Brinegar Cabin

On the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge way up in northwestern North Carolina there sits a cabin. Built by hand in the 1880’s it is said by one Martin Brinegar for his bride Carolyn Joines. For six score of years this cabin has watched the seasons roll around the calendar. Winters turning into spring, gardens reaching for summer skies, putting food by through the autumn so the winter would roll around again.

A cool, misty, rainy day on the Blue Ridge of North Carolina…a sturdy log cabin for shelter…a warm fire in the fireplace. There’s a garden out back, planted with the seeds we saved from last year. There is a springhouse down below with milk from the cow fresh this very morning. The cow and her calf are in the pen out by the barn. Chickens and pigs or turning and scratching the fall garden plot. there is fresh butter being churned by the door. Momma is working on grannies loom, cloth for new clothes for the comin’ winter. The dogs are resting under the porch awaiting the next hunting trip into the woods up the hollow…Life is hard here on the Blue Ridge but really…what more could a family ask for?

Life on the Blue Ridge had its blessings even at the end of the 19th century when Martin and Caroline raised their children here. The cabin Martin built stands still in the little hollow off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The view of the rolling piedmont below and the cool summers must have been one of the things that kept the Brinegars on the Blue Ridge for their life together.

The little cluster of log buildings aren’t very imposing but they were home to Martin and Caroline for going on 50 years. Good years and bad, these buildings have weathered everything nature and man have thrown there way. Inside the cabin stands the loom Caroline inherited from her mother…The loom she used to make the cloth that clothed her family. The cloth that made the blankets that kept out the cold on those winter nights when the icicles would reach the ground from the eaves.

The 1900 census records show that Martin and Caroline raised three children in this cabin. First born was Alice, then Sarah in June of 1881. A son John W. was born in September of 1888. The spacing tends to leave one to suspect other babies were lost to the hardness of the times.

The 1920 census finds Martin and Caroline still in the cabin on the Blue Ridge with their grandson Bearl at 7 keeping them company. It would not be hard to visualize the young grandson playing on the porch in the photo below. By mid decade Martin will be laid to rest in the little cemetery on a knoll above what is now the Blue Ridge Parkway. Caroline will continue to live in the cabin until the government purchases it for the new park. Not long after, she will again rest beside Martin.

The next time you are cruising the Blue Ridge Parkway and pass the sign for the Brinegar Cabin pull in and spend some time thinking about what it was like to be living on the mountain shortly after the Civil War…

The Cool Truth About October: Shorter Days, Longer Harvests –

This column from Barbara Damrosch came at a very good time.  It reminds me why I loved fall as a boy…The air is cooler but the overall feel is of warmth…

When T.S. Eliot wrote “April is the cruelest month,” he might have added, “October is seriously underrated.”

Consider those two months. We expect from both a temperature range midway between hot and cold, with unpredictable doses of either. But gardeners, especially, embrace April with exaggerated hope and cheer, oblivious to the imminent onset of blistering heat, drought and bolted lettuce. By October many edge wearily and even gratefully into the shadow of oncoming winter, forgetting to enjoy the gardening year’s best weather.

Source: The Cool Truth About October: Shorter Days, Longer Harvests –

Fall is in the air for the North Carolina Mountains around Valle Crucis

Ray is promising a fall weekend for the northwestern corner of North Carolina. Forecasted low for tonight is 40 degrees. Fire up the wood stove, throw some logs in the fireplace, it’s time for some chili simmering on the stove.

After the refreshment of Humberto’s leftover rains, now its time to enjoy the good side of a departing remnant tropical system. Improving skies today will bring abundant sunshine and a feel of fall throughout the High Country this entire weekend. We hope this leads to high points on the Mountaineer side in today’s game against a tough Northern Arizona squad. Brisk breezes will usher this airmass into the region, setting the stage for a cold overnight with some of the mountain valleys flirting with a slight frost potential in a few sheltered spots by Sunday morning. An overnight breeze should prohibit that in most locations but the need for knits (as in sweaters or your grandma’s comfy afghan she lovingly passed down) will be in full order. ENJOY!

I’ll second that sentiment sitting as I do at sea level on the Gulf Coast of Texas where the low tonight will barely make the low 70’s…Enjoy the fall weather North Carolina.

Source: Ray’s Weather Center – Valle Crucis –


Even over here in Texas the word is getting out and people are noticing the policies of the Bush gang in Washington. Mountaintop Removal Mining has to be stopped and it will take the efforts of all of us to do it. I have made the point to switch my electric supplier to a company that only supplies green power…No more will I support the coal companies when I turn on the lights.


Thursday, September 13, 2007
Posted by Jim Hightower

Listen to this Commentary

Boy, things are hectic inside the Bush regime these days! The clock is ticking, and Corporate America is rushing to get all the favors it can before Bush & Company closes down in 2009. Sure enough, the Bushites are delivering.

It received little media attention, but the giant coal operators (which have been reliable funders for George and the GOP) recently got a huge goodie handed to them: Bush gave them Appalachia! His office of surface mining quietly issued a new regulation that would allow King Coal to ravage the ancient mountains, glorious forests, and pure streams of Central Appalachia at will.

Source: Jim Hightower | GIVING AWAY APPALACHIA