Putting Up Hay–An Appalachian Memory

We’re finally having some truly warm weather with days that might even be what you would call “hot.” And as summer approaches, I’ve seen some folks in the area start to put up the first cutting of hay. When I was a kid, the first cutting typically came pretty close to the last day of school. For so many children, summer meant freedom–going to the pool, plenty of time to play, vacations. For my brothers and me it meant working in the hayfield–or the garden. Until I got old enough to be more help than hindrance in the field, my job was to carry Mason jars of ice water out to the workers. Not a hard job, though fresh-cut stubble is mighty hard on bare feet. When I got a bit bigger, I stacked bales as they were tossed onto a wagon moving slowly through the fields. It’s important to alternate rows for a secure stack. Some days I got to drive the tractor which is almost fun until you get to a steep hill and have to stop and start without jerking bales (or people) off the wagon. And there was always the need for extra hands to unload the wagon (we used a hay elevator to carry the bales to the barn loft) and to stack the hay inside. I can remember more than one rush to the barn as dark clouds swarmed the sky. Rain is NOT good […]

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At Last–Three Book Contract!

Signing the contract

I returned from a visit home to WV to find my three-book contract from Bethany House awaiting me. Last time I returned from a WV trip my agent contract was waiting. Seems like visits home are good for my writing career! Which is appropriate, because while my primary writing goal is to glorify God, I also hope to bring positive […]

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Seven Ways to ROCK Appalachia

creek rocks

When I was younger, people would ask my dad what we farmed in West Virginia. “Rocks, mostly,” he would say. And it was true. Every spring he would disc the garden and we would harvest a trailer load or two of rocks that would be broken up and added to the dirt road leading to the house. I don’t know how […]

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In Case of Emergency . . .

Our power was out for a little while yesterday afternoon. It was in the 40s with rain and WIND. (What happened to spring?!?) After reading, revising, cleaning, and watching my husband bounce around bored, I suggested we leash up Thistle and go investigate the outage. This was a foreign idea to my husband. But for a girl who grew up in West Virginia, it’s just what you do. If you see an ambulance or a fire truck, you don’t just hope everything’s okay. You jump in the car and go see who’s in trouble. Might be you can help. If there’s been a storm and trees are down, you put the chainsaw and a come along in the back of the truck and go see what you can do to clear the roads and help the neighbors. If someone is broken down on the side of the road, you pull over and see what you can do. Change a tire, drive them to the nearest gas station, poke around under the hood, shoot the breeze–there’s probably something. Now, this is NOT rubbernecking. Slowing down to watch someone else’s trouble is rude. This is about trying to find the problem so you can see if you can help. It’s neighborly. It’s friendly. It’s taking care of one another. Thistle and I did find the source of the problem. A tree was down in a neighbor’s driveway and the power company had […]

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