About Blog Title...

As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."

Monday, July 9, 2018

The 365th...

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."  ~John Muir

Today, Millie and I are celebrating 365 consecutive days of walking the Chip Butter Trail. Many of our friends~ the deer, the great blue heron, a large red-tailed hawk, and a beautiful indigo bunting~ were all there this morning, scattered somewhere along the trail to see us through.  We needed no other fanfare, for the song of the mockingbird was quite enough, and oh-so-fine!

Walking is not something new to me, for it has been almost a way of life for many years.  It's just that I had never walked every day for a year before.   It wasn't always easy to get up and get out there in all kinds of weather ~ in wind and rain and snow, and scorching summer heat.  But, as William Morris said, "How I love the earth and the seasons and the weather and all things that deal with it and all that grows out of it."       

The hardest week was the first week of January when it was very cold and a fierce north wind was blowing night and day.  I wrote on January 1: "The ponds are iced over, but the cattle are still able to break the ice along the edges.  There were three baby calves born today, but they seemed okay, despite the extreme cold.  The Great Blue Heron was fishing along the shallow creeks where there was running water, and the Little Garden feeder was full of birds, both blue and red.  We took the Woods Trail today, avoiding the open meadow, and covered our faces."  The "We" is Millie and I.  Actually she didn't cover her face, but I covered mine.

I continued on January 2:  "Day's length 9 hours and 52 minutes.  A cold day with no sunshine.  The ice is thick on the ponds.  I fear Millie might run out onto it, and if she should break through the ice,  I would not be able to get her out.  It was so cold this morning that both of her ears were standing quite erect."

Now what?  Keep walking, of course.  But, come next winter when the cold winds blow, I think I may just have to sit those days out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Garden Party...

"The gentle rain which waters my beans and keeps me in the house today is not drear and melancholy, but good for me too..."  ~Henry David Thoreau

"...And now, in the morning, how good it is to see the brilliant light of the blessed summer day, always brightest after rain, and to see how every tree and plant is full of new life and abounding gladness: and to feel one's own thankfulness of heart, and that it is good to live, and all the more good to live in a garden."  ~Gertrude Jekyll (1843 - 1932) from a 1900 issue of Home and Garden

If I were to have a garden party, it would surely be now while the sunflowers are so grand.  And, I might just do that...have a party!


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Solstice 2018...

Hello Summer and the longest day of the year ~ 14 hours and 34 minutes according to the Weather Channel!  We are thankful for a bit of rain that fell yesterday, and for cooler temperatures that blew in with the winds, so our spirits are running high today.

The sunflowers are just beginning to bloom... just in time to welcome in the Summer Solstice.  I had never grown sunflowers before, so  I am especially excited about these big gorgeous beauties.  There are other varieties starting to bloom as well, but this one is my favorite so far.  The bees are loving them too.

Now, as many of you know, summer just wouldn't be summer without visits from the grands.  Our youngest granddaughter spent some time with us this week much to everyone's delight ~ hers and ours.  While here she discovered this old dress of mine ~ the one my mom made for me to wear on my first day of school when I was almost six.  Our little sweetie here is already eight years old, but the dress still fits her fine.  I doubt that I would have been able to wear it when I was eight.  

She loved the dress and asked if she could have it.  I have no doubt that she would have worn it to rags before she outgrew it.  I told her I just couldn't part with it, but later wondered why I would keep it when she could enjoy it so much.  I know my mom would say, "Let her wear it."

But the thing of it is, that over the years, this little dress has become my reference for sewing techniques.  I study it as though it were a step-by-step sewing manual.  It was my go-to when I was learning to make ruffles using a narrow hem attachment, for Mom surely did make beautiful ruffles.

And,  when I want to make a hand-sewn buttonhole, I wouldn't think of sewing a stitch without having her examples before me.

Also had it not been for Mom's work, I doubt I would have ever figured out the continuous lap placket without a seam, which I now make in almost all the doll's dresses.

And, what about the perfectly gathered skirt, which was made, not by pulling up long stitches, but with that fancy little gadget that used to come with all machines, the gathering attachment.  One of my favorite of all posts I have written here was about this attachment, the one Mom undoubtedly used for making this little dress.

And, finally, here I am with cousin Joy on our first day of school way back when, wearing this old dress that still looks almost new.  I loved that dress then and I still do today.  And, I remember thinking that Joy's was such a pretty dress too.  It was a beautiful deep red, I remember.  My grandmother made her dress.  I wonder if Joy still has it...

So, now, we are out of here, headed to the creek with coolers packed.  We'll be there until the sun dips behind the hills for that's the way we like to spend our longest day of the year.  Happy Summer to you all...

2014 Longest Day of the Year

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Longest Day...

I've set up a temporary desk inside the shanty from which I can observe things...

Things... like this new zinnia that I just love.  It's new to me ~ Zinnia Burpeeana Giants Mix which was included in one of the seed packets I planted this spring.  It does remind me, somewhat, of the lovely bee balm which is putting on quite a show now, in its somewhat shady corner of the garden.  

The temporary desk  is also an ideal spot for observing the songbirds that visit the feeders.  The beautiful Mourning Dove is definitely near the top of our favorites list. (Don't we all love its low, mournful coo-ah, coo, coo, coo?)  But, really, I love them all, even the plain little unidentified brown birds that allow me to come ever so close when they are feeding.

  The Eastern Bluebirds, although they do not come to the feeders for they are insect eaters, are our all-time favorite birds.   From the shanty window we can see the activity around one of the nesting boxes where both male and female birds are busy feeding their new little family. 

These days of almost summer are long and wonderful , even if it is hot and dry.  The calendar says today will be 14 hours and 30 minutes long.  We will be looking forward next week to the longest day of the year, the onset of summer, which will be only a couple of minutes longer than today.   Why, with so many hours of daylight it would seem there would be no end to what one might accomplish just in one long day.  But...  

"I meant to do my work today~
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand~
So what could I do but laugh and go?"

~Richard Le Gallienne

Happy Summer to you all!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Summer Comes to Our Side of the Mountain...

June seems to be confused, thinking she is July, or even August.  I am, however, refusing to give up on her, hoping she will cool down and give us a bit of rain soon. The landscape is beginning to look a bit like late summer, I think.

The cattle seek out the shady places quite early in the day.  These young calves certainly have the right idea.


Earlier this morning...

Now that was some performance!  When the mockingbirds decide to sing, I listen!  For a couple of hours this morning, as I gave water to thirsty plants in my gardens, I found myself immersed in these talented birds' every note and song.  I really think even Beethoven would have been impressed.  I know I was!

But, when I moved the garden hose to the small back garden, where the red honeysuckle grows, the sweet melodies abruptly ended and quickly became short, harsh and stucco-like notes.  The, now-not-so-happy songster quickly flew down from his lofty heights on the electric power pole to the little garden below.  The message was clearly stated, "Stay away from my babies."

A little later with camera in hand, I slipped back into the garden intent on taking a peek at the mockingbirds nest, for I already suspected that it would surely be in the dense foliage of the honeysuckle.  And, this is what I saw...


The flower garden is doing quite well, and shows promise of lots of blossoms for the butterflies and hummingbirds.  That's a good thing, for the little birds are already consuming a bit over a gallon of sweet nectar every day.  


Millie and I are still walking our trail...every day for 334 walks.  We are just about a month away from reaching our goal of one year without a miss.  We will celebrate!

334 walks...


Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fourteen Hours and Seven Minutes...

Length of Day:  13 hours and 7 minutes.

It's so very hard to stay inside when there's so much going on outside.