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, December 28, 2017

Around the Year, 2017...

The old calendar is almost filled.
There only remain three empty spaces in which to write
before a brand new calendar will be opened up to begin all over again.
The new one has larger squares with space for more notations.
There will be room for a few rough sketches; 
no doubt Millie will be there,
and the Cowboy too.
There will be space for a certain long neck,
even if he has to extend into the space above.
There will be weather and gardening notations,
birthdays and other special days ...

And so it goes,
Around the Year...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Naughty or Nice?

Naughty or Nice ~  There were times, long ago, when the word "naughty" would send terror through me.  It's such a dreadful word, don't you think?   I will confess to having been reminded a few times of what the consequences might be on Christmas for children who were "naughty!"   Really...was it possible that Santa Claus would bring me nothing but a bundle of switches? 

Well, surely these nice old gents, Belsnickle and Santa figures, brought out from the old trunk upstairs, would never do such a thing...even if a little girl hadn't always been nice. 

"'Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house..."

Happy Christmas to all...

Monday, November 27, 2017

Around me the trees stir...


"Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, 'Stay awhile.'
The light flows from their branches
And they call again, 'It's simple,' they say
'and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.'" 

Mary Oliver, "When I Am Among the Trees"

Cabin in the Woods
A Playhouse really
I am calling it my Shanty
Where a friend might come for tea
Maybe something like this... :~)

The Shanty
stitched into my sampler book

Web Stitch

"When you learn a craft, practice it.  That learning comes through the hands."

~Rumi, "A Basket of Fresh Bread"

Monday, November 6, 2017

Live Each Season...

Live each season as it passes.
Breathe the air, drink the drink,
Taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each.

~Henry David Thoreau

And, oh so gladly, that's just what we are doing!  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Changing of the Seasons...

While I was intent on admiring the changing of colors around the pond, Millie seemed to be interested in something else.  She is a magnificent animal, having amazing speed and agility, so in a flash, she was out of the water and around to the other side to sniff and smell and listen. 

The other side...

The first fire of the season...

The mornings have been  down right chilly here, so last evening we enjoyed a cozy warm fire in the wood burning stove.  The first fire of the season is rather a celebratory event for us - a true changing of the seasons.  It's a time we always look forward to.

Ecoprint Dyed Cloth...

I am still struggling on in Embroidery School.  Other than watching videos, about all I have done is to choose fabrics for the first lessons.   Even though the instructor used three different pieces of white silk, I have selected pieces of my Ecoprint dyed cloth.  The pages of my cloth book, if ever completed, will definitely have a different look!

Distractions abound here in the sewing room, causing my attention to stray from the lengthy video lessons. It seemed during one particular session, that the shelves in an old cabinet just had to be dusted and straightened.  And, at another time, The-Doll-That-Wouldn't-Sit just had to have a new, larger body stitched on.   ( I think I might have to replay those videos!   And, to think that I was a teacher for a lot of years!  I should know better!)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

To Go, or To Not Go, That is the Question...

A wonderful sewing basket...   A lucky find for I've never seen another ...

There was a time when almost nothing could have stopped my going!  The calendar would have long since been marked.  There would have been no forgetting the War Eagle Mill and Craft Fair scheduled for the third weekend in October when thousands of eager shoppers would be heading to the beautiful hills of Northwest Arkansas for the annual event.

I had been afflicted with a fever...basket fever!  I remember well the first year we attended the fair, and still have the first basket I bought.  Each year afterward,  I would save my dimes and dollars in anticipation of the next year's new basket.

With each year's fair, the fever that possessed me grew even worse, and went completely out of sight the year Millicent Phillips first brought her wares to War Eagle Fair.  Millie's baskets created from  natural materials found in the Ozarks ~ snake bones, Cattails, Turkey Berry Vine, Cacamus, Philodendron, Crossvine, Rattan Vine, Willow Bark, Grape Vine, twisted grass dyed with walnuts, Virginia Creeper~  were truly unique and beautiful.  I loved them all!  Choosing just one to take home was the hardest thing...


My first Millicent Phillips vine basket...

More of Millicent's work...

Snake bones and clay beads Millicent fired in her wood-burning stove...  (She told me that!)

My favorite Vine Basket...

Actually, to attend this year's fair was but a fleeting thought...  Millicent is there no more; nor the other basket makers, either. And, there are things that need doing here.  There's the trail to be walked.  Millie and I are on somewhat of a marathon, having walked it 103 days without a miss.  (We have missed 27 days in 2017.)  We (Millie and Me) are thinking it might be fun (and healthy) to see how far we can continue this streak into winter.  Millie is beginning to get her winter coat and I still have the old green wool, so we will be good to go, unless....

