Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Folk Speech

Halloween Sunrise 2012
Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

hankering--to really want something.  "I have a powerful hankerin' for some fried apple pies."

meathouse--the small building where the supply of meat is smoked or salted and kept for use.

queerly--Strange or odd.  "All of a suddenly I'm feeling a mite queerly."

tolerably--moderately.  "How are you feeling today?"  "I'm feeling tolerably well."

hard put--almost impossible.  "I would be mighty hard put to get all of that wood chopped before supper time."

retch--reach. "Retch me that plate of bread."

punk--wood that is decayed and makes good tinder for starting fires. "Give me some of that punk wood so that I can build a fire."

heave--to make an effort to vomit. "That possum stew just about made me heave."

querl--to twirl, turn, or wind around. "Querl up that rope before it gets all knotted up."

Have you ever heard any of these?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Big G

When I was a little girl I would always tag along when Grandma went to the "mahogany" bush to break her a new toothbrush. The bush grew on the creek bank behind our house so I was always ready to go with her since the creek was somewhere that I was forbidden to go alone. Grandma always explained that when she was growing up that the twigs were the only kind of toothbrush that she had. Naturally, I immediately had to have a piece too.

After she got back to the house, she would chew the end to fray it out so it looked like a tiny little paint brush.  Then, she would dip this into her can of Big G sweet Scotch snuff and use it to clean her teeth.  She always had a can of Big G sitting on the little table right beside her rocking chair. She warned me to never, ever mess around with her can of snuff.

One day, I was sitting in her rocking chair engaged in one of my favorite activities: rocking back and forth to beat the band! She was in the kitchen canning pickles, so I knew that she was very busy and was not likely to come into the sitting room any time soon.  I kept on looking at that little shiny silver can of snuff.  Rocking back and forth. The light was just glinting off of that can. Taunting me. Back and forth. That little can just really wanted me to pick it up! Back and forth.

I finally stopped and sneaked over to the kitchen door to make sure that grandma was still busy. She was. I tiptoed back to the rocking chair and sat down. I knew that I shouldn't do this and that I was potentially going to get a whipping for misbehaving, but I just could not stop myself! My hand reached toward that little forbidden can. I slowly twisted the top off and peered in at the brown powder. I slowly stuck a finger into the powder. It almost felt like baby powder. I wonder what it smells like? I slowly brought the can up to my nose. As it got closer, my nose started feeling a little twitchy but I was just a little girl and did not heed my nose's warning.  I stuck my nose right into that little can and took a big, healthy sniff!  Good lord! Snorting liquid fire could not have hurt as bad as that snoot full of snuff! I immediately dropped the snuff can, grabbed my nose, and started screaming and crying!

Grandma came running out of the kitchen thinking that I had a mortal injury. Imagine the scene. Me holding my nose, crying, and what had been an almost full can of snuff was now all over the floor, the rocking chair, and me.  Grandma grabbed me up and made me start blowing my nose to try to get all of that powdered snuff out. She washed my face off with a wet cloth because when I initially sniffed and it hit my five year old sinuses, my natural response was to exhale, HARD! That blew snuff back out of the can all over my face, so not only was that vile powder IN me, it was all OVER me too! After she finally got me un-snuffed, both outside and in, she scolded me, but I did not get a whipping.  She said that the agony that I experienced was punishment enough.

Sure. I really did deserve a whipping for doing something that I KNEW was wrong from the start.  I was just being a devilish little child. I have quite a few stories like this one where I discover the reasoning behind being told to NOT do something. Maybe that was really an early indicator that I should have been a scientist so that I could more closely examine cause and effect!

After doing a bit of research, I discovered that the brand of snuff that my Grandmother used was produced by the George W. Helme Company in New Jersey.  She always removed the tan-colored label from the tins when she opened them.  I have searched high and low for a photo of one of the cans with the paper label still attached and cannot find one anywhere. I remember that the label had a big "G" right in the middle.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Love Fall

Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean 2012

Drifts of leaves
Beautiful blue skies
Smell of wood smoke
Collecting dye plants
Stirring apple butter
Making molasses
Stunning leaves
Crunch of fresh apples
Muscadine grapes 
Spinning wool
Digging potatoes
Ghostly stories
Gathering walnuts and hickory nuts
Crisp air
Halloween candy
Meteor showers
Meadows of Dan Pancake Days
Carrying wood
Snugglin' weather 

Drive-by Photo of Fallon Park
Roanoke, Virginia 2012
Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

These are just some of the things that I love about fall. 
What is your favorite thing about fall? 

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mystery Item Answer

 . . . and the answer is:

The bark mill in the photo is located on the 
Blue Ridge Parkway at Mabry Mill.

Several folks mentioned that it was a sorghum or a molasses press and they do resemble each other.  If you click here, you can see a sorghum press that is also located at Mabry Mill. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mystery Item

What is it?
Leave your guess in the comment section below.
All comments and the correct answer will be posted no later than Monday, October 22

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busy, Busy!

Blue Ridge Parkway
Smart View Picnic Area
Photo by Kimberly Burnette-Dean

The past couple of weeks have been very busy, so I'm afraid that I have been neglecting my poor old blog. We just returned this past Saturday from a week long visit to Myrtle Beach. Usually when you return home from vacation, there always seems to be a dozen or more things that need to be taken care of.  Unpacking, doing all of the laundry, cleaning up chaos created by a cat (left alone for the week except for a wonderful friend visiting to feed him), grocery shopping, cleaning out the mystery items in the fridge that look like a science experiment run amok, getting everything ready to return to work on Monday . . . sometimes I wonder if it is REALLY worth it to go on vacation. (Well, of course it is when it involves a trip to the ocean!)

Returning to work after being on vacation is always difficult, but to make it even worse, this is my week to work 6 days. Yay! Not. No time to recover from vacation.

In any case, I hope to get back to blogging in the next week.  I have so many things that I want to write about.  I just need more time.

Do you always feel rested, relaxed and ready to return to work after you have been on a vacation?

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Mystery Item Answer

It is an acrobat toy!   
Have you ever heard this toy called by other names?

When I was growing up, I had toys like this made of wood, 
but I also had some from the local 5 and dime store made of plastic.
You would think that this toy would get boring,
but I can remember spending quite a bit of time playing with it.
Sometimes, the simple things are the most fun. 

To see an acrobat toy in action, click here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mystery Item

Do you know what this is or how it is used?
Leave your best guess below in the comment section.
The answer will be posted tomorrow. 

Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.