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Western North Carolina is apple country. Henderson County, which is next door to us, produces more than the rest of us, and many varieties. Some of the newer ones are honeycrisp and ginger gold. These have their appeal. Honeycrisp was almost impossible to get year before last due to the demand for it. These newer apples are crossbreeds.

rome appleBut who wants a crossbreed when you can have a real thoroughbred apple. Not me.

One of my favorites is the Rome beauty. This apple, which hails from Ohio, is of unknown origin, one plant having been shipped from a nursery in the early 1800’s in a group of some other variety. The tree survived and from it we have these beautiful deep red apples, flecked with tiny white spots, that often are just as beautiful inside as they are outside, their white flesh streaked and mottled with a deep pink color. Gorgeous! And when you bake them, they retain a lot of that beautiful color. Not all Rome apples have these pretty pink streaky insides, but a fair number of them do.

White and pink interior

White and pink interior

I open the top and dig out the seeds with a little knife, being careful not to cut all the way through the apple if I can help it. In it I put first about a teaspoon of butter and on top of that somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon of sugar, and then another teaspoon of butter, topped off with a little shake of cinnamon. Put the apple(s) in a dish or pan just large enough to hold it(them); add a little water in the bottom; and bake in a preheated oven at about 350 degrees until as done as you like. I use a toaster oven for one or two, and it doesn’t take long. The water will make a nice juice that you can pour on top of the apples when they are done.

baked apples

baked apples

Rome apples will remain firm longer than most varieties. Just keep them a a cool place. They don’t have a really distinctive flavor, nor are they especially crunchy or juicy. They are just good utilitarian apples, but they’ve got a lot of class. Baking brings out the best in them.

A Psalm For Mr. Trump

trumpMany years ago when I was having difficulty with someone a lady referred me to Psalm 35. I had never read it before, and was amazed that someone in the Bible would be so passionate in his  denunciation of his enemies, to the point of asking God to destroy them. I found out the Bible is not all sweetness and light. But it is all truth.

The person in the Bible pleading with God for the annihilation of his enemies was King David. We don’t know exactly what experience prompted David to write this Psalm, but we do know that a number of years passed between the time Samuel the priest anointed David to be king until he actually took the throne. During those years Saul was king over Israel. Initially Saul accepted David. Saul even gave David his daughter to be his wife.

Eventually Saul developed a deep hatred of David, and tried to kill him many times. David was on the run for his life for a season. He had the opportunity more than once to kill Saul, but he wouldn’t do it. You can read about it in the Old Testament. Start in the book of First Samuel.

I suspect that it was during this time in his life that David wrote Psalm 35. I was reading it yesterday and couldn’t help thinking of Mr. Trump and his enemies. Here it is:

Psalm 35

1 Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.

2 Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.

3 Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me: say unto my soul, I am thy salvation.

4 Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back and brought to confusion that devise my hurt.

5 Let them be as chaff  before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.

6 Let their way be dark and slippery: and let the angel of the LORD persecute them.

7 For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul.

8 Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.

9 And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

10 All my bones shall say, LORD, who is like unto thee,  which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor  and the needy from him that spoileth him?

11 False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not.

12 They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul.

13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.

14 I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother.

15 But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:

16 With hypocritical mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with their teeth.

17 Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions.

18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.

19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.

20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land.

21 Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it.

22 This thou hast seen, O LORD: keep not silence: O Lord, be not far from me.

23 Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord.

24 Judge me, O LORD my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

25 Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it: let them not say, We have swallowed him up.

26 Let them be ashamed and brought to confusion together that rejoice at mine hurt: let them be clothed with shame and dishonour that magnify themselves against me.

27 Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.

28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.

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j0438533In the 14th chapter of the gospel of John, Jesus talked with his disciples about heaven. He said, Where I go you know, and you also know the way. One disciple said Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way? At this point Jesus said to them I am the way.

He is the way. If we follow him he will lead us all the way home. If we follow him. If we meet Jesus on the road and strike up a conversation with him and get to know him on a superficial level, we might say later on that we know him,  We have made his acquaintance.  But, after that encounter on the road, if we continue on our way north and Jesus continues on his way south what is going to happen?  That acquaintance is never going to develop into a relationship. Yes, we met him, we talked to him, but no, we don’t really know him. We just know what he looks like and what he talks like. We know something about him, and that is all.

