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, December 30, 2014

Last Reflections of 2014...

Grab a coat, a long one with a hood preferably, and come walk the trail with me.  The day is rather cold, so I have pulled on an old baggy pair of sweats over my jeans for a double layer.  I always carry my walking stick, and usually my camera, for it is almost  a sure thing if I leave it home, there's a nice shot just waiting to be had.


The pond usually offers opportunity for an interesting photo or two, but today it seemed vacated except for a cow that had come down to the opposite shore for water.  Wild ducks, geese and great blue herons are normally on the ponds at this time of year, but not today.  It was here almost a year ago that I finally captured, in photo, the great blue heron.  I named the photo, "Were You Too Cold to Fly?"  which seemed appropriate since I had spent well over a year stalking this fine gent (or lady) only to watch him fly away.  Looking back over my photos taken this past year, it seemed  to me that this one definitely deserved to win the Chip Butter Award for this year's best.

Were You Too Cold to Fly?

So, having chosen a "This Year's Best," it seemed I should also choose a second and a third place winner. It wasn't hard to choose the second.  It just had to be a photo of Zeke, this year's Father Christmas doll.  It was four long years ago that I made my first cloth and clay doll whose name began with the letter A.  Feeling quite proud of myself, I told the whole wide world that I was going to make a doll for every letter of the alphabet.  I don't think I ever believed that I actually would, but twenty-six dolls later, here is Zeke.


The third runner-up proved to be the hardest.  I finally selected a picture of the pond taken today, appropriately named "Last Reflections of 2014."

My old calendar is almost filled now; 365 little squares marked and scribbled on. As always, I am excited to be starting a new calendar and a new year, and hope you are too.

Thanks for coming along on what may be this year's last walk along The Chip Butter Trail.  Best wishes to you all for a Happy Happy New Year!

Last Reflections of 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jeepin' Along on a Rainy Day...

Yesterday, the Old Cowboy and I were jeepin' along on a rainy day, only a couple of miles from home, when...Whoa!  There they were!  For just a moment, I imagined I might be somewhere along the Upper Missouri River in Central Montana.  But, no, I had seen these creatures here before, for they belong to a friend and neighbor just down the road, but they never fail to excite me.  Through them, I see an image of the old west, and of what attracts us to that old West of yesteryear.


Jeepin' along...

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays...

May we always keep a little of the Christmas spirit tucked away in our hearts.

2014 Father Christmas



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Four Strong Winds...

Four Strong Winds that blow lonely, Seven seas that run high,
All these things don't change, Come what may...  
                                                                                ~ Ian Tyson


Doeskin on eco-print cloth


The time of Four Strong Winds  was before the horse on the vast great plains of "America."  It was long before there were sparkling glass beads and colorful trade blankets.  There was just the land, the waters, and the Four Strong Winds...

Weather on the plains was unpredictable and often dangerous for the Plains inhabitants.  Summer brought violent thunderstorms and tornadoes; winter, fierce blizzards blew in from the north and with it immense snowfall.  At other times, searing gale-strength winds raged out of the south to wither the grass and threaten every growing thing. 

But, it was the buffalo that was key to life on the plains.  Gigantic herds roamed the vast range, matching the immensity of land and sky.  In the words of the 19th century zoologist William T. Hornaday:  "It would have been as easy to count the number of leaves in a forest as to calculate the number of buffaloes living at any given time previous to 1890."
Eco print on the cloth provided realistic looking smoke rising from the largest teepee.  Can you see the wee one on the young woman's back? 

The tribes...

The species, Bison bison...


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Tribes...

Thirteen tribes.  I had planned on fourteen, but things got crowded near the top, so "Blackfoot" had to be left off.  The single ply of red floss seemed to behave better than the black, or maybe I just began to get a better feel for the tedious work.  I suppose I should give this map a title..."The Tribes," I think.


And, what's going on with the robins?  Saturday afternoon, and again on Sunday, but to a lesser degree, a steady stream of robins flew in a southwesterly direction over our house.  There had to be thousands of them, for in the shot below there are about fifty (I tried to count) and that was just what I captured in one click of my camera.  This steady stream went on and on for well over two hours.  I couldn't help wonder where they were going, and what they would eat when they got there?  Surely would take a lot of earth worms!


And still they came...  They were close enough that I could see their red breasts.


We all watched the flight of the robins above, even Nell, I think, who was quite content to lie at my feet and chew on her new bone.  Early in the summer, there had been a dead deer not far off The Chip Butter Trail. The smell was not pleasant to me, but to Nell it was an invitation to come find a bone to carry home, which she often did, sometimes with my help. (I wrapped the bones in leaves when I carried them.)

Since the hot days of summer, I have been leaving Nell home to guard the place.  And... well... it's hard to think about, but she's past fourteen now and the climb up the trail is hard on an elderly lady, such as she now is.  When I saw this bone on the path, I thought of her, picked it up, and carried it home to my sweet Nell.  I could tell she was delighted.