Appalachia Folklore Music

Southern Moon

Full Moon

The lovely Southern Moon has been shining down on me this week. The moon is synonymous with superstition and folklore. It’s common to hear folks talk about a full moon being responsible for craziness that seems to coincide with the Moon’s cycle.

Appalachia is full of advice related to the Moon’s cycle. I’ve heard a few of the following-the others I found in The Foxfire Book:

~ Number of days the old Moon is at the first snow-tells how many snows there’ll be that winter.

~ It will rain within 3 days if the horns (ends of a crescent Moon) of the Moon point down.

~ If it begins raining on the first day of the full Moon it will rain till the Moon quarters.


~ Plant potatoes when the Moon is waning or decreasing.

~ Harvest most crops when the Moon is growing old.


~ Cut timber in the old of the Moon-it will dry better.

~ Set fence posts in the old of the Moon to prevent loosening.

~ Don’t lay shingles or nail boards during the growing Moon or they will warp.


~ Cut hay in the old of the Moon and it’ll dry a third quicker than if you cut in during the new Moon.

For this Pickin’ & Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot Paul and Pap are singing Southern Moon a Delmore Brothers song. I realize I’m prejudice-but man their harmony is something else on this one-I guess you could say its true harmonic perfection.

Hope you enjoyed the 2 part harmony singing and the folklore. I’ll leave you with my favorite story about the moon: When my older brother, Steve, was little he cried for the moon every time he saw it saying “Daddy get me that rock, I want that rock up there. Daddy get it for me.”

Do you have some Moon folklore or maybe a story about the moon? I’d love to hear about it-leave me a comment.


This post originally published here on the Blind Pig in July of 2008.


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  • Reply
    August 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I agree….they’re harmony was right on the money.
    I’ve heard that people who work in labor and delivery say there are more babies born during a full moon than any other moon phase.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    When my oldest son was a little guy and see a cresent moon, he would say God was cutting his finger nails.
    I have always heard it take less dirt to fill a hole during the full moon. Can’t say that I have tested this theory but maybe I will someday!
    Great topic!

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    August 18, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Always been a moon watcher.
    I’ve been so tickled lately since I heard that some silly woman on “Who Wants to be a Millionnaire.” I thought I’d share the chuckle with you, Tipper, and the rest of the BP&A family. The question was: ‘Which of the following is the largest?’
    A) A Peanut
    B) An Elephant
    C) The Moon
    D) A Car
    After using up all her lifelines it was down to Elephant and Moon. No kidding, this woman chose Elephant. We’ve all been chuckling about Armstrong/Aldrin trying to land on an elephant.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 6:12 am

    I am loving this post!
    Smiles, Cyndi

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    That moon has really been gorgeous the last few nights!! I’d never heard that about when to cut wood–ours is already done and I’ve no idea what the moon was doing when it was cut, LOL!

  • Reply
    Carol Isler
    August 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Real nice harmony. I sure do miss the in-laws when hear stuff like that.
    My favorite moon story is about my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, when she was about 18 months old. We had been out late to one of the Isler picking sessions. When we got home, there was a last quarter moon caught in the crotch of a pecan branch. Elizabeth wasn’t saying more that one word at a time up until that night. She pointed at the moon and hollered, “Broke cookie!”

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I totally agree with the full moon and the tides and how it can affect us humans. The full moon can pull our tides to bring out or exagerate silly/giddy, aggrevated (usually something already gone wrong), crazy, sad…. etc, etc.
    I’ll have acted a certain way or feel really different and one night be looking out the window and say, “no wonder I’be been so _____, it’s a full moon”
    I heard a loooong time ago, “Do not look directly at the full moon”…. it will make you crazy. I laughed…. but then again at times I wont look at it cause I don’t want to be any crazier. Hahahahahahaha!

  • Reply
    grannis little corner
    August 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve always heard, that whenever a woman is expecting a babys birth, it’ll come when there’s a full moon. My daddy always planted by the signs of the moon. I really enjoy listening to the jam sessions in the kitchen.

