Friday, December 27, 2019

Song of the Red Birds

Listen to the songs
of the red birds perched
on the highest branch
of the naked tree,
the east wind tosses
their feathers,
tilting their heads
to the snowflakes twirling
across the woods,
the Red Birds trill,
"Cheer!  Cheer!  Cheer!"
on the grayest day
of the New Year,
they do not hear
the other creatures
complaining and shivering
in the cold winter,
the Red Birds keep
a cheerful song of their hearts
as they bob and sing.
          --Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem appeared in "Pancakes in Heaven,"
                                       January 2020 issue

I wish all my blogger friends a very happy New Year!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Christmas Presents

                                 My great-niece, Reagan, and her Grandma Barbara

Little hands rip the paper
from the Christmas presents,
Reagan jumps up and down with glee.

Decorations sparkle on the tree,
surprises tumble from boxes,
little hands rip paper.

The adults laugh and clap,
a puppy sings merry tunes
from the Christmas presents.

For awhile peace reigns,
we celebrate with childish eyes,
Reagan jumps up and down with glee.
                --Brenda Kay Ledford

I wish all my blogger friends a blessed Christmas and joyful New Year!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


On Thanksgiving Day,
I gaze out the window,
reflect upon my blessings.

Beauty unfolds:
layers of blue ridges rolling,
ancient Appalachian Mountains.

Home of the Cherokee Indians,
feather clouds floating
through the azure skies.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin spice leaves
flutter in the wind,
poplars wave their gold palms.

A wedge of geese
trumpets above corn shocks
and drives down on the pond.

Maples reflect like cinders
on the aqua waters.
White-tailed deer appear

like ghosts from the laurel thicket,
the last rose scents the cove;
I'm grateful for many blessings.
                     --Brenda Kay Ledford

I hope all my blogger friends will have a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Punkin Chunkin

Thousands of people trek to the annual Punkin Chunkin held October 19-20, 2019 off Settawig Road in Brasstown, North Carolina.  Clay County Chamber of Commerce sponsors this event.

Pumpkins whiz thousands of feet through the air from catapults, air cannons, trebuchets, and other mighty machines.  Teams even from Michigan traipse to the Blue Ridge Mountains to compete with world champion chunkers.  It's a big deal if you've never seen flying, flipping, exploding pumpkins.  What a way to haunt in Halloween!

Besides the Punkin  Chunkin, other activities are held during this shindig.  There's a pumpkin pie eating contest with whipped cream smearing the chins and nostrils of competitors.

Additionally, there's a zipline, airplane rides, live entertainment, a climbing wall, carnival rides, a kidzone with fun games, lots of food, arts and crafts.

Everyone young or old, will find plenty to stimulate the senses at this sensational Punkin Chunkin.

For information: or call:  828-389-3704

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Orange Lady

Oh, October!
You put on a show
dancing over the mountaintops
dressed in bright garments
of orange, lemon, and cranberry grape.

Oh, October!
You are a sassy month,
stopping carloads of folks
flocking to view the fall foliage;
you twist, turn, and somersault
with rain showers of leaves.

Oh, October!
You are a naughty child!
On Halloween you deck
out in spooky costumes,
and trick-or-treat
throughout the eerie night;
the barn owl resounding,
Hoot!  Hoot!  Hoot!
             --Brenda Kay Ledford

Some call it autumn, others call it God!
                              --author unknown

Wishing my blogger friends a very happy and beautiful fall.

Thursday, September 5, 2019


Autumn creeps into the Blue Ridge Mountains,
nature dips her paintbrush
into a bucket of gold
and highlights the walnut leaves.

The morning sun shimmies
through the tree-filtered light,
three white-tailed deer
forage in the cornfield.

On Brasstown Bald,
the buzzing of cicadas,
males shake their drums;
each makes its own song.

Golden rods sway on a breeze,
stars shine in dusty lilac asters;
beneath the Full Harvest Moon,
katydids saw their fiddles.
                                Brenda Kay Ledford

I give my sister, Barbara, credit for doing research on cicadas.

                 I wish my blogger friends a happy and beautiful fall!

Saturday, August 24, 2019

School Days

                                                          A one-room schoolhouse

School days have changed,
laptops in each room,
doom stalks the hallways.

Prayer and Bible reading removed,
the core curriculum rules;
school days have changed.

No longer jumping rope
or doing finger painting,
laptops in each room.

No Dick or Jane books
or children feeling safe at school,
doom stalks the hallways.
--Brenda Kay Ledford

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


The dream catcher
hangs on my window,
Midas' touch turning
the cornfield into gold.

Two sunflowers volunteer
their span of time,
heads lift toward
the light shimmering
over sapphire hills.

The honeysuckle races
across the split-railed fence,
a Wind Song fragrance
fills the Brasstown Valley,
Queen Anne's lace spins doilies.

