I was WRONG about the Holly Trees; Where you can find the book Dorie: Woman of the Mountains; and Giveaway Winners

Holly Trees blog about Appalachia the real Appalachia

I was WRONG when I told you about the Holly Trees the other day. Actually I was only wrong about one of them-the first holly tree. This is what I said:

“There are three holly trees on my road that never fail to catch my eye during the holiday season. Each tree is only a hop skip and a jump from the other. In fact as I write this I do believe you could draw a diagonal line between the three and it would be fairly straight.

The first tree is in the yard of the first house on my road a big white farm house, by far the oldest house on my road. I’ve known the folks who live there my entire life. First the elder couple, then their grandson, and now their great grandson. As I think upon where the holly trees grow, I wonder if the first tree was left by chance or if Clarence and Ruby, the elder couple, loved the red berries as much as I do and made sure the tree grew unhindered.

The second holly tree is just up the road, but out in the pasture. A little set of woods that breaks up the large pasture is home to that very large holly tree.

The third holly tree is a little further up the road around the curve. It’s not as large as the first two trees and it grows just outside the fence-all close up to the barb wire like it wishes it was in the pasture too.

Two of those three holly trees have disappeared since I first told you about them and there are new folks living in the old white farmhouse-folks I’ve never met, but hope to someday.”

It’s not often that I ride in a car, most of the time I’m the one driving. But over the weekend I had the opportunity to ride and greatly enjoyed myself. I love to stare out the car window and think about the houses and people we pass.

As we turned onto our road from a day of gallivanting what did I see? That first holly tree that I told you was gone. I could barely believe my eyes. I thought “Well there it is just like it always was!” So what made me think it was gone?

There was a huge oak tree that stood just beyond the holly tree. Pap said it was probably one of the oldest oaks in the area-he guessed it was at least a 1,000 years old if not older.

Several years ago I stopped by the folk school to pick up the girls one afternoon. As I sat in the car and waited for them to come out a little thunderstorm blew up. The storm wasn’t nothing major just a little wind and rain along with the thunder and lighting. The girls came out just as it ended and we headed for home.

We had just turned off the main road when I realized something was different. It was the old oak. It was laying down.

I guess the tree was diseased on the inside and that little puff of wind that came with the storm was just enough to bring it down. Amazingly, it laid itself down in the only place it could have without damaging the house or falling the road. The massive tree just fell along the fence line directly on that first holly tree.

As you might imagine, cleaning up that oak tree took a good long while and since the holly tree was crushed I thought it was gone forever. Funny how thoughts stick in your mind even when they’re wrong. The oak tree has been cleaned up for at least two years and the holly tree has been working hard to return to it’s glory days, but all I remembered was the destruction of the fallen giant.

I was so excited over realizing the holly tree was still there that I almost didn’t notice another holly tree just beyond it. I guess the oak tree had hidden it from view all these years. It’s just as pretty as the first one and now I wonder if Clarence and Ruby protected it too.


So many of you asked about where to purchase Dorie: Woman of the Mountains that I thought I’d share my favorite place to find old books online. It’s called You type in the info you have-the book’s name or the author and up pops a list to choose from. If the book you’re looking for shows up-click on it and then you can see the prices for purchasing the book online.




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  • Reply
    August 15, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Barbara-Thank you!!!! Wow that makes my day : ) I’m working on writing a book from my posts so there’ll be that if I ever get it completed.

  • Reply
    August 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Is there anywhere I can find all your postings in downloadable form? A book maybe? I have many of them saved in my email “bank”, but am running out of room!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I am so pleased to have won Chatter’s soap! Somehow I know my grandmother is smiling from Heaven about another woman who is learning and passing along the old skills that used to be everyday work. You Pressley women have a lot of which to be proud. Happy Christmas to all of you, and many blessings for the New Year!

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    December 6, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Purchased some soap from Chatter for Christmas gifts and one for myself. Love the soap!

  • Reply
    Mary Rutherford
    December 6, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    I love the cheery hollies in my yard especially when they become loaded with Cedar Waxwings feasting on the bounty! We have a huge one that is at least 60 years old that is so beautiful!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Congratulations to all the lucky winners! And to Tipper, who maybe is the luckiest of all, for the “prize” of finding an old friend she thought was dead and gone, come back to life 🙂

  • Reply
    December 6, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Thank you to Ron for the passages in Job to go with it.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    What a nice Christmas surprise to find the holly tree again, and another to go with it! RENEWAL! I’m so excited to have real holly here at the back of the yard. Very small, but so pretty!

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    December 6, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    We have a huge oak tree on the hill behind my house. My wife calls it our prayer tree. A few years ago we had a major ice storm that did a lot of damage to the mature maple trees in my yard. It broke several limbs off of the big oak, some of them were as big as trees. The big tree is still standing strong.

  • Reply
    larry griffith
    December 6, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    My close neighbor has a holly tree in his front yard that is over 30 feet tall and has many red berries.He wants to cut it down,but I’m glad his parents won’t let him.