Friend, knowing about Jesus is not enough to get you into heaven no matter what you have been told and by whom. You can not rely on a superficial going through the motions, mouthing the words encounter with the preacher to get you saved. If your heart was not in the transaction, then it was simply an exercise and not the real thing.

Lots of people go to church every Sunday, serve on committees  even teach Sunday School, but don’t know Jesus. Either they have not been told, or they do not believe that a personal relationship with Jesus is necessary to go to heaven. They are on their way to hell.

They have been told that God is love and his grace will get you through. Just sign up here and get your fire insurance.  They think God is a wimp and they can keep on sinning and he will overlook it and just let it go.

God is not in the insurance business and no, He will not wink at anyone’s sin.  The Bible says the Christian  keeps himself. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 1 John 5:18

 Jesus said there would be many who expected to get into heaven who would not make it. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7: 21-23)

If you are continuing to sin, habitually breaking the commandments of God then you are either not saved or you have backslidden, and either  condition will get you into hell if you do not repent and give Jesus control of your life.

I know this is blunt but it is the truth. You need the truth. If you will hear me, it will save your soul from hell if you are not saved. I did not really want to write this article. This is not my favorite subject. Maybe no one will read it. But maybe someone will. And maybe they will consider what I am saying.

There’s a big big highway, eight lanes at least, bumper to bumper, all going in one direction, down, down, down. You do not want to go where they are going. You need to make an exit off the road to death. Take a turn on to the narrow road.

You need to really change; your heart needs to change; your insides need to be emptied of everything dark and ugly, cleaned out, made new. Jesus can do it; only he can do it.  He will lead you through the whole process. It might be quick; it might take a while, but all the while you will be safe in him if you want him and love him and submit to his way. He knows the way. He is the way.

Follow him he asks. Take up your cross he says. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23. Cross out sin, cross out selfishness, cross out greed, covetousness. Lay your life on the altar. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  Romans 12:1 It gets easier as you go along, his way. 

Getting saved is not arriving. It is departing, setting out on a journey, following him. He is your GPS

Bad times are coming. You could leave this world in an instant. Be ready. Give your life to the Lord, seek him and follow him, every minute. Abide in Christ. The safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will.new-imagefrom-internet-cross-and-object-in-sky

Seems that I saw the Magnificent Seven in a movie many years ago. Don’t even remember what it was all about, but the title was obviously unforgettable. So are these pet turkeys.

Here they are: all seven of them.

Here they are: all seven of them.

With the state of our Union being what it is, and with the things happening everywhere, my attention has been on things important, such as being ready to die at any time. We see that it can happen, and without warning. I don’t want to leave this world unprepared for eternity.

But, Jesus said for us to “occupy” until he comes. And that means to be about the business of living. Sometimes I get so caught up in living that I forget him and that I am his, and just loose my composure, not to mention my temper. Then, Oh Lord, I am sorry. But after the words are said, or yelled, as is sometimes the case, they are loose to do their damage. Shame, shame.

I didn’t want to get involved with turkeys. No one does. But I had to. Jack doesn’t have a lot to get interested in or to take joy in these days, but he does love his birds. Last fall, he insisted Tony take him way over beyond Asheville to buy three female turkeys. These young females did nothing all winter but eat, no eggs, no nothing. But come spring they began to lay.

Jack said I had to save all the turkey eggs. I sneaked and ate a few (they are very good, better than chicken’s eggs) but there were still plenty.  We got one of the incubators out and set it up in the living room on a table where Jack could see it and piddle with it. I think there were eighteen or twenty eggs in it but only six hatched. I put the little turkeys in an open plastic box on the little table where the incubator had been. I couldn’t resist reaching in and grabbing one up as I passed by. They squealed, but I just held and rubbed their beautiful fur. In a few days they began to feather out. Four were yellow with brown markings when they hatched; later they began to be spotted; one was all yellow and one almost black. The yellow one turned out to be gray colored and the black one has a little white on his tailfeathers now. His name is Big Peep.

Here are five little turkeys.

Here are five little turkeys.

Well I petted my baby turkeys until I had to move them to a diddle cage in a room at the end of the chicken house. Jack made the diddle cage several years ago of wood framing with rat wire for the floor and poultry netting for the sides. The top is plywood, hinged to open and shut. By the time the little turkeys moved to the diddle cage Jack had hatched another setting of eggs, but unfortunately, only one little turkey made it. I called him Little Peep. He was black all over. I spoiled him of course, since he was the only one in the house.

