Tending the Commons

Seasonal Round of Activities on Coal River

Image Version of Seasonal RoundText Version of Seasonal Round

Activities January February March April May June July August September October November December
Gardens Winter cover and fallow
Plowing and planting gardens (onions, greens, peas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, tomatoes)

Canning / Drying Beans Corn shucking Clearing gardens Winter cover and fallow
Molasses making
Digging and storing potatoes
Canning, Freezing, Drying
Gathering (domestic) Split wood
Gather maple sap to make syrup Hunt "molly moochers" (morels) Pick wild berries (strawberries, red mulberries, blackberries, wild grapes, raspberries, huckleberries, elderberries, currants, groundberries, wineberries)

Cut Christmas trees
Dig wild greens (ramps, poke, woolen britches, dock, Shawnee lettuce*, lamb's tongue) Gather wild fruits (paw-paw, persimmon)
Make sassafras tea Gather nuts (hickory, beech, butternut*, chestnut*, walnut, hazelnut*, chinquapin*)
Gathering (commercial)

Moss, ninebark, yellowroot, bloodroot, mayapple, hellgrammites, Virginia snakeroot, Indian turnip Ginseng

Sumac, witch hazel, sassafras
Community Events

Ramp festivals Tend graves Family reunions

Ridgetop and riverside cookouts
Fish fries


Bass spawning in creeks Hellgrammites (2 hatches)
Hunting Bear
Spring gobblers

Year-Round Work Construction

The seasonal round on Coal River, showing the continuing role of the mixed mesophytic forest in community life. Many of these activites rely on common pool resources located in the mountains. Adapted from the graphic by Suzuki Graphics, based on interviews and a field sketch by Mary Hufford.

* The asterisks indicate species either extinct or in decline and cultural practices no longer observed.

Tending the Commons