Tag Archives: stump spirit

Stump Spirit Thanksgiving

While I’ve forgotten exactly when or even why the local tradition began, the residents living on Blue Jay Way years ago began to decorate a particular stump nearby our common road. We call it, Stump Spirit. Tradition has it that those Denizens of the Way who decorate the stump, do so when no one else is around, often after the sun sets behind the hills and mystical spirits leak out of the hills and hollows (or perhaps, after having been imbibed).

While the stump mysteriously becomes decorated for all major holidays and special occasions, Thanksgiving has always been especially well represented. Look closely below for the chicken figure partially hidden behind the “Eat Mor Chickin” sign and the turkeys in their bibs, holding their eating utensils.

A turkey theme carries over from a prior year when a turkey with bulging eyes suddenly spots a gun toting hunter who is lurking behind a tree with turkey-cide intent .

Thanksgiving for the Hutton clan is about family and giving thanks for our bounties and good fortunes. During the year of the Covid-19 Pandemic, these plans unfortunately have had to change. Our Thanksgiving table will host vastly reduced numbers of people this year. This is painful for us all, especially for my wife, Trudy. Hopefully next year we will return to the large, raucous celebrations of prior years. Think of a cross between a Medieval banquet and Animal House.

The above image was taken a number of years ago when our grandchildren, Graham and Ramsey, were much younger. Nevertheless, I just had to work in a picture of our beloved grandchildren visiting an earlier rendition of a Thanksgiving Stump Spirit. Our efforts are meant to fashion a sense of place for our grandchildren, as well as for the older denizens of Blue Jay Way.

The Denizens of the Way are wonderful neighbors. A lot of creativity goes into decorating Stump Spirit or about anything else that stays put for awhile. Such was the case when a hired man’s tractor broke down in my pasture. It sat, and sat, and sat some more, waiting for its inevitable repair. Finally Fall arrived and the following enhancements to the tractor showed up. Now this is real pasture art!

Other holidays get their due. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day are marked by decorating the stump and its surrounds with American flags and patriotic memorabilia. The stump on Labor Day receives hard hats and related tools.

Halloween gets recognition with ghouls, ghosts, and goblins.

The slow parts of the year represent a creative challenge. This is especially true for the hot, sultry days of late summer. But even the dog days of summer often sees an occasional theme appear as demonstrated below.

The result of the collective efforts of those who decorate the humble stump is to bind the neighbors together in a feat of whimsy and friendship. It is fun. It allows for creative expression. The world needs more of this.

Those of us at Medicine Spirit Ranch and the Denizens of the Way wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please be safe and stay healthy. The vaccine is on its way. Let’s all buckle down and continue to wear masks, social distance, and wash our hands until immunity to this virus is attained. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and continued good health!

Stump Spirit of Blue Jay Way

On moonless nights from the shadows they creep, carrying sundry items within black bags necessary for their nefarious task. Okay, okay maybe dressing up the stump is not quite that secretive or clandestine, but almost. It really is carried out in secret. Thought you mind be interested in the legend of the “Stump Spirit” of Blue Jay Way.

The origins for decorating the stump on Blue Jay Way, a private road serving five ranch families, began benignly enough. A neighbor boy one day left, perhaps by accident, a metal snake on the stump on the Norris property next to Blue Jay Way. Soon thereafter the snake disappeared and a pottery red bird appeared in its place no doubgt to signify the beginning of Spring. Before we knew it, prior to every holiday or season, the stump changed its appearance and the themes grew progressively more elaborate.

No one really knows who provides the decorating (well not unless you catch the sheepish perpetrator in the act–the neighbor in the headlights look). Nevertheless,  six or so times a year, our previous lowly nondescript oak stump becomes bedecked in new finaries, befitting the season or occasion. Below are a few examples:

Dog days stump spirit 08_0089

The one on the left celebrates the laid back “dog days” of summer with a cold drink and a hound dog with a baseball cap under an umbrella. The one on the right with pumpkins and a scarecrow appeared prior to Halloween.

Turkey ScarecrowDSC_0096Tksgvg hunter

Thanksgiving gives rise to a turkey, a pilgrim, and, a hunter. Christmas is the most elaborate usually and on rare occasions, the stump has even been lit up with twinkling Christmas decorations.

Now the real question to ask is why do the denizens of Blue jay Way do this? I really don’t know. Speculations run from the eccentric activities of the bored retired set, or you have to do something with all the stuff you find during Spring housecleaning, to perhaps a little bit too much of the grape! In any event, the decorating of the stump provides a collective activity for our small ranch neighborhood that brings us closer together.

It has even led to a semi-annual “Stumpfest” where we gather together for bonding, food, beverage, and music. What a way to get to know your neighbors. I have even suggested we don bedsheets and show up like druids on the summer and winter solstices. Needless to say, my wife, the eminent duck wrangler, shot this one down in a hurry. Oh well, not all my ideas are keepers.

So there it is, the Stump Spirit of Blue Jay Way. It is kind of fun and gets you out of the house on those moonless nights.