Tag Archive for Pennsylvania German

Appalachia, Witchcraft & German Folk Culture

Jack O Lantern

“People need explanations for that which is unexplainable.” –Gerald C. Milnes – Believe it or not old-time witchcraft and sorcery is alive and well in rural Appalachia. By “witchcraft” I mean traditional pow-wowing, folk medicine and occult belief and practice that is grounded in agrarian life and experience – not New Age nonsense and Wicca…

Pennsylvania Groundhog’s Day

Dead Groundhog

About 7 years ago a female groundhog moved into the area between my house and my mother-in-law’s house. She had babies. And after that the groundhog population around my hay fields, farmyard, outbuildings, gardens and orchard began to spiral out of control. By the summer of 2011 the damage to my 110 year-old concord grape…

Shoo-Fly Pie or Pebble Dash

Shoo Fly Pie

Happy Ground Hog Day! Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is good eating. And the Pennsylvania Dutch are known for their ability to “make do” and combine ordinary foods in special ways. One of the better-known dishes inside and outside of Pennsylvania Dutch Country is Pebble Dash or Shoo-Fly Pie. Shoo-Fly pie is a very old folk food…

A Few More Pennsylvania German Superstitions

Tree In Winter

Happy Groundhogs Day! Rural Pennsylvania German farmers have always been superstitious bunch. The use of rodents for weather prognostication is just  the tip of the Pennsylvania Dutch folklore iceberg. So in celebration of “Grundsowtag” I thought I’d share a few more Pennsylvania Dutch superstitions. • Don’t take the cat with you on the day that…