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Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category

I spotted a friend in the yard this morning – well, not so sure he will be invited over for a friendly lunch once the gardens are growing …

groundhog Baby Groundhog

I brought along the camera on the morning walk and captured some sure signs of Spring –

birds-along-path 

The picture is quite a distance so somewhat unclear, but those are geese in the background and the larger birds in front I am not sure!  I have seen blue heron and different cranes in the area, but one at a time.  There was 5-6 of these larger birds and I did video them but it is still unclear.  I need to scan my bird book!

ducks-on-path Pair of ducks

Video of ducks  I am learning how to video so it is a bit shaky – well,  ALOT shaky (I need to hold my breath and not move when taking videos!)   Another video

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I have updated the page titled Veggie List by adding 2009 garden selections.  I still have several months before planting so I am sure there will be additions and the Flower List needs to be thought out also. I will leave 2008 there for now so I can compare.  I have added quite a few topics to the Garden Forum I created earlier this month and sure hope it takes off and folks enjoy using it – make sure to check it out for me & join up!  On another note I attempted my usual (when the weather is nice) walk on the forest trail this morning and only made it half way through – it was 10 degrees and that’s not counting the windchill.  What was I thinking??  …probably about all those upcoming dinners and holidays parties that are fast approaching – Hope everyone is Enjoying the Holiday Season and staying warm (do not attempt nature walks in the freeze of the winter!)

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I did purchase a P.O. Box for those interested in the free seeds.  Just follow the easy instructions and they will be on the way!  The reason for the P.O. Box is because you are never suppose to give out your personal info. on here and I really didn’t want to wake up to lines of folks in the front yard all waiting for seeds each morning so I opted for the post office box.  I also have to share my newest dilemma and one that is going to drive me nuts if I don’t figure out a solution.  It involves recycling.  Every time we go down South I bring back a bag or two of recycling items and toss them in our containers up here to be taken away and run through the recycling process.  I have become very, very  accustomed to my recycling way of life and I try to dispose of most garbage either in the compost bin, to the worms or the recycle container.  I got to talking to a new friend down South and she told me the landfill is almost full there and there is NO recycling.  Here I was at a bbq with new neighbors asking where to toss the recycle and they are looking at me like I am a crazy person.  Sure, I am from the other end of the state….where recycling programs have been in full force for many, many years, and I just didn’t understand the concept of “No recycling”.  So recently I spent some time searching the internet looking for the Recycle Angel that will just land in my area down South and wave a wand to create this center for recycling.  No such luck!  I read about starting programs at work or at school – which is Great, but there has to be a place for all this stuff to go and I am betting it takes millions of dollars to establish this type of operation.  I found a few nice websites where I can continue my research and please, please if anyone can steer me in the right direction, I would appreciate it greatly!

adult-baby-swan-and-heron

Here’s an updated picture of the adult swan with the baby swan and the blue heron looking on.  This is the only fully white baby swan, the other 5 babies have finally started to lose the darker feathers and it looks like they will be white also.  I did notice this one has an orange beak and the 5 others black.  Interesting!

baby-swan-11-3-08

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We arrived back home today to snow flurries and I thought frost was bad!  The frost did arrive down south actually a day earlier than up  north here, so for the record Frost October 20th in Southern IL and October 21st in Northern IL.  oh gosh, here comes winter …    Another major, major difference with the 2 locations has been gas prices all summer.  We watched them fluctuate day to day and as we made our trips down south we watched as the prices went lower and lower.  This weekend we paid $2.83 up in Northern IL and $2.14 down south……….What’s up with that?!?!  I did gather all the Luffa and it is now drying on racks indoors

  Soon I will unveil the sponges within!  We also went to a small town Fall festival and Halloween parade – it was the kid’s parade and there were 300 kids parading down the main street in their costumes….they were So proud!  Check out this old water tower in the town –

We had quite a scare with 2 of the dogs – they disappeared for hours!  There is no way we could go looking for them since we would get lost ourselves in the country.  They did find their way back home and I was so Happy!  Here’s Frankie ….

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Tuesday this week, October 21st, we were hit with our first frost and I captured some pictures.  Down south I am hoping we have a few more weeks of frost free, but according to my calendar frost appeared on October 29th last year.  I am thinking that my two different areas have basically the same frost dates, the difference in weather is a more milder winter down south than up here in Northern Illinois.  I never really considered myself living in Northern IL (always said western suburbs) but if ya look at the map, it surely is Northern!

I mentioned in the heading title “I’m Famous!”  Well, a few months back I started blogging for GRIT magazine and it can be tough at times to come up with a topic since I am not officially living in the country yet and when I read what the other bloggers are writing about … well, it’s tough.  The staff over at GRIT have made it very easy though and in this month’s issue of the magazine the editor, Hank Will, names each of us bloggers by Name!  So they really appreciate our input and it’s totally awesome to be recognized IN Print and for everyone to See!  Blogging at GRIT is a little more personal and they sure do make ya feel at home … stop on over … GRIT blogs.

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The trip home yesterday was quite the experience – 3 hours of downpouring heavy rain that nearly lifted us from the road and swept us away.  We are extremely happy to be alive and well and seeing all the flooded areas, it is quite clear we missed some heavy rains all weekend.  I believe the Chicagoland area broke records and it is said to be the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.  I can only image the winds and rains they had and pray for their well being.  While down south I did make a unique discovery and I am not sure what it is!

 Polka dotted seedpod?  At first we thought it was a little rubber ball, but where would it have come from? So we cut it open to investigate further…

 Looks very alien to me.  I tried searching on the internet but came up with no clue.  I will have to watch for more and hope the home doesn’t get invaded while we are gone!

Something else which I found rather interesting was … a Tomato Hornworm eating our Alma Paprika Peppers which at this stage are very, very hot!  When they are yellow (the initial stage) they are raging spicy hot, then they turn orange and mellow out a bit.  Finally, when they are red they are sweet hot.

These guys are so big and nasty looking!

 

I did find some very cool mushrooms and snapped a few shots!

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I am excited to post my pictures of the recent catfish I caught while down south last weekend.  I waited so I could post the link to my Blog at GRIT magazine where you will find the reason I do believe I caught these giant fish!  We installed a surface pond aerator and it was quite the project, but well worth the efforts we all put in!  Without further ado .. the Fish!

  The first one I caught which I was quite happy with … but thennnnnnn

  Grampa Cat

  We were in shock!  I have fished quite a bit in the past and alot more in the last year with our home down south.  Caught bluegill left and right and an occassional little bass, Stan caught a huge catfish last year and my sister a monster large mouth bass!  I used a bobber on my line and a live worm …… go figure

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