SPRING SONGBIRDS ARE SINGING – News From The Hills

The spring songbirds are lifting their voices in praise to their Creator this morning; they have deserted the feeder and are singing from the tree tops. Song of Solomon says it best, “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in our land; the fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.” (Song of Solomon, Chapter 2:11-13)

We may not have fig trees, but Larry Taylor of Charleston reports that the azalea bushes have new leaves, and adds that, “The flowers will bloom again–spring is on its way.” I can hear Daddy singing once again, as he did at the beginning of each spring season, “Springtime is coming/Sweet lonesome little birdie/Your echo in the woodlands I hear.”

Spring seems sweeter and more welcome this year after the hard winter we have endured. Actually, it wasn’t that the winter was so harsh, it was the month of February. At the first little hint of spring, it makes the heart rejoice.

The wildlife here in the hills have had a hard time foraging for something to eat, but now the tender twigs and green plants will provide sustenance. The Lord takes care of the animals also. I found this scripture in Joel that reads, “Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength.” (Joel 2:22)

Speaking of wildlife, we have another coon hunting tale that was sent in, and declared to be true. It came from Bob Abston of Idaho, whose young roots were in Campbells Creek. Here’s his tale, in his own words: “A cousin from New Jersey brought a coon hound to my Uncle Benny, who lived in White Star Holler. (There were three hollers there–White Star, Blue Star, and Red Star.) Uncle Benny said I could have the old dog if I would come and get him.

“My dad drove me to Blakeley and I told him that I would walk to Uncle Benny’s and get the dog and walk back through the mountains to Tad on Campbell’s Creek–over 20 miles, but I wanted that dog! It took me all day and by the time I got home I was too tired to hunt until the next evening.

The dog had a big scar across his nose and I was told it was where a coon had got him. I found out later that he got it from an old soup can that had been opened by a knife instead of a can opener. He was trying to eat out of it!

The big night arrived and Cousin Vince, friend Rondell and I headed up Graveyard Holler. Oh, by the way, there was one other thing they forgot to tell me–the dog was afraid of coons! Vince was in the front with a kerosene lantern, I was in the middle, and Rondell was in the back with an old 12 gauge pokestalk.

“About that time, the old dog smelled a coon and came to us with his tail tucked between his legs, and wouldn’t leave us. Just then, either a feral cat or a bobcat let out a squall that sent shivers up our spines. I jumped, and a blackberry vine caught me in the shoulder and came loose and slapped Rondell in the face and neck. He thought sure that the squalling creature had jumped on him and he let out scream that scared me and Vince half to death.

“Vince and I took off running, and in the confusion Vince fell and broke the lantern. Three young boys got out of that holler (with no light) in record time.”

“The dog beat us back home.”

Bob added, “Sometimes I miss the hills of West Virginia. In my mind I can still go back to those nights when the humidity hung heavy and made for such good tracking. The dog I remember most was a little stray that came to our house. Cousin David named him Tarzan–he was going to name him Red Skelton, but he couldn’t spell it!”

That is why memories are so precious–you can go back and relive the good times in your mind and enjoy it all over again. It is good to let the bad times fade away into oblivion, and let the good memories shine brighter.

Don Norman of Elyria writes that he tried the recipe with angel food cake mix and crushed pineapple and pronounced it good. He said it didn’t cut well, but you can pull it apart with a fork. He also said that it was ‘way too much for one old man!

We had an inquiry about the word “catawampus” and wondered if I knew the meaning of it. Daddy used the word to describe something that was askew, or cater-cornered. (Only we said “catty-cornered.) The dictionary “Whistlin’ Dixie” gives another meaning as “a hobgoblin or fierce imaginary monster.” He also sent an old newspaper clipping describing a mysterious beast roaming the Maryland countryside, seeking what it may devour. They called the fearsome beast a “catawampus.”

The 80-year-old man who sent the clipping said the only time he heard the word was when he was about five or six years old (back in WV) he and his grandmother was going for a walk, and it was cold. She said, “Put on my catawampus.” He put on a sweater.

MARCH
By William Wordsworth
“The cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest,
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising,
There are forty feeding like one!
Like an army defeated,
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill,
On the top of the hill;
The Plowboy is whooping-anon-anon:
There’s joy in the mountains,
There’s life in the fountains,
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!

Cheryl Belcher is looking for a home remedy for hiccups for a friend. I’ve found that a spoonful of dry sugar will stop them on me. Anyone know of a good remedy?

Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published.

> Read Full Biography
> More Articles Written By This Writer

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Alyce Faye Bragg

She writes the "News From the Hills" column. Born and raised in the country, and still lives on the same farm where she was raised. Has a sincere love for nature and the beauty of the hills. Began writing in 1981 & currently has three books published. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer