Peggy's husband provides most of these postings. Most stories are adapted from ones Peggy
loves to tell. The next time you contact Peggy, enjoy a storytelling version of your favorite.
|February 28, 2011
|Last sunset this February
|March 7, 2011
|March 6, 2011
|Ready for Winter to be over dance
March 06, 2011, A foretelling, yet to come
fall of seventy-nine, the mountain area was in a recession. All through the seventies, Peggy had home-crafted dolls, quilts,
and mountain toys; marketing them through the Blue Ridge Hearthside Co-op.
One day, Peggy
said, “David, since we don’t have a renter for the space in front of the office, let’s put our woodworking
equipment in there. We can make things to sell through the co-op.”
I responded, wondering how this endeavor would work. “What are you going to make?”
let me have a pattern for a rocking horse. We can start by making those. They’ll sell at Christmas for thirty-five dollars
weather is bad, surveying is slow. We might as well try.”
After Christmas, we happened
to run into Gene, a carpenter we knew from one of the surveying jobsites.
I bought one of your rocking horses,” he greeted.
made it,” I chimed in.
matter,” Gene said. “She signed the tag and she’s going to be famous someday.”
|February 20, 2011
|February 27, 2011
|After the rain
|February 26, 2010
February 27, 2011. The developer
editing Peggy’s latest book, “Served Cold”, as in revenge is best served cold. One of her characters
reminds me of a former client.
In the late sixties,
Harold, a surveyor we worked with, had a client, Joe, who, with his good ole boy network, decided to mass grade flat all of
the land in and around Boone as commercial property. At the same time, a real estate development family was turning Beech
Mountain, the setting of Peggy’s first novel, into a ski slope, the Land of Oz theme park, and a resort community. Harold
left to work full time for them, leaving his files, including Joe’s with us.
Peggy kept asking,
“Why are we doing Joe’s work, he’s a pushy and obnoxious drunk.”
I would reply,
“We’ve got his files and I feel obliged to continue working on his projects until Harold goes back into private
Peggy was right
though. If Joe was obnoxious on a good day, he was just plain belligerent when he had been guzzling the bottle. One time,
Peggy was bending over a worker’s desk reviewing some survey documents with him. Joe walked by and smacked her on the
derrière. Peggy’s anger flashed and she threatened him with bodily harm. She demanded he leave and never return.
request, sometime later, Joe was back being pushy again. We were all trying to accommodate him, but nothing would appease
him. Peggy told him to leave.
Not knowing she
was a black belt in Karate, had trained three times a week for ten years with a group of skilled men, and could take down
a two hundred pound man in less than six seconds, Joe turned to Peggy and ordered, “You get back to the house before
I slap you.”
say that to Peggy, much less Joe say it. I knew what was coming and headed for Peggy. She crossed the room, had Joe backward
over the desk and was going for the groin when I grabbed her in a bearhug.
run!” I yelled, as I pulled her off him, hung onto her for dear life, while praying she wouldn’t turn on me.
Being three sheets
to the wind, Joe had no idea what would’ve happened if Peggy got to him again. The idiot reached the door, stopped,
and started cursing her.
“Get out!” I yelled. “Or I’ll turn her loose.”
He left and went
to Harold’s office bragging he should have slapped Peggy.
at Joe and said, “Don’t you realize she is trained to kill with her bare hands? Glenn breaking your jaw was nothing
compared to what she would have done to you. You best go back and pay David what you owe him, for he just saved your life.”
Joe went to pieces.
Harold’s wife had to go out to his car and bring Joe his nerve pills before he could stand up and leave.
Of course, Harold may have exaggerated a little, but Joe never came back.
I was greatly
|February 19, 2011
|Moonset in the morning
|February 20, 2011
|Februar 15, 2011
February 20, 2011, An inch is as good as a mile
Back when Peggy
had a kennel, she and her friend, Susan, from Wilkes County did a lot of trading. One hot summer day, Susan called Peggy up,
“I read in the want ads there’s some birds for sale down in Moravian Falls. Let’s go look at them.”
Peggy said, “I’d love to get some more birds.”
up Susan and headed down Highway 421.
out,” yelled Susan as a beat up pickup truck pulled out in front of them.
that was close,” Susan said as they swerved to miss him.
they would be trading with some Moravians who have customs similar to the Amish, Peggy and Susan showed up in tank tops and
short cut off blue jeans. They caused quite a stir among the young men woodworking in the shop portion of a big barn. Their
supervising elder, the seller’s uncle, scowled at their attire with obvious displeasure.
On the way
to the loft, passing through the animal section of the barn, Peggy noticed some large ears. “Do you have a mule in there,
whispered the nephew. “You’d best not call him a ‘mule,’ if my uncle’s listening. That’s
his prized buggy horse.
for some birds and headed home.
A couple of
weeks later, the nephew had some rabbit cages to sell.
the pickup and they headed out.
out,” screamed Susan as the same beat up truck pulled out in front of them.
believe he was waiting for us again,” quipped Susan as they swerved.
must be working an insurance scam,” quipped Peggy as they laughed.
took them to another section of the farm to show them the cages.
“I’ll take all I can get on my truck,” Peggy said.
“Okay,” replied the nephew. “But, I have to leave before you get them loaded. Go
back and leave payment with my uncle.”
Peggy and Susan
piled all the cages they could on the truck. Peggy found some bailing twine and tied them on the best she could.
When she got
back to the uncle’s place, he looked at her loading job. Even though Peggy and Susan were in their normal skimpy summer
attire, his stern demeanor changed.
He burst out
laughing. “Looks like, I’ll have to reload your truck.”
His wife sent
out their daughter to chaperone while he restacked the cages and roped them down.
On the way
back, Peggy and Susan decided to go get a snack at Taco Bell. Peggy went bopping into the drive-through lane.
Susan hollered. “We’re loaded too high for the clearance bar.”
Peggy screeched to a halt under the bar. She stuck her head out the window. “Half an inch to
spare,” Peggy said and went on her jolly way.
|February 13, 2011
|February 13, 2010
|Three Muscovy ducks
|February 13, 2011 Grandmother Mountain
|Carroll Gragg homeplace on Grandmother Mountain
February 13, 2010, A Valentine plan
best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy! Robert Burns 1785
In the Seventies,
we rented office space near Boone. Peggy’s grade and high school classmate, Jerry, lived with his wife, Vivian, in one
of the apartments above the office. Jerry was building a house on some steep ground nearby. After finishing the house, Jerry
worked with us surveying.
One winter day,
Vivian came by and confessed to Peggy, “I cashed Jerry’s National Guard check and went shopping. He’s going
to kill me.”
Always being one
for dandy ideas, Peggy said, “You need to get him in a good mood before you tell him.”
I going to do that?”
that big picture window on your new house that overlooks the driveway?”
be dark when Jerry comes home from work this evening. You ought to turn all the lights on and be standing stark naked in the
window as he comes up that steep driveway. He’ll forgive you for anything.”
Next morning when
Jerry came to work, he was so mad at Peggy, he could hardly stand it.
Vivian had followed
Peggy’s advice. When Jerry looked up and saw her, he ran off the road. It took the rest of the night to get his truck
pulled back up the mountain.
|February 06, 2010
|Peggy loves the smell of the blossoms on her little orange tree
|February 06, 2010
|Geese in sync
|February 06, 2010
|Peggy's got the cookstove burning - time for breakfast
February 06, 2011, Hay proposition
One summer in
the Eighties, it rained every day. None of the local farmers had been able to put up any hay. Some mid-west farmers heard
about our plight and sent us several loads of hay. When the hay arrived for distribution, Peggy drove her car to the local
raining, I didn’t think we’d be able to pick up the hay today. I’ll have to go back home and get the truck,”
she told an assistant county agent.
“No, you won’t,” Robert grinned. “If you’ll help me with the paper
work, I’ll haul your hay in my new truck.”
Robert must have
had second thoughts about using his new truck, and conned Billy Bob into hauling Peggy’s hay by promising she would
give Billy Bob a special treat for hauling her hay.
Peggy’s hay, Billy Bob hung around.
Peggy was beginning to feel
Bob asked, “Do you ever fool around?”
red-hot temper flared. “No, I don’t,” she snapped. Then a thought occurred to her. Robert had a hand in
this. ‘I’ll kill Robert for this,’ she thought.
think so,” Billy Bob said, head hung, face dejected, and totally embarrassed.
Peggy sought to
ease the tension between both of them. “Do you?” she added.
I get,” he beamed. “If you decide to, will you let me know,” he asked eagerly.
Peggy mumbled. “You’ll be the first I’ll let know.”
The more Peggy
thought about what Robert had done, the madder she got. When she confronted Robert for putting her in a difficult situation,
he said, “You mean he tried?” and burst out laughing.
When Peggy told
me about the incident, I laughed too — but not for long, Peggy was about to cause me bodily harm.
|January 30, 2011
|Morning clouds from pasture
|Sunday afternoon 1/30/11 at Whitetop, VA
|Goats congregating in church yard
|January 30, 2011
|Willow tree still has some midwinter color
January 30, 2011, Foscoe phonics
Although our teachers
tried to learn us correct pronunciation, we still use our Appalachian dialect. One day when Peggy was at the local Extension
office, she overheard one side of a maintenance workers’ telephone conservation.
some wiar. Can you bring me some down?”
I need you to bring me some wiar.”
Then his dialect
changed … “Will you please bring me some wire?”
Saturday was our
oldest son’s birthday, reminding me of a midwinter Saturday about thirty-three years ago when he was about eight. Because
the weather was mild, I decided to saw some lumber on the mill. He went with me, but, when I tried to crank the power unit,
it didn’t have any compression.
I mumbled to Trampas, “the valves are stuck. I’ll have to take the head off and free them up.”
you mean, which one? “Which one,”
he repeated. “A, E, I, O, or U?”
|January 23, 2011
|Western sky at sunrise
|January 23, 2011
|Eastern moring sky
|January 24, 2011
|Moon set on a January moring
January 23, 2011, What can you say?
When our youngest
daughter, Amanda, was about five, Peggy was active in karate. When she left for class, she always said, “Bye bye, I
off to play with the boys.”
During that time,
we had a Siamese cat that needed a tom. Peggy knew Gale had a Siamese tom and called him on the phone, “Gale, our cat
needs a little loving.”
“Well bring her on over.”
be a good time?” she asked as it was around suppertime.
a good time,” he replied.
Amanda and Caleb rode with
us to Gale’s. Much to our surprise when we arrived, Gale had a house full of company. One of his relatives had passed
away and they were having the wake. Didn’t faze Gale a bit. He and Peggy put the cats together down in the basement.
“Let’s give them
some time together,” he said. “Come on in the house and have something to eat while we wait.”
His relatives and friends
welcomed us in. Everyone was talking with each other, when Amanda piped up, “Which one’s your wife?”
not here, we don’t live together anymore,” Gale told her.
“Oh, she must be like mommy,” Amanda said. “She goes out and plays with the boys.”
were shocked into silence as Gale and I burst out laughing, while Peggy tried to explain.
|January 11, 2011
|Calm before evening storm
|January 16, 2011
|My tree of life is on the right
|January 16, 2011
|FOR SALE, Jim Bob, the bull
January 16, 2011, Passive aggressive
It was a
dark and snowy night last Tuesday. Peggy and I had been to town earlier to mail books and pick up feed, making me late for
milking. Since my work has been slow due to the economy and weather, I had been doing most of the farm work enabling Peggy
to write more (she is 120 pages into her next novel). I had fed the bull, milked the first cow, and was giving them some hay
when I noticed that the bull had pushed his feed pan outside in the snow. Earlier, when I had started doing most of the work
alone he had been aggressive, needing reprimanded with a jab of the pitchfork quite often.
