Monday, July 7, 2014

Summertime


Stray sun rays ricochet through
a layer of marshmallow clouds
on this July morning.

A rain crow coos
on Joe Knob and predicts
an evening shower.

The zinnias ballet dance
in pink, purple, and peach dresses,
on a guest of wind.

A cluster of mushrooms
sprinkles the yard with popcorn.
My neighbor's beagle digs holes,

nothing squelches his hunter's instinct.
My shoes slush through mud:
picking a bucket of blackberries.

I steal a peek
at the bluebird eggs,
wings flutter from the nest.

Mama bluebird keeps watch
on the power lines,
kathydids scrape fiddles on the ridge.
                      --Brenda Kay Ledford

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fourth of July

The Flag Goes By
Hats Off!
Along the street there comes
a blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
a flash of color beneath the sky;
Hats off!
The flag is passing by!

Blue and crimson and white it shines,
over the steel-tipped, ordered lines.
Hats off!
The colors before us fly;
but more than the flag is passing by:
sea-fights and land-fights, grim and great,
fought to make and to save the State;
weary marches and sinking ships,
cheers of victory on dying lips;
signs of a nation great and strong.
              --Henry Holcomb Bennett











I wish all of my blogger friends a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center

North of Vogel Lake in the North Georgia Mountains, Highway 129 carved out of the mountainside, is the home of Byron Herbert Reece.  The buildings now standing relate to part of his life.

Reece was a  respected poet and novelist of Georgia, and won many literary honors both nationally and statewide.  He was strongly moved by the old mountain folk ballads.  His stimulation in poetry (at an early age) came mostly from the Bible.  He was a farmer and poet who taught at Young Harris College.

The above photo is known as a Double Crib Barn, found on Appalachian farms from Kentucky to Arkansas.  The barn had a number of cribs that served as storage for fodder, or pens for cattle, mules, and pigs.

This is a photo of Byron Herbert Reece shucking corn in the field.




The above three photos are the Poetry Trail located at the Reece Heritage Center.  You'll find Reece's verse carved in stone and may sit on a bench and reflect on his poetry.

This is the Mulberry Hall where Byron Herbert Reece wrote.  He built this writing studio and would muse and write here.


This is young Byron Herbert Reece composing poetry in his writing studio.


Corn cribs were used to store and dry corn still on the cob.

Bags of cornmeal after the corn was ground.

Smokehouses were a necessity before refrigeration and every farm had one.  



The chicken coop had a small fenced in area to shelter chickens and contained nesting boxes.

This was the kitchen where the mountain women cooked on a wood stove.

The Welcome Center at the Byron Herbert Reece Farm and Heritage Center.

To contact the Reece Center:
Call:  (706)-745-2034
E-mail:  reecesociety@gmail.com
www.ByronHerbertReeceSociety.org 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Father's Day

Our family going to church.  Back row, Barbara, Daddy, Mama.  Front row:  Brenda & Harold.

My father worked hard
to pay the bills,
take care of our family,
provide and protect.

A bi-vocational preacher,
he pastored many Baptist churches,
ran a bulldozer on construction jobs,
my father worked hard.

He loved his family,
instilled within us faith,
worked sunrise to sunset
to pay the bills.

On the front porch
during hot, summer evenings,
he told Irish folk tales,
took care of his family.

His eyes were sky blue,
hands gentle with beast and child,
Daddy sacrificed his health
to provide and protect.
       --Brenda Kay Ledford

I hope my blogger friends have a blessed Father's Day!

Fathers are very important.  Please tell your father or a father figure in your life, how much they mean to you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homecoming

It's homecoming
at Many Forks Baptist Church.
Folks come from miles
to meet and decorate

the graves of loved ones.
The sun ricochets through
pine trees, old timers lift
hymns in the country church.

Kin folks congregate
under the oaks, spread
dinner-on-the-grounds:
Aunt Dot with her walnut cake,

Cousin Frances stirs potato salad,
the tables are loaded
with all kinds of food,
nephews break the wish bone.

