The good doctor

#5260 Jesse James Bailey Papers, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Plenty of wildness remained in the mountains well into the 20th century—in the untamed forests, for one, but also in the fierce, independent spirit of the mountaineers. Many country folks resented government intrusion into their lives on any level. Read more


Around the world

Image courtesy of Evelyn Coltman

Quilting goes back at least to ancient Egypt and China. Among its first recorded appearances in European history, during the Crusades, was as a layer of clothing that soldiers wore under their heavy, uncomfortable armor. Read more


Like the ancients

Jennifer Garbrecht photo

The fire crackles to life with a single match strike, the small pile of kindling and tinder catching quickly. As it grows stronger, the blacksmith adds coke—a solid derivative of low-ash, low-sulfur bituminous coal—to the yellow flames. Read more


Winter Pan regional champ

Mandy Newham illustration

The wonders of modern life, our electronic technology, maybe the idea of civilization, can sometimes seem like a thin, tenuous thing. Sometimes it takes only weather to brush it away, take us back a couple of centuries. Read more

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Cutting through the cold

Family photo

For years I’ve purchased firewood, and every time I handed over the money my own guilt poisoned the transaction. My thoughts would go to our piece of land on the mountain, downed wood all around, and wonder when I would make the time to cut my own. Read more


By the fireplace

Photo courtesy of Rod Gragg

Instead of electronic equipment, the center of attention in the parlor was usually a fireplace. And for good reason: unlike television, a fireplace not only heated the room, it also kindled conversation. Read more


Snowed in

Photo courtesy of The Swag Country Inn

Equipped as we were with three woodstoves and enough instant oatmeal to last a minor apocalyptic event, the blizzard of ’93 is well remembered as a pretty enjoyable event by all the inhabitants of that lonely corner of mountain. Read more


In the seven years that my husband and I have been together, he has left me home alone only twice. I am typically the one who travels, allowing him free reign to engage in home improvement projects and drink beer while ironing his button-up shirts. Read more