Peggy had constantly
warned me, “You watch that Jersey bull, he’ll get the best of you when you least expect it.”
|January 16, 2010
|Dawning of a new day
Well, the bull and I had settled into a passive routine.
I didn’t bother him and he didn’t bother me. Without hesitation, I went into his stall and out into the snow
to retrieve the feed pan. Just as I got the pan, he butted me down, pinned me into the snow-covered ground, and crushed the
breath out of me. He wouldn’t let me get away and started a routine. He’d catch his horns in my coveralls, flip
me like a rag doll, pin me down, mash the breath out of me, and then push me through the snow across the pasture. I was helpless,
and although I fussed vehemently at him, he just kept playing his game for fifteen to twenty minutes until he finally pushed
me into a grove of white pines Peggy had planted 30 years ago for Christmas trees.
trapped me against the base of one of the trees. I gulped for breath. When he eased off to flip me again, I reached up, grabbed
a limb and started pulling myself up in the tree. He butted my legs, but I managed to get up in the tree. The angry bull kept
circling the tree. I thawed
my fingers by putting them inside my coveralls for about five minutes until they had enough feeling to get the cell phone
out of my jeans pocket and call Peggy.
“Hello,” she answered.
come make sure the bull goes to the barn, so I can get out of this tree?” I asked.
“Up a pine
tree in the pasture.”
About that time,
I noticed the bull had quit pacing under the tree, so I climbed down, dragged myself through the pasture, scrambled across
the fence, and headed toward home. I called Peggy, told her I was okay, but she met me at the creek and helped me the rest
of the way.
saw the condition of me, and my coveralls, she called our son, Brandon, to watch her back so she could finish the
work. While waiting on him, she got her rifle, but couldn’t find where she put the shells.
“I prefer we take the bull to the market," I told her. "I want some compensation for my
When they got
back from the barn, they had checked out the trail looping through the pasture to the tree and found my flashlight, hat, and
gloves, but not my glasses.
Peggy said, “You
do remember what I told you about a Jersey bull don’t you?”
and now … I’m a true believer.
else to say?” she asked.
the old adage is right ... ‘If you’re born to hang, you’ll never drown’… and … I’m
sure glad you planted that tree.” “It may have saved your life.” Peggy said as she examined
my bruises. “Thank God and Carhartt, you’re not a goner.”
|January 5, 2010
|January 9, 2011
|Great Pyrenees on the chase
|January 9, 2011
|Blossom and her calf, Bull-durham
January 9, 2011, She’s may be a Blackbelt,
but hopefully she’s almost harmless
On Friday morning
after milking and feeding, Peggy and I were walking back from the barn where a new calf had just been born and Peggy’s
four dogs were being extra protective.
there,” she said. “Someone’s hunting in the orchard with dogs. If
my Great Pyrenees see them, those beagles are dead for sure.”
called.” I replied.
going over and tell them to leave.”
go on to the house and split some wood for the cook stove.” I said.
When I came in
with an armload of wood, our oldest daughter, Tonda, had come to visit.
Mom?” she asked.
some hunters over in the orchard and went to check them out?” I replied.
she asked. “You didn’t go with her?”
“No, I think
it will be all right. She’s gotten rather good at self-control. I’m pretty sure she won’t hurt them.”
I said and went out to split more wood.
|January 5, 2011
|Clouds colored by the rising sun
When I brought the wood in, Peggy was back.
Peggy said, “Tonda
was laughing when I came in and repeated what you told her. She couldn’t believe you were more concerned about those
hunters than you were me.” Then Peggy asked me, “Did you really say that?”
I admitted. “I thought Tonda was concerned same as when she was little and the Yankee owner of the horse barn confronted
you and demanded, ‘My boarders have the right to ride on your land anytime they want.’ Remember how scared Tonda
was? Although you were in your ninth month of pregnancy with our fifth baby, you tore the woman’s blouse and chased
her back across the road leaving her with the warning she’d better never jump on you again.”
Tonda was crying. When asked what was wrong, Tonda had said, “Mommy, I was afraid you’d kill her, then they’d
come arrest you, and you would'nt be able to take care of us anymore.”
|December 29, 2010
|Blossom warming in morning sun
|December 31, 2010
|Granddaughter chucking snowball
|December 27, 2010
January 2, 2011, The bull went a courting,
he did go
In the mid-seventies,
Peggy traded for an Angus bull. Ermiter seemed content with our farm until he caught wind of our neighbor’s cow, two
ridges over. He just couldn’t resist the call of romance and took off .
Peggy, “Have you got a black bull?”
come a courting,” Spence chuckled.
get David, and we’ll come drive him back home.”
We took a lead
rope, headed over the ridges to Spence’s, rounded up the bull, and started back home, going cross-country. I was leading
the bull and Peggy was bringing up the rear driving Ermiter with a switch, being he wasn’t anxious to leave his newly
found female friend.
We came through
a clearing, went down a hillside, and were headed toward the creek when we ran into an old five-strand barbed-wire pasture
I stopped, “Uh
oh… how are we going to get him through the fence?” Before
Peggy could respond, the bull lowered his head, caught me in the rump, and rammed me through the fence, snapping the rusty
wire. “Reckon he answered that question,” Peggy grinned,
as she beat the bull off me.
|December 24, 2010
|Moonset in the moring
|December 26, 2010
|Home alone in the dark
|December 25, 2010
|Inside looking out
December 29, 2010, A sure cure?
Picking up a high-blood
pressure prescription this week, Guy, our pharmacist for forty years, quipped, “Peggy wouldn’t need this if she’d
quit sitting on her butt writing all those books. She needs to get out and do what she normally does.”
but she feels compelled to write during the winter,” I told him.
Talking with Guy
reminded me of an incident about thirty-five years ago. I had complained to Peggy. “I’ve been feeling kinda puny
dozens of animals along with all the children, she was used to minor ailments. She looked me over and said, “You’re
wormy. Go by Dr. Hagaman’s office and ask him to give you some worm medicine.”
This was back
when you could drop by the doctor’s office without an appointment. I happened to go by when he wasn’t busy.
your problem,” asked Dr. Hagaman.
“Peggy said I’m wormy.”
well, he grinned. “Well, if she says you’re wormy, then I guess you are. I’ll write you a prescription.”
I stopped by the drug store on the way home that evening.
Guy looked at
the prescription and a big grin brightened his face. “Wait just a minute,” he said as he went to fill the order.
He came back with
one great big horse-size pill and a cup of water. “Here,” he said, “I want to make sure you take
this,” he chuckled.
Much to his delight,
I swallowed the pill down.
To this day, I
have no idea what I took, or what Dr. Hagaman wrote on the prescription. One day, maybe I’ll get the courage to asked
Guy what tickled him so.
|December 17, 2010
|December 19, 2010
|Fun on ice
|December 19, 2010
December 19, 2010, We’ll be home for Christmas?
One Christmas Tree season,
Amanda, our youngest daughter had just started driving.
She volunteered, “Dad,
since school’s almost out, Linda and I want to take a couple of days off early. We can go help mom on the tree lot in
She and Linda, her childhood
friend, just wanted an excuse to get some Florida sunshine, but they prevailed. Having car trouble on the way, they just barely
made it before Peggy put out an APB for them.
That season, Peggy kept
the pickup truck with her to deliver trees. She had an accident.
She called and said, “David,
when I put the brakes on, they just wouldn’t stop the truck.”
“Well, go get them checked,”
She had them checked at the
Sears store across street from the tree lot. They assured her they were working okay.
Just before Christmas, I drove
Peggy’s car down to pack up for the trip home.
When I arrived, Peggy said,
“Drive the truck and check out the brakes.”
After doing a test drive,
I told her, “They seem okay to me.”
When starting back home, Peggy
warned me. “Watch out, the truck brakes won’t hold when you brake hard.”
She drove in front. Caleb,
our youngest who had helped Peggy the entire season, rode with Amanda and Linda in the middle. I brought up the rear.
Traveling I-75 through mid
Florida, we came over an overpass onto stopped cars behind an accident. ‘Uh oh, Peggy’s right, I can’t stop
in time.’ Crash, I plowed into Amanda, ramming her into Peggy. We managed to get the banged up vehicles off the road.
A patrolman came up the center
median and hollered at Peggy. “Is everyone all right?”
Peggy hollered back, “Yes,
“Good, stay with them
till I find a way over there.”
He finally got to us, started
doing the paperwork, then chuckled, “This is the first time I’ve had to do an accident report on three vehicles
from the same family. The insurance company won’t be happy, but, at least, I don’t have to write a ticket”
Peggy’s car was drivable.
We rented a big U-haul truck, put Amanda’s car inside, and used the rental truck to pull mine on a dolly.
When we finally got home,
Peggy flashed that ‘I told you so’ look and quipped. “Bet you’ll fix the dad blasted brakes when you
repair the truck.”
|December 10, 2010
|Across a frozen pond
|December 12. 2010
|December 12, 2010
December 12, 2010, Aw shucks
Just married, Saturday,
March 13, 1965, Peggy and I were heading up Highway 88 dragging a bunch of tin cans behind the car.
Peggy said, “Why
don’t you stop at Mahala’s Store and get rid of those noisy cans. Get us some ice cream too.”
I came back to the
you grinning about?” Peggy asked.
in there was about our age. When I was paying for the ice cream, he asked, ‘Who’d you marry?’.”
you tell him?”
‘I married the prettiest girl on Sugar Tree’.”
“He kinda looked
forlorn and said ‘Aw shucks… you mean you married Peggy Poe?’.” Of course,
Peggy gave me that look I’ve come to know rather well, “You’re lying to me, aren’t you?”
|December 5, 2010
|Cold weather is back again
|December 5, 2010
|Late Fall snow
|December 2, 2010
|Late Fall Morning
December 5, 2010, Foscoe nightmare
It was a dark and
stormy night, late fall 1960. An Appalachian State College kid was thumbing back to school after his Thanksgiving break. His
last ride had only gotten him to upper Foscoe, and it had started pelting rain, then sleet, and then snow. He was soaked
and shivering, but no one was coming by.
Finally, he saw some
lights coming toward him. ‘Maybe, I’ll get a ride,’ he hoped. Oddly, the car approached at a creep, never
changing speed. It got to him, but didn’t stop. He decided he couldn’t stand being cold anymore, so he walked
with the car, opened the door, and got in.
“Sorry to barge
in like this, but I was freezing to death,” he said, turning toward the driver, but there was no one driving. ‘This
is weird,’ he thought, ‘but staying here in the dry is better than getting back out in that weather.’
Then he noticed that
there was a curve in the road up ahead. He was just about to reach over and grab the steering wheel, when an arm reached through
the driver’s window and turned the steering wheel... just about freaked him out. ‘Thank goodness,’ he thought,
‘I see some neon lights up ahead. I’m getting out of here.’ When the car got to the lights, he bailed.
He happened to be
at Wheeler Norwood’s café in Foscoe.
“Give me something
stiff to drink, I’ve just had an eerie night,” he told Wheeler.
you know Watauga County’s dry? Here’s some strong coffee,” Wheeler said, handing him a cup. “Now tell
me, what’s got you all shook up?”
The college student
told Wheeler about his experience.
spooky,” he said, “but there must be some explanation.”
About that time,
two locals walked into the café.
“Hey, Roy Blaine…
Isn’t that the crazy guy who jumped in the car while we were pushing it to the gas station?”
|November 23, 2010 from Foscoe
|11-10-28 from Grandfather Rd looking across Foscoe
|Morning sunshine streaming in from Sandy Flats
|November 23, 2010
November 28, 2010, Thelma’s rooster
This week, I got
a call from an elderly unmarried woman who farms on the other side of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
can you come over and look at some land I need surveyed?” Thelma asked.
Peggy rode with
me and we got to talking about all the times she and Thelma have traded livestock, especially chickens.
