Thursday, April 17, 2008

hide and seek


Josie has moved her sheep to a different location. They used to be by the chicken coop but now they're over by the peacocks. Yes, Josie has a peacock and a pea hen, in addition to horses and other critters. Kids who come along to her antique barns have plenty to keep them busy.

This sheep was very skittery and playing hide and seek with me. If I approached the doorway it would run outside. If I attempted to take a photo from outside, he'd run inside. It was quite a task getting off a shot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Josie's 1839 Barn - Sacred Space


Just west of here on Route 38 is Josie's Antiques. This is a wonderful spot to spend an hour or two looking at antiques and enjoying the fresh air on her farm. There are several building filled in interesting finds.

This is the historic 1839 barn. I've been here many times including times when winter is still in force and believe me these unheated buildings are very cold. They've draped huge sheets of plastic to cut down on the winter wind that blows through the space.

As I stepped inside the barn again today I became aware of my feeling about these barns. To me they are sacred spaces. These barns keep families alive. They housed the livestock that worked to till the land and harvest the crops. It housed cows that provided milk and chickens and pigs that fed the families.

Yes, this barn now houses antiques and that is full sized furniture in the main space. That will give you some idea of the scale of these barns. Those timbers are huge and I even doubt if any timber growth in North America would match their girth.

I never tire of standing inside a barn, of hearing the wind rush through. It's occurred to me many times that the architecture reminds me of a cathedral.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

picnic 1941


I spent the afternoon at the Kane County Flea Market, vowing to myself that I was just going to look. As always there was a huge variety of everything imaginable. I always vow to make a note of the most unusual item I come across. Nothing in today's offerings stood out in my mind.

Booth after booth I browsed, and was proud to be able to resist the temptation of some cast iron "crowns". The truth is I couldn't come up with one practical use for a crown. As I headed down the last aisle of the South Trades building and my exit to the parking lot I came across a vendor who had a large box of vintage photos. Uh oh.

I spent a good 20 minutes going through the box and came up with 5 that really spoke to me. This photo is my favorite of the group. I'm just crazy for this photo. There's no way to construct this just happens, and someone just snaps it.

If you've got some old photos and would consider donating them to my collection, please e-mail me. Thanks.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

smoke junkies

If you're driving along and you see smoke rising in the distance, and you turn your car in the direction of the billowing cloud, it can only mean one thing - you're a "Smoke Junkie". A smoke junkie is simply someone who needs to know the source of the smoke. Sometimes you're just a curious person and sometimes your the daughters of a firefighter like the two young women I met today.

They had already pulled up at the edge of the prairie burn when I arrived. The Kane County Forest Preserve District was doing a controlled burn on the large grassland area west of LaFox Road. This is one of the men in charge of the burn. He's riding a four wheeler which is loaded with water allowing him quick access to areas where the burn needs to be contained.


In the past the perimeters of the burn area would be maintained by a large number of people on foot with brooms.


The gentleman took off for the other side of the prairie that they were setting ablaze.


It burns hot and fast and creates what appears to be a great amount of smoke.


But in under 10 minutes the grasses have burned themselves out.


I realize it looks like total devastation but it's not. This is a natural way for a prairie to renew itself. In two week you won't even know this spot. New green growth will begin to cover the entire area.

You can read more about the process of controlled burns HERE.

I followed a tiny puff of smoke on my way home from work one day and about ten minutes after I arrived this was the scene at a barn fire in Elburn.


And to the two young women I met today and to any other smoke junkies out there, I think we need some tee shirts so that we can recognize each other. Here's our new logo, feel free to have some shirts made up.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

old age is not for sissies


An elderly woman's elderly cat holds his place on the bed. Together they try to deal with the realities of getting old, sometimes successful, sometimes not.

This is an entry for Thursday's Challenge, Pets.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008



"Nature is proving that she can't be beaten - not by the likes of us. She's taking the world away from intellectuals and giving it back to the apes." - Robert E. Sherwood

The front page of yesterday's newspaper featured a story about the flooding conditions on the Fox River. An afternoon appointment took me to the other side of town which meant I'd be crossing the river near the dam. I was surprised that when I got out of my car I could hear the water rushing over the dam from a distance.

The water was roiling over the spillway and the ledge which serves as a spot for fishermen to stand is a good 6-7 feet under water. The water was moving very fast and instantly you're reminded of the danger and power of nature.


Here's a video shot on the movie mode of my Fuji Finepix. It's poor quality but will give you an idea of how fast the water was moving.