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This morning after three days of not leaving the cabin, we welcomed a guest for breakfast. He came to get tattooed by John and to experience our mountain music all the way from Sweden. We have the pleasure of hosting him on the holler for a few days! Despite the fact that I haven’t been able to clean myself or the house in these days, I got over my initial embarrassment and hosted him at our table. It was pretty awesome to get a firsthand account of a country we rarely hear of here in the US, or at least Kentucky. I had so many questions and we conversed quite a bit about what would be the typical curiosities – daily life, education, religion, politics, etc… Our conversation confirmed a lot of what I suspected and taught me a lot as well. He was so respectful and personable. I utterly enjoyed having him here with us. I can say, if there is anything I want to do and have yet done in this life, it is to host more people at my table and to see more of our world. I want to have more conversations like the one I had this morning. I want to see what is past the Mississippi. What is beyond Huntsville, Alabama. What lies above Ohio. I want to see Mexico. Hang out in Canada, and ultimately cross the pond.
There is so much more to understand about the realities of a human existence. Of what works and does not work. I think if we are to make opportunities and a brighter reality for our children, we have so much to learn. The American way isn’t the end all to be all for sure. I mean we can’t even agree on what the American way is anymore. Congress is having too many my way or the highway arguments. Honestly, our politics are gross to me right now. Taking what works from respectably functioning countries and combining those things would be a great way to approach setting up a society.
Did you know that Sweden is kind of like Alaska right now? 1 hour of daylight! Imagine that!
The only thing I won’t be taking with me when I pass on are my children. They will have their own time to leave the planet. So, they are my work – my lasting contribution. I have to keep reminding myself of this because if I don’t I easily get caught up in trying to accomplish things. I just add more and more to my plate when I should continue to remove things from it. What Creator has meant for me to do will always find me. It is so easy to waste time on meaningless things!
Today, I had a firsthand account of one man’s experience in Sweden. An hour’s long conversation gave me a little insight. It is such a rare opportunity. This blog is the firsthand account of one mountain mother’s life in rural Kentucky. Thanks for spending your time with me. Those who write as well, thank you for sharing. Hopefully, we can continue to learn from each other and form a consciousness of gratitude, interdependence, and blessing.
I haven’t had time to write here in so long. When I have had the time I have been way too tired to try. I don’t know how I get so exhausted. Walking around as if I were in a fog all day long, no amount of coffee changing that. Things are going really well for our family. There is nothing at all to complain about, except that I wish I had more energy to enjoy it.
This week Deladis will graduate from kindergarten. We completed our first official homeschool year with success. I’m ready for 1st grade too. We received our curriculum in the mail a few weeks ago. Deladis will have a blue cap and gown, a tassel, and the whole nine yards! This year our group will have 5 graduates and we are expecting around 100 visitors at our graduation. We will be decorating and cooking all week long. I’m doing sausage balls (my own recipe), a type of cinnamon roll (from the Nourishing Traditions cookbook), and chips with salsa (storebought). Deladis is reciting the scripture she learned this year, and I’m making a speech on why we decided to homeschool. I get to present her with her diploma and John will be playing her favorite song “Little Birdie”. I’m beyond excited, and if I can keep the tears in long enough to get through it, it will be amazing.
Can you believe this was her 5 years ago?
I might post the text of my speech once graduation is over with some pictures from the ceremony.
In the meantime, enjoy our family outing to the Lewis and Clark Old-Time Tent Circus when they stopped in Clintwood, VA. It was a blast. I was so happy to see people still dedicated enough to devote their life to such entertainment. It amazed me. None of these acts were performed with any kind of netting under the performers. Pretty courageous and awesome! The performers were really friendly and full of smiles. I wish we had gotten some better pictures.
I’m so excited to share with you an article that was published in The Daily Yonder last week! I wrote it! Closing Maternity Wards: Costly and Risky… click on the picture below to read the article.
The article was also picked up on www.kentucky.com! There has been some discussion on both sites. I’m so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to write this article for this publication. 🙂 I hope you will take a look if you get the time.
I finally got hold of the camera, took some pictures, and then let Deladis take some on her own. I’m going to share our last few weeks with you mostly in pictures.
