KellyM and Sam Saye - congratulations!
When I read our next author's first book "Staubs and Ditchwater: A Friendly and Useful Introduction to Hillfolks' Hoodoo" I felt like I was sitting around a table with my grandmother and aunts, a large pot of tea making the rounds, while they talked about the business of keeping house, and keeping other folks noses out of your business. My grandmother was not from the Appalachians however, she was a British import who could grow spectacular roses with little effort, brew a pot of tea that would fix anything from a headache to heartbreak, and use a potato to dislodge the stinger of a bee that was stuck in your foot. She had a small witch on a broom hanging in her little yellow kitchen, and gods help you if you lifted a lid on one of her pots while they were bubbling on the stove (she knew if you did too - whether she was in the room or not).
Byron Ballard writes in such a way that makes me miss my grandmother with even more than the usual ache. She reminds me of a time when women were in command of their kitchens and gardens and every item had several purposes. A time when the person who kept the home, kept it peaceful and safe with whatever skill and items they had on hand. That time does not have to be "back then" - it can be now, with a little know-how.
Byron has generously offered up two signed copies of her new book "Asfidity & Mad-Stones: A Further Ramble Through Hillfolks' Hoodoo"
I had the pleasure of taking a sneak peak at this book and it is a treat!
"Grab your work-basket and a good, sharp blade, and come along in to the back lots, the meadows, the hills. Byron shows us the folkways of her beloved Appalachian homeland, and shares practical wisdom and workings that she has learned and adapted over a lifetime of practice.
Ms. Ballard tells of ancestors and ghosts, folk-sayings and omens. She offers up a list of herbal helpers, discusses fundamental needs, and shares all manner of works - from blessings to banes. All while weaving an enchanting picture of the land and the spirit of place that holds her heart.
This is good, get-dirt-under-your-nails craft. By the time you are finished reading this charming book, you should have an impressive toolkit of local plants, dirt, stones, and waters, and a bit of a sore back.
Dig in deep to this gem, and be sure to carry a buckeye in your pocket, encourage plantain in your yard, mind your dishwater, and pay attention to the moon."
There are two copies of Asfidity & Mad-Stones up for grabs. I seem to be running out of October, so you will only have until Friday at 11pm Pacific to leave a comment here. I will be out in a haunted cornfield that evening, so I'll draw the names when I stumble home, cold and scared silly.
Here are the rules and legal bits.
Photographs copyright Byron Ballard. Quoted text my own.