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, September 16, 2015

May I Call You Thoreau...









It was here that the red-tailed hawk soared overhead, then suddenly dropped sharply  to alight on a bale of hay, undoubtedly in search of prey.  Though I marveled at its beauty, agility, and grace, I thought of how my grandmother loathed every hawk that dared to threaten her barnyard flock of laying hens.

With nothing but time on my hands as we raked and baled hay*, I began to think about eagles and falcons and a book, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, which was a favorite of fifth graders when once upon a time I was their teacher. The story is about a boy who runs away from home (and as far as I know none of my students ever ran away) to spend a year alone in the Catskill Mountains where a peregrine falcon becomes his companion and provider.

Later, that evening, I climbed the stairs to the attic room to find that old book, and went to sleep that night with Sam and Frightful as they were sleeping in their snug winter home carved from a huge hollow tree deep in a hemlock forest on a lonely mountainside somewhere in the Catskill Mountains.

In this book, Ms. George explains in detail many of the edible foods that Sam harvested from the forest, and methods of preparing those foods.  From start to finish, it is a book filled with information on surviving in the wild.  And, of course, the training of a falcon is paramount.  It was quite fitting that a visitor to Sam's mountain asked him simply, "May I call you Thoreau?" It's a good read, not only for the young, but also for those of us who like to think young.

While I was upstairs, in the research room, as it has been dubbed by a certain fellow around here, I looked at other books on the shelves and realized how many of them deal with studies of nature.  It is, undoubtedly, something that holds great appeal for me.  I like to think that I am a student of nature, and that the class will go on forever....



Sam could have used this one...




My most valued resources... even though electronic devices have become quite valuable too.




Informative and inspiring...


* As of yesterday, the haying is finished for this year!  Yay!







13 comments:

  1. Of all the creatures on earth, I always wanted to be a bird soaring around the world...oh the sites to be seen!

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    1. Oh yes, I once did too... until I climbed a large tree and couldn't or wouldn't come down, and my dad had to rescue me with a ladder.

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  2. LOL! I think lots of us are "students of nature". My "research area" contain books are on herbs, healing, gathering natural foods. I love picking one out and re-reading it. Ahhh, my books are like old friends. I love "hearing" from them.

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    1. "...a mound of sort of fluffy mashed cattail tubers, mushrooms, and dogtooth violet bulbs, smothered in gravy thickened with acorn powder." All of that served with blackened venison steaks, pink and juicy inside, cooked to perfection, and sassafras tea. Talk about natural foods. You would probably like this book! :~)

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  3. I liked learning that you were once a teacher. It explains so much about your writing and your crafts. It is also nice to see books still being treasured.

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    1. Oh yes, the teacher in me will never go away, and I still have dreams that take me back. I make myself write so I won't forget. I love when you and the others here write.

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  4. I always learn something when I come here, so you are still a great teacher! Cappy & I have been taking daily long walks and enjoying this wonderful weather. I have seen six different flowers (probably just weeds) blooming of late and wondered what their names are. I even gave some thought to taking my camera so I could take photos and look them up online, but decided I would not go to all that bother and just enjoy them instead. I'm still a lazy student. I looked at my small library....books about the Ozarks, doll and sewing reference, cookbooks, and novels! Dumas, Austen, Dickens, Conan Doyle, Tolkien, Ayn Rand, Lewis Carroll, Asimov, Heinlein, Stevenson, Gabaldon etc. I haven't bought a new book in ages. I read the same books over and over, some of these books I've read 3 times. At present I am struggling through Dickens "Bleak House" unabridged edition. A library says a lot about a person, obviously I like to escape to another place and time, I have low retention or I need to get out of the cave more often and visit the library!! "My Side Of The Mountain" is on my list.

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    1. A long walk with a good dog in the Ozarks...nothing better! Oh yes, a library does say a lot about a person. I would say you enjoy a bit of mystery and romance in your reading. :-) I am not sure how "My Side Of The Mountain" will measure up against Austen, Dickens, Stevenson, etc. (;~) but it surely is a fun little book. And, if that's not enough you might try "My Side of the Mountain Trilogy." I am now reading "On the Far Side of the Mountain" ~ can't wait to see how this one turns out...then maybe I'll reread the Austen novels. It has been a while. :-/

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  5. It is good that you have these books and have a great interest here. It might serve you well in the future, in case of a need to make some natural food from the woods. Alot of us would benefit from reading and using books like the ones you have.

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    1. It is a scary thought that there might be a time when we would have to survive by eating off the land. I would probably be the first to perish if it were not for my husband. We are living in worrisome times, for sure! I will keep studying...

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  6. The hay fields remind me of my Dad. He was a farmer his entire life and loved making hay. Growing up on a farm taught all of us kids life. I seemed to be the only one of four that wanted to hang on to life close to nature. The other three live in burbs. Whether I live in the mountains or end up living in the flat lands I want to be surrounded by nature. Love the thoughts of climbing the stairs to an attic "research" room filled with books! My kinda place.

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    1. Your love of nature is quite evident in your art, especially the magnificent oak tree! I am not surprised that you grew up on a farm.

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