A dozen wild geese
resound over the Groves' farm,
they splash on Hiwassee River,
ripples catch the sunset
like a cathedral window.
             --Brenda Kay Ledford

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Rondy's Pondering

Rondy's Pondering

After US Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo's, "Remember"

Ponder growing up in the shadow
of Shewbird Mountain.
Ponder the rain crow cooing
in the poplars,
drinking ice-cold water
from the spring at Hyatt-Mill Creek.
Ponder plowing the field
with 'ole Buck and Beulah,
rows of corn blades waving in the wind.
Ponder the Harvest Moon,
coon dogs resounding on Joe Knob.
Ponder the double hollyhocks decked
with ruffled dresses beside the log cabin.
Time has made a change
in the Matheson Cove.
Ponder the nine R's:
Rondy, Reba, Ralph, Robert, Rena,
Robenia, Reuben, Ray and baby Robbie.
Ponder the calling,
the calling on your life.
The torch passed to your grandson.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem is about my father, Rondy Ledford.  He grew up in the Matheson Cove section of Clay County, North Carolina near Shewbird Mountain.  He and his siblings had names that began with the letter "R".  My father was a Baptist preacher and his grandson, John, has also received the calling to preach.  I just wish my father could have lived long enough to see his grandson enter the ministry.  Without sounding like I'm bragging, John is attending Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky working on his Ph.D. in Divinity.  Last year he was ordained to preach.  Also, he and his professor, Dr. Fredrick Long, published an advanced Greek Reader with Translation:  "Dio Chrysostom's Kingship Oration 1," and it is available on

This is a mourning dove.  Back in the mountains of Western North Carolina, old timers called this bird the rain crow.  Whenever they heard it cooing, it was believed that rain would soon begin.

This is a photo of our family.  My father is in the center , my sister , mother, brother, and the little one is myself when I was about 4 years old.  We were dressed and ready to attend church. When I grew up, church was central in our lives because my father was the pastor of many churches in Western North Carolina during the 1950s-1980's.

Saturday, June 8, 2019


The morning light ricochets
through the poplars
echoing with birdsong.

Native orchids peek
through the pine needles
on the woodland trail

and huddle in the hollows
of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
They lift their cups

to toast a new day,
dozens of Lady-slippers
dance on a breeze.
                 --Brenda Kay Ledford

I attended a program on Orchids at Moss Memorial Library.  There are over 20,000 different orchids around the world.  Here in Southern Appalachia, you'll find these beautiful wildflowers in the forests, on roadsides, and even growing wild in yards.  This reminds me that God is indeed a master artist who loves beauty.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Tiger Lilies

The first day of June,
tiger lilies splash
orange juice across
the mountain roadsides.

The first day of June,
a wild turkey struts
through my front yard
and bathes in sunlight.

The first day of June,
bluebirds lift praise songs
in the poplar trees,
an azure sky watching.

The first night of June,
fireflies flicker like lanterns,
Queen Anne's lace spins doilies,
a Monarch butterfly sips nectar.
             --Brenda Kay Ledford

Image result for monarch butterfly photos free

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Wildlife Sanctuary

A wild turkey
high steps through the rain,
his head bob, bob, bobs.

A funny creature,
he circles my backyard
past two brown bunnies

jumping over each other.
A groundhog wobbles
by the knockout roses,

two babies trailing her.
Five deer appear like ghosts
and nibble verdant grass.

Fog lifts from the mountains,
fireflies flicker high in poplar trees
and put on a night show.
       --Brenda Kay Ledford

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Mule

Image result for Mule photos

Way back in Fires Creek lived a mountain man.  He was raised on moon pies and RC Colas.  Didn't hurt him a bit.  Garnet Johnson was healthy as a contemporary weight lifter.  But Garnet worked out raising gigantic vegetable gardens.

Early each spring he plowed his fields with a mule.  Garnet had no desire to own a tractor.  He joked that he had a four-feet drive.  "While everybody else is pumping air in their tractor tires, I'm plowing with my little mule.  I reckon I'm way ahead by having a mule."

He named the mule Kit because everything's there.  If you can't put the mule to a sled and work her, or snake wood, or whatever there's to do with her, why we'd have to name her something else.  She'll work to anything.

Garnet admitted that Kit was more of a pet than a work animal.  "She's the best mule I ever saw about kicking or anything else.  She's not a bit of trouble.  Never has offered to kick nobody."

It appears Kit was sort of a celebrity.  Charles Kuralt featured Garnet and his mule on the national CBS show, "Sunday Morning."  Garnet thought it was just a rink-dink station and didn't fix up.  He just wore an old straw hat and demonstrated Kit plowing the field.  Over night the mountain man and Kit, the mule, became famous.