The little ones in the diddle cage were growing and so beautiful. Turkeys ARE beautiful, IF you don’t look them in the face. Just notice their marvelous shape and their pretty feathers. All spring my therapy consisted of going down to the chicken house and spending time petting my little turkeys. In a few weeks I let them out of the diddle cage to run free in the little room where the cage was, and I moved Little Peep from the living room to the diddle cage. I let him stay there a week or two while he and the older little turkeys got acquainted.

This is Little Peep. Well, I did tell you about looking them in the face!

This is Little Peep. Well, I did tell you about looking them in the face!

They would look in at him as if to say “What are you doing in there?” I was afraid that when I took him out of the diddle cage the others, being a few weeks older and bigger than him, would terrorize him, but they did not, probably because they already knew him.

By late July or August I turned all seven of them out to the chicken yard. They had no sooner hit the ground than the males began to fight each other. As far as I know there had been no feuding in the chicken house, but they really had it out that day. And then they settled down.

Chickens will go back into their house at night without any encouragement. Turkeys, not necessarily. Our big turkeys always go back in at night. But these – for some reason they wanted to roost outside. They still do. Mostly they roost in a cedar tree at the back of the house, but sometimes they choose a limb of a walnut, or a fence post. When daylight comes they fly down and the whole bunch goes rambling, sometimes far away. One morning I thought a coyote had gotten them, but about 9:00 o’clock all seven of them came traipsing out of the woods.

Even though they are nearly grown now, they are very tame and friendly. If I (or anyone else for that matter) sit at the picnic table they will come up to talk; the dominant males strut around so I can see how lovely they are, even consenting to let me pet them if I rub their feathers in the right direction. Little Peep comes and sits at my side. He is a male also, but he is not letting anyone but me know. He was strutting when he was little, but now he has quit. He is biding his time.

You think I’m kidding?  No. Some males do not develop as early as others. Our black and white male was sold to us as a female, and it was a long time before we found that he was a tom. Also, I think some turkeys, such as Little Peep, have sense enough not to let their testosterone get out of control. They don’t want to pick a fight until they are sure they can win.

That surely applies to the gray one.  He was always more aloof than the other six. I had to run him down to stroke his feathers and it never seemed to please him very much that I did. I noticed he didn’t join in the fight that occurred the first day I turned them out.  I thought he was a duplicate of Madam Gray, an older female we have. I named him Miss Gray.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking on the road behind the shed all by myself when I came upon Miss Gray, who happened to be there alone, digging up bugs. What a show that turkey put on for me! It was as if Miss Gray knew I thought he was a girl and he was glad for this private audience with me so he could set the record straight. I watched in amazement at the transformation. When he saw me he tucked his head up against his neck, and fanned his tailfeathers in a perfect arc. He fluffed all the small feathers on his back and sides straight out. He spread his wing feathers apart and dropped them to the ground, scraping the dust with them as he thumped and puffed at me, strutting up and down as if he were the king of the hill. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it. I had no idea. I had to apologize.

When he was satisfied that I had gotten the message he went back to being a shy and mild mannered fowl, just picking bugs. I have seen no further evidence from him that he is a male. But he is! I would not have known it but for that private encounter.

We have five younger turkeys that have just been turned out. They did not get the petting and attention that I gave these seven and they are wild and no fun at all.

But these seven have been friends. And not just my friends. They cull no one. Give them a little attention and they’ll follow you to the jumping off place. They are a nuisance sometimes, especially when they get on the porch and look through the windows. They wouldn’t do it if they were not crazy about me and they know I’m in there somewhere. The other turkeys never notice the porch.

Earlier this evening I brought Little Peep in for Jack to see how he had grown.  Jack grinned, not at Little Peep, but at me, and he said “You love them turkeys, don’t you?”

I have to admit that I do.

Update: Feb. 2017.  Well, I am going to have to eat crow (turkey). You can not always tell a turkey’s sex by whether they strut or not. I will spare you the details, but to make a long story a little longer you need to know that a more accurate way to determine whether a turkey is male or female is by the wattles (the flap of skin under the beak)  and the bumps or caruncles in the throat region. These are far more predominant in the male at maturity. Before then I guess you just have to wait and see.  Sorry. I learn something new about every day.