  • Reply
    December 6, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Sorry I didn’t win any of the great prizes, but I will still enjoy your wonderful stories and information. We are fortunate to be receiving wonderful rain – yesterday and today. My plants have a smile; I can just it all over their branches.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    December 6, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    So glad you found your Holly Tree/trees! We have one large Holly in our back yard, salvaged from a bulldozer when a new park in a wood land was being build. We brought home four about two feet tall, roots all. I wish we could have got more, but didn’t have the time. I knew we needed at least three or four to have a chance of a male and female trees in the bunch, if they all lived. The main one in the yard is now huge, no berries. Two other ones passed, but we finally found another one in the woods although very small, no berries either. Someday we hope a passing bird, since we have so many will provide us with more holly’s that will be female. The Holly is still beautiful without the berries, and leaves me room to provide it with tiny little red balls that look like berries. Ha Now if I could only get to that big clump of Mistletoe growing in the top of an old Maple without damaging the clumps.
    I bought my “Dorie” book from Amazon years ago, before I got my Kindle. They offer new/used and kindle editions varying in price from 5.95 paperback up to over $2000.00 for a first edition 1993 I think it was. There were at least 10 vendors selling the book! I have been very pleased with some of the used craft books that I have purchased. Just be sure and read the description of the product and the sellers rating.
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    December 6, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Congradulations to all the winners of the Gifts. As we celebrate the Birth of our Savior at Christmas Time, it is the Joy of Giving that brings us Joy.
    I’m sorry the Oak tree fell. I know what it’s like to lose a Special Tree. Daddy planted that thing back in ’62 and sadly it blew down last year. And our White Walnut Trees (also called Butternut) all died out about when I was a teenager, but I can remember eating them with my brother. They were actually a grey looking, long nut, similar to Pecans. Like my favorite song goes, life gives way to New Birth. …Ken

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD
    December 6, 2016 at 10:32 am

    I did not know there were so many tree lovers in your ‘written word’ over in the mountains! Nothing makes me happier than to walk around in the GARDENS OF EVA and look at all my trees! Our property was an acre corn field, so I can claim every tree as MY TREE in my yard!
    Speaking of trees! Memories of the BLACK WOOD LUMBER COMPANY have almost vanished. Jim’s cousin, Charles Wike, has kept some history of BLACK WOOD through his writings, submitted to the SYLVIA HEARLD. Lynn Hotaling, who writes the “Ruralite Cafe” has been submitting articles on historical subjects associated with history of Jackson County. Jim declares that Black Wood cut most of the hardwood in the 20’s and 30’s
    in the vicinity of East LaPorte. They then closed down and sold most of their property.
    An article written by Lynn and Charles appears in the “Sylva Herald” on Dec. 1, 2016. Jim thinks folks just might be interested in reading the article. East LaPorte lies along Hwy 107 about 3 miles North of Cullowhee. East LaPorte bears little resemblance to that of it’s ‘HAY DAY’ of the 1920’s and 30’s, when over a 100 employees lived in the ‘Village’ of East LaPorte.
    Hope you have sunshine SOON!
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, PhD

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    December 6, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I didn’t have time to comment on your first post of the Holly Tree but I sure did enjoy it. Brought back many memories of hearing my mother and her sisters talk about their family Christmas tree one year. They are all in heaven now but back in 1915 the oldest and second oldest daughters of seven girls were given the special job of going out in the forest and finding a Christmas tree, cutting it down and bringing it back out of the woods to their home. I was shocked when they told me it was a Holly Tree that they picked. I didn’t ask how in the world two girls could handle a prickly tree, I guess I was too shocked by them saying a Holly Tree when there were pine trees all over place. Maybe, they had a lot of Holly Trees too. Last month my husband took me to a place called Indian Steps Museum in southern PA. The Susquehanna River runs right in front of it and It is near the Maryland border. Back in the early 1900’s a lawyer bought the property because Susquehannock Indians had lived in that area and he wanted to preserve artifacts from there so he built a lodge there and made it into a museum with artifacts found in the area and brought from other digs. He also protected a very old Holly Tree standing about 75 feet from the museum. It has a rope fence around it now. This giant tree is called an American Holly Tree and is believed to be the largest American Holly in the Northern Hemisphere. They say it was a sprig when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock over 390 years ago. I was told most hollies have a definite sex. When pollinated, the female forms the berry. It is necessary to have a male close by for fertilization. Hollies do not generally cross-pollinate. Thanks again, Tipper, for putting the picture of the Holly Tree too. I think they are beautiful!!

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    December 6, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Wow, Oh, Wow! Thank you, thank you. I can’t wait. I’m also ordering Mommy Goose for a Christmas present (don’t tell but I may just read it before wrapping).

  • Reply
    December 6, 2016 at 9:15 am

    So happy the Holly tree survived…sad the old Oak fell!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 6, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Your story of the ‘resurrected’ holly reminds me of these bible verses.
    JOB 14.7. For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. JOB 14.8. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; JOB 14.9. Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
    Your story is also a good winter and Christmas reminder of evergreen hope that springs anew. Your temporary error actually adds a whole new dimension of food for thought about the holly that was and was not and yet is.
    Congratulations to each of the winners. I think us readers have recognised you as being someone who delights in giving. And as we know “The Lord loveth a cherrful giver.”

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    December 6, 2016 at 8:24 am

    I think I was wrong once but I’m not for sure. Then again maybe I could be wrong in thinking I might have been right. In that case maybe I have been wrong once or twice.

  • Reply
    Barbara Gantt
    December 6, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Tipper, I am so excited about winning the book. Thank you so much for your giveaways.
    Growing up, my Dad had to go find holly for my Mom. She felt that Christmas was a vase of holly. He would have to look for a holly with lots of red berries. No holly where we live in Vermont. They sell little tiny holly plants at Home Depot, a sad replacement for the real thing.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    December 6, 2016 at 8:01 am

    I am so happy you found your Holly tree and the hidden one too. I take such great pleasure in seeing the one tree out my office window

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 6, 2016 at 6:22 am

    What a grand surprise, to find the tree returning to life and and a baby one to go with it! Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong!

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