Much like the thousands of days already passed I am staying only in my yard so I don’t have to wear a mask while outside. It seems like only a lot of sleeping or exercising going on here, not ever sure what day it is or the month, we are sure it’s 2020 for the year. I decided to go for a walk today and since it’s the weekend many of the essential workers are home also enjoying the beautiful day we are having and it’s easier to avoid contact by staying in my yard.
We are lucky, we have a nice long yard filled with trees and lots of grassy area, so I decided to simply see what discoveries there are in this yard. Plenty of people are showing how they work out on their balcony that is only 2 feet by 4 feet or smaller so today’s walk stays close to home. I do like to run as well but the yard is so full of little hills and valleys that it would be difficult. Not like running on a track or sidewalk or the street, I would probably be falling down as much as moving forward, so we will walk.
I found a number of pine cones scattered throughout the lawn, so many of those got picked up and tossed below the pine trees with the others that fell from the trees. Last year I started out to make a pine cone wreath and ran out of time so the project was scrapped. I’m thinking if I keep finding pine cones and sort of put them in the same spot when I am ready with the other things I need it will be easy to harvest the cones. I have made these for a number of years and add a lot of natural things like peach pits and walnut shells to the pine cones and love this as a gift that is made by me. These also do well both outside and inside once they have a sealer on them, so maybe this year we will do this.
Next, the purple caught my eye in the grass. Little violets like to volunteer all over the lawn and some make it into tiny bouquets, but most just get mowed down. Then we have the grape hyacinth at their peak right now and adding some beautiful color to this flower bed.
Also managed to scare away a few robins. Between their nest building they are finding worms and bugs and don’t need face masks. It’s nice to have a touch of nature to remind us that much of the world is still moving in whatever cycle it is in and with any luck we can return to much of our former life.
I hope you are all well and staying safe. We really are in this together.
This challenge comes from a small writing group. We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share. The goal is to answer at least one question per week. (This takes me back to school in a writing class where you have an assigned topic to write about and some weeks becomes very challenging but fun.)
Describe ten sounds that you associate with winter.
The Sounds of Winter
Most of my life I have lived in a place that truly has four seasons and all of them pretty much follow the changes on the calendar. It’s April as I am writing this and grass has started turning green, crocus are blooming and the tulips are showing the start of flowering. Since we have just pretty much finished with winter I thought this would be a good time to talk about it.
My sounds associated with winter will be different from many others. In a more tropical climate it might be the time when migratory birds start to appear in your area, so your winter sounds could be the new birds in your area. It also may be the time the repair person checks on your swimming pool mechanical parts to get ready for the swimming season.
That said, I have always enjoyed winter. Perhaps because it will be here if I like it or not so maybe it is easier to find things to enjoy about the cold and snow. So here are the first ten sounds I associate with winter.
- The snow blower clearing the driveway.
- A shovel scraping on the sidewalk.
- Ice skates as you go around the rink.
- Scraping ice off my windshield.
- A crackling fire in the fireplace.
- My footsteps crunch on fresh snow.
- The furnace kicking in.
- The sound of a cold car engine trying to start.
- Sleet or ice pellets hitting a window.
- A tree branch cracking under the weight of the snow.
Have a great springtime and summer.
It is not quite springtime yet here, they still have snow in the forecast, but it was a great sunny day so off to the zoo I go. More excited about being outside for a couple of hours and not getting frostbite. Chicago area is fortunate to have more than one zoo nearby and the Lincoln Park Zoo has a long history here.
The zoo opened in 1868 and is one of the oldest in the US. It is also one of a few free zoos around. It is on the North side of Chicago right near the lakefront and covers 35 acres of prime real estate. Portions of the zoo are undergoing renovations now so not all the animals are in residence. Many have been sent to other zoos during this time.
All year long the zoo plays host to a large variety of events designed to bring awareness and educate us all. It has transitioned greatly over the many years I have been going there all with keeping the animals healthy and happy. Mid week on a sunny day was a marvelous time to walk in the zoo.
Who knew flamingos liked to be outside in our cold weather. A couple of local birds in with them?
From inside the Primate House.
These zebras are enjoying the day as much as I did.
Don’t forget to add this to your list of places to visit on your next trip to Chicago.
Chicago area has the luxury of many places to visit with amazing flower displays and exotic as well as native plants. I recently spent a blissful day wandering in and out this conservatory and just wanted to share another great thing about this area. Another bonus, the entrance fee is a suggested donation and I would urge you to be as generous as you can.
This took a few years to build and opened in 1908, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and is truly a gem in the city. There are 10 acres of outdoor space and 2 acres under glass and this is open all year. Most of the area is wheelchair accessible and very interactive with lots of special displays all year long. The website is very easy to navigate and full of information about events and special displays.
This summer an agave plant grew so tall they removed a section of glass from the roof to allow it the opportunity to achieve its full height. The day I visited it was well over 35 feet tall already and still growing. The hope was that it would bloom and they would be able to harvest seeds.
Part of the outdoor area had a field planted with a large variety of cabbage, on harvest day these were going to be given to all who came to the conservatory that day. There was a large raised bed garden with tomato and pepper plants. A lunch area and a gift shop are all in the greenhouse with a nice outdoor cafe area for the nice summer days. Certainly a destination year round, accessible by public transportation as well as a parking lot for your vehicle.
An eagle at the American Eagle Foundation rescue facility.
Fireworks over the lake on the 4th of July.
One of my favorite quilt tops.
I was not at the first, but I was able to go to this one, and yes it did happen. Two venues were vying for the public and I’m sure there are enough music fans to support two events the same weekend. It was pretty much a festival of peace and love and some rock n’ roll.
The venue is right next to the original and a lot of homage paid to the original. Rain was a threat or a factor all 3 days, no huge mud slides, that might have been difficult with the walkers and wheelchairs in attendance.
The entire process to an old hippie like me was pretty magical. I am sure many people came with their own agenda and expectations. Being able to attend and be in the moment to absorb the vibe met and exceeded any expectation I had about Woodstock.
Near where I live in Illinois we have a music venue that has been here for a long time, Ravinia. Always a home for Peter, Paul and Mary as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or Bernadette Peters. Great music, outdoor setting, food out on the lawn, the two were comparable.
Enjoy the sights from our county fair.
Recently went to our local county fair with my granddaughter and great-granddaughter. I am very proud of our little fair, this county is fairly rural and lots of small farms that have not been eaten by malls or highways. We have the animals on display and tractors everywhere. Displays of winning produce and hay along with hand made items, a demolition derby and a beauty queen. All things that I enjoy seeing on display.
We have a chainsaw wood carving on display and all the yummy carnival food you can handle. I have in the past taken home a rabbit or two who became members of our family so we no longer look for the animals available to purchase. My great-grand loved the bunny with red eyes. Not sure if she thought it might scare her friends or what.
Part of the tractor parade that shows you how wonderful the old ones sound.
One of the 4-H exhibits and our beautiful chainsaw carving on display.
It is nesting season here. Lots of birds looking to build and fill their nests. Maybe a squirrel or two, if it’s the one that ate the chocolate out of my grandson’s hidden plastic egg, maybe I won’t share with you.
This is tiny scraps of cotton and silk fabric and cotton thread. It goes out in the garden in an extra bird feeder and the birds use it as filler in their nests. It amuses me to think of the birds asking one another who their decorators are to have that lovely purple added to the nest.