Once, Thelma called
Peggy, “Honey… have you got any extra roosters? I need one.”
now, but Margaret Taylor is coming over today. I’ll see if she has some extra.” Peggy said.
Peggy called Margaret,
and she had one. She brought it to Peggy in a 50 pound paper feed sack.
Peggy put the
sack in the back of her car, and after Margaret left, we drove over to Thelma’s.
brought you a rooster,” she greeted Thelma, and they headed to the chicken house.
loose in here,”
Peggy turned up the sack and
dumped the rooster out. Much to their shock, the feed sack had a plastic lining.
he’s dead,” Peggy stared down on the rooster, completely at a loss for anything else to say.
Thelma studied the expired rooster, and then turned to Peggy, “Honey…
no one has ever presented me a dead cock before.”
|November 21, 2010
|Willow tree basking in the morning sun
|November 21, 2010
|Sunrise lighting a frosty valley
|November 21, 2010
|Full Beaver Moon
November 21, 2010, Miscalculation
tree season our youngest son turned sixteen, Peggy said, “With Caleb driving, I’ve decided we can truck our own
trees to Florida this year.”
I said, “We tried that once. Didn’t work out so well. The rented truck broke down on every trip I made.”
will be different, I saw a good looking red cattle truck on sale for $2000, the same as it would cost me to hire a semi.”
that vintage ’63 two-ton truck beside Highway 105. I’ll have to make too many trips — if it will even make
the trip.” I complained.
won’t. Caleb can pull a trailer load with the camper,” she responded.
learned, it’s easier not to argue with Peggy. The ‘woes of the red truck’ is another story. Suffice to say,
we got behind schedule and were traveling through South Carolina at dark the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving. I was
in front, Caleb was in the middle, and Peggy was bringing up the rear.
came over the CB, “That trailer loaded with Christmas trees just blew a tire. Watch out, he’s losing control.”
It took both lanes, but Caleb
managed to hang with it. Finally, he slowed it down and pulled over.
we going to do now?” he asked.
have to take that wheel off and hope the remaining wheel will hold the load until we can get a new tire.” I replied.
We removed the
wheel and slowly drove to the next exit. Unfortunately, it was out in the country, and there was only a restaurant and gas
station. We decided to have some supper while we pondered our options.
takes a special size tire that we can only find at a tire store. I doubt any tire stores will be open tomorrow since it will
be Thanksgiving.” I said.
Peggy asked, “Anything
else that will work?”
off a mobile home will work.”
we’d better ask someone local if they have one to sell,” Peggy said.
I saw some fellows
standing outside the restaurant.
blown a tire on my trailer. You know anybody around here that might have some mobile home wheels to sell?”
I might have some. Wait here and I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes.”
like he’d been crawling under a trailer, the gentleman came back with two wheels.
are just what I need. How much do you want for them?”
give $25 for one of them?” he asked?
give you $20 each for both of them,” I replied.
That won’t do. I have to have at least $35 for both of them,” he said.
got a deal,” I grinned while handing him two twenties. “Here’s your $35 plus a $5 tip.”
A few years ago, one of Peggy’s friends had the job of introducing her at a meeting.
things bigger than anybody else,” was one of the things the friend stated about Peggy.
I tended to agree,
but I didn’t think much about it until yesterday when I came back from an all-day seminar to find Peggy looking a bit
tired and dirty.
you been doing?” I asked her.
flowers,” she said. “And I’m exhausted. Will you cover them up for me?”
I told her, got the shovel and rake and headed outside. How was I to know she had literally planted two thousand flower bulbs
and had used the track hoe to dig the holes.
|November 13, 2010
|November 13, 2010
|Early morning sun on Grandfather Mountain
|November 14, 2010
November 14, 2010, About time
Back when Peggy
was tree farming, she was at the County Agriculture Extension office one evening. Robert, a feisty young assistant agent, loved
to torment her. He pinched her on the rear, just for bedevilment.
she retorted, “if you ever do that again, I’ll bust your mouth.”
bust my mouth,” he challenged while bouncing around the room. “I can block you anytime I want,” he teased.
she warned. “You do realize I’m a black belt in Karate?”
difference,” he taunted.
know what’s coming,” she replied, getting more aggravated.
just try to hit me,” he danced around Peggy trying to get her to hit him. She had enough.
Smack! She backhanded
him on the mouth before he knew what was coming.
He started bleeding
all over the place from a split lip and had to go wash up.
The next day he
was at the adjacent county office.
to your mouth, Robert”, they asked.
me”, he admitted as if it was an everyday occurrence.
A few evenings
later, we were at the Farm City banquet.
Our local Extension
agent asked Peggy, “Did you really bust Robert’s mouth?”
Peggy was worried
that he would reprimand her, but replied, “Yes, I did.”
The agent grinned,
“What I want to know is why it took you so long?”
|November 6, 2010
|Evening at sunset
|November 6, 2010
|Skif of snow in the morning
|November 7, 2010
November 7, 2010, The value of a compliment
To assist farmers
in the transition from growing Burley tobacco to Christmas trees, the county extension service purchased a tree planter implement
to loan to the area farmers according to a sign-up sheet. When convenient, instead of making pick up and return trips to the
agriculture office, the farmers would pick up the planter at the previous borrower’s farm. Peggy picked up the planter
from a farmer on Three Mile, and used it for her allotted term.
Moze, a quiet
shy older bachelor from Altamont, was next on the list. He came one warm spring morning after I had gone to work and the children
had gone to school. He found Peggy working in the garden in nothing but a tank top and cut-off blue jeans, as she was craving
he said, “I’ve come to pick up the planter.”
she said. “The planter’s on the tractor up on the ridge where we finished planting last night. Ride me up there
and I’ll get it.”
He took her up
to the tractor in his truck.
we going to load it on my truck?” he asked.
at the barn,” she told him.
When she got to the barn, she
pulled under a hoist she had rigged on a beam in the barn hall, unhooked the planter, and then drove the tractor out of the
barn. Moze watched as she hoisted the implement up in the air.
it, and I’ll set it down on your truck,” she said.
Moze backed his truck under
the planter and watched as she set it down in his truck bed.
ma’am”, he said and drove off.
Several days later Peggy was
at the extension service office.
the world did you do to impress Moze so?” asked Bob, one of the agents.
that I know of,” replied Peggy.
must of done something special.”
did he say”
really bragging on you,” grinned Bob. “Said, ‘You know… a woman like that would be worth a million
dollars to a man’.”
waiting … but he’s never been by to do any trading. If you read this, Moze … she’s still worth, at
the least, half that much.
|October 30, 2010
|Fall evening at yard pond
|October 30, 2010
|Witch hazel in bloom
|October 30, 2010
|Witch Hazel and bull
October 31, 2010, Animal Farm
Authors and playwrights rely
on our ‘suspension of disbelief’ to entertain us with stories that would otherwise be unbelievable. In Animal
Farm, George Orwell’s farm animals behave just like us and our politicians — even the sheep and
pigs end up walking on two legs.
Back when Peggy
had a dog kennel, she arranged to meet with a lady wanting to look at a puppy. The lady arrived early and waited in her
car for Peggy to return from running some errands. When Peggy got back, Ziggy, our Pomeranian, came running out to meet her.
Ziggy had always
been Peggy’s special pet and she doted on the dog, and the dog doted on her. When
our daughter ran her car over Ziggy and broke his pelvis, Peggy carried him wherever she went. When she stopped carrying him,
he still followed her – by learning to balance and walk on his front legs. When he was almost healed, he often walked
on four legs until he hurt, then he would walk on his front legs again.
The lady got out of her
car and pointed at Ziggy. “That dog, he… he…” she stuttered in bewilderment, not knowing exactly what
walking on his front legs again?” Peggy grinned. “He dreams of staring in Animal Farm and has been practicing
for the ‘two legs better than four’ scene.”
|October 20, by PPS on adventure with sometimers
|Linville River above Linville Falls
|October 20, by PPS on adventure with past timers
|Nobody's home - on the way to Wiseman's View
|October 21, 2010
October 24, 2010, Similes and Metaphors
One time, the
High Country Writers invited an English professor to give a presentation on writing at their meeting. His topic was on similes
To get started,
he said to the group, “Write a simile starting with — Writing is like …”
After awhile he
said, “Now start over here and read them out loud.”
turns reading their sentences — “Writing is like cooking an egg; you try for sunny side up, but it comes out scrambled.”
is like riding a bicycle; you’ve got to keep it balanced or it’s a wreck.”
Finally, it came Peggy’s
turn. She read, “Writing is like being constipated; I know I’ve got it in me if I can just get it to come out.”
There was a moment
of silence, and then the entire place filled with laughter.
After they calmed
down, the professor told Peggy, “I’ll never allow you to read out loud again.”
|October 17, 2010
|Moody Mill Creek
|October 17, 2010
|October 17, 2010
|What's a matter deer?
October 17, 2010, Terms of embarrassment
The husband of
our current US Representative has always picked at Peggy. He often tries to get her in an embarrassing situation — just
to challenge Peggy’s recovery response. Once, the Northwest Development Association held a meeting in a near-by county.
During a break, Peggy was in line getting coffee and donuts along with a couple dozen men. They
were standing around chit chatting as they waited their turn. Tom came over and handed Peggy two dollars.
Puzzled, she asked,
“Tom, what’s this for?”
Tom replied in
his booming voice so everyone could hear, “Why Peggy, that’s for last night.” He paused, “And, frankly
my dear, it wasn’t worth that much.”
Peggy could feel
the color rising in her face, but decided she wasn’t going to let Tom best her in front of the men. She handed him back
right Tom, it wasn’t.” She paused, “I only charge a dollar an inch, so here’s one back.”
guffawed. One man, delighted, slapped Tom on the back, “I guess she told you, ole son.”
|October 10, 2010
|Turkeys gleaning after second cutting
|October 10, 2010
|October 10, 2010
October 10, 2010, Mellow Yellow
At a NC State
Advisory Board meeting, everyone was taking a refreshment break.
would like to drink?” A server asked Peggy.
have a Mello Yello,” She replied.
you always drink Mello Yello?” a fellow board member asked her.
Puzzled he asked,
“And — how’s that?”
“It goes in and out the same color.”
"Blood Kin", Peggy's fifteenth novel, is available for
ordering by calling (828-963-5331), e-mailing, or using the purchase books page here on her website. Be sure to ask her to autograph yours. She will also be distrubuting books to to her local outlets
|October 3, 2010
|Some of Peggy's family at reunion
|October 2, 2010
|October 1, 2010
October 3, 2010, Good fences make good neighbors
At the Sugar tree Poe family
reunion, a group was standing around swapping tales.
some of your stories.” Peggy said to her cousin.
“No, I don’t
tell my stories,” he said.
“Oh, really? I’ve
been talking to your daughter, and she says you have some good ones.” Then Peggy grinned. “I’ve heard you
come up with some good ones myself.”
“You have not.”
“Yes, I have,”
she couldn’t resist the challenge. “What was that Barton guy’s name that grew trees?”
he said, giving her a skeptical look
Peggy continued. “We
were in Boone at a Christmas tree grower’s meeting. A group of people were gathered around talking during break. One
of the men looked at Will and asked him, ‘What’s this I hear about you suing a woman?’ Will became uncomfortable and explained a woman’s bull kept getting into his Frasier
Firs and tearing them to pieces. She ignored his pleas to keep her bull off his land. The third time it happened, he took
Peggy put her arm around
her cousin. “Remember what you told Will?”
“You turned to
him and said, ‘Will, if you’d helped her out a little, she wouldn’t have needed a bull.”
|September 25, 2010
|Early Autumn Sky at dawn
|September 22, 2010
|Last sunset of this Summer
|September 25, 2010
|Early Autumn Daybreak
September 26, 2010, Peggy's joke for
After the children were
all in school, Peggy assisted me in the field by running the survey instruments. At the jobsites, she became just “one
of the guys” swapping tales and jokes. Once on the way to a jobsite, we met with a developer and some of his representatives.
