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My Home in the Appalachians

The Appalachian Mountains, just the name suggests old. Old hills cut deep by mountain streams and covered with trees of the Eastern hardwood and deep shadowed glens laced above by the boughs of pine. The name suggests rocks, and more rocks. Rocks that are the bane of the subsistence farmers who try to tame such land. However, these rocks are streaked with veins of black coal providing jobs for many and fuel to heat their mountain homes. I lived in such a place in southwestern Virginia. Land settled by my great grandfather. Our plank house with its tin roof didn’t have running water, or a bathroom. Electricity came only after WWII. But oh the land! Rising up from the river to the mountain summit the land had all we needed. Rich bottom land lay along the river providing fertile soil for growing most of our vegetables. Land above the house wasn’t too steep so it was there we grew our corn. A small mountain stream ran between the house and the barn but a deep well gave us our drinking water. The woods that surrounded my mountain home was alive with game and wild berries grew everywhere. It was while I played on this farm that I developed a love for the natural world that surrounded me.

My grandmother and I would walk to church or the little country store nearby. We would often play a game to see who could find the smallest flower. The keen eye of my youth often allowed me to win! Granny taught me her names of the flowers and it was years later, in my botanical studies, I learned their real names were their Latin names telling their genus and species.

Though native wildflowers are my passion, my favorite wildflower is still the immigrant Ox-eyed daisy. It’s purity and simplicity speaks to me. What is your favorite flower?

To see my wildflower pictures go to Wildflowers of America gallery.

Text copyright ©2009 - Jeannie Couch – All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or part in any form including digitally copy and pasting.