Appalachia Thankful November

Thankful November – Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie

Thankful-November 2018

“We at home, always had a team. We had to have a team to work. So far as going out of a Sunday, we generally had a mule to ride. But sometimes, when we’d plow them mules all week, we’d let them rest of a Sunday because they was tired. And we’d take it a-foot, you know.”

Henley Crawford, 1879 Clay County – “Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie”


During the month of November I host a variety of giveaways as a way of saying THANK YOU to Blind Pig and The Acorn readers. If you didn’t know it, you’re the best blog readers in the whole wide world!

Today’s giveaway is used copy of the book “Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie.” To be entered simply leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends Sunday December 2.


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  • Reply
    December 11, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Love this post.

  • Reply
    Jeanette Queen
    November 29, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Aw, Tipper, Loving all the “mule” stories, I too grew up with mules and just love them ! Brings back lots
    of wonderful memories, going ” a’foot” and “of a Sunday”….oh, how I miss those days of childhood.

  • Reply
    November 29, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    I love the name of this book!

  • Reply
    Mary Lou
    November 29, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Tipper. Seems I have a book Snowbird Gravy and Dish Pan Hands. I have to recheck this but the author wrote about foxfire that is something to see in these mountains.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    This book sounds like one I would love to read. Very intriguing title. Will cross my fingers for good luck. Busy putting up our venison. Black powder started today, so maybe there will be more for the freezer. Will cross my fingers for that too.

  • Reply
    Wayne Hipkins
    November 28, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    I always enjoy reading about the local history, customs, & daily life of any region. W. H.

  • Reply
    George W Moore JR
    November 28, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    never heard of snowbird gravy and dishpan pie sounds interesting

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Tipper, I always love your posts and everyone’s comments are like icing on cake—makes it even better!
    I, too, am curious about recipes for Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie. Bet they’d be good in a Dutch oven.

  • Reply
    Agnes Farr
    November 28, 2018 at 5:06 pm

    We make a ‘Dishpan Pie’ that is a chicken pie with boiled chicken, flat dumplings, sliced boiled egg and a rich pastry crust on top. Of course it is made in a dishpan. It is from the old time ‘Dinner on the Grounds’ that churches had. I wonder if the Snowbird Gravy is what we called Milk Gravy made after fried chicken with lots of black pepper in it. I love the title. Occasionally I include one of your recipes in an article I do for a local newspaper. I always give you credit and sometimes I forward the whole article to someone. Take care and have a Blessed Christmas…agnes

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    November 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    My father-in-law worked a team of mules. He said they always knew where their feet were and would hardly ever step on a tobacco plant.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I’ve plowed with horses, mules and even a team of oxen. I’ve ridden many horses and mules also. There are different types of mules. Some are as gentle as a lamb and some will bite when you try to put the bridle on them. I never had a problem with a horse but many with mules.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    The name Henley Crawford jumped out at me this morning. I have the book. I’ve read the book. I loved the book! The only complaint was that it was ended too soon.
    I didn’t notice Henley Crawford when I read the book but today it seemed familiar. “Maybe he is in my family tree.” “Yep, there he is!” great-grandfather of husband of 2nd cousin.
    I found an obituary for Mr. Crawford on Interesting man! Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners for Clay County. Mayor of Hayesville. A much loved citizen. Died in 1980 at 100!

  • Reply
    richard beauchamp
    November 28, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    sounds like a good read !

    • Reply
      Terry L Stites
      November 29, 2018 at 4:53 am

      I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Lately I have been craving a good read. I’m crossing my fingers.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 28, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I was always told that if a horse throws you off not to immediately get back on. I learned that you first get a fencepost or something heavy, walk around to his head and coldcock him right between the eyes. Then you get back on him and when he wakes up he’ll think you are supposed to be there. He might even kneel down like a camel to let you get on the next time.
    That don’t work on a mule though. Their head is harder than a fencepost. They will just look at you like “what’id you do that for?”

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    November 28, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    I just love old stuff and old talk and everything you share on this quaint blog. I could just hug you, Tipper. I would love the book too!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    November 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Snowbird gravy and dishpan pie!!! Mmmmmmm! Sounds like the perfect menu to me, Tipper — and
    like a book that shouldn’t be missed!

  • Reply
    Allison B
    November 28, 2018 at 11:57 am

    Sounds like it would be a wonderful book to read…. Wonderful book to take us back to the 1800’s in Appalachia.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    November 28, 2018 at 11:36 am

    Grandpa had two mules–Kate and Jack. I remember daddy plowing the garden with them. One’s foot went down into the remains of an old well in the garden. It was filled up with railroad ties, etc. , but there is a depression there to this day & it’s the cause of many terrors to me.

    My older brother wanted to ride the mules and daddy put him on but it resulted in him getting bucked off.

    My uncle kept his old mule, Rody, in the pasture for years. I’ve probably told yall the story of Rody chasing my baby brother on his bicycle & him yelling “Gee, Rody, Haw Rody”, in hopes she would turn.

    I also remember seeing a mule turning the mill to grind sorghum for molasses out in the field beside our old home place.

    Mama used to boil so much corn on the cob for us that we ended up with a small mountain of corn cobs. Still love corn on the cob with lots of butter & salt. My son has started making the street corn on the grill & it’s yummy, too.

    I would love to win the book! I remember Granny chopping lettuce & onions in the dishpan–she had a straightened out sharpened spatula she did it with. Whenever I can find a metal dishpan locally, I get another one. And they are a great gift for my canning friends!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 11:35 am

    I love mules, and often wish I had enough land here to adopt a pair from the Save Your Ass rescue here in New England. There are a pair of Belgian mules there right now that I was looking at just last night! I think mules or even donkeys would likely be too intimidating to keep with the goats, and I don’t have enough land to clear a separate area for the mules, unfortunately.

