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..."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Four Strong Winds...

That was to be the name of the little eight page cloth book I had begun...Four Strong Winds....  For some time,  I had been longing for a piece of cloth to hold in my hands on long winter evenings by the fire - a cloth on which I could stitch. 

William Wordsworth once wrote, "To begin, begin."  So, I did.

A learning curve can sometimes be quite steep, and the fall back down rather hard.  I think that may have happened to me here.  My idea was to do some weaving in stitch, Jude Hill style of course, something like this... Colorful, but warm, trade blankets to wrap around the shoulders of the wanderers of The Four Strong Winds.

I embroidered row upon row using an outline stitch, depicting warp, over which I would weave, by stitch, the weft.  As I stitched, it kept coming to mind that I might not be able to find my way when I began to weave across.  But, I stitched on....  And, now I am lost.   I will try again.  But, I would have never known if I hadn't tried.  My mother used to say, "There never was an ill wind that didn't blow some good."  I think I see the good...

And, along the Chip Butter Trail, the Upper Pond is ablaze with color, although, I think, not as beautiful as last year.

The weaning heifers have been vaccinated, branded, and given their permanent ID numbers.  The Little Twig is such a beauty, and is showing signs of becoming a herd leader, just as her mother is.  Here she is in the center chewing on a "twig" of grass, and, secondly, in the chute, behaving quite well.  Way to go #24. 

At the end of the day, my boots and pants legs were covered in cow manure.  I told The Old Indian that I surely did feel like a real cowgirl.  He said, "I think you are."

Monday, October 13, 2014

Rainy Day...

There have been three of them, one after the other...rainy days that is, and I have loved them all...soothes the soul, I think.  It was a wet and cool walk over the trail today... first day for the old green coat since last spring.  I almost skipped the walk today, but oh what I would have missed!
Webs and Water...

A bit of color at the pond
Fence along the trail (which was finished a few weeks back)...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ribbons and Bows...

When my mother told my dad that he had taught me to tie "wrong," I am quite sure I was as unconcerned as any three or four year old would have been.  After all, my dad was an old navy guy and we all know those guys are trained in the art of tying and know all about knots (both as a unit of speed at sea and as a way of securing things).  Dad's way was so easy...left lace over right, pulled back under, loop over thumb, other string over the top, and second loop pushed back through.  And, from that day forth, to this very day, I have proudly tied my own shoes, Dad's way, hundreds, even thousands of times, for I have almost always worn shoes with laces. Mother's admonishment seemed to be unfounded until...


I began to tie bows other than on my shoes.  There were sashes to be tied into bows on our little girl's dresses, Christmas bows on festive boxes and wreaths, and beautiful ribbons and bows to tie up the hair.  The bows I tied were not pretty.  The ends of the ribbon wouldn't hang down like they should, and at least one of the ends would end up over the top of one of the loops.  If "Daddy" was home, I told our little daughter to have him tie her sashes, and I often called on him for help with those special bows I wanted to make.  I watched his every twist and turn, and tried to tie exactly as he had done, but old habits, those that have been repeated thousands of times, are hard to break. 

She ties her hair up in ribbons and bows...


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Through winds and rains and solstice change..."

In Honor of Hummingbirds


Your wings unzip from southern warmth
to map new latitudes of dawn;
You brave the Gulf's voracious gape -
a twenty-hour marathon.
Through winds and rains and solstice change,
You soar on homing threads of birth;
a flashing dynamo, a wisp
of consciousness above the earth.
You chart the miles with blossom-breaks
between your forays after flies
refuelling on their nectar blends
a swizzle-pause to energize.

We hang our scarlet beacons out
to signify a landing site;
our honor is to briefly share
your iridescent glory flight.
Diminutive, defiant darter-
tiny heart in pounding pace;
we savor every fleeting glance-
a streak of heaven's fragile grace.
            ~Laryalee Fraser



Once again, the little hummers that delighted us on long summer evenings are on their long journey southward.  The masses of these little birds left a little over a week ago, and each day since the number at the feeders has been fewer and fewer.  Today, there were only two or three, and at day's end, there was only one. 
According to Wikipedia, they leave when they have stored enough fat to make the journey.  The last to leave are the adolescent birds, presumably because they need more time to fatten up.  It is these who have to make their way alone on a route they have never flown before.   These young ones are leaving behind much that could make them fat, if only there was time, for I planted well for them this year - "scarlet beacons," so we could "briefly share your iridescent glory flight."  And, we were not disappointed.