Category Archives: Appalachia/The South

October 1908: The Month the Ohio River Began Drying

The sight is nothing short of spectacular: A crinkled postcard of what appears to be a dried riverbed with the words, “Ohio River: Bridgeport, Ohio, Oct. 15th, 1908”. Typically this image is displayed online with some type of annotation declaring … Continue reading

Posted in Appalachia/The South, WTF? | 5 Comments

The Canary in a Coal Mine

I never saw my dad’s father take a single step — even though he lived until I was nearly 30 years old. In fact, my dad only had one memory of his father walking which dated back to a time … Continue reading

Posted in Appalachia/The South | 6 Comments

Witch-Hazel: The Old Time Mountain Skin Medicine

Growing up, my grandmother had what seemed to be dozens of plants growing around her mountain home, each with a specific purpose should my cousins or me find ourselves injured or sick. MORE

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Appalachia’s Front Porch: The Heartbeat of Family Life

These days, the average family’s typical evening is spent doing one of a thousand different things, ranging from scattering across town in different directions to dispersing through the home to each person’s own unique space — walled far away and … Continue reading

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Old Country Talk

“I bet yourn ears was ah burn’n yesterdee,” a common expression I have heard uttered time and time again from the very earliest day of my youth. This along with other phrases such as “A rabbit just ran over my … Continue reading

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The Appalachians – The Scotch-Irish

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The Story of America’s One Room School Houses

In just a handful of days America’s school children will be heading back to school for the start of a new school year. Though not all, many will be returning to multi-million dollar facilities, complete with full handicap accessibility, high … Continue reading

Posted in Appalachia/The South, History | 19 Comments

Marbles: The Mountains’ Classic Children’s Game

A half-dozen mischievous looking boys gathered in a circle, some squatted while others watch closely from a standing position — their pant legs are rolled up above their shins and the dirty Appalachian ground covers their dusty bare feet. The … Continue reading

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How to cure Country Ham

Okay, I gotta confess: I don’t care for Country Ham. Shoot me now.

Posted in Appalachia/The South, Videos | 10 Comments

Appalachian Lore: Don’t Swim During Dog Days of Summer

When my mind drifts back to yesteryear of many decades ago, the overwhelming majority of my memories find me roaming barefoot through the hills and hollers of Appalachia — during the summer months. Summer was a special time when I … Continue reading

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Southern Tradition: Peanuts In Coke

From its very beginning, the American Southland has been home to a countless number of unique and fascinating traditions, customs and practices. Many of the things that were developed in the heart of Dixie have gone on to be embraced … Continue reading

Posted in Appalachia/The South | 13 Comments

Why Your Grandparents Would “Plant by the Signs”

I can hear her shaky voice like it was yesterday, “You need to get your taters in the ground tomorrow, ’cause the signs is right’.” The last “Granny Woman” of our family, my ‘Mamaw’ served as a wealth of knowledge … Continue reading

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17th Century “Ghost Mines” of the Appalachians

A Spanish Silver Mine in East Tennessee I was skeptical the first time I heard about the Spanish silver mine in east Tennessee. My uncle Jim was a master storyteller, and had entertained us as kids with any number of … Continue reading

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Rice & Milk: The Ultimate Mountain Comfort Food

When one thinks of cultures that rely heavily on rice, the mountaineers of Appalachia typically aren’t the first people to come to mind. Like so many other cultures around the world, however, that have struggled to make end’s meat, the … Continue reading

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Mountain Memories: Root Cellars

Long before the invention of packaged preservatives and chain grocery stores, the people of America’s Appalachian Mountains were forced to rely on their own creative geniuses to ensure their food stores kept through the blazing summer heat, frosty autumn mornings, … Continue reading

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The Southern Delicacy of Boiled Peanuts

Perhaps your Appalachian family boiled peanuts each year, but where I come peanuts were only consumed roasted, but more often than not they were fed to hogs as filler food. The practice of boiling peanuts in salty water then eating … Continue reading

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Ginseng in Appalachia

In the Appalachians, ginseng hunting is a centuries-old tradition. Prized for its medicinal use in Native American medicine, American ginseng drew the interest of a French missionary in Canada in 1715. Helped by the Iroquois community near Montreal, the priest … Continue reading

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Appalachian Cattle Drives

When one thinks of cattle drives, typically images of cowboys in West Texas pushing a thousand head of Longhorns quickly comes to mind. Movies such as Lonesome Dove have solidified in our minds the Great Midwest as being the only … Continue reading

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Old Mountain Practice of “Tooth Jump’n”

The colonial men and women who first settled the Appalachian Mountains did so purposefully, knowing full well of the many risks they were taking: They were inhabiting a wilderness land void of cities, modern resources and one that saw medical … Continue reading

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There’s a right way and a wrong way to eat watermelon

For those of you who aren’t from around these parts, or who didn’t receive the instruction book when you were born, there is a right way and a wrong way to eat watermelon. It didn’t occur to me that anyone … Continue reading

Posted in Appalachia/The South | 13 Comments