Wednesday, October 31, 2007

the haunted farmer

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This display on Empire Road in Lily Lake gets my vote for the seasons best. You gotta love a haunted farmer. There's alot more in the front yard and this family has put alot of time and effort into Halloween.

Happy Halloween everyone. Stay safe.

Monday, October 29, 2007

work continues

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Fall farm work continues at a field in Elburn.

Has anyone seen the PBS "House" series? The one entitled Pioneer House (or was it Prairie House) was quite interesting. The men really loved the physical outdoor work of farming. One woman claimed that her husband had literally become a one-man firewood chopping machine.

The women were all in agreement that their lives as pioneer farm women were lonely and the daily work was drudgery. They longed to be in the outdoors with the men and children.

I remember my aunt's tasks on the family farm in the Florida panhandle. My uncle milked the cow and she churned butter in a large glass jar with wooden paddles. After they butchered a hog she cured the meat and each morning sliced some bacon off a large slab. She also cooked an ENORMOUS midday meals for the farmhands. The table was covered with home cooked snap beans, meat, potatoes, squash and homemade biscuits.

Friday, October 26, 2007

up a lazy river

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....or in this case the very lazy Mill Creek.

This a very peaceful spot along a gravel road. A small bridge crosses Mill Creek at this point. This place represents a quiet beauty that is fast disappearing in the Fox Valley. The site of a busy "lifestyle mall" is only a couple miles from here and already the residents of one of the Mill Creek subdivisions have discovered the road can be used as a shortcut between Route 38 and Keslinger Road.

I think it's important to have a sense of the land which you inhabit. I'm not sure if residents of the massive subdivision complexes that blanket the area even realize there IS an actual creek named Mill Creek. This spot is just a dusty, unpaved shorcut in their busy lives.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


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.....objects are closer than they appear. That must include low hanging clouds, which seem to be quite prevalent this fall.

My son claims that I know every back road within 50 miles. That's true and it allows me to travel on the edges of civilization with beautiful sights like this instead of pavement and strip malls.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


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There's a curious trend in this area. The traditional barns are disintegrating, falling down or being burned for firefighter practice and then local governments and businesses are building new structures designed to look like a barn.

Our own little village of Lily Lake decided to forego the renovation of the historic Anderson barn, having it dismantled and selling off the old barnwood. Instead of using the old barn they build a new structure that resembles a barn.

The photo above is deceptive. The scale is not readily apparent unless you take into account the size of the construction trucks at it's base. This is Geneva's new water treatment facility. I don't remember their being an actual barn on this piece of property but there is a wonderful barn very close to this spot whose future is in question.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

off roading

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Can you imagine off-roading in an 18-wheeler? Harvest time is perhaps the only time you'll see a big rig driving in open fields. It's quite a site to see as the grain haulers pull out into the fields for off-loading the corn and soybeans.

It looks like fun but driving the combines looks like even more fun!

Monday, October 08, 2007

gold rush

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The rush is on to get the crops harvested. It's not as frantic as it would be if they were harvesting later - say in early November or later.

It's a beautiful site to see the corn flowing into the grain haulers. The bushels-per-acre numbers are pretty high this year which is good news for the farmers.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

more corn

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I'm sure that some readers will sigh and say to themselves, "Oh no, more corn!", but this is a view that holds some kind of magic for me. Being raised in a concrete carpeted suburb of the big city by the lake (Chicago) made me claustrophobic. On Sunday drives in the country with our family (remember those?) I was mesmerized by the open fields of corn and soybeans.

Although this isn't the real big sky country, it's close enough for me.

A friend of mine was visiting from Oklahoma one summer. Weather conditions had created a Godzilla corn crop that year - some stands upwards of 10-12 feet tall. On our way to town I drove her down a narrow back road running through a gauntlet of this huge corn. It was a literal tunnel of corn, green and squeaking. She seemed uneasy and turned to me and said, "I'm going home tomorrow. This corn is scaring me and it's way too green here."

Well, that's a novel way to get rid of a houseguest - drive them through some scary corn!