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 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. 


  1. Beautiful colors. I haven't seen a hummer in several days. Shame on me, I didn't put out my feeder this year, but they loved my rose of sharon bush that bloomed for a long time. I haven't gotten any sewing done this week as I spend every spare moment reading my awesome

    1. :-) Sherri. I may need a rose of sharon in my yard, too. Always looking for flowers the hummingbirds like. Wouldn't it be fun to make all the dresses in the book?

  2. They are miraculous, aren't they? I didn't put out feeders this year, but with so many flowering perennials planted "just for the hummers", I see them around every day. They stay around here a little longer, but soon they'll head south from here, too. Loved your photos!

    1. I really like to watch the hummers dip in and out among the flowers; better than red plastic. I am working on planting more they like. My feeding of hummingbirds started in 2012 when there was absolutely nothing for them to eat except sugar water. Now they seem to expect it.

  3. "More time to fatten up".....Ha, ha! I don't feed them either but see one now and then. There are a lot of moths which look like humming birds that feed on the four-o'clocks.

    1. Well, I hope they are fat enough, for the last one seems to have flown away today - here this morning, gone by noon. He waited until the cold was right on his tail feathers, for sure. I wore a jacket on the trail today.

  4. We love to see the little birds too. They are beautiful

  5. We have these little hummers as well and always love to watch them. Your photos are so pretty!