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 20, 2018

The Joys of a Christmas Doll...



 Well, we made it!   I think the dolls actually fared  better than me for I do feel a bit weary from too many late nights of staying up to get them finished by Christmas.  I am having a lot of empathy tonight for Mrs. Claus who does this year after year.  She surely must deal with deadlines better than I do!

I hope the girls love these sweet little dolls as much as I do.  They are, without a doubt, the best I have made.  I think they are attached to me as much as I am to them, but I am quite sure, once they meet those sweet and happy girls, they are going to be delighted with their new home.  And, of course, I can always go to visit them, and even take them a new dress every now and then.

Merry Christmas, Kate and Mae!  And, Merry Christmas to all of my friends who stop here to visit from time to time.  I hope you all have a good one!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Before We Go On...

When Millie and I walked over the hillside trail this morning, it was cold and blustery.  I had put on my warmest puffy coat, the one that reminds me of the kid in The Christmas Story who couldn't put his arms down.  And, it had seemed a good idea to carry my umbrella too,  but it may not have been for the cattle didn't recognize me at all and behaved quite badly.  Here a few of them watched from wood's edge as some seemingly foreboding stranger passed by.  The others had already stampeded farther up the hill.  Silly cows!

 Today, I am painting the Christmas dolls.  This is slow work for me.  Slow and tedious.   Somewhere along the way, I decided that the arms and legs I had already sewn were out of proportion and should be larger.  So I made new ones.  We surely didn't want anything that might remind one of Tyrannosaurs Rex, you know.  But, all of that takes time.  I noted that one little thumb, alone, took me almost three quarters of an hour to meticulously sew onto one little hand.  And, here I was racing against the clock!


 Now, I know it is the winter season, when I should be posting pictures of Christmas preparations, but here I am out in the Shanty Garden where things have still been going on.  For ever so long, in fact ever since I have been feeding the hummingbirds, I have longed for somewhere to hang the feeders other than on the porch.  In order to reach each feeder, it must hang from a long chain, so that when the wind blows (and it does a lot here on our hill) the feeders move back and forth like a pendulum, spilling sweet homemade nectar all across the porch.  What a mess!

So, here it is...  a covered hummingbird feeding station, large enough to accommodate several feeders.  Happy birthday (six-weeks late) to me from the Cowboy.

Now, for those Christmas dolls..….

Thursday, November 29, 2018

There was really nothing exceptional about the day... Or was there?

  The reflections were oh-so-wonderful on the pond.

 And,  the sun set so beautifully in the warmth of a late November evening.

  Millie even waded into the pond just because...

  It was a pleasant day for outdoor work.

 And, my 502nd consecutive walk over the trail couldn't have been better.

And, last, but by no means least, I finally finished sculpting the Christmas dolls!  It's surely turning out to be a race against time.


Monday, November 12, 2018

November is all about the...


Leaves and more leaves, everywhere we walk...maple, sycamore, sweet gum, elm, and oak...

Just perfect for making leaf prints on cloth.
Lay them flat, then roll
and bind tightly around a stick.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Farewell, Sweet October...

It was a rainy, rainy day here in the Ozarks, but even that couldn't take away
 from the beauty of this last day of our beloved October.

Millie and I managed our walk over the hill, but it wasn't to be  done
 without our getting wet ~ Millie more than me.
And, tomorrow while every tree and bush is still celebrating,
I will join with them and celebrate too, for tomorrow is
my birthday

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Old Green Coat...

The old green wool coat is already hanging on its hook by the back door, after having been stored away for ever so long, or so it seemed.  It has been rainy and cold here in the Ozarks this week and the warmth of a winter coat have felt mighty good when Millie and I made our daily trek over the hill.  I was actually almost reluctant to put the coat on the first time, for it was so soft and clean when I took it out of its chest.  Last spring instead of dry cleaning the coat, I had washed it in the bath tub using a nice smelling shampoo and conditioner instead of detergent, and that smell still lingered, and the softness too.

  India Flint, in her book Second Skin, choosing and caring for textiles and clothing, writes on the subject of washing woolen clothing.  "I recommend avoiding dry cleaning at all costs.  Hand washing delicate garments is so much cleaner and simpler than having them sloshed about in solvents.  I find that a drop or two of shampoo is ideal for washing both wool and silk; these are protein fibres and display properties comparable to those of human hair."

