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..."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


One of the things I like best about September (Oh the list is long, for sure.) is that the wild ducks begin to return to the fresh water ponds here.  In the photos is one little loner that I was able to photograph in the lily pads, while a half-dozen others wanted no part of having their picture taken.  I am now wondering if this duck is able to fly at all.  He is quite entertaining to watch as he swims leisurely about, diving occasionally underneath the water.   Thoreau had these thoughts about the ducks on "his pond."

"The spruce and cedar on its shores, hung with gray lichens, looked at a distance like the ghosts of trees.  Ducks were sailing here and there on its surface, and a solitary loon, like a more living wave, - a vital spot on the lake's surface, - laughed and frolicked, and showed its straight leg, for our amusement."  ~ Henry David Thoreau


I think if this little duck had ever read Thoreau, one of his favorite quotations might be,"I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude."
~Henry David Thoreau
I do readily agree with Thoreau's thinking on the subject, for my own solitude is something I value (for a limited time, of course.)

The last cuttings of hay have been baled... (Well, except for a small patch or two.  It seems we are really never finished.)

The little hummers are still here, although not nearly so many as there were throughout the summer.    We are well into fall migration, so these little travelers are undoubtedly just passing through.  I wish them luck on their long journey.

Jean Craighead George wrote of migration in Frightful's Mountain.  "The happening was migration.  It was full upon the Northern Hemisphere.  The shorter hours of sunlight and lowering temperatures were telling millions of birds to go south.  The event had begun in mid-August.  The loons, geese, ducks, and shorebirds had heard the message from the environment and had left the barrens of Alaska and Canada.  A few days later the swallows and swifts felt the change and left the Northeast." 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Pause, Reflect, and Reprioritize...

The boots were new, and Millie hadn't even been born when I began to write and post pictures here at Chip Butter White Oak.  I sometimes think about all those mornings when the grass was wet from the morning dew or from an overnight rain,  that I pulled these boots on over heavy socks, grabbed my stick, called my dog, and headed out over the trail that my dearest Nell and I began walking  almost thirteen years ago.  One might think that walking that same trail, day after day, would become tiresome and monotonous, that there would be nothing new and different to photograph, but I have not found that to be the case.  As Thoreau wrote, "Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence."  Well, that's our forest path.

It was on a rainy day that I began this blog.  I wrote, "I love a nice rainy day, like today, when the rain is gentle and there is no thunder and lightening.  I like to forget about outside things on days like this and enjoy inside things... things like sewing and working on my dolls.  It's also a perfect day for a cup of coffee with Dan who has been driven inside by the rain.  According to the Green Mountain Coffee Story printed on the box, "A great tasting cup of coffee can give you a whole new perspective.  It's a moment to pause, reflect, and reprioritize."

Pause, reflect, and reprioritize...   As I said back then, "I think I smell the coffee..." ( I definitely need to do some reprioritizing.  But, I'll think about that tomorrow.)

My Sweet Nell... (What joy she brought us.)
 (Please note that I did not make this rocky hillside part of the trail we walk.  I was quite relieved that I made it down this day without a broken leg.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Big Hat...

There has been a lot of activity around the hummingbird feeders lately.  These little birds don't fly around, these days, in a crazy frenzy as they did when I snapped the picture below earlier in the summer.  Now, they quickly perch and drink as though their very lives depend on it.  And, I guess it does, for the time to migrate is right on their sweet little tails, and they know it.  Migration is, without a doubt, a serious undertaking.    

Earlier this summer...

Really, they could stay a bit longer for they are leaving a lot behind.  The hummingbird garden, which they have loved,  has never had more blooms than right now.  But, no, they need to go while there's time.  They will remember this place, and they will be back next spring.


It has been a hot and very humid week here.  Miss Chip has done lots of mowing.  Why she even mowed the trail over the hill, including a couple of extra loops over to the woods where the muscadines will soon be ripening.  She has had to wear her big hat every day, so it has certainly been a bad hair week, for sure!

Our favorite photo of the week...

Down by the Creek...

And, next might be this one of a sassafras tree, which is already starting to color up for fall. 

Sassafras tea, anyone?

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Week in August ( this and that from my camera card)...

Passion Flower (from alongside the trail we walk)...

And another...

"coo-ah, coo, coo, coo" ...

Beware the turtle...

Little Island  (with just a touch of fall color, already)…

Montana (in the foreground) and some of the girls...

Several years ago when I dubbed this photo, "This Is Not Montana," this cow was named.  She would, from that day forth, be called Montana. 
The young heifer above looks so much like her, thus we have another "Montana."  (Golly, that looks cold...and it was!)


HOW LONG does it take me to sculpt a head?

 Well, this is what Ralph and Mary Gonzales in their book 
Sculpting the Original Doll
The BluFrogg Method
have to say about that.

"Two days to two years, but usually, at very least, two weeks.  It takes two days to form the head shape, and block the features, and make the details.  I have to flow with the nature and stages of the clay.  On the first day, I do the head shape, block the features, establish the secondary features, and get an idea of who I'm sculpting.  I cover the head with a plastic bag, and fasten it with clothespins.  The second day, I refine, smooth, and consider the tertiary features.  It's these that give the head so much of its expression and character.  Then I have to decide if the head has reached my level of acceptance. 

I said acceptance, not perfection.  Perfection is as nebulous as infinity.  For us humans, there is no such thing.  It is beyond us.  Perfection doesn't belong to us.  That is what we are trying to achieve, of course, but the value of the exercise is in the attempt.  We know full well we can't, but if we were able to make perfect sculptures, perfect dolls, what would there be left for us?"

This work had been put aside for awhile, but is now back on the table.  Now, I am wondering, "How long will it take?"  Hopefully, not two years!  

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Hayloft...

The Hayloft

Through all the pleasant meadow-side
The grass grew shoulder-high,
Till the shining scythes went far and wide
And cut it down to dry.

These green and sweetly smelling crops
They led in wagons home;
And they piled them here in mountain-tops
For mountaineers to roam.

Here is Mount Clear, Mount Rusty-Nail,
Mount Eagle and Mount High; --
The mice that in these mountains swell
No happier are than I!

O what a joy to clamber there,
O what a place for play,
With the sweet, the dim, the dusty air,
The happy hills of hay!

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Well, there is no hayloft here, but there are still "green and sweetly smelling crops."  I do remember my grandparents' hayloft with "mountains-tops" of hay, but we were never allowed to play there.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Summer Party...

The girls were ready.  (Note, a few revisions were made...new eyes, hair, and bonnet.  The farther I got into this thing, the more I expected of myself!)

The table was set...

Each girl took her place...

And, one special guest waited outside the door...

After the other guests arrived, there just wasn't time for pictures.  It was a luncheon affair, followed by a punch party (some of the young attendees preferred punch over tea).  

For my part, it was good practice working with needle and thread.  And, now, I am remembering what a tiring thing these family gatherings can be.   And, to think, Christmas will be here before we know it.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer Sun...


Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven without repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

I have been sprucing things up just in case the weather cools off enough for our little garden party.  But it seems "Summer Sun" has other plans and "bares to all the garden ground, and sheds a warm (hot) and glittering look among the ivy's inmost nook."

Five little dolls will decorate the table, along with flowers from the garden.  When the party is over, the dolls will go home with the youngest girls, and the flowers will stay on my table for a few more days. (I can hardly stand to cut a flower from my garden.  None of the flowers stand up and say, "Here, cut me!"  And, just as surely as I choose one to cut, a bee or butterfly will fly to its rescue.  Really, they do!)