Aunt Mary Lou jokes
with the Henderson boys.
Uncle George places flags
on the graves of soldiers.

It's a yearly get-together,
a time to share memories
of laughter and tears,
a family gathering at Gum Log.
                    --Brenda Kay Ledford


One of the best parts of homecoming is dinner-on-the-grounds.  Before the fellowship hall was built, folks would spread their food on tables built under the giant shade trees.  As you can see, the mountain women "put on the dog" with bringing food to homecoming.

 
This is the Ridgeway Singers.  Many gospel groups perform during homecoming.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Lend a Hand

The guest writer for this posting is my mom, Blanche L. Ledford. Her story was published in Simplicity, a prose and poetry book that we co-authored. Catawba Publishing printed our book.

Lend a Hand
by:  Blanche L. Ledford

For 91 years, my hands have served me well.  Blood veins crisscross my hands like the Blue Ridge Mountains where I grew up during the Great Depression.

I helped feed my family when I was a child.  I hoed the vegetable garden, picked corn, okra, green beans, squash, and dug Irish potatoes.  I helped Mama can food and strung leather breeches with my blistered hands.

I fed the pig, petted his pink nose, and called him Sam.  Around Thanksgiving each year Daddy and my brother, George, butchered the hog.  I covered my ears with trembling hands to deafen the hog's squealing as he died.  I could not eat a bite of bacon.

My brother and I cut firewood with a cross-cut saw on Davy Mountain during the winter.  I blew my breath on frozen hands as we piled the pine on a sled and snaked it to the log cabin.

I carried buckets of water from the spring for cooking, bathing, and washing.  I scrubbed clothes on a rub board until my hands bled.

In the summer, I picked blackberries for pies and preserves.  I scratched chigger bites with purple stained hands and briers pricked my fingers.

When I married, my husband invited strangers home to eat.  I prepared many meals with my hands.  I kneaded bread and made biscuits for my family.  I have fed "angels unaware" who gathered around my kitchen table.  I hope I have served others and especially God well with my hands.

But I've had pleasure with my hands.  I had four babies, held them and caressed their soft faces with my work-worn hands.

I played softball with my children and clapped when they made home runs. I've wiped tears from their faces when they fell and scraped their knees.

I made ruffled dresses for my daughters and they looked like dolls when they were infants.  I cut plaid cloth and made shirts for my son.  I enjoyed sewing my my hands.

When my children outgrew their clothes, I cut them into patterns and made quilts. I stitched and matched the corners with tired hands.

My hands have served me well all of my life.  Some days now, they work hard.  I still enjoy gardening and working in my flowers.  My greatest thrill is picking tomatoes and sharing them with people.  Some days my hands just rest on the soft arms of my chair.

My mom and I wish all of my blogger friends a  Happy Mother's Day.  I appreciate very much my blogger friends and enjoy visiting your blogs.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens is the botanical jewel of the North Georgia Mountains.  This botanical paradise bursts with dogwoods, tulip magnolia, native azaleas, lady slippers, trillium, and over 2,000 rhododendron blooming from early April to late May in Hiawassee, Georgia

Dogwoods adorn the banks of beautiful Lake Chatuge.  Boats buzz on the lake as you view the stunning view from picnic tables.


Tulips put on a colorful show at Hamilton Gardens.


Thousands of rhododendrons and azaleas burst forth like rainbows.



 
This Mallard duck and wood duck stroll across the shore looking for handouts from people.



My sister and I enjoyed touring Hamilton Gardens very much on Easter afternoon.  What a perfect, sunny day to get outside and savor God's creation after attending an uplifting service at Pilgrim Baptist Church that morning.

For more information:
Hamilton Gardens
PO Box 444
Hiawassee, GA  30546

website: www.fredhamiltongarden.org
e-mail:  info.hamiltongardens@gmail.com
Contact:  (706)913-1444