spring

Legend of the Dogwood Tree, Spring in the Hollow

Like so many things in Appalachia, legends surround almost everything and many are held as truths still today. One of my favorite folktales told over and over in West Virginia is the Legend of the Dogwood Tree.  (This is a wonderful copy of the poem that tells the story)

Dogwood blooms in Buckhannon, WV

Dogwood blooms in Buckhannon, WV

As the story was told to me over two decades ago… Jesus was nailed to a large wooden cross made from Dogwood timber and as he died he blessed the tree because of it sorrow for its master’s death. The blessing held that the tree would never again grow straight or tall enough to be used for a  crucifixion cross again.  The flowers would be a symbol of his life, death and resurrection, to everyone who looked on them. With the white blooms standing for Christ and the red tinged edges being the symbol of his blood. The petals of the flower would shape a cross with two long arms and two short and the center in gold is the crown of thorns that he worn on that day.The notched edges of each petal are a reminder of the nails the held him on the cross and each spring we are reminded of his being raised from the dead when the Dogwood blooms again.

So is the story true? No, not really. The evidence pretty well shows that the story is just a tall tale. Do the people of the mountains and hollows still look forward to seeing the Dogwoods bloom every spring… and do they remember this story, Of course!

Dogwood berries ready for winter

Dogwood berries ready for winter in our back yard

The legend moved me so much when we lived on the farm, that while my neighbor was clearing the fence line between our two properties, I stopped my car along the road where he worked. I asked  the older man “please not cut down the young dogwood tree”. I shared the legend  with him while he looked on in amazement and put down his saw. For the following 10 years that same farmer never cut down the dogwood tree that stands in our shared fence row. At that moment I understood for the first time the power of the circuit ministers of the 1800’s in Appalachia. They must have had a lot of time to think when they rode these hills and hollows. They needed ways of reaching people so that they could understand the ideas of crucifixion, resurrection, sacrifice, forgiveness and love. So they used nature as a teaching tool(just like most folktales) to keep a story alive in a way that everyone could understand.

This tail is still heard in churches and at picnics here West Virginia. In spring as the forest slowly returns to life, it is the dogwoods blooms that remind me to tell this story again to another generation. So that my children will one day will share the story that holds many in these mountain hollows together.

Dogwood tree from Wikimedia commons

Dogwood tree from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Categories: Appalachian Mountains, Buckhannon West Virginia, Church, Country life, Folk tails, spring | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Do April spring snow showers bring May flowers?

Here at my house it has been April snow showers for the last two days and all I can say about the whole mess is this quote from a friend of mine named Miranda, ” Go home spring  you are drunk”.

Christopher with April 10th 2016 snow man

Christopher with April 10th 2016 snowman.

 

While  spending sometime outside this morning in 20 degree weather with little Christopher,I keep thinking that I am so glad we have not ordered our new front doors yet.That it will be about 45 more days before we can even think about installation. I am glad that I planted my seeds and they are warming in the window in the livingroom and I have not tried to plant anything that would freeze.

Ah spring we all love to hate you!

Categories: Christopher, gardening, snow, spring, weather | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

DIY Remodeling plans for 2016 year.

The plans for this year’s remodeling include the front entry of the house and new french doors. We knew when we bought the house that the front entry area was in poor shape not only on the inside but on the outside also. There are several problems we will be tackling over the next few months and maybe even into next year.

Front French doors with stone surround

Front French doors with stone surround.

The Problems are #1. the exterior of the front entry is “Fake” stone. They are a molded cement that is the painted with the color and look of real stone. It is then applied to a board with mortar like tile. The problem is that the stones are attached incorrectly and the stones do not have enough mortar to hold securely. Leaving the stones open for water damage and just the effects of gravity have pulled the stones away from the plywood underneath . We have several “stones” that have fallen off and are just stacked up on the porch.

missing stone tile from upper door suround

Missing stone tile from upper door surround.

Problem #2 The doors are old and not very airtight, making them drafty and not as energy-efficient as they should be.

Light and air gaps are visible in the sunshine

Light and air gaps are visible in the sunshine.

Problem # 3 The amount of light that passes through the windows on the doors is not installed with U.V.Ray protective glass and the amount of heat and sun damage from the windows is an issue.

Problem #4 the inside of the entryway looks fine but needs updated with new lights and some wood and stone to tie it with the family room remodel.

inside of all white entryway before update

Inside the all white entryway before update.

So as spring approaches I need to get started on looking at new energy-efficient french doors. I want less glass and the glass that in the new doors must be U.V. Ray reducing.  We hope to install new flooring in the kitchen some time in the future and I want to eliminate the possibility of fading to a new floor. I also want less glass because the doors are on the western side of  the house. The sun just burns through the current windows allowing too much heat into the house the afternoons.

I will be working with a contractor who will be help us with measurements and ordering the new doors and will return again for installation. French doors are a two or three-man job for installation and Tom and I will need all the help we can get to get them into place in one day.

As for the tile on the outside of the house we will replace the doors first and allow any of the old facade to become damaged or cut away before we even think about replacement. Once the doors are in place, the removal of the fake stone will begin and we will be ready to order the new tile. We are planning on using Ledger Tile with natural colors of sandstone to blend in with the brick of the house. The application will be almost the same as the “fake stone” but done with better water-resistant backer boards and lots more mortar.

The inside may not get completed this summer as Tom is going to have Carpal Tunnel surgery, but the plan is to add two wall sconce lights on each side of the doors, remove a ceiling light, and add new wood trim and more Ledger Tile. So the summer work plan is just about to begin and I am excited to get started. The doors are the most important part of the project and our goal is to have them finished before the summer heat keeps us inside. The rest will wait on Tom’s recovery.

We have been having a hard time finding samples of ledger tile here in West Virginia. I am upset that Home Depot does not have them in their stores in my state but have them in Pa.  We can see them  online so Tom and I plan a trip to some of the bigger retailers out-of-state over the summer while he is unable to actually do the work but can see the materials. Sometimes living in the country can making things a little more complicated.

So when we get a few things ordered I will share the plans and photos as we update the doors and stone work. The year looks full of more fun and learning as we learn more about installing new doors, tile and mortar and correct applications outside.

 

Categories: DIY projects, hobbies, home improvement, home remodeling, ledger tile, light fixtures, spring | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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