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I hope I didn’t make any enemies with my post concerning the developments arising out of the new road construction at Toxaway. I meant no harm. I am a writer, and I just gave in to the temptation presented by the blank page before me.

methodistThis post addresses a much more serious concern. A hundred years from now, will it really matter if the little store was a historic structure or simply a shack as Jack has so often referred to it? And if the rocks on the hillside continue in their place will that be significant or no? But a hundred years from now you and I will likely have entered into our eternal reward. What will that be? No matter your age, you need to ask yourself that question. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, and you know that.

It is really true that God came in the person of Jesus two thousand years ago to offer the inhabitants of this fallen planet eternal life and salvation from hell. I am not a preacher so I am not going to explain that. It is not very complicated if you are willing to believe. God will send you someone or something to expand your understanding of Christ’s payment for sin if you need that.

My purpose here is to issue a strong warning. Jesus is returning soon to end the present regime and to usher in the Kingdom of God. Before that there are going to wars and bloodshed, famine, disease and every kind of sorrow and destruction. Your life could be snuffed out in a moment in the chaos that is coming. You need to be ready. When your life ends the opportunity to choose your eternal destination will be gone. If you do not choose Christ ahead of time you will automatically go to hell. That’s blunt, but it is fact. (He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already….John 3:18)

Nobody wants to go to hell. Like the rich young ruler in the Bible we ask “What must I do to be saved?”  The rich young ruler made his choice. He could not be saved because he wanted his wealth more than he wanted Jesus. (See Matthew 19)

Jesus’ gift of salvation and eternal life is free and offered to everyone.You need to know beyond any doubt that no one has been left out of the circle of his love. There is no person born some place outside of God’s grace. The Bible tells us that salvation has come to all men  The opportunity to be saved comes to everyone. (See Titus 2:11)

The opportunity to be saved makes its way over the face of the whole earth. Christians have been commissioned to spread the good news of salvation through Jesus throughout the world and millions of Christians have obeyed that directive. You don’t need to be a missionary to spread the gospel. But when Christians can not or do not reach the unsaved, then Christ himself seeks out his own. He is able to go where no feet fall; he can go into the wildest jungle, or into the rudest desert hovel to speak to a heart, to give a dream, to urge a savage soul toward redemption.  Numbers of persons who never heard the gospel have been saved by a personal encounter with Jesus. He knows where you are, and seeks out those who have a heart for him.

I am not going to try to tell you how God does that beyond what I have already said. It is plain that not everyone gets saved; some do not want to be saved. Some want to be saved and at the same time live like sinners. They make their choice. You can’t have it both ways. God made us, but we make our choices. God is just and fair and righteous beyond our comprehension. He holds the planets in their places by his sovereign power; he knows the name of every star. We all come from different places and circumstances, and some of us seem to be more fortunate than the rest of us by this fallen world’s standards. But we are little and God is big. He knows more than we do. We do not see from God’s perspective. He measures by a different rule. There is no meanness, partiality, or favoritism in him. If he were not just to the nth degree, the entire universe would fly apart. Jesus offers to every person the exact same salvation that he offered his twelve disciples. He might not give us things that we think we should have or deserve, but it is not his nature to short change us, withhold from us, or deny us anything that is of eternal consequence. His purpose for each individual is different. He gives us what we need to fulfill his design for us. Your neighbor has a different purpose. His situation and abilities will be different from yours. We are all equal in God’s eyes, but we are not all the same.

The rich young ruler had a yearning in his heart for eternal life, for cleanness of heart and soul. That’s why he was talking to Jesus in the first place. He wanted the thing that Jesus offered, but when he considered the price, he was unwilling to pay it.

Which brings us around to the point of this writing. Salvation is a free gift. It is an impartation to us from God of his spirit. It is not a promise for the future although it carries one. It is not a will of the wisp, here today and gone tomorrow. It is an unforgettable personal encounter with Jesus, King of Kings. It will change your life. If your life has not changed, if you have not grown, if you have not put away sin, it could be you are not really saved. You need to go further, dig deeper, seek more . He responds to those who genuinely seek him.

If this is you, please know I am not saying this to hurt your feelings. Nor am I saying you are not saved. Only you and Jesus know if you are saved or not. But if you are struggling, I have been where you are. It was not a one time easy trip for me to become reconciled to God. But I kept seeking and knocking, and he eventually gave me a wonderful revelation of himself that sustains me to this day.