Everyone got to telling jokes. Peggy noticed that each of the men were losing
their hair, and decided to tell a joke of her own.
One day, this
old country fellow named Lee went up to his neighbors leading his cow. “Hello, is anyone home?’’ he hollered
Gertie came out on
“Is John home?”
he asked, scuffling his feet, somewhat embarrassed.
off to the mill to get some corn ground,” she explained, knowing good and well why Lee was there. “I can help
you with the cow.”
Lee thought it would
be embarrassing to have a woman assist him. “No, no, that won’t be necessary, but if you don’t mind, I’ll
take her to John’s bull.”
he’s out there in the barn lot”, she gestured.
Lee led the cow away.
Gertie went in the
house grinning and watched out the window. No matter what Lee did,
the bull wouldn’t pay attention to the cow. Lee got some feed and tried to coax the bull near his cow, but no matter
what he tried, the bull refused to put his mind on the job at hand.
After a good spell
of time passed, Gertie decided she would have to help. Ignoring Lee’s embarrassment, she ambled outside. “Don’t
look like you’re getting anywhere. Let me show you how it’s done.”
have much choice, so he just stood there while Gertie grabbed up a fair sized rock and started bashing the bull on the head.
Hair and skin flew off by the hands full. Soon, in self preservation, the bull
reared up and bred the cow.
When the bull was
finished, Gertie handed Lee the cow’s lead rope. “There you go,” she said. “Wasn’t so difficult.”
be,” said Lee, “I’ve never knew that would work.”
“Oh yeah, works
every time,” Gertie told him. “Haven’t you wondered why there’s so many bald headed men?”
|September 19, 2010
|Dogwood in morning light
|September 19, 2010
|Goldenrod in morning light
|September 19, 2010
|Late summer morning
September 19, 2010, Bring up the radio
After moving to the farm
in the Seventies, Peggy decided she needed to grow a cash crop to help on the payments. Wasn’t long till she was planting
five acres of Burley tobacco. That fall, curing was slow, so she had to figure out how we could get all the tobacco graded
and ready before the market closed. About that time, the market started accepting baled tobacco as well as hand-tied. Also,
there was a new machine out that stripped the tobacco off the stalk and put it on a belt for grading. She had us build the
balers from plans furnished by the Agriculture Extension Service. She also decided to purchase one of the stripping machines.
Since growing the crop had tied up all her reserves, she went to bank.
want to buy a tobacco stripper,” she told the banker, who happened to be a neighbor and had known Peggy for years.
he questioned with a twinkle in his eyes. “How much does this stripper cost?”
Peggy told him.
have to see it in operation before I’d spend a dime,” he added.
Peggy gave him a
puzzled look. “The tobacco isn’t in case,” she told him.
He was grinning.
“I’ve got to get a look at this stripper in action.”
a picture of it,” she handed him a brochure showing the tobacco stripper across his desk.
He chuckled and tossed
it back to her, picked up the phone and called another banker downstairs. “Charlie, bring up a radio. Peggy’s here to borrow money on a stripper and I want to see it in action.”
Charlie arrived with
a radio and a huge grin. “I’m ready for the show.”
Being stressed about
the loan, Peggy was naive to their joke.
Finally, after a
bit of laughter and a few well chosen comments, Carroll said. “Ah hell, Peggy, if you’re the stripper, you’ve
got the money.”
Peggy came home and
told what had transpired. One of the helpers looked at her and said, “Got the loan, didn’t you?”
|September 12, 2010
|Rafter of turkeys enjoying the morning
|September 12, 2010
|Cows grazing in the morining
|September 12, 2010
|Butterfly in the morning
September 12, 2010, Wherever we go, there
It’s interesting to
observe the infusion into local communities of people from off. Some were good neighbors where they came from and fit right
in. Others just aren’t a good fit, here or there – evidently, since they left there to come here.
Peggy was at the
Carolina Mountains Literary Fest last week. One lady complained, “My
folks are from here, but I’m not. I came back, and wrote a book about the area, but people here don’t accept me
as a local.”
A few minutes later,
another woman showed up and commented. “This would be a good place to live, if it wasn’t for the locals.”
We moved to Foscoe, thirty-eight
years ago. Our neighbor built a horse barn across the road to stable summer folks’ horses. He failed to realize the
boarders had differing values than local country folks. Livestock were constantly getting loose because the riders left the
fence gaps down. Finally, our neighbor had to limit the places the boarders could ride. Often, the process repeated whenever
the barn’s ownership changed.
Several years ago,
a gentleman from one of the exclusive developments here purchased some property adjoining the horse barn so he could have
his own private stable. He let a lady from the exclusive development board her horse at his barn. His farm didn’t have
enough land to ride on, so she decided Peggy’s farm would make her a dandy place to ride. Peggy told her and the gentleman
eight times we had enough trouble keeping the livestock in without their interference.
One day Peggy happened to see her riding on the farm. Peggy called her that evening to explain why she
should only ride in the public roads and on the trails maintained by the Park Service at nearby Moses Cone Estate.
After a few minutes
of polite conservation, the lady got haughty and said, “Obviously, you don’t know who, I am.”
care if you were the president’s wife. You're still not allowed to trespass."
“Well,” the lady returned. “I see right now that I’ll have to take you to lunch.”
"I don't care to eat lunch with you, but I do care about trespassers staying off my land."
She then told Peggy which state she was from. "The people there are honored when I choose
to ride on their land."
"Then you need to
"I'll ride when
and where I choose to ride."
Needless to say,
Peggy had enough and that red-hot temper of hers came to the forefront. She left few words unspoken – like the possibility
of trespassers being pulled off a horse and having the crap beat out of them.
The lady replied,
"I've been recording everything you've said."
Peggy said “Good.
You’d best play it back until you believe every word.”
Peggy has completed the manuscript for her fifteenth novel, "Blood Kin".
It should be available at the end of the month.
|September 5, 2010
|September 5, 2010
|Morning mist rising
|September 5, 2010
September 5, 2010, Chose your weapon
I overheard Peggy re-telling this story.
About twenty years
ago, Peggy, weighing in at one hundred and five pounds, had the appearance of being a petite lady. She raised small dogs and
became friends with another little lady, Susan, from Wilkes County, who also had a kennel. One summer, they decided they would
go look at some dogs in Fries, Virginia. If you mispronounce it, locals correct you with a twinkle, “Some think it's
Frys in the summer and Freeze in the winter, but it's supposed to be Frees all the time.”
They got to Fries
okay, but got so lost leaving town on the winding mountain roads, they lost hope of finding their way to the kennel.
Susan said, “What
will we do?”
Peggy said, “Looks
like we’ll have to stop somewhere and ask directions. I’m about out of gas.”
Susan asked. “We haven’t passed a house for miles.”
Then out in the middle
of nowhere, they came upon an unsavory looking tavern. One resembling every woman’s nightmare.
Peggy pulled in.
Susan grew concerned.
“Do you think it’s wise to stop here?”
not? We’re only going to ask directions.”
like the looks of things,” Susan objected.
for me in the car.”
“Oh, no. I’m
not staying here by myself.”
They went inside.
A bunch of rough looking customers were playing pool and drinking beer. They looked up, totally dumfounded at what had walked
through the door.
Peggy asked, “Can
anybody tell us how to get to Hardees? We’re lost.”
All of them
burst out laughing.
replied a rough looking character sporting a beard, a beer, and a pool stick. He then told them how to get back to Fries.
As they were walking
back to the car, slightly un-nerved, Susan said, “That creeped me out. Next time we go some place, I’ll carry
a gun with me.”
Peggy flipped up
the trunk lid of the car, pointed at her guns and asked, “Which one do you want, the rifle or the shotgun?”
if you’re in the area at the end of the week, come by the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville. Peggy’s presentations are scheduled both mornings, Friday and Saturday, September 10th and
|August 24, 2010 by Ree Strawser
|- Carol came from Mississippi to get dumped by a hay rake at Shatley Springs in Ashe County, NC
|August 24, 2010 by Ree Strawser
|Carol (left) blogger of 'The Writers Porch' on adventure with Peggy, Bart, Grace, & Ree @camera
|August 29, 2010
|Grandfather Mountain with cloud cap
August 29, 2010, The good life?
Almost two years ago, Peggy
figured if the economy got worse, she better prepare to ride it out by having her own milk cow again. She looked in the Agriculture
Review, and found a Jersey in Mount Airy, due to freshen in the winter and guaranteed to have a full Jersey calf. Well, the
seller was misinformed. When the
calf came, it wasn’t full Jersey, and the cow had previously had mastitis and was completely dry in all four quarters.
Although she returned the cow, Peggy kept the little bull calf to raise on a bottle.
She needed a fresh
cow to feed the calf and heard about a diary in southwest Virginia. She called to see if they might have some cows they
were culling out of the milking herd.
“This is Peggy.
Have you got a milking cow, you might sell?”
“This is Jim.
I’ve got one, not giving milk in two quarters, I’d be willing to part with. She’d make good cow for you.”
She traded for ‘Jolene’
and, of course, another little bull calf — which Jim put in a feed sack,
with its head sticking out, to ride in the truck cab with us.
Come Spring, Jolene
pleased Peggy so much, she decided Jolene needed company.
go back to the dairy and get another cow.”
got to be kidding.”
“No, if we’re
going to milk twice a day, we might as well milk two cows — one for each of us.”
This time she got
three more little bull calves, to ride in the cab, and ‘Chessie’.
balked while being loaded in the truck.
Jim cajoled her,
“Git on in there girl. You just don’t know what a good life you’re going to have.”
Peggy ended up with
eight bull calves. She now has three cows, two heifer calves, a bull, and is hoping for another heifer calf soon. There’s
nothing like a recession to give Peggy an excuse to get more animals on the farm.
|August 22, 2010
|August 22, 2010
|Sometime in the mid eighties
|Peggy feeding fawns, taken by Brandon
August 22, 2010, An apparition
One early summer in the
eighties, a farmer, who lives a couple of ridges over, came running down to Dave’s house. Dave is a local contractor
we often work with.
never believe what I saw,” he blurted out, at bit pale and a lot excited.
Dave asked, “What
in tarnation’s got you so tore up?”
“I was shooting
the crows out of my corn patch. Killed one and it fluttered down. Just as it hit the ground, a big white deer stepped out
of the woods, walked over and picked it up by the wing, turned and looked me right in the eyes. It had huge blue eyes. Mighty
scary, I tell you. I swore to it, if it didn’t harm me, I’d never kill a crow again.”
Chuckling, Dave kind
of hated to take the man’s unnatural vision away, but thought it was best if he did so. “Now calm down, it was
just one of Peggy Stern’s pet deer.”
The neighbor didn’t
seem inclined to believe Dave, so he explained. “The Wildlife people took some orphaned fawns over to Peggy and had
her raise them on the bottle. One fawn got confiscated from a man who captured it in Pennsylvania. It was of bigger stock
than our native deer and had blue eyes.”
To this day,
the farmer isn’t sure if Dave was “puttin’ him on” or telling the truth.
The schedule for the Carolina Mountains Literary Fest in Burnsville, NC has been posted.
|August 15, 2010
|August 14, 2010
|Yard pond in August
|August 8, 2010
August 15, 2010, Cowboy’n the pond
We moved here on
the farm in the early seventies. The bottomland had been mined for gravel during the construction of our local highway. The
old gravel wash pond is now our front yard, but at that time we lived up the hollow in a mobile home.
One summer Sunday,
out walking with the children, we heard a commotion going on down at the pond.
