Monday, June 13, 2016

Poet Nancy Simpson Shares Her 2016 Full Sun Perennial Garden in a Forest, on a Mountain

 The Clay County Historical Arts Council, Hayesville, NC, sponsored a tour of Gardens on June 11, 2016 from 10:00 to 4:00. They promised:  

Fairies, Sprites, Gnomes, Elves, Painters, Musicians, Sculptors, Poetry and Song will enliven 6 lovely gardens through which you could wander at your leisure. Could also enjoy delicate savories and classical guitar at  High Tea, Copper Door Garden Patio.  All proceeds were said to go towards CCHAC programming and support for the Old Jail Museum.
The event was enjoyed by all who attended. 

Early on, my full sun perennial garden in the middle of a forest on a Clay County mountain, was considered for the tour they were calling “Art in the Mountain.” I was told my garden was exactly what they were looking for, however because I live on a county road that is not maintained by NC DOT, they decided it was best not to add my garden to the tour. I fully understood but was left broken-hearted.  Those who know me, know the long and disheartening struggle I have had to get NC DOT to reclaim Old Cherry Mountain Trail and maintain this beloved old county road made by the Cherokee long ago.  We have submitted petitions for road  maintenance many times but were turned down each time because DOT is powerful and answerable to no one. As it turns out, I have maintained my road since the 1960s with only a little help. Last year, together three households  paid $40,000 dollars to have the road repaired. I know we are not the only citizens of this county who cannot get road maintenance from DOT. NC DOT has preferred to send our allotted money to Asheville or Charlotte rather than help our local citizens. I must get over this. I know. I must. And I do have my ways to compensate for their short sightedness. Working in my full sun perennial garden is my best way to overcome my DOT disappointment.
(Flowers from my garden enjoyed on June 11, 2016 )


The Art’s Council ‘s List of gardens visited.

2016 Clay County Garden Tour: Garden Descriptions 
Each garden  featured different artists sharing their work, music, poetry readings, and will host a variety of woodland creatures: fairies, sprites, gnomes, elves, and possibly a troll or two. Here is list of gardens that were featured. 
A- Clay County Native Botanic Garden:
This lovely new garden below our Old Jail Museum on US 64 business in downtown Hayesville features unique and beautiful area plantings chosen for their usefulness to early settlers and their beauty and ability to attract different species of birds and butterflies throughout the year. Listen to the sounds of Towns Creek along its boarder and possibly see hidden fairies, elves and other woodland creatures along the way. Sponsored by the CCHAC with a grant from Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, and created by talented area volunteers. Guide: Beth Love 
B- Mountain Valley Park, Downtown:
This lovely “Pocket Park” created and maintained by the Clay County Master Gardeners 5 years ago is located behind the The Copper Door restaurant and Square One, across from the square in Hayesville. It features an array of florals and unusual perennial plants and a colorful mural designed and painted by the HHS art students.
Guide: Susan Patterson 
C- Slaton Garden, Downtown:
Purchased by Wendy and Joe Slaton in 2004, this property at 122 Church Street, 
downtown Hayesville, was once an old service station with a just a few black walnut trees. Working with Linda Milt, Wendy developed a xeriscape landscape plan which uses slow-growing, drought-tolerant plants to conserve water, and to establish a waste-efficient garden with a variety of seasonal colors. Darlene Dickerson did the plantings and walks in 2012.
Guides: Wendy and Joe Slaton 
D- Country Garden, 232 Barlow Fields
Three years ago May and Bill Atkinson transformed 232 Barlow Fields from a garage and gravel basic house into a picturesque home with country gardens and an inviting entrance. They cut back woods to create a large garden, added a multitude of flowers and plants, and totally redesigned the curb appeal to this delightful subdivision directly across from the entrance to Fires Creek.
Guide: May Atkinson 
E- Clay County Schools Agricultural Program Gardens 
205 Yellow Jacket Drive, opposite the Clay County Department of Education Building 
Visit the gardens the Hayesville students have designed and built under the direction of the program instructor, Chris Roberts. Incorporating agri-science and instilling a love for plants and farming, this program has built several raised vegetable beds, a strawberry patch, student-grafted apple trees, a 3rd grade cabbage patch, and they have quail eggs in the incubator.
Guide: Chris Roberts 
F- Daylily Acres, 1440 Bob Penland Road 
Enjoy this gorgeous garden with more than 500 varieties of day lilies, some costing more than $100/plant. Joan and Clay Joppie began this garden in 2000 and it has continued to grow in size and color. Visitors who purchased tickets in advance will receive 2 free day lilies on their tour. 
Guides: Joan and Clay Joppie 
The Copper Door Restaurant: High Tea Garden Patio 
2 Sullivan Street, Downtown Hayesville 
Garden Tour Sponsors: 
The Copper Door 
Following the Muse
Shelagh Whitney, Advantage Realty
Hayesville Pro Hardware
Signs Fast
The Dreaming Dandelion –Reiki 

