The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

February 18, 2013

Bring on spring!

Home to the Hills

By Ricky Pack

— I didn’t sleep a wink again last night. Maybe I got a couple of cat naps but for the most of it I was wide awake.

The cold front moved in and the air became brisk. I can’t get enough of West Virginia. Big Old Jake was barking up the side of the mountain. I don’t believe it was a bear, but something drew him up there. The old guy is limping and wanting to stay inside more. His beard is full gray and you can see the age on him. It will be a bad day when he dies. Maybe he will do like many mountain dogs and climb up the mountain and find a place he feels peaceful at.

The bees are back in the hives keeping their queens warm. A friend told me that she found a few small hive beetles in her hive. That is bad news. They have been a pest down south and up to this week, I haven’t heard of them infesting hives in Fayette County. I asked her to call the Department of Agriculture inspector and have her confirm that it was true. I hope it is not; another pest is not what we need.

The lilies are busting through the ground telling us spring is very near. I always look for the first robin, and then I know spring is here. I am ready for warm weather.

The day before last it was pretty warm out. I took Baby with me. He loves to stick his head out the window of the truck to bark at other dogs and people. I think it makes him feel like a big shot.

It was almost dark and I was reflecting on how Pop and Grandma would plant a garden every year. Pop was always amazed that in Mississippi I would start planting my garden in February. I believe he started planting in May.

I remember one year he planted some zucchini squash. Grandma sent me up to get a couple for dinner. When I got up to the zucchini patch, they were the size of watermelons. Honest to goodness, they were huge. You would expect them to be stringy and old, but they were as tender as a 10-inch squash. Grandma could cook up some lip smacking squash.

I always liked going to the garden to get something for Grandma. The most fun was digging potatoes. It just seemed like digging gold. To this day I enjoy digging up potatoes.

We of today are spoiled, me included. Grandma would make a delicious meal without meat. There were many dinners that there wasn’t a bit of meat in the meal. Most times the meal came directly out of the garden. She would cook brown beans and corn bread. I couldn’t put enough ketchup on those beans to make them taste good. There wasn’t enough of anything to hide the tastes of corn bread and beans. To this day I can’t stand corn bread and beans, that and liver. Pop would eat his corn bread soaked in coffee.

For some reason I have a hard time growing a garden down in this holler. Just as the vegetables come on the vine blight hits them and wipes out every plant.

Bring the warm weather of spring. I am so ready to get into my bee hives.

Do a random act of kindness today.

(Pack may be contacted at Letters to the editor regarding his column may be e-mailed to