We hurried to see
what was going on. A neighbor redneck and his buddies were racing horses through the pond. Just as we got there, Claude’s
horse stumbled and went down under the water. Thrashing about, the horse got its front hooves tangled in the bridle. Claude’s
friends waded in and dragged the horse out, but couldn’t find Claude.
cowboy hat started rising out of the water as Claude came crawling up the bank, coughing up water.
swim — and — and — I've lost my false teeth.” Claude complained.
The men joined hands
and started pumping the horse’s stomach. After awhile the horse spewed out water and revived.
he’ll live,” Claude gummed, “but what’ll I do without my teeth?”
“I guess we’ll have to drain the pond to find your ‘chompers’,” Peggy said.
Next morning, going
to work at daybreak, I noticed the pond had drained and stopped by Claude’s.
The pond’s drained. Claude can go hunt his teeth.”
already been up and found ’em — wouldn’t eat breakfast or drive his semi off the mountain without ’em.”
Thursday, August 26, 2010, 7:00-8:00 PM
Western Watauga Branch Library
1080 Old 421 Highway
Sugar Grove, NC, 28679
Join local author Peggy Poe Stern for a book discussion of her book "Tamarack".
Everyone is welcome!
|August 08, 2010
|Duck and ducklings
|August 08, 2010
|Geese in flight
|August 06, 2010
August 8, 2010, Went to the doctor, the doctor
Last fall, Dr. Miller
reamed-out my plumbing. Peggy talked him into letting let her observe the operation. Watching the grinding procedure on the
monitor fascinated her, especially when the doctor explained to her everything that was going on.
This week, nine months
later, I went back for the second post op check up. After Doc finished the bend-over exam, I said, “Peggy told me to
ask you about my bursitis.”
“My elbow is
swollen up and I have lots of joints aching.” I showed him my elbow.
He examined it. “If
you go to an orthopedic doctor, they will just drain the fluid off.”
“I know. Peggy
has already drained it once.”
“If she does
it again, make sure she sterilizes the needle with lots of liquor or moonshine. What kind of book is she writing now?”
to write one about ghost stories. People seemed to be intrigued about ghosts”
a ghost story book last winter.”
“She sure is
diversifying,” he said. Then, returning to doctoring, “The ‘roto-rooter’ procedure worked. All your
tests look good. You won’t need another check up for a year.”
be happy about that. They should give you an award.”
should.” he grinned. “You know — you’re in mighty good health for the condition you’re in.”
|August 1, 2010
|First foggy morning in August. Folklore forecasts number of February snows by foggy August mornings.
|July 31, 2010
|Pat, Martha, Peggy, and Carroll at Black Bear Books. Pat & Carroll traveled from Knoxville to visit.
|July 26, 2010
|What's going on behind the screen door?
August 1, 2010, The bang of the screen door
Summer weather is comfortable in the
mountains. Traditionally the only barrier between the inside and the outside is, at most, a screen door. At our house, the
ease of entry led to the habit of visitors just coming in — letting the sounds of the screen door alert their arrival.
From the front door, you can
also see down the hall and through the kitchen. Once, the UPS man was setting some packages on the porch and noticed smoke
coming from the kitchen stove. He walked in, turned off the stove, and came downstairs to my office.
“David, I turned the stove
off. Peggy’s burning lunch again.”
Mountain people are ‘just
common’. Using first names is the protocol. Seldom, except for outsiders or medical doctors, is there distinction for
age or status. We’re startled if someone addresses us as ‘Mr. or Mrs. Stern.’
One summer morning about 7:30,
I was downstairs doing office work. Wearing only her briefest undies, Peggy was in the kitchen cooking breakfast. The screen
door opened. In walked Ted, a realtor with a British accent. He came down the hall to the kitchen.
“Good morning, Mrs. Stern!
It’s good to see you.” He beamed, turned the corner, and went down the steps to the office.
Several years later, Peggy happened
to meet Ted at the bank.
His eyes twinkled as he said,
“Good morning, Mrs. Stern! I haven’t seen you in a while.”
|July 25, 2010
|Goat in crack of barn door
|July 18, 2010
|Summer evening at Moody Mill Creek
|July 25, 2010
|Sign reused as stall partition
25, 2010, Saving Peggy
The first year Peggy sold
Christmas Trees in Naples, the younger children and I traveled down and helped her set up the lot. We came back after Thanksgiving. She stayed on the lot in a pop-up camper. The police noticed she was all
alone and kept an eye on her, as two other tree lots had been robbed. Bill, a young police officer, was very diligent to write
his reports while parked on the tree lot. He and Peggy became close friends.
At the end of the
season, Peggy sold out of trees, and I flew down to help her clean up and drive back home. I arrived late in the evening. We were tired and went to bed just as it was getting dark.
|July 25, 2010
|Another sign now used as barn ceiling
It wasn’t long
until someone was beating on the camper door. “Peggy, are you
in there?” came a man’s voice.
Peggy replied, “Yes,
“Open the door,”
Shocked by his order,
Peggy told him, “I’m not dressed.”
“Put your clothes
on and open the door, now!”
Peggy let him in.
Trembling with adrenalin,
hand shaking near his pistol, he came over to the bed and demanded, “Show me your driver’s license.”
I handed him my license.
Bill whirled around,
went out to the squad car, got the speakerphone, and announced, “You can stand down now. He really is her husband.”
Bill came back in
and handed me my license."Good to meet you. We were afraid Peggy might be in trouble. Dispatch reported a strange
man taking Peggy into the camper and not coming out."
Black Bear Books has invited
Peggy to participate in their Grand Reopening and Customer Appreciation Day, Friday and Saturday, July 30 & 31. Our local
Country Corner store is catering the picnic lunch on Saturday. See Calendar of Events page for details.
|July 17, 2010
|An utter rinse before milking time. Jolene, the lighter cow, had a heifer calf this morning.
|July 18, 2010
|Butterfly on butterfly bush
|July 18, 2010
|Partly cloudy morning
July 18, 2010, Whitefish
tree season our son, Brandon, got his high-school buddy, Chris, to help harvest trees. While they were cutting trees, a young
man showed up seeking work.
He found Peggy tagging
trees in another field, and said. “I need to earn some money. They told me at the store that you might need some help”
“We sure could
use some help.” She pointed to a tree patch. “Go up there. Get Brandon and Chris to show you what to do.”
Chris and Brandon
loved to joke around. They nicknamed the young man, ‘Whitefish,’ and teased him all day.
In the afternoon,
Whitefish asked Chris. “How much money does she pay us?”
Chris replied, “Oh,
she doesn’t pay us money. She gives us a Christmas tree.”
“But, I don’t
need a tree, I need money.”
“In that case,
she’ll buy it back from you.”
“How much will
she pay for my tree?”
Chris gestured at the field of trees. “She’s got all these. Why would she want to buy yours?”
Whitefish got concerned.
He hunted Peggy up. “Do you only pay in us Christmas trees?”
get a notion like that?”
He told her what
Chris had said.
“Chris is just
teasing you.” Peggy chuckled, and told him how much she paid.
Someday I’ll tie him to the front of a vehicle and ram him into a tree.”
week, Peggy wrote some; made books; picked blueberries, apples, beans, squash, cucumbers, tommy toe tomatoes; and canned a
lot. She went to the Farmers Market in Asheville to buy peaches, okra, and sweet onions that don’t produce well here.
Since her tomatoes and bell peppers weren’t quite ripe, she got some to add to the okra and onions so she could can
a squash gumbo. Seems we won’t go hungry this winter. Also, she says “I’m
already tired of milking twice a day.”
|July 11, 2010
|July 11, 2010
|Geese and Lillies
|July 11, 2010
|Tina, the mannequin
July 11, 2010, “The ‘Tina’ mannequin”
When the children were small,
Peggy took Karate classes to stay fit. After a while, she and Larry, her instructor, started playing practical jokes on each
other. One day, Peggy went by Cato’s Dress Shop, where Tina, the only other girl in the karate group, worked. For some reason, they walked back in the dimly lit stock room. Peggy saw the arms and legs of a mannequin
sticking out of a trashcan.
Peggy asked, “Why
are you throwing the dummy away?”
“She’s broken,” Tina replied.
“Can I have her?”
Tina got permission
for Peggy to adopt the dummy. Peggy then noticed that the dummy resembled Tina, and they concocted a practical joke to play
|Many years ago
|Peggy competing in karate tournament
Tina and her boyfriend,
Ron, had a stormy relationship. One night after class, Tina went home early. Peggy waited at the dojo for her to telephone
Larry answered the phone,
“It’s for you Peggy, sounds like Tina’s upset.”
Peggy talked to Tina.
Peggy told Larry, “Ron
and Tina have been fighting again. Tina’s all tore up. She wants me to come over. Will you ride with me? I’m scared
that Ron might come back?”
“Yeah, it might
be a good idea if I went with you”
Larry and Peggy rode
over to Tina’s apartment. The screen door had been partly torn off by Tina’s,
German Shepherd, dog.
Larry said, “It
doesn’t look good. Better let me go in first.”
Larry opened the door
and flipped on the light. There, swaying from the ceiling, was Tina with her dog shivering under her. Larry’s adrenalin
kicked into high gear. Thinking, if he could just release the rope’s pressure around Tina’s neck, he might save
her; he lunged in and caught Tina on his shoulder. The mannequin went crashing up to the ceiling.
Larry wheeled around
to face Peggy.
mean. You’re mean!” Larry managed to get out as he slumped down in a chair.
and Peggy’s laughter, Peggy said, “I thought you would have killed me by now.”
“Kill you? I’ve
never been so relieved in my life.” After a short time of recuperation, Larry told her, “Let’s not play
any more practical jokes on each other. I don’t think my heart could survive your next one.”
For reasons unknown, our
son, Brandon, came by last week and decided Tina, the dummy, needed to be watching the garden. Reminded me of the dummy story
— one of Peggy’s favorite practical jokes. Peggy did get some writing time in during the week, and, hopefully, will continue with more this week.
|July 4, 2010
|July 4, 2010
|Goat at the barn
|June 29, 2010
4, 2010, "Hay Times"
brother arranged for her to pick up some hay out of a field in Virginia last week. I overheard them discussing the quality
of the hay — it was late for the first cutting because of rainy weather.
Peggy said, “The
hay is overripe, there won’t be much food value in it.”
Rick responded, “Maybe
so, but come winter, I’m sure the animals will like it better’n snowballs.”
of a time, about thirty years ago, Peggy bought some hay from a neighboring farmer. He volunteered to haul it home for her.
Ray and Peggy loaded the hay on his truck.
Peggy said, “Got
any rope to tie it down?”
need any. It’ll ride.”
“Ray, I think
we’d better tie the hay down. It’s a long ways from Mountain City to Boone.”
ride okay. I’ve hauled hay like this for years”
Peggy didn’t agree,
but figured he was older and wiser than she was.
went well until they got halfway home. Sure enough, the hay fell off in the busy highway, blocking both lanes of traffic.
Ray reloaded the hay, while Peggy got some twine from a lady living nearby. This time, Ray tied the hay down.
during hay season, Peggy went by Bob Egger’s farm. He was an older man with no family living close. Peggy always made
a point of giving him a hug.
She snuck up behind
him and clasped her hands over his eyes.
“It must be Pag-gy”,
he drawled in his mountain dialect. “I only get hugged twice a year, and both times, it’s by Pag-gy.”
They exchanged pleasantries.
Then Bob said, “Pag-gy, have you ever tasted white lightning?”
some hidden here in the hay. You need to taste a lit’le drap.”
I want to.”
ought to taste it at least once.”
Bob brought out
a quart jar filled with what looked like water. “Now, only take a lit’le sip,” he warned.
Peggy touched the jar
to her lips and discovered there was no taste. She thought Bob was funning her, as he often did, so she took a big swallow.
All breathing stopped as her face turned red and she began coughing violently— her throat was on fire all the way to
her stomach. She was gasping desperately for air.
