The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

The Mail Box - October, 1984

Issue: October, 1984

Dear Editor:

On June 29th of this year a freak hail storm struck our apple orchards. This made it impossible to market our usual high quality fruit through our regular channels to super markets. We knew that these "dimpled darlings" kissed by Mother Nature were just as eatable and serviceable to the consumer as our apples had been in the past so we decided to market as a "pick your own" operation this year.

We want to thank you and also your readers who have read our ads in your paper and come out in volume to buy our apples thus saving them money and helping us. We look forward to meeting a lot more of these fine folks on through October. Thanks again for the role your paper has played in this successful promotion.


Nancy & Danny Johnson
Johnson's Orchards
Route # 680
North Bedford, Va.

Dear Mountain Laurel,

Sorry to read about Mr. Yeatts, we will all miss him. I'm so glad he granted you permission to use his notebook. His memories will live on.

As you know, not all of us are writers. But I so want you to know that my husband and I went on our first BACKROAD tour. The one that began at Blowing Rock, N.C....It was Beautiful....We left Blowing Rock at 11:00 am and got to Lenoir at 4:45 pm, but we stopped and talked along the way to the Crump brothers at the cemetery. Come to find out, Paul Crump here in Thomasville was raised up there and Herman Crump was his dad. We showed the Crump brothers The Mountain Laurel paper and the BACKROADS tour that we were taking. They added a few things for us to look for, such as the Ole Crump Home Place on the right just after you pass the first bridge.

I know now why you suggested taking a picnic basket...cause it is a long ways between stores. The first one to be exact is Archie Coffey's Store. We arrived at 1:45 pm, got us a moon pie and one of those drinks out of the drink box. We sat down on a chair in the store and began a wonderful conversation with Mr. Coffey. He wasn't in a hurry and you know, for some reason, we weren't either. No wonder he doesn't look his age. It's so peaceful and quiet around there. He wanted us to walk across the hanging bridge before we left and we did.

We loved every bit of our trip. It was like we had gone back in time to the good ole days. Thanks for being so interested in Backroads and keep up the good work...we enjoy reading every page.

The Becks
Thomasville, N.C.

Dear Editor:

What a delightful newspaper!!

I live in Salem (Va.), but my father was born and reared in Sylvatus. A cousin who also was born in Carroll County and lived there most of her life and I have just come from one of our "sprees" in Hillsville and the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a regular thing with both of us since we have relatives all over the County Carroll. I feel that I know the people you're talking about because I have heard about them since I was a child and I love the Blue Ridge Mountains!


M.A. Gray
Salem, Va.

Dear Editor,

The BACKROADS article in the August issue of The Mountain Laurel is delightful. We have visited the Edgemont area many times.

My husband's great-grandfather, Jack Loudermilk moved to Lost Cove after the Civil War. The Loudermilks and Coffeys intermarried.

Thank you for taking us back again to that area through the printed word.


A.B. Loudermilk
Taylorsville, N.C.

Dear Editor:

Enclosed please find our check for another year's subscription to your publication.

We are now living in Houston, Texas, but we do own some land in your area. Therefore, getting your paper each month reminds us of the "country" life. As soon as we sell our house here in Houston, we will move to your area. Anyone want to move to Houston, Texas?

Thank you for the past year's information and we are looking forward to another year of receiving your paper.


Mr. and Mrs. R. McLaughlin
Houston, Texas

Dear Sir:

I am enclosing check for a subscription to The Mountain Laurel.

A sample copy was left in my mailbox. I read the paper from cover to cover and enjoyed every page. It really brought back many memories of my early years.


M.S. Huffman
Martinsville, Va.

Dear Sirs:

I am a teacher at Radford University in the Appalachian Studies Program and I have been doing research for two years on the traditional foodways of rural mountain people in the South. I would like to make contact with any person who has first hand knowledge of food growing, gardening, food preparation and preservation methods that were used in this area in years past, especially before 1920. I would also like to meet anyone who has written records that could be used to document farm life in this region prior to 1900.

I can be reached by writing the history department, Radford University, Radford, Va. 24142.

Thank you,
Richard A. Straw

Dear Mountain Laurel,

I'm sending $6.00 for my renewal. I wouldn't miss a copy for anything. I sit down and read it from cover to cover just as soon as I get it. I love those stories and I love the mountains. Keep up the good work.

M. Poteat
Blackstone, Va.

Dear Mt. Laurel,

I had these pickles at Conner's View Church dinner last year. One lady asked what they were. I told her, "Old yellow cucumbers." She ate one, then grabbed the can and passed them out and no one would believe they were cucumbers.

My son-in-law carried some home to Martinsville with him. His friend came over that evening. He had him guessing what they were. [He didn't know what they were, but they were sure good.]

I'm making some more in a few days for us.

Arlie Conner
Willis, Va.

Arlie's Yellow Cucumber Pickles

7 or 8 lbs. old yellow cucumbers. Mix 2 gal. water with 2 cups lime. After peeling, seeding and slicing, soak slices for 24 hours or longer if necessary in lime water solution. Remove from lime water and rinse 3 times in cool water. Soak 3 hours in ice water. Set in refrigerator. Remove, make syrup. Syrup - 2 qts. vinegar, 8 cups sugar, 1 tbls. salt, red or green food coloring if desired. Let stand overnight, then cook cucumbers 20 or 25 minutes. Put in jars and seal.

It is best to peel, then slice cucumbers crosswise before seeding them. It's easier. To make a very attractive platter, use red cucumber rings and place a deviled egg in center of ring.

Dear Mrs. Conner,

That sounds like a good way to use those cucumbers that get so big most folks just leave them out in the garden, to go to waste. I've always heard it said, 'Waste not, want not", and Mountain people waste very little.

Thank you for sharing your recipe.

Susan Thigpen, Editor