10 Years Ago
Week of February 28, 2013
Winter still grips these hills, and the warmth of the fire feels comforting. Someone sent the old poem, which is written anonymously, and it describes this season well.
Beech wood fires are bright and clear,
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut’s only good they say, if for long it’s laid away.
Birch and pine burn too fast
Blaze up bright and not to last.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mold,
Ev’n the very flames are cold.
Poplar gives a bitter smoke
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room
With incense like perfume.
Oak and maple, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter cold.
But ash wood wet and ash wood dry
A king shall warm his slippers by.
Most of the mountain words and phrases that one’s parents and grandparents used have very much been watered down. When people come in from work, they’re “tired to the bone,” “plumb wore out,” “just tuckered out,” or “plumb petered out.” All of these are more descriptive than plain exhausted. If one were sick, they might be “feelin’ poorly”; however, when recovering, they might be “right peart.” “Briggity britches” pretty well described those who had exalted opinions of themselves. An answer to the question, “How are you feeling?” might be answered “fair to middlin’,” meaning okay.
A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse meaning “What difference does it make?” When something is messy, one might hear, “You kids sure have gommed up this house.” “Over yonder” is over there, and when meeting a neighbor, a kind welcoming phrase might be “Hidey-do” or “Howdy.” The regular mountain luggage most often was a “paper poke” or a paper bag.
Mountain folk seem to have a hankering for a mess of wild greens early in March, when grocery store greens don’t satisfy. The hills have been blessed with an abundant supply of wild food. Early settlers brought dandelions to America for use as a healing herb, salad greens, or a flavoring for tea and wine. Because they were not a native species, they had no natural control and quickly spread across the country. The medicinal value of dandelions has been known for centuries. They are high in calcium, trace minerals and potassium, thought to enhance memory and overall brain activity. The blooms, leaves and roots make an excellent diuretic.
20 Years Ago
Week of March 6, 2003
First Year a Success
In the first year after opening its doors, Eastern WV Community & Technical College provided direct services to 1,558 individuals in six Potomac Highlands counties, according to a new report released on the occasion of Higher Education Day at the legislature on Feb. 4.
Of that total, nearly 346–more than 20 percent–registered for credit courses, while 1,212–nearly 80 percent–took non-credit training.
The average age of those 346 students is 33, and eight percent of them are from Pendleton County.
Also this past year, Eastern’s Workforce Education unit secured approximately $12,975 in grants for training to Pendleton County businesses.
Of Utmost Importance During Times
Of Inclement Weather
During the course of the past week everyone has been contending with large snowfall amounts. For most everyone the snow was a major inconvenience causing the disruption of travel, school, meetings, activities and other things. For farmers in the area it posed many other significant problems with damaging effects.
As most are aware, several poultry houses, barns, machine sheds, carports, etc., collapsed under the weight of the snowfall. While there was some livestock mortality reported, thankfully, there were no human casualties resulting from these building and structure collapses.
As for the questions about structures and damage from heavy snow loads, there is no real easy answer. There appears to be no simple solution to these problems. Instead, each situation warrants its own special circumstances and solutions. However, the single most important factor is one’s safety. So, please continue to practice safety first principles as one follows the proceeding recommendations.
As for a roof or structure to be able to withstand the added weight of the snow it is clear that each will be affected differently by snow depth and the moisture content in the snow. Such information is useful only as a guideline and does not reflect the conditions on the roof because it does not take into account three important variables: 1) how much weight can the roof support, 2) how much dead weight (from roofing materials) is the roof carrying, and, 3) how heavy the snow/ice accumulation on the roof is. (This varies according to drifting, melting, and slide-off conditions).
When building, erecting or purchasing buildings please ask about the snow load and other general information about structural stability. This is also a good time to consider an evacuation plan and contingency for what one might do with displaced livestock as a result of building failure. There is no time like the present to consider options.
30 Years Ago
Week of February 25, 1993
Power Company Tells What to do When Your Lights Go Out
The area has seen some nasty winter weather already this season. Snow, ice, high winds and extremely cold temperatures can create problems for electric utility companies, occasionally breaking power lines and causing electrical equipment to fail. If this happens, don’t be left “in the dark” about how to cope.
“The first thing to do when the power goes off is to see if your neighbors have electricity,” said Jim Haney, manager of Monongahela Power Company’s Elkins Division. “If they have lights and you don’t, check your house for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.”
“If the problem is with our facilities, we’ll take care of it,” Haney said. “Call Monongahela and give us your name, your phone number, good directions to your house and the time the electricity went off.
“If the lines are busy, please keep trying,” he said. “Customers are important sources of information in the case of an outage.”