"Wool can be washed in warm water provided that the temperature of washing and rinsing waters doesn't vary by more than 5 degrees C (9 degrees F).  If the garment is very dirty, immerse it in the water-bath and let it soak for a couple of hours which will save scrubbing.  (I did soak the old coat.) If the garment is made from wool, the best way to dry it is to lay it flat." (And, I did that, too.)

Stay close, Millie...

Of course, with the cooler weather, we have already started up the wood-burning stove.  Bringing in wood is a rather messy business, but the benefits of a warm fire far outweigh the small inconvenience of  sweeping up bits of wood chips and ash. As the old timers used to say, "Wood will warm you twice - once when it is chopped, and again when it is burned."

The first fire...

There was a day just three weeks ago that I walked the trail alone.  Millie was sick...very sick.  It was a dark, sad day for me; one I best not think about.   The following day we found out she had a tick-related illness and would need medication for three weeks.   Thankfully, she is almost back to her old happy self and is back to bounding over the trail with me every day.  So, for the sake of record keeping, the score is...  462 walks for me and 461 for Millie.  I hope I never have to walk that trail without her again.  It was a long walk, for sure.

The long walk...

Millie back on track...

I finally gave the doll some hair.  It now needs two or three coats of gesso, and then painted.  This cloth and clay doll also has a cloth over clay head which gives her a nice feel and provides some protection for the clay.  It too will get a coat or two of gesso before being painted.  She is wearing, for now, a dress that she borrowed from another doll.  You know, just to have her picture taken in.  I've done that, haven't  you?  (Thanks for once loaning me the sweater, Charlotte.)

However, for now, I must put this little girl away and get busy on the girls' Christmas dolls.  I promised them they would each have one  for Christmas.  But, it's just that I get so attached to each one as it comes to life, and I worry how I will handle letting them go.  But then, how could one be so selfish?   Well, no matter, I must get busy for Christmas is right around the corner, and those girls will have their Christmas dolls, the best  I can make (I hope!)

Gompf's Pond  ~ October 20, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

If you were a rock...

If you were a rock, would you rather be a rock among hundreds of others, sometimes wildly tossed here and there in the raging waters of an Ozark mountain stream?   Or would you prefer to live a more civilized life, along with a select few (forty-six in this case) arranged in a somewhat organized fashion to form a walkway in a lady's country garden?  (What fun to personify an ordinary creek rock! :~)

Ready for some planting...

The lucky (or unlucky) forty-six...

Looking through the Shanty's window...

Leading right to Millie's barn...

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fall Equinox 2018...


There's no way I could let the Fall Equinox get by me without a picture or two.  I am surprised that there is so much color already.  What a wonderful time of the year! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


One of the things I like best about September (Oh the list is long, for sure.) is that the wild ducks begin to return to the fresh water ponds here.  In the photos is one little loner that I was able to photograph in the lily pads, while a half-dozen others wanted no part of having their picture taken.  I am now wondering if this duck is able to fly at all.  He is quite entertaining to watch as he swims leisurely about, diving occasionally underneath the water.   Thoreau had these thoughts about the ducks on "his pond."

"The spruce and cedar on its shores, hung with gray lichens, looked at a distance like the ghosts of trees.  Ducks were sailing here and there on its surface, and a solitary loon, like a more living wave, - a vital spot on the lake's surface, - laughed and frolicked, and showed its straight leg, for our amusement."  ~ Henry David Thoreau


I think if this little duck had ever read Thoreau, one of his favorite quotations might be,"I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude."
~Henry David Thoreau
I do readily agree with Thoreau's thinking on the subject, for my own solitude is something I value (for a limited time, of course.)

The last cuttings of hay have been baled... (Well, except for a small patch or two.  It seems we are really never finished.)

The little hummers are still here, although not nearly so many as there were throughout the summer.    We are well into fall migration, so these little travelers are undoubtedly just passing through.  I wish them luck on their long journey.

Jean Craighead George wrote of migration in Frightful's Mountain.  "The happening was migration.  It was full upon the Northern Hemisphere.  The shorter hours of sunlight and lowering temperatures were telling millions of birds to go south.  The event had begun in mid-August.  The loons, geese, ducks, and shorebirds had heard the message from the environment and had left the barrens of Alaska and Canada.  A few days later the swallows and swifts felt the change and left the Northeast."