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..."


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

To Go, or To Not Go, That is the Question...









A wonderful sewing basket...   A lucky find for I've never seen another ...



There was a time when almost nothing could have stopped my going!  The calendar would have long since been marked.  There would have been no forgetting the War Eagle Mill and Craft Fair scheduled for the third weekend in October when thousands of eager shoppers would be heading to the beautiful hills of Northwest Arkansas for the annual event.

I had been afflicted with a fever...basket fever!  I remember well the first year we attended the fair, and still have the first basket I bought.  Each year afterward,  I would save my dimes and dollars in anticipation of the next year's new basket.

With each year's fair, the fever that possessed me grew even worse, and went completely out of sight the year Millicent Phillips first brought her wares to War Eagle Fair.  Millie's baskets created from  natural materials found in the Ozarks ~ snake bones, Cattails, Turkey Berry Vine, Cacamus, Philodendron, Crossvine, Rattan Vine, Willow Bark, Grape Vine, twisted grass dyed with walnuts, Virginia Creeper~  were truly unique and beautiful.  I loved them all!  Choosing just one to take home was the hardest thing...

  


My first Millicent Phillips vine basket...


More of Millicent's work...


Snake bones and clay beads Millicent fired in her wood-burning stove...  (She told me that!)


My favorite Vine Basket...



Actually, to attend this year's fair was but a fleeting thought...  Millicent is there no more; nor the other basket makers, either. And, there are things that need doing here.  There's the trail to be walked.  Millie and I are on somewhat of a marathon, having walked it 103 days without a miss.  (We have missed 27 days in 2017.)  We (Millie and Me) are thinking it might be fun (and healthy) to see how far we can continue this streak into winter.  Millie is beginning to get her winter coat and I still have the old green wool, so we will be good to go, unless....
   
The new (to me) freehand embroidery foot I had ordered for Embroidery School came in the mail today, so there's home work to be done for class.  I stitched a sample to see if it is something I can learn to do.  We will see.... I've never dropped out of a class yet, but...... And, even if I do, I think I can use this foot for mending.  So many of my favorite old summer clothes are becoming quite raggedy, so this foot may come in rather handy for some winter time mending. 



My first freehand embroidery...



Walk # 103




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October... (As seen through my eyes and through Henry David Thoreau's words)







To anticipate, not the sunrise and the dawn merely, but, if possible, Nature herself!  How many mornings, summer and winter, before yet any neighbor was stirring about his business, have I been about mine...So many autumn, ay, and winter days, spent outside the town, trying to hear what was in the wind, to hear and carry it express!  I well-nigh sunk all my capital in it, and lost my own breath into the bargain running in the face of it.  ~Thoreau



Summer passes into autumn in some unimaginable point of time, like the turning of a leaf... ~Thoreau



If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."  ~ Thoreau (That's Millie and Me!)


I have spent many an hour, when I was younger, floating over its surface as the zephyr willed, having paddled my boat to the middle, and lying on my back across the seats, dreaming awake... ~Thoreau




  I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.  ~Thoreau



In summer we live out of doors, and have only impulses and feelings, which are all for action, and must wait commonly for the stillness and longer nights of autumn and winter before any thought will subside; we are sensible that behind the rustling leaves, and the stacks of grain, and the bare clusters of the grape, there is the field of a wholly new life, which no man has lived; that even this earth was made for more mysterious and nobler inhabitants than men and women.  In the hues of October sunsets, we see the portals to other mansions than those which we occupy. ~Thoreau


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

For the Glory of the Garden...






"Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!"
~Rudyard Kipling




The motley bronze hues of this enchanting little creature seem to match perfectly with other old rusty iron pieces  found here and there in the garden.  I can't help admiring its handsome long legs and its fascinating coiled-like tongue (proboscis), through which it drinks. 








Well past its prime, this giant zinnia is still beautiful.  The California Giants have taught me to love pink in the garden again!    









Rust and Red... A nice look for a country garden, I think.







This year's garden, with its bright tapestry of colors, is fading fast and will soon be put to rest,  but "if the Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise,"  I will be out here again next spring..."upon my knees."



Monday, September 11, 2017

Don't forget your "jumper"...