Bob, held one of her
arms in the air and pounded her on the back, “Now, Pag-gy”, he admonished. “I told you — just a lit’le
in addition to the normal farming, gardening, and milking, Peggy went after hay, did some painting on rental property, made
some books, and enjoyed lunch with the Linville gals. Our neighbors, Karen Hall, a TV screen writer, and her husband Chris
Walker purchased the Black Bear Book store last winter. Their Grand Re-opening shindig takes place on July 30 and 31st.
Peggy is to perform the ribbon cutting. Peggy thinks she is somewhat caught up
and will be back to writing this week.
|June 26, 2010
|Peggy's new porch, photo by Amanda
|June 26, 2010
|View from thrid level porch, photo by Amanda
|June 26, 2010
|Granddaughter's wedding, photo by Amanda
|June 26, 2010
|Peggy and calf milking
|June 26, 2010
|A husband's kiss, photo by Amanda
26, 2010, “Peggy’s porches”
In 1972, we had a little
home on a small lot in a subdivision. Although the developer let Peggy garden a vacant lot, she was miserable without a farm.
We found one hundred acres adjoining Julian Price Park on the northern end of Grandfather Mountain. With no structures on
the land, and too many payments to budget, we traded survey work for a salvaged singlewide mobile home.
We multiplied with children,
and in 1983 we started building a house, just as our oldest daughter was getting married. Although modest, the house was to
have a wrap-around porch on three sides (the side porches were never roofed). The back area was enclosed with glass as southern
porches for solar heating.
Soon, the southern enclosed
porches (basement and two living levels) weren’t big enough to overwinter Peggy’s plants. When she got her track-hoe,
she dug out the basement level to enlarge the porches. We had to move out the southern glass wall and add a sloping glass
roof on the upper level.
One winter, a heavy
snow load collapsed the unroofed eastern porch. Once again, Peggy started digging with her tract-hoe. This time she enlarged
the porch and enclosed three levels with glass for three-season rooms.
This spring, our oldest
granddaughter asked Peggy. “Can I get married here? Outside, like mom and dad did twenty-seven years ago? It will be a small wedding, we’re only inviting family and close friends”
Peggy replied, “Of
course, we’ll add a deck on the side of the lower three-season room.”
After the deck was almost
done, Megan told Peggy. “By the way, the almanac shows it might rain on our wedding day.”
“No problem, we’ll
just cover the new deck.”
I asked, “How
are you going to do that? You’ll block the light to your mid-level three season room.
Peggy said, “I’ve always wanted a greenhouse. We’ll cover it in glass, and I’ve decided it would be
nice to have upper porches on the front side of the three-season rooms.”
I said, “How are we going to do that?”
After starting on the
glass roof and upper level front porches, Megan came back by to talk with Peggy.
“We counted the
invitations. There’s going to be a least two hundred people at the wedding.”
that,” Peggy told her. “For twenty-seven years, I’ve wanted to finish the western porch.”
|June 26, 2010
|Bride arrives in Peggy's truck
The porch episode reminded
me of the time a local Appalachian writer, giving out another Book of the Year Award to Peggy, commented on Peggy writing
so many books. “Peggy does things bigger than everybody else,” she said.
Last week, in addition to getting
everything ready for the wedding — like painting two hundred eighty feet of new porch railings and mowing a couple acres
of lawn — Peggy found time to garden, help put up hay, and start milking again — one of the cows had a little
The wedding was great.
We wish the bride and groom a wonderful life.
This week Peggy says
she intends to write – after she gets her acre garden hoed.
|June 20, 2010
|Daylillies starting to bloom
|June 20, 2010
|Hay going up
|June 20, 2010
|Peggy at the garden
June 20, 2010, “Stories from the conference”
for her presentations at the Appalachian Heritage Symposium, Peggy almost went out of character — she got her hair
“done”. While at the conference, she attended another writer’s workshop. The instructor was intent on passing
out his handouts, never speaking, while the participants were enjoying talking with each other.
When he came to Peggy,
she looked at him and said, “Hi there.”
He stopped, looked at
her, and surprised her by saying, “Hello beautiful!”
Peggy chuckled, “I
like you,” she said, “but you’d better get your glasses checked.”
The instructor pulled
down his glasses, peered over them, and silently continued on.
always been one to like a good joke, especially good plays on words.
breakfast at the conference, a fly kept buzzing around bothering her. She tried shooing it away, but it kept coming back.
So trying to be discrete, she quickly caught the fly, and held her hand under the table, thinking no one noticed.
A man leaned over and
whispered in her ear, “Did you get it?”
She nodded, dropped
the fly on the floor, and stepped on it.
Later, as she was returning
from her car with books, another man came up to her with a twinkle in his eyes and said, “I heard about your talent
Peggy grinned and walked
luncheon, a man came over to speak to her.
“You really raised
six kids on a farm, and wrote all these books?”
At which Peggy replied,
“So I’ve been told.”
A woman there
commented to Peggy about having so many children.
Peggy said, “My
husband wanted twelve. I told him I’d meet a man half way and have six, which I did.”
“Did he help you
with them?” the woman asked.
she replied. “In the beginning, he had a hand in it.”
The conference is over and
was excellent. The camaraderie was tremendous, and Peggy was grateful to get to present a workshop and the keynote speech.
An old acquaintance contacted Peggy last week and made this comment; “I’m
so amazed at you, Peggy....you always packed more into your life than any woman I've ever seen.”
This Saturday our granddaughter
is getting married here on the farm. Hosting two hundred guests will be challenging, as that “packing” carries
over to Peggy’s “treasure finds” which overfill our home.
|June 11, 2010
|Morning at the meadow that needs mowing
|June 11, 2010
|Morning - waiting for a dry spell to mow the meadow
|June 13, 2010
|Peggy dancing with Roy Wiseman at the Orchard at Altapass
13, 2010 “The cows are out — again”.
night about ten o’clock, the dogs were barking, so I went outside to see what was causing the commotion. The cattle
had torn through the fence gap several times last week.
back in and told Peggy, “I heard a cow bellow at the barn. The dogs must have been barking at the lightning bugs or
later, I got to pondering and said to Peggy, “My motor-scooter was knocked over.”
“Uh oh, I bet the bull butted it over. We better check and see if the cattle are out.”
to the basement to get a flashlight. By the time I got outside, Peggy’s car was gone, so I went up to check the fence
gap. Sure enough, it was torn down. When I got back towards the house, Peggy was tearing back up the driveway, and I could
see blue lights flashing down the road.
“The cows are out, get a pitchfork and help me drive them home.”
As we drove,
she told me this story:
"I saw the blue lights flashing and suspected someone had called the sheriff’s department
because the cattle were out. Sure enough, two patrol cars had parked beside the road with several officers standing around
with flashlights on. I stopped and asked if my cattle were out."
“Somebody’s cattle are out,” one officer replied. “What color
I said, “They are Jerseys.”
“That explains it. — I’m familiar with Jersey bulls. He’s been
chasing cars and fighting us.”
I apologized for the trouble and told him, “The bull has gotten roguish and developed
a love of butting men. I plan on taking him to the sale tomorrow.”
“That explains it.” The officer repeated again, and grinned,” No
wonder he ran away from home tonight.”
week, Peggy wrote, edited, printed books, gardened, mowed, landscaped, and painted on some home improvements (notice the paint
still on her arms in the picture with Roy). She did take the bull to the cattle sale yesterday, and enjoyed meeting with
readers at the Orchard at Altapass today. This coming Friday and Saturday, June 18th and 19th, she will present a workshop
on novel writing and then be the keynote speaker at the Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium at the Southwest Virginia Community College at Richlands.
|June 1, 2010
|Geese in the morning
|May 23, 2010
|June 1, 2010
June 6, 2010, “Piglets”
Around 1978 Peggy
decided we needed to raise some hogs. A local farmer had some pigs to sell. Remembering her parents hauling tiny pigs, she
put a huge box in the back of her car, a 1972 Mercedes and went after the piglets.
The farmer asked; “How
are you going to haul the pigs?”
“Put them in that
box in the back seat of my car.”
“Are you serious?”
the farmer asked.
replied, and stayed in the house with the farmer’s wife while he loaded the pigs.
Instead of ten-pound pigs
as Peggy expected, the farmer had eighty-pound shoats. He tied them in burlap sacks with their heads out and put them in the
When Peggy got to the car,
she was speechless. However, not knowing what else to do, she drove home with the shoats. It took her three weeks of cleaning
before the smell was out of the car.
A couple of years later,
Peggy was at an agriculture advisory board meeting with the county commissioners. At lunch, she was at a table that included
the farmer, also a county commissioner. He started telling them his story about selling pigs to a crazy lady who hauled them
in a Mercedes.
Delighted with his story,
The farmer said; “Peggy, I know you don’t believe me, but it’s the gospel truth. I’m not making
it up. The crazy woman really did bring a Mercedes to haul her hogs.”
Still laughing, Peggy said,
“I believe you.”
“No, you don’t.
You’re laughing too hard.”
“Yes, I do. You see, the crazy lady was me.” She pointed through the window at the car. “Right
there sits the Mercedes.”
Peggy gardened, wrote, and edited last
week. Sunday, June 13, 1:00-3:00, she will visit with readers and sign books at the Orchard at Altapass beside the Blue Ridge
|May 25, 2010
|South end of Grandfather Mountain (Rough Ridge)
|May 30, 2010
|May 23, 2010
|David, with two great-grandchildren. Going to meet school bus and get the third (photo by Peggy).
May 30, 2010
“He’s a goner”
Peggy’s cousin had
a photograph of an older man in her handed-down collection of family pictures. She didn’t know who he was, so she emailed
a copy to Peggy. Peggy didn’t know who he was either. She printed it out
to show her mother and step-father, Price; since they were coming over to work in the garden
After the noon dinner, Peggy
showed them the picture. “Do you know who this is?
Mom said, “No, I don’t
recognize him, but he looks like he might have some Elder blood in him.”
Price looked at the picture,
“I don’t know him either, and if God doesn’t know him any better than I do — he’s a goner.”
Last Week, Peggy watched
the great-grandchildren, worked in the garden, edited books, and delivered books to AMY Regional Library.
|May 23, 2010
|Exbury Azalea in bloom
|May 22, 2010
|Where's the marshmallows?
|May 22, 2010
|Warmed milk before bed?
May 23, 2010,
“Now it’s your turn, Meredith”
This year, Peggy is sharing
her garden with her sister and their mother. Friday, they decided to get together and hoe in the garden. As always, Peggy
got to telling stories, but wanted to get everyone engaged.
Having finished a story,
She said to her brother-in-law who just recently retired, “Now it’s your turn, Meredith.”
Meredith replied, “Right
now, I don’t recollect any of my own, but I’ll tell you one that Sam Phillips always told. Here’s how he
told it to me when I was about ten.”
“When I was a young
man, I decided to go out west and become a cowboy. Well, come Spring, we had to drive three hundred head of cows north across
Montana. On the trip, we came to a river swollen by the spring rains. We rode up and down the river, but couldn’t find
a place shallow enough to cross. Finally, we found a tree a storm had uprooted, and it had fallen across the river. We got
to looking, and sure enough, the tree was hollow.
So, we herded the cattle
together and drove them into the hollow tree. When they came out the other side, we counted-up the cattle. Only two hundred made it across. We rode back into the tree looking for the missing cattle. Sure enough,
we found them. They had gone up a hollow limb. It took the rest of the day to get them turned around and out of the tree.”
