Churn Your Own
February 17, 2011, 9:30 pm
Filed under: Craft, Eats | Tags: , ,

To churn your own butter you need a 4-5 gallon stoneware jar with a wooden lid and a dasher. Fill it half way, or slightly over half, full with rich milk which should mostly be cream. And then get to churning the cream with that dasher you made from an old broom stick.

To pass the time you can try chanting this traditional chant said in time to the up and down movements of that dasher. When the butter gathers adequately, remove, rinse,  and and some salt. Let it chill in the icebox before spreading on some toast. * As seen and described in The Foxfire Book by Eliot Wigginton.


The Dulcimer, sometimes pronounced “dulcymore” , has many incarnations but around here we mainly enjoy the sounds of the Appalachian variety. The instrument itself has as many variety’s as it does names. Each instrument tends to be specific to the crafts person who made it and where that person lives.

One of those craftspersons is Robert Mize from Blountville Tennessee who was a member of the Southern Highlands Handicraft Guild. His approach to the instrument and its construction is unique. I recently came across his story in the issue  of FireFox 3, which is where all images are from. The rest of the set can be seen here.

Enjoy this version of the classic bluegrass tune “Wildwood Flower”, the official theme song of The Wildwood.

From Sheep to Loom
January 28, 2010, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Craft, Folk | Tags: , , , ,

After shearing the sheep and before weaving on the loom, there is spinning on the wheel. The spinning wheel, the device used by the king’s daughter in Rumpelstiltskin to weave straw into gold, is a device dating back to 1237.

Besides turning straw to gold, this device allows you to transform wool into yarn, and then subsequently make clothes or rugs on the loom.

All images from Foxfire 2, more here.

Kenny Runion
November 9, 2009, 10:17 am
Filed under: Craft, Folk | Tags: ,

Kenny Runion is a craftsman, he makes everything from laurel wood rocking chairs to belts to wooden necklaces with dimes store jewels. He also has a riddle for you.

kenny runion riddle

*Answers to Kenny’s riddle :  (1) A Chesnut (2) A wagon (3) a Churn (4) A person carrying a milk stool upside down riding on a donkey. Excerpt from Foxfire 2.

The Goat Man Ches McCartney
October 23, 2009, 10:04 am
Filed under: Folk, Wilderness Heroes | Tags: , ,

“Charles “Ches” McCartney, the legendary “Goat Man”, was a wanderer, who spent decades traveling across the country while guiding a massive iron-wheeled wagon loaded with pots and pans, pails, bails of hay, car tags lead by a team of goats.” via The Goat Man

He has said to have traveled over 100,000 miles and to every state in the continental US. He carried with him a copy of Robinson Crusoe which served as inspiration for dressing him and his son in goat skins along with a Bible from which he preached. He traveled the country living off the land and got by through the contributions and kindness of strangers, and of course his goats.

A few weeks ago Cold Splinters mentioned Foxfire, the publication dedicated to preserving the rural culture of southern Appalachia, if you are interested in more on the Goat Man they are the publisher a book about him.

For more excellent images of Ches visit this site.