Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ramp-Hunting in the High Hills--Again

Would you trust your husband with these two?

He looks cold, but not scared, so I think it must have been okay.

They were on the search for these. Recognize them?

Two hams in the wilderness. I hope the grouse managed them all right.

Larry is a happy man. He has ramps. Lots of ramps. (to read about what ramps are, see my blog about his first trip to get them, and be sure to read the comments because Matthew shared some good information there).

The trip yesterday was actually a result of that post and comments. Matthew offered and Larry jumped at the chance to head to Pendleton County on a ramp hunt. We had to get schedules worked out but finally settled on Monday.

After a week of lovely weather, Monday was cold, rainy and snow threatened. But a little thing like weather would not deter an avid ramp man. And these two guys are rabid about ramps.

Larry got a few ramps this weekend at Aaron's house, but he still wanted to get more. You can freeze ramps for later use if you package them right. Carelessness in packaging will get you a whole freezer that smells of ramps, and everything in the freezer will taste like them too. Not a good mix with strawberries or peaches. We triple bag them in good ziplock bags, and Larry just read that if we put the bagged ramps into jars with tight lids it's an even better insurance policy. So that's what he'll do with his new batch.

Digging ramps in the rain is not easy. For one thing, you get water spots all over your camera, Larry tells me. I believe him.

The mountains of Pendleton and Pocahontas counties are a place where time stood still for a long time. Although growth is slowly coming, you will still see things like this barn painted with German hex signs. Matthew's family is from Germany Valley, and many of the old German ways live on in the descendants of the early settlers. You need to read Matthew's blog, Appalachian Lifestyles, to get a real sense of the area.

This old cabin was the homeplace of Matthew's grandparents, I believe. Larry was struck by its location. Imagine winters here 50 or 70 years ago, when snows were much deeper and winter storms fiercer than what we know today. Even in decay, it's beautiful.

Larry came home tired and satisfied. I heard him say something about going back soon for mollymoochers. This time, I think I'll put a tape player in the car because I know there were some high old stories in the air during their trip.


Susan said...

Oh next year I hope I can come too!! Those three look like a fun bunch for such a trip.

Love the photos--and the idea of a recorded road trip. Excellent!

Cathy said...

They look like they had a fun time even if they were cold and wet. I can't wait to have some mollymoochers. My dad is the man in finding them.

Jason Burns said...

That partially collapsed cabin was the home of my great-great grandparents, and is the place where my great-grandmother Mary grew up in Germany Valley. I can still hear her telling us stories of cooking on the old clay stove they had.

And they can have all the ramps they want. I'm not about to eat those things!

Mom said she had fun though - she was cold, but had fun. I guess in the end its the fun part that matters.

Jason Burns said...

Oh, and the name of the cabin is Fiddler's Green.

Matthew Burns said...

Ahhhh, good times!

Yes, the little cabin is known as "Fiddler's Green", and it was built around 1820. My great-granny grew up there.

I'm ready to go back, although I think we'll wait for all of the snow to pass. I heard that after we left, they got 4 inches of snow!!!

Larry is a fun guy to travel with, although I did have to keep reminding him to take pictures of you would have our hides!


Granny Sue said...

Susan, it would be awesome if you could go too. I had to be at work otherwise I'd have been right there myself.

I wasn't sure how far back your family had lived in the cabin. Built in 1820 makes it almost 200 years old. I like the name too--wonder why they called it that?

Granny Sue said...

Cathy, I love mollymoochers too. you're one of the few readers who know what they are. There is nothing to compare to the taste of a morel mushroom. You have to have good eyes to spot them too. We learned that kids can be really good at it because they're so close to the ground. Your Dad must have a knack for it. Lucky you!

Appalachian Raconteurs said...

Appalachian Raconteur's blog is up and running! Thank you for your help!

Shirley Stewart Burns, Ph.D. said...

I was regaled with tales of adventure and cold when Matthew got back. Nothing compared to his post about it...now *that's* a tall tale, but good stories nonetheless. ;-)

Matthew Burns said...


I never did know where the name "Fiddler's Green" came from. It has always been called that ever since anyone can remember. I'd say it came over from the old country. The folks that built it were Ulster Scots if that helps any at all. I've seen the name online refer to places in Ireland, but don't know if that's where it comes from.

Any idea's?

Janet, said...

Susanne, you post differs quite a bit from Matthew's telling of the trip. I think I'm inclined to believe yours. I love that old falling down house. I can just see them building it 200 years ago.

Rowan said...

Looks like a good time was had by all:) I like the photos of the cabins, winters there must have been very hard. Fiddlers Green is the sailor's heaven where there is non-stop merrymaking, a fiddler is always playing and there are always people dancing. I imagine it's rather like the inside of an Irish pub! If you are ever in Ireland and hear music as you are walking past a pub, go inside - it's an experience worth having.

Granny Sue said...

I was just reading about that, Rowan. Matthew said his people were "Ulster Scots" so perhaps that explains the choice of name, since that group lived in Ireland.

Matthew Burns said...

Granny Sue,

That makes sense that the Irish name came over with them from Ulster. Do you know of any folklore that talks about Fiddler's Green? Is it one particular place or can it be anywhere where the music never stops? Any neat tales? C'mon, you know you know some!

As for Janet's comment about our differing accounts. She needs to realize that I was there and you wasn't, so mine is a first hand account while yours is just second handed information.lol. Every word of my account is the gospel truth (I say that as I glance upward to look out for lightning).

I'm really interested in Fiddler's Green. It is smack dab in the middle of Germany Valley but was built by a part of my family not from Germany.

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