Last week, in addition to
working in the garden, Peggy edited on some of her books. Mistakes seem to be like rocks in the garden, no matter how many
you throw out, there’s always many more turning up. She got a book order from the Elizabethton Library. If you live in East Tennessee, be sure and check them out. Also, AMY Regional Library ordered some of her latest books for the Avery, Mitchell and Yancey County branches. If you get to Blowing Rock, stop by
our daughter’s new shop, Tucker’s on Main, a bookstore and coffee shop at 1116 Main Street.
|May 16, 2010
|Glenda Beall and sister, Gay Moring at Book Fair
|May 16, 2010
|Water Lilies starting to bloom
|May 16, 2010
|Peggy checking out her garden with crow deterrent decoration
May 16, 2010 “Heat-spell”
When Peggy and her sister
were growing up, their father grew market beans on rented land along the creek-bottom. They always picked beans just like
the other work-hands. One night before the next day’s picking, Peggy set a pint jar of water in the refrigerator freezer.
She asked Shirley, “Do
you want to freeze some too so you can have cold water tomorrow?”
If you don’t, you can’t have mine.”
“I don’t want
any of yours.”
“Remember that when
it’s hot tomorrow,” Peggy said.
Next day it got blazing
hot. When Peggy went to get a drink, her jar was half empty. A worker told her Shirley was sneaking water from her jar.
Peggy finished what was left and decided she’d get back at Shirley. She went to the creek and half filled the jar.
Shirley continued sneaking
Peggy’s water, until it got even hotter and Shirley took a heat-spell. Everyone was fanning her, trying to cool her
down. Shirley asked for water.
They got Peggy’s jar
and gave her some water.
Peggy said, “You know
where that water came from don’t you?”
“Nope. I drank what
you left, and refilled it from the creek downstream of where the hogs were lying in the creek to cool off.”
“Yes I did”
Shirley jumped up from her
spell and ran Peggy through the bean field, “Wait till I get a hold of you.”
Peggy laughed, “Cured
from your fainting-spell, aren’t you?”
Last week, Peggy, Shirley,
and their mother hoed and planted in the garden. Wish I had taken a picture. Shirley worked really hard — only over-heated
Tuesday, Peggy enjoyed giving
a presentation at the Mitchell County Retired School Personnel luncheon. They were a great bunch — Phil even brought
a manuscript for Peggy to read. Saturday, Peggy enjoyed getting together with other writers at Asheville. A writer there,
who lives near the farmer of last week’s story, said the eighty-nine year old man just had hernia surgery. After which
he commented, “I’m too weak to even lift a petticoat.”
I’ve convinced Peggy
that she needs to give a few presentations this year. If your group is interested in scheduling Peggy for a presentation,
please contact us — before she changes her mind.
|May 5, 2010
|May 5, 2010
|Peggy, an evening till in the garden
|May 4, 2010
|Wisteria in the morning
May 09, 2010 “I’ve never met your youngest son”
In the Eighties, Peggy and
I were surveying a family partition for the farmer who sawed the lumber for our barn and house. At noon, we enjoyed a big
meal with his family.
While we were walking back
to the job, Peggy was talking with him, “I’ve never met your youngest son.”
He replied, “Yes you
have. He worked with us all morning and sat across from you during dinner.”
“But he’s blonde
headed, all of your other sons are dark haired.”
drawled the farmer with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. “Don’t know if he’s really mine, but he was sure
enough caught in my trap.”
Last week, Peggy edited on the "Hardnosed
Advice" book, bound a bunch of books, delivered an order to the Orchard at Altapass, and planted some more of the garden.
This week: Tuesday 10:00 AM, Peggy
will be making a presentation to Retired Teachers at Spurce Pine. Saturday, she will
be participating in the
Book Fair benefitting the Candy Maier scholarship fund for women writers:
May 15, 2010 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM
|April 29, 2010
|Peggy enjoying greenhouse at Biltmore Estate
|May 02, 2010
|Partly Cloudy Morning
|April 29, 2010
|Strolling under the Wisteria at Biltmore
on your own” May 2, 2010
Several years ago at a book
shindig, Peggy got to conversing with authors, Jack Pyle and Taylor Reese. They
ended up trading several books with each other.
Time passed, and they
became good friends and writing buddies. Peggy has never been content with her writing and has always sought to improve in
any way she could – be it writing classes or advice from other authors. She came to rely on Jack and Taylor’s
advice derived from their many years of writing experience.
One day Peggy asked Jack:
“After reading some of my work, who would you recommend I study with to improve my writing?”
Jack replied, “From
what I’ve read of your writing, Honey, from here on out, you’re on your own.”
This week, Peggy printed out the first
draft of "Hardnosed Advice for Writing a Novel." Also some readers from Rutherfordton invited us to tour the Biltmore House
with them. We had an enjoyable day getting to know them. The Orchard at Altapass invited Peggy to have some signings
this Summer. We'll post the schedule when confirmed. Have a good week!
|April 22, 2010
|April 22, 2010
|Two year-old great-grandson heading off to see the world.
|April 25, 2010
|Great-granddaughter swinging on the porch.
“Book bomb” April 25, 2010
Early one morning, last
August, I got a call from the Boone postmaster.
“Is Peggy expecting
a package from Roanoke, Virginia?” he asked.
“No,” I answered,
“but Peggy is a writer and someone could have sent her a book. Why?”
“The Roanoke post
office delivered us a package addressed to Peggy in a bomb proof container.”
“Why would they do
“Well, it has five
earmarks of a possible bomb. It’s a package weighing over 13 ounces, wrapped in brown paper, placed in a drop box, and
has no postage or return address”.
“Uh. You’d better
talk to Peggy”
Peggy and the postmaster
talked. Even though Peggy volunteered to come and open the package, the postmaster determined it would be necessary for the
Greensboro USPS bomb squad come to Boone and X-ray the package.
Later that evening he called
back. “It wasn’t a bomb. If you’ll pay the postage, you can come get the package.”
We paid the postage and
picked up the unopened package. It was a “Heaven-high and Hell-deep” book in new condition except the signature
page was torn out. The book’s return was a mystery. However, there was a bookmark at the page where Laine, grieving
over her baby brother’s death by bee stings, talks back to the preacher’s comment. “… He had a reason for taking that baby. God always knows what’s best.”
Laine had replied. “If
God let them bees kill Joey, I’ll never bend a knee to that &%^ of a */#<%.”
When serializing the
Laine books, The Avery Post often cleans up some of the characters’ speech. Peggy reasoned Laine’s response
offended some reader, so, after considerable thought, she edited Laine’s language a little.
This week Peggy
wrote her keynote address for the Appalachian Writers Symposium and worked on her book "Hard-nosed Advice on Writing
|April 15, 2010
|April 15, 2010
|April 15, 2010
|Dog, Jackson and great-grandson, Zane
April 18, 2010
Peggy has always endeavored
to write. Early on, she used a portable typewriter and it wasn’t long until she had several novel manuscripts typed.
Since Peggy typed profusely, the typewriter had a habit of miss-using and miss-spelling words. Many of the mistakes were humorous
and I would laugh when reading her drafts. She felt that I was laughing at her stories and would just keep shoving her work
under the bed.
The advent of the computer
changed things and Peggy started publishing novels. One day I was working in the office and a reader called.
“Can you send me some
I knew she had all of Peggy’s
books because I had just sent her the latest, so I asked, “Do you want more of the last book I sent you?”
“No, I want I want
some different ones.”
I told her she had all the
she have any other ones?”
“No,” then I
had said joking, “but, she’s got about forty drafts under the bed.”
me those” she replied.
A few weeks later, she called
Peggy, mad as a hornet. “Where’s my books?”
Peggy asked, “What
“The ones from under
This week Peggy said she had done "nothing",
but I know better. The animals and I are well fed; even the yard is mowed.
|April 9, 2010
|April 10, 2010
|April 10, 2010
|Inside the greenhouse
April 11, 2010
Last Sunday on Easter, a bunch
of the family came over to visit.
After lunch, Peggy asked our seven-year
old great grandson. “Would you like to go to the barn and help me gather eggs? We can put them in the incubator when
we get back.”
Xander asked, “Can I bring Hazel?”
Xander loved Hazel, a Dachshund dog that was heck on our chicken population. We had to given her to our oldest granddaughter,
and she had brought Hazel visiting with her.
Peggy said, “No, Hazel will have
to stay here. She kills and eats the chickens.”
Cleo, one of the Boston Terriers, followed
them to the barn.
Xander asked, “Won’t Cleo
eat the chickens?”
"No, she doesn't bother the chickens."
“Oh," Xander paused, "she’s
Peggy has spent the week preparing her
one acre garden for planting, writing a little, reading some, landscaping with the trackhoe, and started laying a
rock wall along the foundation of her greenhouse.
|March 29, 2010
|April 04, 2010
|Geese at sunrise
April 04, 2010
Right after Peggy wrote
her first book, she heard someone hollering in the front yard. The mother of our teenage granddaughter’s best friend
had shown up.
Jackie said, “I heard
about your book, and I've come to get one.”
Peggy replied, “I
don’t have any right now, but I’ll print some up. You can come back tomorrow if you want.”
and started to leave. She stopped, turned back. “You know, I don’t have a legacy for my daughter; so I’ve
decided to write a book, too. If you can write a book, I know I can — I’m a lot bigger than you.”
Most of the week Peggy enjoyed getting
out: cleaning off the garden, delivering books to Cutting Up in Spruce Pine, and starting plants in the greenhouse. Saturday
she spent a day writing.
|March 26, 2010
|Sunset across yard pond
|March 23, 2010
|Sunrise across yard pond
March 28, 2010
Every November, back when
Peggy was selling Christmas trees in Naples, Florida, she would call our banker to arrange a loan for harvest, trucking, and
tree lot expenses. By the time she got to the bank, Carroll would have everything
One year she told Carroll,
“I appreciate being able to come in and get a little whenever I need it.”
“Good gawd, Peggy!
Watch what you say,” Carroll returned.
His assistant chuckled.
Peggy was puzzled.
“Libby, Tell her what
“Oh no, I’m
not going there.”
Peggy still didn’t
catch on, “But it’s true? Can’t I come in and get a little anytime I need it?”
Carroll sputtered, “Hell
Peggy... it may be true… just don’t go spreading it around.”
This week Peggy was invited
to speak to the Retired Teachers meeting on May 11 in Mitchel County.
|March 17, 2010
|Dogs in the morning
|March 21, 2010
|Triplets - Three new kids
|March 21, 2010
|Twins - Two more new kids
March 21, 2010
Last Winter’s harsh weather reminded me of an incident in
the mid-seventies. We had several surveying employees at the time and were working in the office because of the bitter cold
weather. A rush job needed some fieldwork completed. I asked, “Will anybody go finish the job on Rich Mountain?”
It sounded like we were in the Little Red Hen story, “Not
me, it’s too cold.”
After getting the children off to school, Peggy came to work.
“I’ll go,” she announced.
Jerry downed his head and said, “If you’re tough enough,
so am I.”
Several hours later, two ice and sleet covered workers returned
to stand in front of the heater. Shivering, Peggy said, “Wish I’d worn a skirt. I wouldn’t have gone out
in this weather.”
Jerry shuttered, “If I’d known it was that cold, I‘d
worn a dress too.”
This week, Ceilia Miles invited Peggy to exhibit at a Book Fair in Asheville on May 15 to benefit the Candy Maier Scolorship Fund for Women Writers.
|March 11, 2010
|Nina Sue Mann giving Peggy roses at Cove Creek
|March 14, 2010
|Peggy trying out her new seat
March 14, 2010
ten years ago around New Years, a local grading contractor, Mike Eggers, asked Peggy, “What did David get you for Christmas
said, “I told David, I wanted a facelift or a trackhoe.”
grinned. “Got the trackhoe, didn’t you?”
was our 45th wedding anniversary. Friday I asked Peggy, “What do you want for your anniversary?”
replied, “Take me to tractor supply and get me a new seat for my trackhoe.”
we were in Lenoir, I also took her through the drive-through at Wendy’s and got her a medium sized Chocolate Frosty
as a special anniversary treat.
enjoyed meeting new friends and putting faces with readers at the Western Branch of the Watauga County Library last Thursday.
