Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Search for Mistletoe

Most people in the Appalachians know about mistletoe but not everyone knows where to find it. In November, as the leaves fall from the trees, you may notice large clumps of green high in an oak or an elm.  You may have found it!  Rather than climb the tree most people of the Appalachians resort to a shotgun to retrieve it.


I was blessed to have a friend, Eddie Saylor, volunteer to use his shooting practice time to bring down some mistletoe for me.

Mistletoe is a small leafed plant with small white berries that are poisonous.  Legend has it that mistletoe "is a plant of peace and that a kiss under this plant ensures undying love and friendship". 

If you don't find any mistletoe in the trees try your local farmers market.  For the spirit of Christmas, hang some in your doorway, pour two cups of eggnog, grab your sweet heart and you might just steal yourself a kiss under the mistletoe!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's Talk Turkey!

Turkeys can be found in the wild all over the Appalachians. Turkeys in open fields...  Turkeys along the parkway...

These turkeys hang around Asheville, N.C.  They are our permanent residents at the center of town.  There are many monuments around the big city (ha) of Asheville.  All of them are to point out our rich history.  The turkeys, among other animal statues, represent the kinds of animals that were sold at the market that used to be in the center of Asheville in the early 1900's.  People would travel to this spot to buy many things, meat being only one of the many.

Since some of you are in different time zones might not have scarfed down your turkey yet, would anyone like to know a little turkey history? Here is a bit!  Turkeys have played many roles in the Appalachians.  The Eastern American Tribes of Indians consumed both eggs and meat. Their feathers were often used in rituals and in headdresses.  Turkeys even inspired dances.  Ben Franklin wrote in a letter to his daughter Sarah Bache on January 26, 1894 that he preferred the turkey aver the bald eagle. He said " it is a more respectable bird and withal a true original Native of America, He is besides, though a little vain and silly, a bird of Courage and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his farm yard with a red coat on."  Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving Day. If you need a conversation starter at the dinner table, here are a few turkey facts: Who prefers white meat over dark meat? What is a wattle? Did you know the male turkey is the only gender that can gobble? 

Oh and last but surely not least... Congratulations to all you people who got out bright and early this morning and did the Turkey Trot!!  Go you!!  You are in inspiration!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wapiti in the Appalachians?

Oh yes, we definitely have Wapiti!  Wapiti is an indian word for elk or "light colored deer".

Recently our family traveled to Cataloochee, NC to see the elk herd.

Elk roamed the Appalachians until the late 1800's then became extinct to this area due to over hunting.

In 2001 the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation helped to reintroduce elk to the Great Smoky Mountains.  The elk were, and still are, tagged & monitored.  

Ten years later, the park has a herd of 141!  Throughout the experimental project they have learned that the Elk can survive and call this part of the Appalachians their home.
The Grandkids :)
Cows (female elk) grazing
Macho man was rounding up the cows.
Macho man, "bugling".
One last front view.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Where is your Christmas Tree coming from??

Can you believe it is Christmas time already?  It is insane how quickly time flies!  I know that many people invest in live Christmas trees.  I hope that this post will persuade you to think about spending your money towards a good cause this year!  And guess what?  You won't even have to spend more than you normally would for a tree!

Recently I visited a friend, Sara, who founded the Cornerstone Christian Academy (CCA).  It is a Christian School in Mitchell County.  I am honored to know them and their passion for the kids.

The Classroom

Mitchell County is a very rural county with only one high school and limited funds.  CCA helps to serve the community to educate its children.  

This year we have an opportunity to help support the school by purchasing a  Christmas Tree from a local tree farm in Spruce Pine.  
Where your Christmas tree would come from!

You can get a 6-7 ft tree for $40 
a 7-8 ft tree for $50.

You may pick your tree up at the tree farm if you want to enjoy the drive or you may pick it up here in Asheville.  Proceeds go to CCA.  

Thank you for your support and please spread the word!

For orders email   All orders need to be submitted by November 18th. You pay when you pick it up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Foggy Mountain Mornings

Fog is silent.  It creeps in and takes you by surprise.
It can be eerie.

But it can also being captivating, especially in the morning when the sun comes up.

Fog or vapor as it is called in the Bible is fleeting.  As in life, if you blink, it is gone.


Fog is obscure - It is mysterious.  It raises your caution flag. Like life, it can make you question the direction you are headed.

If you have an early morning commute, take time to enjoy the fog.  If not, I hope the photos were at least enjoyable. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

5 MUST DO'S in November

The leaves have fallen, the holidays aren't here yet, the ski slopes are not open, what in the world is there to do in November?  Well here are "must do's" portrayed by the "Blue Eyed Blessings" aka my Grandkids.

1.  Clean up the yard.

2.  Get some exercise.

3.  Spend time leaf looking.

4. Explore nature
5.  Spend time with family

So kick up your heels and have fun in November!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"The Main Thang" - Woodcrafts by Ray Man

I love meeting exceptional people! Ray Man is one of them!

I met Ray when I stopped on Hwy 321 North where he was displaying some of his woodwork.  I am always looking for people that avoid the "sit down & quit" attitude in a bad economy and he definitely qualifies!  As you might have gathered from my other posts I have a huge interest in making "something from nothing" & the making of products here in the Appalachian Mountains with supplies from the Appalachian Mountains. 

A stump used as a flower stand

Area that Ray sets up his display
Ray lives in Todd, NC and grew up in Gamewell, NC.  His business is called "The Main Thang" Woodcrafts.  

He makes bird houses from planks & tin roofs from old buildings.  

He also sells boards, new & old, for others to make woodcrafts. 

Here are several of his canes which are made from sourwood, sycamore, and hickory limbs that have been shaped by grapevine over the past few years.

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of them but he also sells lots of gourds in season.

If you are interested in Ray's creations please feel free to contact him!  You will be inspired just by talking to him.  His phone number: 828-759-0617

Do you have a "something from nothing" idea or product you make?  Leave a comment and I may showcase you!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Fluff is some Good Stuff!

As the holiday draws near you may have friends or family over.  I just wanted to share a recipe for a yummy treat I had the joy of scarfing down recently!

Pumpkin Fluff - It has a Fall look, a Fall smell, a Fall taste and I guarantee you won't be the only one falling for it!  I'm not sure where the recipe originated from but I suggest you give it a try. I snagged the recipe from

  • 1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


    In a large bowl, mix together instant vanilla pudding mix, pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the thawed frozen whipped topping. Chill in the refrigerator until serving. 


    The hostess of the party included the "limited edition" Honey Graham Squares that were cinnamon flavored. I highly recommend the cinnamon flavor graham crackers.  Mm-hmm  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Party Success!

Mountain Man & I, were invited to a very fun costume party at my son, Cale, and daughter-in-love, Cassie's, home!  It was such a success!  There were great outdoor decorations!

The host & hostess looked somewhat familiar.

The Grandkids were delightful of course.  

Check out these cool decorations...

Our other Son, Vince and daughter-in-love, Michelle. 

Last but definitely not least, just look at that spread!

Ways to ensure that you will have an A-mazing party turnout:
  1. Send out cool party invitations.
  2. Give plenty of time to get your costumes together or anything else needed
  3.  Plan the food ahead of time.
  4.  Incorporate friends, family, & kids in the planning and preparation. (It will keep there excitement up.)
  5.  Be detailed in the decorations.
  6.  If possible, buy your decorations the year before. I know that is a bit far fetched for some people but it will really help you save a lot of money. 
  7. A nice touch is to have a takeout box for people to take home left over food or prizes.
These are some special touches that will lead you straight to having your very own party success!

Do you have any tips that I didn't list?  Please tell!