Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cherokee Heritage Festival

The Native American fall festival was held at the Cherokee Heritage Center in the mountain town of Hayesville, NC on Saturday, September 19, 2015. 

It was perfect weather for a fall festival.  No rain!  The bright blue skies of September dazzled above the Cherokee village.  Dusty lilac asters, goldenrods and knockout roses dotted the trail.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, molasses, and pumpkin spice leaves fluttered in the wind.

Native Americans demonstrated carving bears and arrowheads, pottery, weaving baskets, blow guns, playing stickball, and other crafts.

Dan Hollifield played a Native American flute in the Cherokee winter house.  He hand makes these instruments. 

A storyteller spun tales about the Cherokee culture.  The smell of barbecue, fried apple pies, and other food wafted across the village.

Cherokee dressed in traditional costumes entertained the crowd performing the groundhog, buffalo, frog, and corn dance.

The Cherokee Heritage Festival was the best ever held in Hayesville.  It gave you a taste of Indian culture that prevailed in western North Carolina before the Cherokees were removed to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears in 1838-1839.

You may visit my other blog to read more about the Cherokee Heritage Center and Dan Hollifield making flutes at:

This Cherokee demonstrated how to hit a target using the blow gun.  These weapons were used by the Cherokee to hunt small game.

This man is carving weapons the Cherokee used in battle.

Here is a carving of a bear that a Cherokee did at the festival.
This Cherokee is carving a bear at the festival.
Some Cherokees are in the summer Cherokee house with a campfire in front.
You'll find at the Cherokee Heritage Exhibit Center displays of tools the Cherokees used.
Dan Hollifield demonstrates playing the flute in the winter house.
Here is a Cherokee winter house.
This is a Cherokee summer house.
The Cherokee stored corn and vegetables in this little house.
This 92-year-old Cherokee still does pottery.
This lady demonstrates making pottery.
Notice the colorful blanket.
This lady is weaving baskets.
A storyteller spins tales about the Cherokee culture.
Cherokees dance in traditional costumes.
The buffalo Cherokee dance.
The Cherokee performing the frog dance.
This Cherokee and his son are playing stickball.
The Cherokee Exhibit Center in Hayesville, NC is an interesting site to visit.  It is located below the Clay County Historical and Arts Museum which is the "Old Jail Museum."  You may visit the exhibit year round.  When you get off the roundabout and head toward Hayesville, the Cherokee Exhibit is on the left side below the museum.  You might want to also visit the "Old Jail Museum."  There are many interesting exhibits there besides an excellent display on the Cherokee and their artifacts that were found at the Spikebuck Indian Mound near Hayesville on the banks of the Hiwassee River.  Also, Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville has an exciting center on the Cherokee culture. 
Give Hayesville a visit sometime!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sweet September Memories

Fire on the mountains,
sweet September memories.
Looping across Cherohala skyway
in Daddy's old black Ford.

A magical time,
my parents and I
taking a joy ride
on Sunday afternoon.

Work can wait
on the farm,
time with family
can not wait.

I look down
on the rideline
burning like hickory
sticks in the fireplace.

We stop at the overpass,
eat a moonpie and RC Cola,
a whippoorwill whistles
and the cool breeze

brushes my face.
Daddy and Mama smile,
I feel their unconditional love:
work can wait!

                  --Brenda Kay Ledford

My sister, Barbara, Daddy, Mama,
front row:  little Brenda and brother, Harold.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Good Neighbors

Just as I finished my breakfast, the sun broke through a bundle of cotton clouds.  Rays skipped across a ribbon of mountains, and poured lemon juice on my kitchen.

Something clicked in my kitchen.  It wasn't the clock on my stove.  "Oh, no!  Something's torn up again," I moaned.

I noticed the little solar-powered flowers on the windowsill waving their hands.  Click.  Click.  Click.  The daisies were dancing a jig in the sunshine.

I smiled and thought it would be a good day.  I heard a mower humming.  I glanced out the window and our neighbor pulled into the drive.

Mr. Wimpey asked if we needed any fresh vegetables:

Tomatoes red as rubies,
the aroma of hot peppers,
visions of fried okra!

"Oh, yes!  We would love some vegetables," I said.  I was grateful that our neighbors had thought of us and had graciously shared their garden produce with us.

Until recently, Mama raised a garden every year.  She enjoyed sharing her vegetables with family and friends.

As she said, "There's nothing like stepping out your back door and picking fresh vegetables from the garden.

Thanks to our good neighbors, we can still savor fresh, mountain-grown vegetables straight from the garden.

I had a feeling it would be a good day, and it was a great day!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Echoes of Fall

As I wash the breakfast dishes, I glance out the window.  A cornfield rolls like waves on the ocean, fog lifts from the misty mountains.  Wild turkeys feast on the grain and clouds float as sailboats through azure skies.

Katydids scrape their fiddles and a scarlet leaf flutters on the dogwood tree.  McIntosh apples plop to the ground.  Honeysuckle perfumes a breeze.

I gasp.  Fall's coming and I can't hold it back.  Summer has been too hot, humid, and short.  It seems as through school just closed, and school buses will roar again.  Time marches like a band.

The drumbeat of this season!  Bee keepers harvest their honey.  The shelves of roadside markets glow with golden Mason jars.

Yesterday I stopped at the Misty Mountain Roadside Market.  Queen Ann's lace spun doilies beside the market.

A man greeted me.  "Sample this spoonful of honey," he said.  "This wildflower honey is better for allergies than sourwood honey."

I savored the sweet offering and purchased a quart.  I baked biscuits this morning and smothered them with butter and honey.

Besides honey, fall brings cooler weather.  What a relief from the heat.  I won't grieve the passing of summer.  Soon it will be only a page of history.

The echoes of fall! 

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it," (Psalm 118:24).

Summer, fall, winter, or spring; each season has its beauty!

Monday, July 6, 2015


After days of rain in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I wondered if the sun would ever shine again.  Everyone I met complained about the rain.  They complained because the fireworks were cancelled at many places during the Fourth of July.  They complained because they had to stay inside, couldn't enjoy picnics or a parade.  How God puts up with us humans complaining, I'll never know.  I even added some complaints myself into the mix.

God is faithful.  The sun peeked through the clouds, blue skies spread a tent above the earth, and I was amazed.  The sunflowers lifted their faces to the heavens and drank cups filled with sunshine. I ran outside and got a good dose of vitamin D.  What a blessing to see the sun again. 

Darkness just has to flee in the presence of light.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tiger Lilies

After a storm,
the earth bathed in light,
clouds float in bright skies;
tiger lilies pulse on a breeze.

Lawns humming with mowers,
mountains unfurl royal ribbons,
poplars catch sunrays'
after the storm.

Plants popping up in gardens,
raindrops glitter on grass,
Hyatt-Mill Creek murmurs;
the earth bathed in light.

A time to rejoice,
fog lifts from Brasstown Valley,
the windchimes ringing;
clouds float in bright skies.

By the little river,
a Monarch butterfly
dips down and touches
tiger lilies pulsing on a breeze.
         --Brenda Kay Ledford

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Fairy of the flowers
with wings of spun glass,
you flit about the grass
and land on my hand.

Small pearls hang in poplars,
honeysuckle perfumes a breeze,
the swallowtail zigzagging--
fairy of the flowers.

Drinking the marigold's mystery,
there are jewels on your body,
you flutter in the air
with wings like spun glass.

When wild strawberries droop
on the woodland trail,
and the rain crow lifts songs,
you flit about the grass.

In shimmering robes of silk
that catch the sunlight,
you fold your wings
and land on my hand.
                       --Brenda Kay Ledford