After reporting the outage, take the following steps to minimize your inconvenience until power is restored”
•Turn off major appliances in use when the power went out; this will help to avoid an overload when power returns.
- Leave one light switch turned on so you will know when service is restored.
- Do not open refrigerators or freezers any more than necessary. Food will keep for two or three days if the doors are not opened and closed frequently.
- Be alert for downed power lines and report them immediately to Monongahela Power. Always assume that a downed wire is energized and keep away from it.
Customers can prepare for a power outage by keeping an emergency kit on hand. A typical kit should include flashlights, candles, matches, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a portable heater, a supply of water for drinking and cooking and camping gear such as sleeping bags, portable lamp and cook stoves.
In homes where medical life-support equipment is used, contact Monongahela promptly and call the police or fire department for emergency equipment or transportation to a hospital.
50 Years Ago
Week of March 1, 1973
To Be Protected
Joe Beymer, Assistant Chief, Division of Reclamation, Dept. of Natural Resources, during a Feb. 14 meeting at the office of the Germany Valley Limestone Company of Riverton, agreed to classify Hellhole Cave, refuge for the rare Plecotus townsendi bat, as a “dwelling,” thereby bringing the extensive and historic cave under the protection afforded dwelling places according to blasting regulations of the state of West Virginia.
Employment opportunities have increased in recent years for persons interested in conservation and improvement of forests and other natural resources. These opportunities have developed because more leisure time and the increase in population have brought about an upsurge in outdoor activities. The federal government is especially interested in developing outdoor recreational facilities, and making sure employment opportunities for workers in state and national parks exist for those who have the knowledge and skills necessary to do the work.
60 Years Ago
Week of March 7, 1963
100 YEARS AGO
By LON K. SAVAGE
Editor’s Note—The following is one of a series of articles on the Civil War. Each weekly installment covers events which occurred exactly 100 years ago.
Rebel Ranger Mosby Captures A General
There were patches of snow on the ground, and a cold drizzle fell as the band of 29 horsemen hunched in their oilcloth slickers and trotted eastward through the northern Virginia night. At their head was Confederate Lieutenant John Singleton Mosby who was beginning a career that would earn him a name in history as the famous “Ranger Mosby.”
It was the night of March 7, 100 years ago this week, when the Virginia front in the Civil War was a quiet one, where Federal and Confederate soldiers often chatted and exchanged pleasantries while their generals mapped out campaigns of war.
Mosby’s plan: to ride through the lines surrounding Washington, enter the Federal headquarters at Fairfax Courthouse and capture as many of the top officers as he could.
The plan went remarkably well. Mosby’s men passed unmolested through the Federal lines, riding among the campfires of the Union troops who assumed the riders were Federals returning from the front.
Several times, Federal sentinels hailed Mosby and his men, and the answer was the same: “Fifth New York Cavalry.” On they rode.
It was past midnight when they reached Fairfax Courthouse, a few miles east of Washington, and they quickly went to work. In groups of three, four or five, the Confederates pushed their way into officers’ quarters and stables, making off with prisoners and horses. Not a shot was fired. One Federal officer fled in his nightshirt, and raiders had to contend with his wife who Mosby said was “like a lioness at the door.”
Mosby saved the biggest prize for himself. With five of his raiders, he knocked at the door, and Mosby grabbed him by the shirt, pushed a gun into his ribs and demanded to be led to Stoughton.
Stoughton was awakening when Mosby and his men entered the general’s bedroom. A light was struck, and the general asked what was going on.
“General,” Mosby said. “Get up. Dress quick. You are a prisoner.”
To Stoughton’s indignant questions, Mosby announced his name and said Confederates had taken over the village.
“Is Fitz Lee here?” asked Stoughton, referring to Mosby’s commander, Gen. Fitzhugh Lee. “Yes,” Mosby replied. “Then take me to him,” said Stoughton. “We were classmates at West Point.”
Within an hour, the 29 raiders and a herd of more than 100 prisoners, including Stoughton, began moving back toward Confederate lines. They zigzagged their route to throw off pursuers and flanked an encampment of several thousand Federals, finally fording a swiftly-flowing stream into Confederate territory.
Within a week, the capture of Stoughton and the boldness of the raid were being talked of throughout the nation.
Next week: Port Hudson is besieged.
South Branch Library Service – – –
You have been hearing a great deal recently about proposed bookmobile services for Pendleton County. The first questions which come to mind are—who would control such service for us—just what would it mean in dollars and cents outlay for Pendleton County—exactly what great advantage for us lies in this service.
The advantages of such services to us appear in the availability of a constantly-changing library making regular trips through our county—the opportunity to ask for any books on any subject which we might not find upon the shelves—and the ability to send any questions to the reference service in Keyser for answering. The services of a professional librarian will be available for our region for supervision and advice.