The view from my perch on the mountain

The march of time

A cold front arrived overnight, chasing the oppressive heat and humidity from our skies. Once again able to breathe I found the siren song of the back roads  irresistible.


The cold front also ushered in overcast skies and a little much needed rain. While we have not yet returned to the drought conditions which have become the norm in the past few years we are at a rain deficit for the year.

Puttin' up hay

Farmers have already put up hay once this year and are hoping for at least one more crop and possibly two to see them through the tough winter months which always arrive too soon. Making hay while the sun shines is a matter of survival for Appalachian farmers.This was all too evident as I followed Swallow Hollow Road.

The road

In years past farmers have been forced to sell off livestock they were unable to feed as drought drove hay production down and feed prices up. The abundance of livestock on the market forced prices down.


A generation ago this was a thriving farm as evidenced by the once grand farmhouse and many out buildings which now stand abandoned and decaying.


Farms were once handed down from generation to generation but dwindling profits and rising operating costs force the younger generation to the cities where wages are higher. With age the older folks can no longer keep up with the hard work needed to make the farms prosperous and as they pass on the home places are abandoned and quickly reclaimed by Mother Nature. 


As the farms are abandoned and the population shifts from the rural to the urban areas the once bustling general stores also fall victim to the march of time.

Driving the back roads I often marvel at the toughness and determination it must have taken for the early settlers to come here and tame the rugged mountain terrain. Looking at these scenes through my viewfinder I realize that was only a temporary thing.


9 responses

  1. Sad, but so true of many rural areas all around the world …. and you have captured the feel so well in these pictures … thank you for taking me with you on this journey, and enjoy the cooler weather. We’re sweltering here, but I can hear thunder rolling around in the distance … would be good to have a good shower tonight and wake up to the freshness tomorrow ..

    June 30, 2010 at 6:08 PM

  2. Chip…I have a proposition for you. With your permission, I would like to write a poem working with your own words and the photo’s above. Sort of like an artist collaboration. If you agree, I would like to have the poem included in your post or you could have another page/category on this website that could showcase a poem with a photo, if you like the poem. What do you think? Jx

    June 30, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    • roketman

      I think that would be very cool, Jodie! Have at it.

      July 1, 2010 at 12:37 AM

  3. Great post Rocket. Those rural reminders are all too soon becoming precious memories in metro areas. It’s great to escape those environs and be reminded of our past and the strong heritage that our fathers prayed we would racall. I do and, more every day it seems. Not that I am stuck on yesterday but knowing the heritage of an agrarian past keeps me grounded. Otherwise I might fly away half cocked on some dumb ass utopian venture. Pumped up by some yahoo touting peace and prosperity to all who come hither. Make your donations brother and please pass the plate onward and upward!
    Heck man enough of this. There are fields to hoe and barns to raise.
    Woe, I can’t believe I haven’t been cut off yet!

    June 30, 2010 at 10:28 PM

  4. Wonderful post and photos Rocket Man! Yes it must have been a tough life but someone had to pioneer it all. I think its in our blood to do so, and thank goodness. Hope you are finding your way around on WordPress and liking it all.

    July 1, 2010 at 1:54 AM

  5. Sue Mac

    Hi Chip
    Love your B&W pictures, the one of the road with all the tree is so nice, it so sad to see people walk off there land and the farm left uncared for,
    Take care

    July 1, 2010 at 2:46 AM

  6. yr photos seem to become more evocative Rocketman,
    hardly redneck at all but becoming a poetry of their own
    the portrait of the two-story home seems so stern/defiant
    as if wanting one more photo before decay
    these are truly gorgeous thank you for sharing

    July 3, 2010 at 1:53 AM

  7. Pingback: Mother Nature’s Siren Song « Poetry Out West

  8. Hiya Chip. I came to be reading this post through reading Jodine’s poem. May I say what a wonderful post it is. The black and white photos really do your prose justice. I rarely think of lives beyond my own. This touched me. Thank you.

    July 6, 2010 at 3:30 AM

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