Sunday, May 1, 2016


On April 20, 2016 Nancy Simpson and other poets celebrated National Poetry Month at Coffee with the Poets, Moss Memorial Library in Hayesville (sponsored by NC Writers Network West.)
Brenda Kay Ledford was also a featured poet. Both poets read springtime poems.This program was started by Glenda Beall during her tenure as Program Coordinator.(Photos taken by Lynn Hamilton Rutherford.)


LIVING ABOVE THE FROST LINE CELEBRATES SPRING IN THE MOUNTAINS with a look at our full sun perennial garden. Gardening with Mom--all the family including Tim and Gail, Jeremy and Yan,  Lynn.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016


...A New Poetry Collection Coming from 
Main Street Rag Publishers

Here’s what others are saying about Helen Losse's new poetry collection forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing:

If books of poetry were considered fitting contributions, Helen Losse's Every Tender Reed, would be among the most heartfelt gifts in a church offering plate. With a keen eye for craft, Losse takes readers on a personal pilgrimage—pondering everything from the beauty of God's creations to what it might feel like to “be consumed” in pursuit of spiritual purity. Written with fierce tenderness and the courage it takes to write poems both honest and true, this fine collection is a must read. —Terri Kirby Erickson, author of A Lake of Light and Clouds.

Helen Losse's Every Tender Reed resonates with a tone of loving memory and forgiveness---a promise for the good life, the verses raising blinds on the dark to brighten songs born to all the world's beauty. Grace becomes a natural outgrowth of Imagination's repose. Red clover soft-lights the people; all of us are the ever-present tender reeds.

—Shelby Stephenson, North Carolina Poet Laureate.

Losse’s Every Tender Reed is penance in poetry—honoring the reader as much as the Creator. This volume, for the most part, is a serene journey with the author as she walks the Path toward the enlightenment of self-knowledge. —Patricia Gomes, Poet Laureate, City of New Bedford, MA.

Every Tender Reed will sell for $14, but you can get it now for $8 by placing an advance discount order at the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.
Here’s a link directly to my author’s page:

Friday, March 18, 2016


Deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains on the evening of March 16, 2016, NCWN West poets and writers gathered at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown,NC for their monthly public reading. Featured writers were poet Glenda Barrett of Hiawassee, Georgia  and fiction writer Bob Groves of Brasstown.  Others attending were the school students, especially those taking a weekly writing course and other classes, along with a number of local writers who often visit the school. Lucy Cole Gratton is the NCWN West Coordinator for this event. A highlight of the evening was seeing and visiting with our long time writing friend Darnell Arnoult, the visiting writing instructor. 

Glenda Barrett

John C. Campbell Folk School located in Brasstown, NC

Poet and Author Maren O Mitchell and Nancy Simpson below.

Poet Joan Howard

Poet and Fiction author, Darnell Arnoult

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Twenty four forsythia bushes are blooming around my home. These bushes are filled with tiny bell shaped flowers. Natives often say, " my yellow bells are in full bloom." They are a welcome sight, one of the first flowers to bloom in spring. Daffodils also bloom at the same time. 

Monday, February 8, 2016


Living Above the Frost Line has been my site for going on eight years. I almost lost it. Blogger and Google and G mail and Yahoo seem to be making it extra hard  for some of us to stay on line. Most of my friends have quit computers. O-kay, I am still on line, but don't hold your breath. 

I feel the fight going out of me more each day. It is just too hard.

Still, I was able to work the entire month of January, and I got a lot of writing done. I sent out some poems and stories to magazines. 

Most of all of this day was spent begging Blogger and Google and Yahoo to let me have my accounts back. 

But, being honest, my dear writing friends, there is no better time for a writer to write than in Winter. As soon as I secure my "stuff" I will be back into the novel and the poems.

Meanwhile, I hope your writing time is smoother than mine.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Calling for poems about a Craft such as carving or pottery.