Easter, Redbuds, and Dogwoods – The Tale not Found in the Bible
Today is Good Friday for Christian believers and others who are inspired by the life of Jesus the Christ.
“Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
Jesus answered. “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” – John 19:10-11
Jesus accepted what was for what it was. He lived the Now and He realized the essence of His being protected by Father God. My maternal grandmother taught me that the redbud and dogwood trees represent some significant things in this story. They grow wild in these hills. Many plant them in their yard.
The redbud was once a large tree with large white blossoms. Judas Iscariot, after betraying Jesus, hung himself on one of these large trees. It shriveled up and the blossoms turned pink with their shame.
The dogwood represents the events of The Holy Week. You can read more about how by clicking these statements.Spring has gotten into my being more this year than ever in my life. I have never been fond of rainy up and down weather, but this year the beauty of creation has been recognized as a gift in the core of who I am. The most beautiful part of the redbud and dogwood story is that they bloom around the same time, the redbud a bit ahead of the dogwood.
Deladis Won a Blue Ribbon at the Homeschool Science Fair for her Tree Project!
She worked so so hard! I can’t believe this is a kindergartener’s work!
It’s Electric – Boogie-Woogie-Woogie
The Chickens – Photos by Deladis Rose – Titles by Mommy
And Finally – The Mole Killer – Not for the Squeamish – Photo by Deladis Rose
I’ve been holding out on a new post to wait on getting the camera back from John. He is teaching now and has been doing photography with his students the past few weeks. It doesn’t look like he’ll be done before too long, so I’m going to post anyway.
We got our spring garden in! Cauliflower, Broccoli, Lettuce of several kinds, Swiss Chard, Potatoes, Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Peas, Italian Parsley, Dill, Cilantro, Rosemary, and Chives. It felt so good to be outside in the dirt. There is such peace there in most cases. The girls were much more helpful this time around. They are getting older. All the plants are perked right up and growing. Hopefully the seed will show sprouts soon. I’ve been craving good veggies after a pretty rough winter. It is hard to find good produce in the groceries here.
We also had some homeschool friends give us 5 hens and a rooster in order to make room for their upcoming 4H projects. There were two little bantams – hen and rooster, and some large mixed breed hens. The little bantam hen, we called Little Lady. She had blueish gray feathers along with some tan, and she was so very gentle. We even brought her in the cabin to eat macaroni and cheese. I did away with her body yesterday. The larger hens had pecked her to death. 😦 There was no sign of them bullying her. She stayed in the coop most of the time, but I thought she was just getting used to things. After loosing 4 entire flocks, including all the grown diddles from last year, you’d think I’d be over caring. I’m not. Well, especially when a hen will let you pet her and will sit in your lap like a dog. We are getting eggs daily from our free-ranging flock. They are healthy and roost on the front porch. It makes a mess, but Lars (our dalmatian) sleeps there with them and keeps them safe. It would be nice for these new hens to eventually be free ranging too. It seems we have better luck that way. I told them though, they better start laying or they’ll be in the pot for killing Little Lady – barbarians.
It is so close to warm here. We had a week of 70 degree weather and the girls were so happy. We will be getting new water soon, and I won’t have to take them to my mother’s for baths any longer. Deladis graduates from kindergarten on May 26! Our homeschool group has a great ceremony planned and I’m going to cry like a baby. I just know it. I ordered her 1st grade curriculum yesterday on sale. I can’t believe it. It’s funny that Ivy still seems so small.
I’ll try to get some pictures up soon, and some exciting news. I hope to start hearing from folks again. I’ll do my best to comment back as well. My computer reading time has been kind of limited lately.
The weather has given us a break, and the girls and I took a hike this past Saturday. It was lovely. We got home and both the girls fell asleep by 6:30 and didn’t wake up again until the next morning!
Explore Kentucky… Explore the World… Those words were the mantra of my time spent in early new motherhood when we lived in Louisville. We have never bought cable or satelitte since we’ve been married, but we were excited when we got almost 7 channels on our TV with a regular antennae. I love KET, all the versions. I grew up watching KET (Kentucky Educational Television) and the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) programming they aired. Mr. Rogers, Reading Rainbow, The Write Channel, were staples of my education, and I have to say it is a huge part of what gave me the courage to call myself a writer. A huge part of who I am as a person.