What I want for you is encouragement and true direction. You need the truth, for nothing else will save you in the end. No amount of reform, behavior modification, or wishful thinking will substitute for a heart encounter with Jesus. Nothing but his blood sacrifice can cleanse your soul and give you eternal life. Everything else is false no matter how good and reasonable it sounds. Ignoring the facts, putting your head in the sand, taking the easy way out with a half hearted commitment will not work in the long run.Do not even consider  a temporary fix for an eternal problem. Heaven or hell; both are forever.

If you want Jesus, if you want to be saved it is not hard. The sinner’s prayer is only a few sentences, and millions perhaps have entered into salvation by saying the sinner’s prayer, from their heart. An equal number perhaps have said the words, with no results. The Bible says with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10

There are people around  who say “Well, Bless God, if you didn’t get saved the way I got saved, then you didn’t get it.” That’s like saying it’s my way or the highway. Don’t listen to people like that. You don’t need that person’s stamp of approval on your salvation experience. What you need is a relationship with Jesus. Do not stop until you find Him, in person. He said himself, I am the way…and no man cometh to the father but by me. John 14:6

More to come…..

 

 

 

 

I did not intend to say anything on this subject, but I must put a pin in the hysterical hot air balloon that is inflating up at Toxaway Falls. You notice I did not say “historical,”

If you’ve ever watched Waters World on television you have seen how poorly educated Americans are about their history and culture. It is the exception and not the rule when Waters encounters an informed citizen, one that can answer a simple question about U.S. government or history. I thought that was a phenomenon confined to New York and Coney Island, but alas, it is here also. But, to be fair, we all come up a little short in some areas. And sometimes the remedy for that is what my mother in law used to call a dose of Re ali Tea.

Toxaway Falls Stand

Toxaway Falls Stand

When construction began recently on the road improvements in the vicinity of Toxaway Falls someone looked at the Highway Department’s map and noted that Jack’s little store, Toxaway Falls Stand, had been labeled a historic structure by the highway folks. In almost no time Toxaway Falls Stand’s status became elevated well beyond that of a little slapped together antique building, not even as old or historically significant as some local barns, to a place on the National Register. So now there are a lot of folks around here who actually believe that….

Highway Department Official Looks At Possible Native American Burial Site. (copy of newspaper photo)

Further, the Abandoned Cemeteries people called the Highway Department’s attention to a possible Native American burial site up on the ridge near the proposed new road in order that the site would be protected during the construction. The pile of rocks was identified right away and with certainty as the gravesite of a Cherokee Indian – “Chief Toxaway.” And then the fun began. It seems that another rock pile on another mountain off Blue Ridge Road also bears the distinction of being said chieftan’s resting place. Ohhhhh……

Somehow I find it appalling that our own Native American, the mixed blood William Jack Fisher, who a hundred years ago saved a number of lives in the Toxaway Gorge, was so soon forgotten, while the illusory bones of an Indian chief, about whom nothing is known, and whose historical existence is speculative, were deemed important enough to be claimed interred in at least two places in this community. Whatever happened to the separation of fact and fiction?

Does anyone know how long the rock pile has been there on the ridge above the falls? The Cherokee were not the first Indians to inhabit our area. Some artifacts found in the vicinity are centuries old. Examination of the site might prove that it is very old and made by a previous culture. Further, the Cherokee did not have a town here. The Cherokee town of Toxaway was situated near the confluence of the Keowee River and Eastatoe Creek, now under the waters of Lake Keowee.

It is a fact that the Cherokee once had dominion over the whole of what is now Transylvania County. They occupied a large section of Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. They did not “own” land as we do but roamed at will. Their trails crisscrossed the mountains, connecting their various settlements. There were yearly hunting expeditions through our area. An annual stopover was on Indian Camp Mountain near Rosman. Highway 178 out of Rosman was built on their trail –  the Eastatoe Path. Occasionally there might have been numbers of Cherokees encamped here or passing through.

But by the time the first permanent white settlers began coming here there were very few Indians left, the reason being the Cherokee Removal of 1838-39. Most of the Cherokee were rounded up and herded off to the West along the Trail of Tears. But there were some who managed to escape capture by fleeing their valley settlements and hiding out in the mountains, including our area. Eventually the government abandoned their search for these fugitives and they were allowed to stay wherever they were. The early settlers of this area found abandoned huts and other evidence of Cherokee occupation. They also found a few Indians, some of whom assimilated into the white culture. There was one Indian family who owned property in the vicinity of Golden Road and were members of a local church.

