The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for - Louis L'Amour
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..."
Lately, there's been a lot of going in circles on the farm. It's the season for making hay, and, thankfully, with all the rain we have had this year, there's lots of hay to be made. It's my job to rake the hay...around and around the fields in a tractor pulling a machine that heaps up the hay in a long line ahead of the baler. It's not a job I dislike, which I once wrote about in an older post. Boring is not in my vocabulary, for if there's nothing else to do, I can fill my mind with all kinds of thoughts. Being out in the field in a tractor is really a time to just enjoy being alone, which I need every once in a while. And, when I get tired of just thinking, I often tune in to my favorite radio station, Big Country, which plays oldies but goodies. Listening to the old songs isn't a bad thing, for when I step out of that tractor at the end of the day, I have my head all straightened out about the good things in life, the really important things in life...about livin', and lovin', and dyin'...
Of course, there are times when the baling stops for various reasons, and I have a bit of idle time. I usually take along a little stitching project to have on hand for these times. This little practice piece, which will probably be stitched into the second of the little "Four Strong Winds" cloth books, seems to be going in circles too, kind of like the bales of hay.
Some plants just kind of grow wherever they please. I think I like them best. Now, I would argue that these lovely stalks of woolly mullein (there are more) certainly do add a pleasing element to an otherwise rather ordinary country lane.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaws." So, as I see it, the woolly mullein is a bit of an outlaw, wanting "vigor and freedom of the forest." In that is part of its beauty, I think.
A gardener is a caretaker for sure. Many hours of these long days of summer are spent caring for the farm and gardens. But, it is something I enjoy doing, and often find myself thinking of my grandmothers who helped to work the land too.
I love the image of a woman who would strap a young child onto the back of a horse or a mule and then take up the lines made of leather, or the wooden handles of a plow, to work the fields.
And, no, I don't think it was a bad thing for the child either, for "A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." (Gertrude Jekyll)