Deladis was about 2 years old when she was watching evening programming with me as I rocked her to sleep. Explore Kentucky… Explore the World… flowed out of the television and Deladis repeated the words with the same cadence and tone as it was spoken by the narrator. My eyes welled with tears. It was one of the first times I realized that she heard words like I do. Hearing those words spoken in that way for that KET advertisement made me proud to be a Kentuckian. I loved hearing them, and in them Deladis heard the same value. KET and PBS produce such a quality programming, which is so hard to find now days.
Now, that we live back in the hills, we don’t get any channels. We watch television and movies through Netflix. I watch KET/PBS anytime I get the chance – renting their shows through Netflix and watching for free online through their websites. Public broadcasting is still such a part of our lives through radio as well. NPR and PRI programming through WEKU and are my chosen sources for news, education, and entertainment in the car and at home. Not only that, but WMMT (Mountain Community Radio) is our community’s (Appalachia’s) leading source for programming that is at the heart of our culture and community. I host a show on there once a month called Mountain Talk.
It was only a week or so ago, when no radio was playing, or TV going, Deladis broke out in her play as perfect as a radio announcer and said – “P…R…I… Public Radio International.” I felt the tears well again. Her gorgeous child’s voice, hearing words so beautifully. It’s an awesome thing for me as her mother to hear.
So, right now my heart hurts over the funding cuts proposed by our Congress to all public broadcasting – radio and television. It would mean the end of so many of the shows I value so much. Not only have they proposed this but also complete cuts of funding for preventing teen and unplanned young adult pregnancy programs, and cutbacks for initiatives geared toward maternal and child health. I have no clue what is going on here. I understand we need to budget, but there are so many programs wasting government money, not to mention the government itself, that I can’t see justification in cuts such as these. I don’t like to get political here, but in this case I have to write on it. Funding cuts for the arts, public broadcasting, family health, education, etc… really???
Read KET’s urgent plea here. Make your voice heard. Mr. Fred Rogers isn’t around to do it for us this time as he did in 1969. Can someone… can we fill his shoes?
I call it just a day. A real day. I spent time away from the computer. I opened and learned the new pressure canner I bought. We have so many tomatoes, and I know I need to learn to put things up. It’s part of it. Though I have heard the stories of pressure canners blowing people up, I know they must be relatively safe, and it is time I got acquainted. Tomatoes are supposedly easy to put up.
I hate reading manuals. I like my reading to have a narrative quality even if non-fiction. I’d much prefer learning my being taught by a breathing being, but time has not allowed me that, and none of my family that lives closer to us cans. I withstood the reading, working through the text step by step, trying to be hands on instead of reading and then doing. I readied 7 quart jars. I knew I’d fill those and have left overs. Yet, when I smashed in the tomatoes as instructed by the manual, I found that I could only fill 4 of those.
As soon as the jars were prepared, the girls and I got the best surprise. At my back door, stood my daddy. He had come just in time to be present for my blowing up the house. But, it all went off without a hitch. The best part is my daddy was smiling and seemed at ease. He has a job that carries with it a huge responsibility, and sometimes I wish he could leave it behind. I always remember my happy daddy fondly. Nobody else can be happy like him. When he is happy he can hold the world on his back and go with simple movements, unhindered, laughing. Oh, the laughing.
Dad helped me fix the air conditioner away from the stove. Our little wall unit blows the flame on my gas stove, so I had turned it off. It was like a sauna in the cabin. He couldn’t stay long and we were alone again. The jars finished processing. I did my yoga practice. Ivy napped. When I got the jars out of the canner, I got this…
Floaters. I should have poured off the juice I got after packing and put in more tomatoes. The jars are sealed though, and John’s Mamaw – canner extraordinaire – says they are going to be just fine to eat. They will be used for soups and sauces this winter. I’m so pleased that the blight didn’t wipe them out this year like our last year’s crop. We are making progress even if baby steps. We’ll eventually walk with few stumbles, then glide.