  • Reply
    Toni Hodges
    August 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you Tipper for sharing the good harmony your kinfolks sure can sing and play!
    As far as the full moon affecting people I can say from experience as a registered nurse both the geriatric and obstetric patients were always busy, if you follow me. Also my grandmother always planted by the moon and signs and she always had a beautifiul garden and an abundance. Appreciate your blog and enjoynthe tidbits of country wisdom. Thanks again, Toni.

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    August 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Like you Tipper, I have a wonderful “pap”. When I was a little girl my daddy loaded us all up in the car and took us down to Florida for the Apollo 11 moon launch. Our motel reservations got messed up and we ended up camping out in the car in a little roadside park with at least a hundred other festive moon launchers. My daddy and I slept (or attempted to) on the hood of the car with my mom and sister in the seats. My brother was on a beach mat on the ground. I will never forget looking up at the moon knowing the next morning we would witness a rocket filled with astronauts shoot toward that distant place. I have always been grateful to my daddy for that experience and when the moon shines down often think of that amazing human feat.

  • Reply
    Debby Brown
    August 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    When I was picking my first email address, I picked the name Moonfolly, because it sounded cool and because there were thousands of moonpies already taken! I looked up moonfolly, and it used to mean someone who was sorta crazy. The kind of crazy that when they saw the moon behind tree limbs, they thought that the moon was actually caught in the branches and you could get up there and get the moon! Well, I have always had an attraction to the moon, so yes, I had the moonfolly! I love the moon! And I love the things you shared with us today about the moon!

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    August 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    What an intersting posting, Tipper. I’ve heard many sayings about the moon growing up here in the mountains. This brought back many memories.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Paul and Pap have excellent timing
    and as good a harmony as I’ve ever
    If you go to a dirt track race and
    its a full moon, you can be sure
    there’ll be a lot of wrecks and
    fights. The announcer will direct
    your attention to that fact. One
    time at a race the flagman turned
    the pack loose and there was an
    awful wreck just as they made the
    first corner. People were fighting
    on the track and I heard another
    comotion so I looked to my right
    and folks were a fighting in the
    stands too. Something about a full

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    August 17, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Hey! This one’s very pretty –they all are (good harmonizing) When I was expecting my twins, and it was almost time they told me when the moon changes which happened to be full they will come. Well sure enough they did. Also emergency rooms and nursing homes are more active during full moon.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth K
    August 17, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Those harmonies are beautiful!
    0 Lady Moon, your horns point toward the east;
    Shine, be increased:
    0 Lady Moon, your horns point toward the west;
    Wane, be at rest.
    ~ Christina Rossetti

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

    paul and pap sound great, enjoyed it! i bet some of that moon folklore is true, those old timers knew what they were doing back then!
    when i was little and we’d be coming home from my grandparents house at night, i can remember sitting in the back seat watching the moon follow me home. i always thought it just followed me!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

    My mom used the moon for planting, harvesting and canning. I don’t recall her ever saying the moon had anything to do with the human body or mind. My girls work social service jobs and will swear the moon has everything to do with evil showing it’s face.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 8:15 am

    never knew so much depended on the moon, now I do. only heard a couple of these before. i do know that when the moon is full the crazies come out. i worked in ER admiting the night shift for a year and on the full moon nights we went crazy. loved the 2 part harmony.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 17, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Tell Pap belated “Happy Birthday” on his 74th on July 16, 2011…
    and thank him for all he contributes to The Blind Pig and your readers…and listeners!
    Thnks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Wanda in NoAla
    August 17, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Beautiful harmony in the song. If the moon can control the tides of the oceans, which covers about 70% of the earth, doesn’t it make sense that it can influence humans, which are about 70% water? Someone at the police department told me that their ‘business’ really goes up during full moons. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Didn’t you say last week your Dad ‘hung the moon?’

  • Reply
    August 17, 2011 at 7:13 am

    So funny about your bro. thinking it was a rock. Kids! Such good harmony they have when singing together. Always enjoy listening to their singing.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 17, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Just loved it, loved it…Shore seems like a “blue moon” since we saw and heard a video of Pap and Paul singing in harmony…just great!!
    Thanks Tipper

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