The Quilted Call of The Whip-O-Whill

As you lay your head upon the crisp clean pillow , you look forward to the comforting sounds that will lull you to sleep. You look forward to the cool night breezes that welcome the colorful quilts upon the bed. Quilts made lovingly and always a part of The Mountain House. These quilts were made from a lady whose family has lived in the area almost longer than the branch runs down the mountain and past the house where they live. The very same road that leads up the mountain to the house.

The branch is always flowing but not always heard. The quiet of the night brings it through the open windows and it flows over your thoughts setting the peace for a good night’s sleep. The water flows over many a rock and makes it way around a few bends and elevations headed to the bottom of the mountain. It flows contentedly past the homes of the families who have always lived along the way. It is the same branch of babbling water that puts a person’s life on hold for each of the houses it passes on its journey.

The first critter sounds are the cicadas with their high pitched humming chorus. Some summers there are more than others and they are always welcome and always a part of sleeping at The Mountain House. The Bob White echoes in the hollers letting all know they should be settled and calmly letting go of the day.

Then the moment most anticipated arrives with the melody of the Whip-poor-whill. It is one of the most favorite memories of The Mountain House. You can expect a deep connection to the night when the Whip-poor- whill comes calling. The Whip-poor-whill most assuredly was created for the purpose of the night. No other sound drowns out the worries better than he.

Caprimulgus vociferusAAP065B.jpg

Adult male Whip-poor-will

Photo curtesy of wikipedia. has the bird call and additional information.

Whip-poor-whills are in the family Caprimulgidae. The Latin words capri and mulgus mean goat-milker. They were once thought to be associated with witchcraft because of their nocturnal habits. They would be seen darting in out among the farm animals. Those who kept goats believed the birds to suck the milk from the goats and leave none for the family. All the while the Whip-poor-wills were helping by eating the insects in the barn and around the animals.

Whip-poor-wills are rarely seen as they are sleeping on the forest floor nestled among the leaves. They nest in the meadows and on the forest floor. They lay 2 eggs in the tiny ground nest.

You don’t hear as many as of days gone by.

You’ll be a bit warm as the night first starts but very soon the dance of the curtains announces the cool night breezes. You’ll try to keep the covers off as long as possible. It best to get good and cold before you reach for the colorful quilts that snuggle you under the covers. It’s a life changing experience to sleep in a room where the colorful quilts and the familiar symphony come riding on the breezes of the billowy curtains.

Trying to stay awake in this state of tranquility is futile. Folks in the mountains go to bed early just to experience a few sleepy moments in honor of the Whip-o-whill.
This is part of a series on my childhood Mountain House. You can read the others from my sidebar under the catagory—Memories of the Mountain House.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Cinj says:

    I can imagine laying there in bed, the cool night breezes flowing through the room. You’re such a good writer Anna.

    I hope that one day I am able to make such nice quilts for my children to enjoy.
    Thank you! Save all the kids old jeans and make a memory quilt. Cut the jeans and make squares. Sew all the squares together so the raw edges are exposed on the same side of the quilt. When you have it to the size you want, wash and dry it to fluff up the edges—add a flannel back and tack at the corners of each square! The kids will love it. This quilt will be heavy enough so no need for batting.


  2. What beautiful quilts, your story put me right there along side you sleeping in your mountain house. I can hear the whippoorwills from here, they’re beautiful and calming aren’t they? 🙂
    I didn’t mind sleeping in the same room with you….but you sleep walk and made us both a chocolate cake. I ate my piece but you ate the rest. Do you feel full today?


  3. Brenda says:

    This is such a wonderful post:) I LOVE the quilts. I only had about 5 minutes to read so I’ll be back to read the other Mountain home posts. You are giving me some inspiration for posting during the winter too. I haven’t been sure what to do!
    Thank you for coming and seeing the quilts. My aunt bought them for the home. Her and my uncle are the owners and have done such a good job taking care of it. We’re all grateful.

    Yes, look around your house and town too for post ideas. This writing is therapy for me. I just love it.


  4. Marnie says:

    I haven’t heard a whip o will in so many years.

    Those are beautiful quilts. More than just comfort, they offer a sense of love and security.
    And I think loyalty too don’t you? The quilts are a part of the constant that makes it familiar for just being there.


