Hey Tipper,
    I believe that is the “Sarvis” tree or shrub in white glory blooms early Spring….I transplanted one from up on the hill behind our house….It lived and bloomed until a large Oak fell and squashed it….It is a true sign of Spring…my Spirea or bridal wreath blooms in late Spring…Our Forsythias are ready to pop as are the Flowering Quince….crocus and hyicenths (sic) are in bloom…a few daffodills and budding narcissus..
    Our Whip-poor-wills have disappeared but we have a Chuck-wills-widow….he shows up late Spring…
    I hate to rush Spring but I can almost hear the Cat-birds low “mew” as I swoon in the scent of the honeysuckle on a late Spring evening!…Nothing like it in the world…My, my what city folks miss!…LOL…I’ll never move back to the city!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I always know it’s spring for sure when I hear the tree frogs peeping! Thanks for sharing; I loved the song and so did my grandbaby Kate. Your girls are so lucky to be growing up in the presence of such fine music!

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    March 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Happy Spring! For me it’s when I start seeing the eastern bluebirds. Hope your pap is still doing well.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    March 20, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I always look for the redbud trees, and then the dogwood and pears. Of course the azaelea too which are so plentiful down here. And I love how the dirt smells when you’re digging the garden. I thank God for spring! I just love it!

  • Reply
    March 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I know spring is coming, when I hear the birds singing “spring song”. When spring is approaching, the bird songs change, my family has always called it “spring song”.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

    the lenten rose is beautiful, I have never seen one of these. Tiny little buds on all of the bushes/trees in our back yard are singing spring to us right now. also the cardinals are building a nest.

  • Reply
    March 20, 2010 at 8:33 am

    When I can open a window & let the outside air in…it’s the smell of spring that I love.
    Stacey SWPA

  • Reply
    March 20, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Aww ………… Spring , love everything about , oh except the pollen. Daffodils , Dandelions , birds pulling up the moss to make nest , frogs croaking and I could go on and on.
    My Dad always said it was time to plant corn when you heard the call of a whippoorwill. Have you ever heard that?
    ~ Spring Blessings ~

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    March 20, 2010 at 7:28 am

    It’s those crocuses! Our first ones opened yesterday and there’s a haze of green on the weeping willow!

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