Do you have  or has one of your local writer friends ever written a poem about some craft( carving, pottery or such)? I am starting to put together an exhibit for the museum next year and thought a poem like this would be a nice add on. The theme of the exhibit is Our Heritage our crafts.

Message from Mollie Sellers Robinson Seaver at Clay County Historical Arts Museum in Hayesville. Call Nancy Simpson for more information.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Memorial Poetry Reading for Eugene Ellis

Thursday, November 19 at 7:30 pm

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center

Please join us in a celebration of the life of Eugene Ellis, a longstanding member of the Callanwolde poetry committee, who died on October 21, 2015. The event will include friends and fellow poets reading a selection of his poems as well as poems written in his honor. 
An informal reception with refreshments will follow the reading.

For over 30 years Gene Ellis was among the coordinators of the Poetry at Callanwolde reading series. In addition to scheduling and hosting monthly readings by mostly Georgia poets, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s he organized summer workshops and conferences which brought to Atlanta many distinguished American and British poets including Howard Nemerov, Anthony Hecht, Paul Muldoon, Philip Levine, Alice Walker, James Merrill and Adrienne Rich.

The reading will be held in the library which is on the first floor of the mansion. The Callanwold
e Fine Arts Center is located at 980 Briarcliff Road, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306. The event is free and open to the public. For more information please email Ruth Windham at

If you would like to receive a free copy of Alewives: Selected Poems by Eugene V. Ellis, please with your mailing address. This book is being reprinted by Kudzu Editions with a new introduction and will be available in December.


This is for my fiction writing friends and students of writing. It is a quote from Nancy Peacock that rang loud and clear as true in my mind while working on my novel in process. 

"A good storyteller can go beyond the limitations of self. That's the point. That's the magic. It always begins with that relationship between author and character. That's who I write for, the character.
Naturally, I hope other people read my stories, and like them, but I don't write for those people. I don't write for them, or a marketplace, or what's hot, or a professor, or an editor, or agent. I write for my characters.
Have I honored them? Did I tell their story? Were we in the journey together? Did I listen to their guidance?
If yes, then I've succeeded."  --Nancy Peacock

Friday, November 6, 2015


Carole Thompson recently received the 2nd place POETRY award for  REACH OF SONG. Enjoy her poem, "ANTIQUING." It is a winner.


My eyes were drawn to a battered old basin.
Despite a chip in the enamel, my hands
felt comfort in the patina, much like the
surface of my grandmother’s claw foot tub.
Often, I rested against that perfect slope,
up to my chin in Ivory Soap suds.

In such a basin, a woman might snap beans,
slice cucumbers for pickling, or shuck corn.
In summer, Mother filled her basin high
with ripe berries to wash and “pick over.”
In time, jars of jam and jelly sparkled
from oilcloth lined shelves.

The basin rode home with me, beside
a flour sifter and small iron skillet.
 Driving in silence, from deep my memory,
a scene emerged , clear as the road before me:
A country kitchen, sink with hand pump,
woodstove nearby, kettle steaming on top.

A young man, stripped to his jeans, stands
by a table washing sweat and grime from
face and arms.  A young girl drinks coffee
with his mother at the kitchen table nearby.

’Come wash my back ?
 He grins, tossing the girl a cloth.
She shyly takes it, glancing quickly
at the mother, who nods her head, smiling.
Dipping into the basin, the girl begins washing
the strong, bronzed back, feeling his heat.
smelling his skin.

Her young face reflects a purity of emotion,
the total loss of self, that painful joy,
the first rending of the heart.

(definitive final copy)
--Carole Thompson 

 Carole Richard Thompson lives in the north Georgia Mountains with her husband Norm. Her poems have been published widely in the south. She is the author of a full length poetry collection from FutureCycle Press titled ENOUGH.

Carole Richard Thompson under the POET TREE at John C. Campbell Folk School.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Eugene Vincent Ellis, an architect, pianist, composer and poet, died at home under hospice care at the age of 83 on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. He was one of the founding fathers of the Poetry at Callanwolde reading series at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta.

 Here is one of his poems, which appeared in the first issue ofCalamaro Magazine.

We dance in a widening ring around this tower
Under the fading light from a minor star;
All reason is suspended in this hour.
The ancient harpers and the dancers here
Sing foreign incantations and intone
Strange litanies unto their demon gods;
And I should be contented if but one
Could see and sing to me in mine own tongue.
(originally appeared in his poetry volume ALEWIVES: SELECTED POEMS, published by

Kudzu Editions in 2013)