We haven't missed in 103 days...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October... (As seen through my eyes and through Henry David Thoreau's words)

To anticipate, not the sunrise and the dawn merely, but, if possible, Nature herself!  How many mornings, summer and winter, before yet any neighbor was stirring about his business, have I been about mine...So many autumn, ay, and winter days, spent outside the town, trying to hear what was in the wind, to hear and carry it express!  I well-nigh sunk all my capital in it, and lost my own breath into the bargain running in the face of it.  ~Thoreau

Summer passes into autumn in some unimaginable point of time, like the turning of a leaf... ~Thoreau

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."  ~ Thoreau (That's Millie and Me!)

I have spent many an hour, when I was younger, floating over its surface as the zephyr willed, having paddled my boat to the middle, and lying on my back across the seats, dreaming awake... ~Thoreau

  I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.  ~Thoreau

In summer we live out of doors, and have only impulses and feelings, which are all for action, and must wait commonly for the stillness and longer nights of autumn and winter before any thought will subside; we are sensible that behind the rustling leaves, and the stacks of grain, and the bare clusters of the grape, there is the field of a wholly new life, which no man has lived; that even this earth was made for more mysterious and nobler inhabitants than men and women.  In the hues of October sunsets, we see the portals to other mansions than those which we occupy. ~Thoreau

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

For the Glory of the Garden...

"Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!"
~Rudyard Kipling

The motley bronze hues of this enchanting little creature seem to match perfectly with other old rusty iron pieces  found here and there in the garden.  I can't help admiring its handsome long legs and its fascinating coiled-like tongue (proboscis), through which it drinks. 

Well past its prime, this giant zinnia is still beautiful.  The California Giants have taught me to love pink in the garden again!    

Rust and Red... A nice look for a country garden, I think.

This year's garden, with its bright tapestry of colors, is fading fast and will soon be put to rest,  but "if the Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise,"  I will be out here again next spring..."upon my knees."

Monday, September 11, 2017

Don't forget your "jumper"...

"Don't forget your jumper," my dad would often remind me when I was a kid and going out on a chilly day. I never thought much about his use of the word "jumper" when I was young, but later began to wonder about it.  I might just think it was because  he was a sailor, for one of the meanings given in the Oxford dictionary is "a loose outer jacket worn by sailors,"  but I seem to remember his dad, my grandfather, calling his Big Smith denim jacket a "jumper."  Well, no matter, I like the word, so "a jumper it'll be when I head over the trail on  cool, crisp mornings such as this morning.  My corduroy "jumper" did feel good!

And, how about wearing a jumper like the one pictured above?  Talk about "stylin'!  This is one of my favorites from Boro, Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan.  (Yukiko Koide & Kyoichi Tsuzuki).

"Situated dead-end on the northernmost tip of the main island of Honshu, Aomori was home to dirt poor farmers who, out of desperate necessity, created an astonishing textile aesthetic out of boro - mere rags. Everything from work clothes to babies diapers to futon bedding for the long winter nights was sewn from stiff, scratchy hemp cloth.  And, if a single layer wasn't warm enough, they stitched and reinforced layer on layer, patching holes and stuffing hemp fuzz in between for whatever little insulation they could get.  Boro was the shape of survival in this inhospitable land."

Bag made of hemp...


My latest stitching creations, which I like to call "Rice Bag Therapy," have become a big hit here in our neck of the woods.  These bags of rice are made from soft cotton knit that I salvaged from a pair of old Land's End Pants.  The bag shown here has eight sections which keeps the rice evenly distributed so it can be more easily applied to a knee, neck, or back.  Now, when those old aggravating aches and pains show up at the end of a long day's work, we just pop our bags into the microwave for about a minute, and soon enjoy warm, soothing relief!  (Warning:  I did break a couple of machine needles.  I suppose hand stitching the seams is also an option.)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Soon September will blaze a trail into these hills and valleys...

We are hoping she (if September is a she) will give us time to get the hay baled and hauled from the fields.  The hay lots are beginning to fill up so there should be ample feed for the cattle this winter.

Google Earth tells the story. I zoomed in on a couple of the Cowboy's lots just for the fun of it.  (According to Google these images are from October 2014.)  I am amazed that he can so precisely arrange the rolls of hay from the seat of his pants on a John Deere Tractor.

One hay lot, and...


I could well become a world traveler just by zooming in on far-away places, but for this time,  I clicked  on an old rusty barn (and the hay lots) right here on our little mountain top farm.