On Friday, she delivered her newest book, Dream Lover, to Black Bear Books in Boone.
|March 02, 2010
|March 07, 2010
|Companion planting? Daffodils & blackberries
|March 07, 2010
|Duck in urn
March 7, 2010
Western Watauga Library visit
is this week: Thursday March 11 at 10:30 (a correction from previous posting)
A few years back, Peggy went
up to Bulldog to do some chicken and duck trading with a farmer. He gave her
a good deal, so for extra boot she threw in a copy of “Heaven-high and Hell-deep”. He said he hadn’t read
a novel since high school thirty years ago, but took the book for his wife. His wife read the book and insisted he read it.
The next time Peggy met the
farmer, he couldn’t stop thanking her for the book. “It’s about us!” he kept repeating. “I’ve
never read a book about us!”
He then told how each evening
he would call his aunt and tell her what he had read. Finally, his aunt told him to hush-up, she wanted to read the book for
herself. Which he promptly replied, “But, I have to tell somebody!”
E-mail Peggy if you have any comments, and be sure to enter the free book contest.
Thanks to Ron Neufeld for
adding a link to the three chapter excerpt of Heaven-high and Hell-deep from The Read on WNC and to Carol at The Writers Porch for the reviews she posted on Amazon.
|February 22, 2010
|Vistors on a warmer day, for this winter
|February 21, 2010
|Skytrail at sunset
|February 27, 2010
|Peggy at seminar
February 28, 2010
This week, In addition to
writing and binding books Peggy read a best seller, “The Help” by Kathryn
Stockett and an Appalachian novel, “Bloodroot” by Amy Greene.
At the end of the week, Peggy
attended a seminar “Writing a Bestselling Novel” taught by Susan May Warren. After reflection, Peggy e-mailed her “You are one of the best presenters and
instructors I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. You were great and made the experience worthwhile!” The
seminar was co-produced by an agent that does a great blog about his industry, although, he regularly has to defend, and sometimes
humbly apologize for his candid remarks. He did a good job of running the seminar — aside from havoc created by last
minute schedule changes.
As always, Peggy came back with another
story idea based on her experiences — An aspiring author tries to overcome the publishing industry's bias
about Appalachian writers. See Cat Pleska's Mouth of the Holler blog for some insight.
|February 19, 2010
|Morning in the barn
|February 20, 2010
|Peggy's bookmoblie - Poor folks have poor ways.
February 21, 2010
This week Peggy wrote on Blood Kin except when we were running a daycare
center for the great-grandchildren; those days she wrote (when she could) on a non-fiction book on writing. Also, she managed
to help print and bind books. Friday the weather was better and Peggy stocked books in Avery and Mitchel Counties.
Carol at The Writers Porch finished Above All and posted a very complimentary review of both of the Laine books. Thanks, Carol.
A couple of weeks ago Avery Post completed (took about three years) the serialization
of Heaven-high and Hell-deep. They have now started on its sequel, Above All. Thanks, Bertie and Lydia.
Let Peggy know if your community newspaper might be interested in serializing some of Peggy's novels.
Notice the the Free Book Contest page added this week. Thanks to Pat from East Tennessee for being the first entrant.
|January 30, 2009
|Geese walking on water
|February 6, 2010
|Bull in snow storm
|February 14, 2010
February 14, 2010
Peggy has started printing and delivering copies of Dream Lover:
Chessy Spade was born
remembering her past life. After being punished and ridiculed for telling lies, she did her best to forget her memories. But
her dead husband’s spirit was not willing to let her go.
Yesterday she delivered books to Twigs on the Roan at Roan Mountain,
Tennessee. Many thanks to those who helped with the editing.
This week she hopes to deliver books to Warrensville Drug, Avery
Post in Newland, Cuttin' Up in Spruce Pine, the libary in Bakersville, and Black Bear Books in Boone. If readers want
an autographed book, just order one directly from Peggy (free USPS media mail shipping).
Last week, Carol Murdock at The Writers Porch read Peggy's first novel, Heaven-high and Hell-deep. Carol then
listed it as one of her top ten favorite reads. A gracious honor for Peggy.
Currently Peggy is writing on a couple of new novels. One of them
is Blood Kin: In the rugged wilderness of Pisgah National Forest a group of nine hikers stumble into mortal
danger they never imagined existed. Colene Peters managed to escape. She is determined to warn others of the deadly
dangers lurking in the wilderness.
|Saturday morning February 6, 2010
|Cows coming to get a drink after morning feeding
|Sunday morning February 07, 2010
|Peggy going to milk
February 7, 2010
Snow seems to have an affinity for our area lately. Many Thanks to all who participated
in Tipper's contest for a copy of Heaven-high and Hell-deep on the Bling Pig & the Acorn site. Congratulations to the winner, Pat from East Tennesse. Peggy sure appreciated all the comments and getting to correspond
with those interested in purchasing books. Mary from Mary's Writers Nook in Ontario ordered some books to review. Thanks to Vicky Lane's newsletter, Carol from The Book House in Mississippi also purchased some books for review. Check out their sites as well as the other respondents
on Tipper's site. Tipper also posted her interview with Peggy on The Read on WNC. Thanks again, for all the publicity.
|January 25, 2010
|Morning rainbow from front yard
January 27, 2010
Tipper over at Blind Pig & the Acorn site has published an interview with Peggy. She is also giving a chance to win a copy of Peggy's first book Heaven-high
and Hell-deep by answering a trivia question from the excerpt on this site. Visit Tipper's blog as she provides interesting tidbits about our Appalachian heritage and culture.
Peggy, myself, and our oldest daughter have completed the first edit of Dream
Lover. We will print out a few books tonight and let some other readers do some more editing.
If you need help convincing your library to carry Peggy's books, request
some of her free excerpt/catalogs as an introduction to her work.
Peggy will be visiting the Western Branch of the Watauga County Library at 10:30
AM on March 11, 2010 (date change made March 04, 2010).
If you would like to comment about this post, send Peggy an e-mail. Comments will be moderated before posting.
|January 19, 2009
|Cover in Pink
|January 24, 2009
|Cover in Wine
January 24, 2009
Peggy finished her first draft of Dream Lover last Tuesday. She had been
reading a romance in the evenings with a pink cover. I thought this book could be the closest to a romance that she would
ever write, so I decided to print out the first draft in pink. Everything was okay, till I decided to edit the book in
the doctor's office. Found out -- It takes a real man to read a Pepto Bismol pink book. Let Peggy know whether you prefer
pink or wine.
Click to e-mail Peggy
Friday evening Peggy restocked Warrensvlle Drug Store with books, including
her latest ghost story book: "Hunting the Haunted".
|December 22, 2009
|Morning Sky from front yard
|January 06, 2010
|Peggy at Powder Horn Mountaian Bookclub
January 7, 2009
Yesterday, Peggy had a great time with the Powder Horn Mountain Bookclub
telling booger tales.
She's about 75% done on the first draft of the dream lover novel.
One thing good about the sustained cold weather - it is condusive to staying in and writing.
Today, Peggy stocked books, including her latest "Hunting the Haunted", at Cuttin
Up in Spruce Pine and the Library at Bakersville
|December 6. 2009
|Sunrise on left over tree from Peggy's tree farming
|December 17, 2009
|Peggy binding her newest: "Hunting the Haunted"
December 18, 2009
Merry Christmas everyone.
"Hunting the Haunted" subtitled "Booger Tales - One", became
Peggy's driving ambition last month. I got to milk the cows alone several evenings while she completed the book. Recently
we have been busy editing, printing, and binding the book. It is a collection of ghost stories and pictures, including some adventure
tales of collecting the stories. Yesterday she stocked some at Black Bear Books in Boone, NC and Avery Post Newspaper
office in Newland, NC.
Now she is back writing on the dream lover novel
Happy New Year
|Frosty morning on the lower pond. Ridge in background is part of Julian Price Park along the Parkway
|Morning moon over the yard pond. Sun is shining on the bench on Grandfather Mountain in background.
November 12, 2009
November’s here and
the leaves are gone except for some of the beech and oak trees. We are still milking two cows and feeding way too many animals.
Booger stories seem to be
capturing Peggy’s imagination. She is doing a lot of research and visiting intriguing places. Her current scheme is to write about her exploits around the local area — relating haunting tales
and other curious phenomena. Let her know of any local ghost stories you would
like to share.
The Appalachian Heritage Writers Symposium has selected Peggy to present a fiction workshop and be the keynote speaker at their writer’s conference next summer.
She felt honored at the selection and hopes she can put on an effective workshop and an entertaining presentation. Let her
know, if you have any suggestions for the workshop or the speech.
Tipper at the Blind Pig and
the Acorn blog e-mailed:
“I just stumbled
onto your website this morning. I read the excerpt from one of your books and was mesmerized-I just can't wait to
see what happens next.
I write about Appalachian
Culture and Heritage at www.blindpigandtheacorn.com. I am a native to western NC-I live in Brasstown near the John
C Campbell Folk School.
I feature Appalachian
writers of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry on my site. I would love to interview you about your books-and point folks in
the direction of your site.”
We've been visiting
her blog as she is a contributor to The Read on WNC, which provides a regional site for literary interactions and happenings.
|October 9, 2009
|Geese enjoying evening weather break
|October 9, 2009
|A gaggle of geese planning this years trip
October 12, 2009
I snapped thes prictures from near the road looking back into the
farm last Friday evening on the way with Peggy to enjoy some barbeque.
Peggy enjoyed reuniting with all her kin at the Poe reunion. The food
was good too. She and her cousins are planning a get together to share and record the family ghosts stories. A Blew Ridge
Ghost Tales book is already under way. Dream Lover is progressing and Peggy has also been painting pictures.
Contact Peggy (828-963-5331) if you would like for her to visit
your book club or other function as she has no current events scheduled.
Click to email Peggy
|Miss Charlotte at The Orchard at Altapass
|September 20, 2009
September 26, 2009
Peggy enjoyed the book signing at The Orchard at Altapass last Sunday.
This week (in addition to milking twice a day, canning more beans and corn, taking care of her great grand-daughter,
and grading for a garage) she has been writing on her next novel, "Dream Lover". Today (Saturday) she is off to the cattle
market to sell five of her bull calves.
|Lane, Senehi & Stern with Club members 9-12-2009
|Hell & Highwater Bookclub at Carolina Mts. Litfest
September 16, 2009
Peggy enjoyed attending the 2009 Carolina Mountains Literary Festival
in Burnsville. After the Bookclub Buzz session with the Hell & High Water Bookclub, she asked where she could
get one of their T-shirts, One gal just peeled hers off and gave it to Peggy. Wow, what genorisity! Much appreciation is due
the folks, like the Town Center, Main Street Books and DK Puttyroot, at Burnsville for hosting the festival. Special
thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, and Malaprops Bookstore who made this a great event for both the
participants and the presenters.
|Elva Buchanan on her 90th birthday with Peggy at the Orchard at Altapass (July 26, 2009).
August 30, 2009
After reading Wild Thing, Elva told Peggy, "You've got to hurry up and finish the sequel. I have to
know what happens to Raven."
So Peggy has finished the rest of the story for Elva
which is novel number 13, Running Wild, a sequel to Wild
Thing. She has been printing and binding them up and is ready to start taking orders.
Peggy has also canned 500 jars from her garden and is still going strong.
Our oldest daughter and her husband have moved back to Foscoe and have established
the Blue Ridge Local Color shop at the Martin House in Blowing Rock. They sell local crafted items and paintings.
Of course they also stock Peggy's books.
Dream Lover may be Peggy's next book. It is really too soon to tell, maybe one
of the other seven she is working on will becomme more assertive. We'll just have to wait and see.
She is looking forward to meeting readers at Carolina Mountians Literary Festival
in Burnsville on Friday and Saturday, September 12 & 13th.