But it shore didn't go to their heads.  They just kept on being themselves plain as old shoes.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

This story appeared in:  Mountain Places,
                                       an anthology by Old Mountain Press

Tuesday, April 9, 2019


On Easter morning,
a sunrise service:
pink clouds turn crimson,
burning above Cherry Mountain.

The ridge line bursts forth
with new life:
purple phlox spreads
a tapestry on verdant grass,

the Brasstown Valley echoes
with a chorus of robins
lifting praise songs,
three rabbits hopping

through the dandelions
that sprinkle sunshine
on the banks of Hyatt-Mill Creek.
Crystal clear water bubbles

over smooth river rocks
baptizing the mallard ducks,
the hillsides washed with snow;
thousands of white crosses

blooming on the dogwoods.
From winter's dark tomb,
tulips pop up with rainbows,
earth celebrates the risen Lord!
           --Brenda Kay Ledford

I wish all my blogger friends a very blessed and happy Easter!

The tomb is empty! He is risen indeed!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Ode to the Dandelion

Image result for dandelions

I get excited almost as much as my great-niece about flowers, but not about the dandelion.  Even this herb thrills her 4-year-old heart.

"Flower," she exclaims.  "There's a flower," Reagan adds and races with her blonde curls bouncing to pick the weed.

To me the dandelion is just a weed.  It's invasive and will take over my lawn.  I'll need to spray the yard, but Reagan sees the beauty in this plant.

Maybe I should view the world through the joyful eyes of a child.  Little Reagan finds beauty all about her, but I see the "work" involved with mowing the lawn.

So what's so pretty about the dandelion?  Maybe the color.  The bright fringed petals twirl like a ballerina waving yellow streamers.  It's like lemon drops or Grandma's churned butter.  It's like a sunbeam splashing the verdant grass.

Despite Reagan seeing the beauty in this simple plant, the dandelion has medicinal purposes.  The local health food store recommends dandelion tea as a diuretic.

The dandelion is a common herb used to reduce fever in Chinese medicine.  It contains several anti-inflammatory constituents.  The dandelion has not been tested for fever-lowering properties by conventional scientists.

Additionally, this small yellow flower dots meadows around the world.  Its roots are known as a powerhouse of healthy benefits.  Dandelion's use traces back to the 10th century when Arabian physicians revered the root for its cleansing properties and as a natural aid for digestion.

Maybe little Reagan knows more than I do about both the beauty and value of the dandelion.  Perhaps I could learn from this child if I would take time to appreciate the beauty of God's creation.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

Image result for dandelions

Image result for dandelions

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Irish Tea

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

My sister and I took a heritage tour to Ireland in 1988 with Western Carolina University.  When we landed in Ireland, our tour director served tea and scones in a cute thatched-roof cottage.  I don't drink tea at 11 am, and this was a new experience for my taste buds.

They served strong tea with lots of "rich" milk.  I had never eaten scones and found them to be a bit dry and not too tasty.  This popular pastry was cut into circles, baked, and sliced in half and served with berry jam and stout tea.  The Irish are known for their hospitality and served plenty of this to us Americans.

My sister and I were amazed how they served the Irish tea.  Milk was first poured into tea cups to prevent the hot tea from cracking the china.  What started as a custom to preserve the china, became tradition.  The Irish have discovered that pouring milk into hot tea makes it taste badly.  They call a cup of tea "cupan tae" or "cuppa tay" on the Emerald Isle.  Our tour director told us that "taking tea" is an Irish custom that has been enjoyed for centuries.  Farmers and fishermen drank the hot drink to warm up on cold, winter days.

After our trip to Ireland, my sister and I developed a taste for Irish tea.  We especially enjoy sipping the hot drink during the holidays and munching sugar cookies.  It really "hits the spot" taking hot Irish tea on cold winter days.  It's like a taste of Ireland that we brought home to the United States.

This story appeared online:  "Good Life Tea"
                                               January 04. 2019

A thatched-roof cottage in Ireland.

An Irish trap transporting "rich" milk to the village.

I wish all my blogger friends a very happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Memorial Sculpture

                                                  Photo by:  Ashley Kairis, staff writer
                                                                    "Clay County Progress"


At Moss Memorial Library,
a cub sitting on Mama Bear's lap
reading a children's book.

Everett and Jane Devaughn,
pillars in our historic town,
the memorial sculpture at Moss Library.

A hummingbird sipping nectar,
Mama Bear wearing a flower,
a cub sitting on her lap.

Seeking knowledge as silver,
a memorial to the mountain couple,
Mama Bear reading to her cub.
                    --Brenda Kay Ledford

Lenton Rose

A time to reflect, earth looks forward to the resurrection, the lengthening of days. Tulips spring forth from their winter's t...