Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Folklore

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Spit In Your Hand

Fall of the year’s frosty mornings bring out pickup trucks with beds piled high with firewood and cardboard signs telling the cost.

If you’re doing the cutting-splitting-loading yourself don’t forget to spit in your hands for good luck before you start.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

    So that’s why the old granny women had snuff dribbling down their chins? Its not ladylike to spit?
    Question for the fellers. Should you spit on your hands if you have a chaw in your jaw?

  • Reply
    Peggy Lambert
    November 12, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    The guys here did the spiting in your hands was to get a better grip on the axe handle. Luck sounds better. Hope you have my name in the pot for the book. Thanks
    Peggy L.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I’d love to be entered in the book giveaway. Don’t know if this is the way to do it or not. Have a batch of oatmeal honey soap in the oven. Smells good enough to eat. Hoping it sells well. Autumn is my favorite time of the year…at least while it’s autumn…LOL I knew people spit in their hands before doing hard or dangerous stuff…never ever thought to ask why…for good luck makes sense now.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    November 12, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    lol.. good one tipper. I’ve seen several out selling wood.. A few loads have went past my house.. I bet they spit in their

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    November 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I don’t remember if I have commented yet but I would sure love a copy of that book so hopefully, I didn’t “double-dip” 🙂

  • Reply
    Tim Mc
    November 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Cutting and splitting wood was a yearly ritual when I was growing up and didn’t mind it… When My wife and I built our first house we had a hearth/wood heater built in,, and loved it..We’ve since moved and didn’t install a wood heater in this house but I did a couple years ago build an outdoor wood heater out of a 55 gallon drum and plumbed it into the house, worked good as matter a fact worked to good my wife said the house stayed to hot, and I pulled it and sold it last year. You can not beat wood heat.. It was hard to get used to gas logs and central heat…

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    November 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    I have never heard of spitting in your hand would bring good luck. I have heard that two friends spitting in their hands and then shaking hands would promise a never ending friendship.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Tipper, I don’t do spit. My mama taught me it wasn’t proper for a girl to spit.
    Beautiful picture. The leaves on the ground look like a kaleidoscope!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    November 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I’ll have B. Ruth know that if she is referring to yours truly as a leaf slider, I am an equal opportunity slider and am capable of sliding on leaves of all sorts, not just maples 😉
    Yesterday, I purposely slid a little ways down the side of a steep hillside on Goldmine Branch, with lubrication provided by red maple, red oak, poplar, dogwood and sourwood. If I’d had me a cardboard box instead of britches bottoms, the ride would have been improved considerably.
    As my derriere encountered the occasional root and rock, it did occur to me that leaf sliding back in the days of chestnuts could have been distinctly less appealing.
    By the way, I never did mind burning maple or even poplar in our wood stove, especially as a daytime fuel. While the heat content per unit volume is lower than that of hickory, oak, dogwood, ironwood, etc., the heat content per unit weight isn’t all that much different. If you’re paying for delivered wood by the cord, or you want the stove to last all night, select dense wood. But if you’re doing all your own cutting and splitting, and have plenty of space, the best rule is to just use what you have available – so long as it isn’t an unsplittable wood like black gum.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    When I was a younger I’d spit in my hands to keep the axe from slipping or turning when I swung it. I didn’t know about spitting in the hand for luck but it must be true for it’s lucky that I’ve never cut myself with an axe nor with a chainsaw..

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Speaking of getting wood, I’ve got
    a load of logs coming today. I love to play in the woodpile, it’s
    just something I look forward to each Fall. When I was little and
    till I was about 12 years old, I
    thought my name was “Get Wood”.
    My favorite type of wood to burn is Hickory, and just let ‘er draw.

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    November 12, 2012 at 11:17 am

    My Mother-in-law always said “Wish in one hand, and spit in the other, and see which hand fills up.” But that probably ain’t what you have in mind!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I never heard that saying. I do recall my uncle often telling us kids to spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one filled up first. He worked hard all his life and wanted us to learn to do the same.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 9:31 am

    When I played softball on a co-ed team at work, some of the guys spit in their hand right before batting. Yuk! I never thought about what I was putting my hand on, just wanted to use the bat that got the most home runs. I have never used a chain saw, but have been known to load a truck of wood without spitting in my hand.

  • Reply
    Ron Perrry, Sr.
    November 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Please put my name in the hat for the giveaway on the book.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    November 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Jeepers! I haven’t heard that saying for many years. I had forgotten about it. I will remember to do that while I work in my gardens this week. Now I know why baseball pitchers do that. Happy Veteran’s Day to those who have and continue to protect our freedoms. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 12, 2012 at 8:58 am

    I’ve spat in my hand while bustin wood but I did it to improve purchase on the Go-Devil handle. I would love a chance to win & read the book. Happy Vetrans Day to all Vetrans.

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    November 12, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Hmmm, didn’t know this one, but like most, do this to improve my grip on the axe handle. I don’t use gloves when I work outside in order to toughen up my hands.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2012 at 7:46 am

    As a kid, I’d spit in my hand for luck but don’t remember any great wonder happening. About all it got me was a scolding from Mama since my hands were usually dirty from outside playing, then rubbing them on my britches leg. Would love to be able to have a log fire instead of this electric unit. It just don’t warm you like a roaring fire.

  • Reply
    Bill Dotson
    November 12, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I don’t burn wood anymore but sure wish I did, don’t like this gas heat or the gas bill as well as wood heat that is for sure.

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 12, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Here I thought spitting on your hands was to keep the axe handle from slipping. Now I find out its good luck too. Get a grip!
    Like a dummy I have already ordered the book from Amazon. So just leave my name in the hat so my odds will be doubled next time you have a giveaway.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    November 12, 2012 at 5:32 am

    I hope you’re not cutting up wood from that tree! It don’t have the BTUs of Hickory or Oak. I think that’s just a beautiful leaf, so slick and slidey..some on the website call it the slippery Maple…Don’t spit on them it makes it worse!
    Thanks, Tipper
    Beautiful picture and just look at them leaves, purty, purty, purty!

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    November 12, 2012 at 5:11 am

    I’ve seen that on TV, but never in person.

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