"Don't forget your jumper," my dad would often remind me when I was a kid and going out on a chilly day. I never thought much about his use of the word "jumper" when I was young, but later began to wonder about it.  I might just think it was because  he was a sailor, for one of the meanings given in the Oxford dictionary is "a loose outer jacket worn by sailors,"  but I seem to remember his dad, my grandfather, calling his Big Smith denim jacket a "jumper."  Well, no matter, I like the word, so "a jumper it'll be when I head over the trail on  cool, crisp mornings such as this morning.  My corduroy "jumper" did feel good!









And, how about wearing a jumper like the one pictured above?  Talk about "stylin'!  This is one of my favorites from Boro, Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan.  (Yukiko Koide & Kyoichi Tsuzuki).

"Situated dead-end on the northernmost tip of the main island of Honshu, Aomori was home to dirt poor farmers who, out of desperate necessity, created an astonishing textile aesthetic out of boro - mere rags. Everything from work clothes to babies diapers to futon bedding for the long winter nights was sewn from stiff, scratchy hemp cloth.  And, if a single layer wasn't warm enough, they stitched and reinforced layer on layer, patching holes and stuffing hemp fuzz in between for whatever little insulation they could get.  Boro was the shape of survival in this inhospitable land."







Bag made of hemp...


***********************************************

My latest stitching creations, which I like to call "Rice Bag Therapy," have become a big hit here in our neck of the woods.  These bags of rice are made from soft cotton knit that I salvaged from a pair of old Land's End Pants.  The bag shown here has eight sections which keeps the rice evenly distributed so it can be more easily applied to a knee, neck, or back.  Now, when those old aggravating aches and pains show up at the end of a long day's work, we just pop our bags into the microwave for about a minute, and soon enjoy warm, soothing relief!  (Warning:  I did break a couple of machine needles.  I suppose hand stitching the seams is also an option.)








Monday, September 4, 2017

Soon September will blaze a trail into these hills and valleys...







We are hoping she (if September is a she) will give us time to get the hay baled and hauled from the fields.  The hay lots are beginning to fill up so there should be ample feed for the cattle this winter.

Google Earth tells the story. I zoomed in on a couple of the Cowboy's lots just for the fun of it.  (According to Google these images are from October 2014.)  I am amazed that he can so precisely arrange the rolls of hay from the seat of his pants on a John Deere Tractor.





One hay lot, and...


Another....





I could well become a world traveler just by zooming in on far-away places, but for this time,  I clicked  on an old rusty barn (and the hay lots) right here on our little mountain top farm. 






Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Changes...









After several weeks of hot and humid weather with showers almost every day, as of late, there seems to be a change in the air. Yesterday the clouds were dark and ominous, which, actually, made for some nice pictures along the trail.  But, this afternoon, when Millie and I were out and about, the sun was shining and the air had a clean, crisp feeling.  I even made it home with a dry shirt, for a change. Could it be that fall will come early this year?


Of course, the Eclipse was the big news of the week, but here in our neck of the woods, I was the only one who showed any interest in the event.  The Cowboy absolutely refused to go outside, opting instead to stay inside and take a nap.  It was later that I read that the Navajo stay inside and do not observe the eclipse out of reverence for what they say is an intimate event between the earth, moon and sun.  So maybe that was the thing with him, for his roots are intertwined with Native American.  I was reminded of  how he always refuses to go inside the large Indian cave that is near here, saying he feels spirits all around.  Or heck, he may have just wanted to take a long nap while it was dark and quiet, which, looking back, really wasn't a bad idea at all. 







The time for migration is soon approaching for the little Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds that have fed here since last spring.  It has been a chore to keep the feeders cleaned and filled with fresh sweet nectar, but, as always, I have enjoyed these little hummers immensely and will eagerly await their return next year.
  




I've never been to Montana's Big Sky Country, and probably never will, but I was reminded of it yesterday when I snapped this picture.  Let's see... Could it be that the Little Bighorn River lies somewhere right over yonder rise...





Monday, August 14, 2017

The Garden ~ Back Then...




Adam. ~ back then...


The hardest thing about moving from our old farm house was leaving behind the garden.  Even though we would be living only about a half-mile away, I knew I wouldn't be able to care for the garden like I had in the past.   How many times had I slipped out of doors early in the morning, sometimes  still wearing my night gown, with the intention of only walking through the garden to see what at happened during the night, but could still be found there an hour or so later attending to some gardening chore that needed doing? 

And, who could blame me if I dilly dallied in the garden for a while?  It was always a garden full of birds, so early morning was a wonderful time to watch them, and to listen to their sweet songs.  The brown thrashers were regulars, year in, and year out, and what fun it always was to finally discover where they had built their nest.  I wonder if they still come...

