Tag Archives: appalachian culture

All I want for Christmas is a whimmy diddle

The whimmy diddle (sometimes called a Hooey Stick or Gee-Haw) is an Appalachian folk toy that has been around for centuries. It’s fashioned from two sticks of laurel or rhododendron into a rubbing stick and a slightly thicker notched stick. The whimmy diddle makes a characteristic sound when the one stick is rubbed back and […]

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Hard work, fresh air, and plenty of food

Shortly after taking office in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt announced plans for creation of a “conservation army.” FDR at first saw the Civilian Conservation Corps primarily as a forestry organization — fighting fires, planting trees, thinning timber stands, stopping soil erosion and floods — but the field personnel of the State and Federal agencies involved […]

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The Santa Train pulls into town

In Appalachia Santa Claus comes the weekend before Thanksgiving. Since 1943, the Santa Special, more commonly known as the Santa Train, has traveled 110 miles through the mountains of eastern Kentucky, southwest Virginia and northeastern Tennessee to distribute loads of candy, toys and other goodies to eager bystanders, most of whom have made it a […]

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And the goats are fine, thanks

The poet who penned “the fog comes in on little cats’ feet” moved to western North Carolina for the sake of the little goats’ feet. Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg and his wife Paula had lived for 17 years on Chicago’s foggy shores by Lake Michigan, but left it all behind in 1945. Flat Rock, […]

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I used to flesh them by hand

“I started working at tanning when I was fifteen years old and I’m 63 now. It’s hot. Like putting your nose right on the grindstone all the time– day in and day out like taxidermy. Deer hides, deer skin products, clothes, bags, coats — we do the whole thing right from the rawhide to the […]

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