  • Reply
    Janine Clagg
    November 28, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Would love to know what “Snowbird Gravy and Dishpan Pie” is! (I’m from Louisiana and never, ever heard of this!)

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    November 28, 2018 at 11:25 am

    I used to have a copy of that book but it has disappeared, I sure would like to have another. My mother-in-law used to call a large aluminum or tin pan that we used when canning “her dishpan.” I assumed she used to use it to wash dishes in before they got a sink. I believe it would make a huge pie if used for that purpose. I guess with such big families many would need that much pie.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 28, 2018 at 10:56 am

    As far as a mule being a better animal to ride or work on a farm the mule is a smarter albeit more stubborn animal. A mule will keep a steady pace whether you’re plowing or riding while a horse will usually start out faster then perceptively slow down as it tires. Another advantage of the mule is that due to the location of the mules eyes, which are set further back on their head than a horse’s, it an see it’s front feet while a horse with their eyes set further forward cannot so a mule is less likely to stumble or trip than a horse. This is the reason you will see mules being used on the trails going down into the Grand Canyon. One disadvantage of the mule is they will learn or develop bad habits and these are hard to get a mule to unlearn. I found this to be very true once when I borrowed an elderly neighbor’s mule to plow out our potatoes, he would plow one trip and then stand for approximately five minutes and no amount of coaxing or cursing could get him to stop doing this. I finally realized that the elderly neighbor would rest at the end of each row and the mule had discerned that this was the proper way to plow. He was merely protecting his elderly owner by allowing him this rest period. As it takes at least three trips per row to plow out potatoes this habit required about half a day for me to plow out nine rows of potatoes.

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      November 28, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      Bill, you need to start your row in the middle of the field and lay it off in a spiral going outward. That way when it comes time to hoe or plough out your taters it is just one row and you’re done. A mule that has been milling cane would be perfect as it is already used to walking in circles.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 10:33 am

    I tried to look up snowbird gravy on Google, but all I got were references to the book or the snowbirds in Florida, or a ski resort. I guess a dishpan pie was a fairly large pie if it was baked in a metal dishpan. It wouldn’t work with today’s plastic ones. And food cooked in an iron skillet tastes better than anything cooked in a non-stick skillet. I know I would love to read a copy of this book.

  • Reply
    Sandra M
    November 28, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I hadn’t heard of this book before but it sounds like one I’d enjoy. The snippet you shared was touching , of a kindly farmer who had compassion and wanted his hardworking animals to have a day of rest as well as himself. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 9:35 am

    I probably ate snowbird gravy when I was young, but I don’t remember it. Dishpan pie sounds as good as every other treat that was prepared in the well used pan. Mom would ‘cap some corn’ and serve it up in the big dishpan with homemade butter dripping off of every kernel.

  • Reply
    Amanda Burts
    November 28, 2018 at 9:34 am

    I’d love some snowbird gravy and dishpan pie!

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    November 28, 2018 at 9:19 am

    “because they was tired”. The older folk where I grew up would have pronounced tired as “tared”. Lord, I was so “tared” from digging them there”taters” yesterday that I could not sleep” narry” a wink last nite.

  • Reply
    James Smithson
    November 28, 2018 at 9:14 am

    My sister and husband are moving to Murphy. I know she will love living in the mountains as they are moving from Charleston SC. I love reading your posts as most of it brings back a lot of memories.

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    November 28, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Love the title Snowbird gravy and Dishpan pie.
    Wondering what they would taste like. This post is always intriquing.

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 28, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Well now, that was really nice of them to let the horse rest on Sunday because it had worked so hard all week!

  • Reply
    The Apple Doll Lady
    November 28, 2018 at 8:32 am

    A wonderful reminiscence. Reminds me of a gathering when an old saddle was put
    on one of Dad’s work horses for kids to ride. She was blind but she knew when I was put on behind my cousin and she bucked and I hit the ground. I never liked riding horses after
    A favorite family story before my time was when my sister wanted to ride one of the team Dad had then. Everyone watched as she pulled him up to the fence, she climbed the fence and repeatedly just as she started to swing her leg over the horse would take one small step away from the fence. They say it was a comedy show from the distant front porch and the horse won leaving my red-headed sister mad and in tears. Wish I had been there.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Sounds like an intriguing dose of Appalachia – Snowbird Gravy & Dishpan Pie.
    would like to read it.

  • Reply
    Emily Lottt
    November 28, 2018 at 8:26 am

    That’s the most intriguing book title I have seen in a long, long time.
    Sounds like lots of fun.
    Thanks for all the sharing, Tipper and Readers.

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Never heard of Snowbird Pie but I sure have eaten the most delicious cobblers prepared in a Dishpan. I think snow cream was also gathered and prepared in a Dishpan.

  • Reply
    William P Dotson
    November 28, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Sounds like a very interesting book Tipper.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 28, 2018 at 7:35 am

    “Of a Sunday” is one of the old expressions I just love. It seems to me that when you say ‘of” it is more like being a part of than a simple “on.”
    Nice they let the mule rest after a hard week’s work!

  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 7:19 am

    We have a very old picture of ancestors outside a cabin taken in the 1800’s. There were three men outside the cabin with two of them on mules and one on a horse. My grandfather always kept a mule and a horse. I learned very little about them except that they were supposed to be very stubborn. This led me to the question as to why they often chose mules over horses for farm work. A little research shows why the lowly mule was so valuable on the old homesteads. Also the stubbornness could be partially a bad rap.

    As usual, Tipper, your posts tend to challenge us and make us want to learn more about your subject matter. Thanks, and I think the book would be a very interesting one to read.

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