It has been a dozen years since we moved, but I still go back to mow and clean along the rock paths that I once worked so hard to build from flat-like stones that I found along the little streams on the place.   A lot can change in twelve years.  The lilies, hostas, and other perennials  were the first to go, thanks to the white-tailed deer that soon claimed the gardens as their own.  The drought of 2012 took out a lot of the flowering shrubs and small trees.   I'll not be planting more there even though the bones of the garden are still there, and seem to be begging for it~Queen Anne's lace, butterfly bushes, daisies, foxglove.............. 



The Little Pond...

The little waterfall no longer flows into the little pond where Adam once fished, even though there were no fish.  The old stones, mottled  with lichens are just lovely now, I think. 



The Stones...




Stone Steps...

I can remember being particularly proud of the construction of these stone steps.  My older son wouldn't remember, (but I do)  that he helped me place the thick heavy stone that is the fourth one up.  There are a lot of memories to go with these old stones.



The Stone Path...


When Disney's "Lion King" was released in 1994, our older grandson began to call this large stone, "Pride Rock."  Pride Rock was always a favorite resting place for Nell. 




Nell and Pride Rock ~ Back then...



"Two Roads"...


I sometimes stop here and think of Robert Frosts' The Road Not Taken.  "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ~ I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." 

I'm not sure, in this case, that one is less traveled than the other, but I always take the high road, and return by the low road.  Always...




Back Then ~ Granddaughter and me...





Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Rainy Day in July, and Remembering Beatrix Potter ~ July 28, 1866...




Beatrix's beloved Hill Top...




It all started with letters written to a little sick boy...


Peter meets Sarah...



All the while the rain came down...


Afterward, it was a soggy walk over the trail.  Millie and I loved it...


Millie...



The pond, refreshingly beautiful...



Such a peaceful place...


The cattle coming in for the night... 




Thank you Lord for another day...






Friday, July 7, 2017

Dog Days of Summer...









It was hardly midmorning when I noticed through the window that the cattle had already "found the shade" as the Cowboy would say.  But, it's that time of year, for the dog days of summer are upon us.

 And, if I should have gone looking for Millie I would have known right where to have found her, for she would have surely been in her shady corner of the little rock garden next to the house. She has dug a nice little hole there, but it is hardly noticeable, actually, for it is behind a fairly large abelia with long arching branches.

For the past couple of days, I have played the role of the good fairy, and poured a bucket of water into her hole before filling it back in with soil.  In this way, she won't have to dig deeply to make for herself a cool damp bed.  I've never scolded her for it.  I used to take Nell inside on hot afternoons, but Millie seems to prefer being outside. 







Actually, the Dog Days of Summer, which are taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, doesn't have anything to do with dogs, or even with the lazy days of summer.  Instead, it turns out, the dog days refer to the dog star, Sirius, and its position in the heavens.  To the Greeks and Romans, the "dog days" occurred around the day when Sirius appeared to rise just before the sun, in late July. 

Although July and August are generally known as the hottest months of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, the hottest period can vary from year to year.  And depending on your latitude, the astronomical dog days can come at different times.







As soon as breakfast is finished, Millie and I head to the garden.  She lies under the shade of a tree and watches me work with my  head bent low beneath the okra and zinnias. 

I made some miscalculations when I planned this year's little garden. (Imagine that!)   There is no room...zero...to get between the rows to cut the okra pods.  And, on the other side of the row, it's no better because of the tomato plants that are reaching out from their cages. I just didn't expect the California Giants to be so...well, gigantic!  But, my how I love them!  Oh well...there's always next year.  I am now thinking the old plow in the center of the garden wasn't such a good idea.  But there will be zinnias again, even Giants!  Let's see, I could always move the old plow over there.....   And, so it goes!






Millie isn't the first dog to lie in the shade of  this tree while I worked in the little garden.  This was Nell's favorite spot too.  Oh, how lonely I was when there was no Nell under that tree, so you must know how happy I am to have found another little doggie friend that loves me as much as Nell did!  I really doubted that I ever would.

Millie and I talk about things.  She's a girl, you know, and girls talk.  She in her way and me in mine, but we each understand the other.  It's a mutual love, for sure!









Also........... A blogger friend, E.C., has gone into the black swallowtail butterfly business. :~)   For the complete story, you'll have to go back a few posts, but it's worth it.  Good job E.C.!