IS THIS OUR INDIAN SUMMER? – News From The Hills

The warm days that we experienced in October may have been called Indian summer, but according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it comes after a killing frost or hard freeze. We certainly have had that; three hard frosts in a row has blackened all the summer flowers and laid the garden low.

The almanac

Read more

CAN WE HAVE A TURKEY FOR THANKSGIVING? – News From The Hills

This is a true Thanksgiving story, and one that is dear to my heart for we knew the principal characters featured in it.

Brother Harry Craig was a traveling evangelist, and his wife Sister Myrtle Craig was his faithful companion. He was a short man, but what he lacked in stature, he made up for it

Read more

MEMORIES, A GIFT FROM GOD – News From The Hills

All day my heart has been on Hickory Knob. As I stepped outside and the rich, earthy smell of fall wafted toward me, I was transported back in time to a backwoods place that was a paradise to us. There’s no other place on earth that has that indescribable aroma, compounded by fallen leaves, rich

Read more

THE LAST BIT OF SUMMER – News From The Hills

October is spinning out her days of gold under the deep blue skies of autumn. Summer is gone, taking with her the wildflowers that marked her days, and hot days of sunshine. The cheerful songbirds that warbled throughout the day are heard less and less, as flocks of them have departed for sunnier

Read more

‘TO SUMMER’ – News From The Hills

I heard the katydids tolling your death knell last night. In fact, the lonely, haunting dirge has sounded out for weeks now. They are singing of change, and cold, and a white, creeping death that will come to summer and singer alike.

You don’t look as if you are dying, Summer. In the midst of your

Read more

MASTER STORYTELLER TALKS OF LIVING AS A HOBO – News From The Hills

I loved cold winter nights when I was a little girl. After the dishes were washed and put away, the zinc water buckets were filled up from the pitcher pump down at the Virginia office building (and I can still hear Mom saying, “Larry, have you brought in the night water?”) we would gather around

Read more

OUR CURIOSITY KNEW NO BOUNDS – News From The Hills

Fall weather is trying hard to enter our hills, with a few premature yellowing leaves drifting down from trees that are beginning to look tired and worn. Robed in regal purple, tall ironweed rules the meadows and fields, while wild sunflowers lend their bright yellow flowers in lovely contrast. These

Read more

JIST SIX WEEKS ‘TIL FROST! – News From The Hills

The Katydids were hollering loudly last night, just as they have been for awhile. Their quarrelsome din echoes back and forth as they declare, “Katydid!” and the answering cry comes back, “She didn’t!” I can hear my Dad say, “Jist six weeks ‘til frost!”

There is plenty of folklore concerning

Read more

REMEMBER WHAT MOM USED TO SAY – News From The Hills

Autumn seems to have stretched forth her hand and is displaying her beautiful flowers in our hills. The official date on the calendar is weeks away, but you can see her in the bountiful patches of black-eyed Susan’s that grow on the road banks and pasture fields. The Joe-Pye weed is beginning to

Read more

DEVASTING LOSSES FROM THE FLOOD IN W. VIRGINIA – News From The Hills

July 4, 2016 will be one holiday that will live on in the memories of many people. Some folks are calling it a thousand year flood, and I’ve never seen anything like it in my lifetime.

I wrote in my dairy on Thursday, June 23, “Boy, what a rain! A thunderstorm moved in about 5:30 this morning and

Read more

CELEBRATING THE STRAWBERRY PICKING SEASON – News From The Hills

The hot rays of the summer sun beat down upon us yesterday, as spring gathered her floral skirts about her and departed from our hills. The summer solstice began Monday as we experienced the longest day of the year-17 hours of daylight. It also ushered in the Strawberry Moon, which had not occurred

Read more

APPLYING OUR HEARTS UNTO WISDOM – News From The Hills

It seems that the viney honeysuckles are always blooming on the banks of Clay at graduation time. Its yellow and white flowers, and sweet, unforgettable scent, still brings back memories of my own high school graduation. Although it has been 64 years since I stepped up and received my diploma, poignant

Read more

JUNE, A TIME FOR LOVE AND MEMORIES – News From The Hills

May has gathered her full green skirts about her and left our hills, allowing June to enter with her roses, brides and graduates. Each year brings a new crop of high school graduates; proud and tearful parents and relieved teachers. June is a delightful month, a tantalizing prelude to summer. The