So is it not possible that Chief Toxaway might have been one of the local Indians back in the mid-1800’s when white people began settling here? Possible, yes, but not likely. For one thing there seems to be no mention of him in any historical records from that era, and there certainly was no cohesive Cherokee settlement here for him to be head of.

Part of the Eastatoe Valley

Part of the Eastatoe Valley

But, if it makes anyone feel better, there is some mention of Chief Toxaway by a romantic and adventurous nineteenth century writer – William Gilmore Simms. Simms loved nothing better than to mingle with the locals and gather tidbits for his stories, most of which were fiction. Jim Bob Tinsley in his book Land of Waterfalls mentioned Simms and his visit with the Long Hunters here in the 1840’s. Well, Simms published a collection of stories including The Legend of Jocassee, a tale set in the Keowee River area, and pertaining to a conflict between two rival bands of Cherokees, the Eastatoe band, and the Oconees. It seems the leader of the Eastatoes was none other than – Chief Toxaway.

Perhaps Mr. Simms’ story is where some of this smoke came from…..Anyway, the evidence that there ever was a Chief Toxaway up here in the high country is pretty flimsy, especially when one considers that except for the river, the name Toxaway did not come up here until the early 1900’s, and incidentally, was brought by the land developers. Before that our impressive monolith was dubbed Hogback Mountain, due to its similarity in appearance to that beast, and the surrounding low ground was Hogback Valley. At that time Toxaway Falls was known as the Bagwell Shoals, after the name of its owner.

But, back to the rock pile, we know that Native Americans sometimes buried their dead in this manner. And it doesn’t seem likely this spot would have been a cultivated field, cleared of rocks by a farmer who piled them at the edge. So it is entirely possible we have a genuine Native American burial site overlooking Toxaway Falls. And that’s important.

But beyond that, if an Indian chief is buried under those rocks, I rather doubt it is Chief Toxaway……

…..But there’s an outside chance it could be Chief Hogback……

Hogback Mountain

Hogback Mountain

 

IMG_1231I had a few little crocus blossoms earlier, mostly purple, but one bright yellow. It was so cold I couldn’t enjoy them then except in passing, on my way to the mailbox. But now, Ahh, it’s a lot warmer and the forsythia and daffodils are blooming. Their bright golden color is just dazzling against the browns and grays of the lingering winter.

When I was a girl, the only daffodils I knew were the double ones. They were usually scrawny and lots of times they didn’t open fully, and consequently they just were not very attractive. My grandma had doubles, my aunts had them, Mama’s friends had them, everyone, first to last had double daffodils. Nobody had the single trumpet kind. I have often wondered if double was the only vairiety they sent up here to McNeely’s General Store, where I suspect the local folks got their bulbs way back then. But I remember down at Boyleston we had doubles at the place where we lived. And also at the house near Brevard.

I have trumpet daffodils that I planted, but, would you believe there were only double daffodils here when I came. Jack had dug up some from his great grandparents’ place at Waddle Mountain and they planted them here. I didn’t know until recently how old those daffodils were. And that’s what I am getting to with this article.

Daffodils are self sufficient and tenacious. I guarantee you that after they were planted nobody ever did one more thing for those double daffodils Jack brought up the mountain to here so many years ago. And I will also guarantee you that they had been growing at that old homeplace on Waddle Mountain untold years with no attention whatever. Nobody petted them, or fertilized them, or encouraged them.

Unless their habitat is destroyed daffodils will go on and on and on. I remember finding a patch of daffodils in a row in the Pisgah National Forest. At first I was baffled at finding this sure evidence of civilization in such an out of the way place, but then I realized that wooded place had once been a farm. Daffodils are not native to the U.S. and had to be introduced. If you find them in the woods, look around for an old chimney or a other evidence of an old homestead.

Jack's double daffodils

Jack’s double daffodils

Daffodils then, as now, were universally loved and easy to grow. They were passed around so that any woman who wanted some could start with a handful of bulbs and in a few years have a nice flower patch of the bright golden beauties.

And years later when that woman’s cabin has crumbled into dust, and nothing remains of her old place but the gnarled dead stump of an apple tree, the daffodils that she planted will fling open their petals every spring, for no other reason except that she put them there.

Maybe you need to put some, somewhere.