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..."


Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Chip Butter Trail...


The word "trail" has always held a fascination for me.  Webster defines the word as being "a track made by passage through a wilderness; a beaten path; a marked path through a forest or mountainous region."  Now, that's enough to stir the imagination, for sure.  How can one imagine the beginning of a trail without wondering about the end of the trail?  And, what of the happenings along the trail?  Ahh, there you have it...a story to be told.

The great western writer, Louis L'Amour used trails in his writings so effectively in telling his stories of the taming of a new land, and of the people who traveled many trails in doing so.  He even used  the word, "Trail," or "Path" in the titles of several of his well-known books.  ~Trail to Seven Pines, The Proven Trail, Crossfire Trail, Cherokee Trail, Ride the Dark Trail, Kiowa Trail, The Warrior's Path...~

A well-known trail here in the Ozarks is The Ozark Highlands Trail, which roams 218 miles through parts of seven counties in northwest Arkansas.  It stretches from Lake Fort Smith State Park, across the Ozark National Forest, to the Buffalo National River.  The trail passes through some of the most remote and scenic portions of the Ozark Mountains, such as the Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area.  If only I were a little younger...

Then, there is a newly created trail right at my own back doorwhich came about when Nell and I  were walking this trail late one day and found ourselves being serenaded  by whip-poor-wills, one here, another over there...back and forth..."whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will...,"  or is it "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak...?"  Well, no matter, from this time on, this trail will be known around here as The Chip Butter Trail.


Google Earth helped me with this rough sketch. 


The climb up...


And up...(with Nell)


Almost to the top... (Nell is panting)


Along the trail earlier this spring...


Another earlier spring picture from the trail...
 
 
 
The Upper Pond (a favorite stop for both Nell and me)...




 
 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Frenzy at Dusk...







They are back!  Back from the vast honeysuckle thickets!  It happens every spring.  Dozens of tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds come, but after a time, are gone again, apparently to feed at the thickets.  So now that they are back, let the frenzy at the feeders begin!  The Bossman suggested we might need more than four feeders...MORE THAN FOUR! 

Before the drought of 2012, I didn't feed the hummingbirds; thought it was best not to interfere with Mother Nature.  I did, however, try to help the little critters by planting some of their favorite flowers.  Then during that terrible summer when everything died except what was watered (and the grasshoppers ate that), I took pity on the little hummers and put out feeders, and started boiling sugar water.  And, I was hooked!  How could one not be?

So, for those little critters that can fly up to eighteen hours, non-stop, across a vast ocean (the Gulf of Mexico) with nothing to guide them through uncharted skies to end up at some intended destination, and now have returned, crossing the ocean once again and back to my front porch,  I will keep right on boiling sugar water. 


Chip Butter's Dos and Don'ts on feeding hummingbirds...

1.  Mix pure cane sugar and water, 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, and boil for three minutes.  Keep refrigerated until needed.  (There's always some in my refrigerator during feeding season.)
2.  Don't leave mixture in feeder for more than three days.  An alcohol and bacteria can form that is harmful to the little critters.
3.  Don't disturb them during their feeding frenzy late in the evening.
4.  Don't leave garage doors open late in the day when they are looking for a place to sleep.  (This "don't" came about when I found a beautiful little hummer dead in my husband's shop.  And, once I had to climb onto a ladder to rescue one that was clinging to a door support on the garage ceiling.)
5.  And, finally, Do enjoy......We do!