Read more

TIME STOPS FOR NO ONE – News From The Hills

It has been 63 years ago, since I graduated from high school. The viney honeysuckle is climbing over the banks below the old school building again, just as it always does at graduation time. There is no scent that brings back the memories of high school days like the perfume of this flower. I can

Read more

AS I LOOK BACK AT THE YEARS (2) – News From The Hills

The waters of William’s River run swift and cold. It rushes around huge boulders, cresting in white spray and moves swiftly onward. It looks deceptively shallow, but is deep and very swift-moving. Rhododendrons line the bank, and dip down to the water.

Yellow-spotted trout lilies are blooming there

Read more

AS I LOOK BACK AT THE YEARS – News From The Hills

“LIFE BEGINS AT 80”—Author Unknown
We oldsters surely get away with a lot just because we’ve managed to keep breathing longer than most folks. I will celebrated my 80th birthday, and I’ve got it made!

If you forget somebody’s name, or an appointment, (or go on the wrong day) or what

Read more

GENTLE APRIL SHOWERS HAS BLESSED THE HILLS – News From The Hills

REMEMBERING
by Hazel Bias Browning
(With apologies to Thomas Hood)
Ah, I remember, I remember
That company house where I was born
Deep in a coal camp hollow
Upon a windy March morn.

I remember, I remember
The hardships that we knew
That only brought us closer
As a family proud and true.

I remember, I remember

Read more

THE SOUNDS OF SPRING ARE EVERYWHERE – News From The Hills

The earth is waking up from its long winter’s sleep and is coming to life once more. Over the hills, and across the meadows and fields, the grass grows greener each day. Yellow crocuses and creamy jonquils greet the day in cheery fashion, and the rejoicing of the songbirds fills the early morning

Read more

SPRING AWAKENS LIFE IS GOOD – News From The Hills

The sun is shining brightly on this spring day, with a restless March wind blowing through the budding maple tree. Spring peepers announce loudly and persistently that spring has arrived. From pond and puddle, their shrill piping resounds in a jubilant chorus. At daybreak, the songbirds greet the

Read more

SPRING WAS SINGING THIS MORNING – News From The Hills

February has left the hills, and no one seems sorry to see her go. She has always been a hard month to endure, leaving behind dirty piles of leftover snow and muddy soil everywhere. Son-in-law Bob calls it a “tweeny” month, stretching between winter and spring, sort of like the month of August,

Read more

YESTERDAY IS A CANCELLED CHECK – News From The Hills

The sun is shining brightly from a deep blue sky on another winter day, although it is cold and frost is lingering on the hills and meadows. It has been an extremely mild winter so far, with patches of green grass in the meadow where the cows still graze.

There is much greenness in the woods even in

Read more

WHAT DREAMS ARE MADE OF – News From The Hills

Winter has opened February’s door with icy fingers and allowed snow and frigid winds to enter our hills. We shiver under the onslaught of cold wind that lowers our freezing temperatures even lower with a wind chill factor, and we long for warmer weather.

So many songbirds, especially lovely red cardinals,

Read more

MONTH OF JANUARY IS ALMOST GONE-WE WILL MAKE IT! – News From The Hills

THE WIND
AT MY CABIN DOOR
By Ross David Fortner, Jr.

Howl, mighty Wind,
Breath of winter come, knock upon my cabin door.
Beckon my soul to wander
Upon your mighty gale,
To enter into myself,
And find some solace, real.

Blow around my shuttered window,
Rattle every loose latch,
Remind me of my mortality,

Read more

IT’S A BRAND NEW YEAR – News From The Hills

The beginning of a brand new year puts most folks in a reflective mood-pondering over the past year and wondering what the new year has in store for us. After the bright festivities of the Christmas season, the year of 2016 seems to be off to a dismal start. Gray skies and spattering rain greet us,

Read more

MEMORIES OF CHRISTMAS’ PAST – News From The Hills

I am back in the old Jenny Lind house of my childhood, and it is almost Christmas time. Waves of memories are washing over me.

It is snowing, and the wind is rising. It howls about the eaves of the house where the icicles hang in crystal spears and creeps in around the window facings. We turn the open

Read more