  5. Jen says:

    I love these kinds of quilts and I feel so cozy reading this post, Anna. It’s making me a little sleepy, too….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz I live near a noisy highway and lots of times I imagine the sounds are babbling water…
    You would be right about the sleeping part. As us kids were running around and playing in the freezing branch water….the adults would be nodding off somewhere–usually the porch.


  6. Wanita says:

    The quilts are beautiful, Anna, as is your story that goes with them. I love having windows open in summer and listening to the night sounds ~ so comforting.

    You and I can relate to the same experiences. I feel a room before I see it. When I walk in a room it’s like the personality of it has to absorb before I know what I’m looking at. It’s the same with people, I feel them before we have our first word. I love being that way. It helps me to be open and get to know the person without judging. And Mr. D will tell you that I am interested in everyone.


  7. nola says:

    I can’t decide which are more beautiful, the quilts, or the bedroom walls. There is such perfection in those simple, painted plank walls. You just can’t improve their rustic beauty. I will go over and read about your mountain home!
    I love the way you write, do you have any formal training?
    People get confused about my style of writing. I try to explain it this way—-I take the feelings I have about a place and mesh it with the personalities of the characters and then try to convey that with my limited vocabulary. So that makes me a good story teller but not a writer. I would like to have a better grip on the writing part cause the ideas come easy. I’m sometimes frustrated that I won’t be able to let my reader be there with me.

    I too love the paints and colors. That paint is so good that I don’t think anyone has ever changed it our repainted. It’s exactly the same since the early 1900s.


  8. Joy says:

    Those quilts are so beautiful Anna .. you can tell how much work and love that has been put into them. I would love to hear just “quiet” with the call of those birds .. but we haven’t got it too bad here so I better appreciate “it” before it becomes noisier ?
    Great post !
    I like going to The Mountain House because the quiet becomes a thing to enjoy just like the meadow flowers, babbling creek, and the night songs. It’s all part of the atmosphere and I love it.


  9. Anna–have you ever thought about attending a writing workshop? I think you’d really enjoy it. There’s probably one somewhere in your area.

    Those are beautiful quilts!
    I bet there is one in my area too. Maybe I should go have a look and see what they are all about. I am confident in my story telling skills but not so confident in my vocabulary and grammar. I think the area I grew up in has strongly influenced my way of thinking and talking. I grew up with grand story tellers but they probably told those tales using a very limited amount of words.

    Mr. D seems to think I could get published at some time with one of my ideas for a historical novel.


  10. Cindy says:

    What lovely dreams you must have sleeping there under those beautiful quilts with the sounds of nature all around you.
    I must have cause I’m always having a dream. I guess my mind doesn’t shut off at night it just continues to fuel the other stuff roaming around up there.


  11. deb says:

    Beautiful quilts and a beautiful post.
    That big old house smells good too!


  12. linda says:

    Looks like a comfy, cozy retreat Anna. Those quilts are gorgeous!

    My first house where my kids were raised was a Cape Cod. Love those slanty walls in the upstairs rooms!
    My last home was a Cape Cod and so cozy. I loved it but it was on a small lot and didn’t fit my furture gardening needs. I was able to sell it in this economy which says a lot for the style.


  13. I love the quilts. I can imagine they really make you feel at home.

    I especially like the top ones because they are made with such cheerful colours. (Though the others look very elegant – so I’m a bit torn!)

    I’ve heard the name Whip-poor-will before – but didn’t know what it was.

    And I’m raking my brains because I’m sure I’ve also heard of a creature which had this reputation for stealing milk – a badger? something like that? I suppose people in the past were too busy making ends meet to stop off and be naturalists and really observe what was happening with the birds and animals around them.

    Lucy there is a lot of folklore around here cause the Indians have added their stories in with the settlers. I love it as I remember hearing the tales from those who were passing it along. There is a movied called, The Song Catcher which best describes the life and times of our early mountain settlers.


  14. Phillip says:

    What beautiful, beautiful quilts. I wake to the sound of cars rushing past and the occasional fat pidgeon sitting on the telephone wires but I get your lovely sound pictures.
    Me too….I don’t live up there full time–only every now and then on a weekend trip. I live off the main entry to our neighborhood. I like it though. The Mountain House is located in such a beautiful spot.


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