On Saturday, I was invited to a special gathering of the Deer Grove Forest Preserve Volunteers. We celebrated the twenty-five years of Deer Grove Volunteers. It would be a huge celebration at the times of peace, but because of the pandemic, it was a really small group.
I felt honored to be invited because most of the people present at this meeting were there from the start, or almost from the start, and I have been with DGNAV for only six and a half years. There were lots of stories told, and a representative from the Cook County Forest Preserves told us how we are the best group of volunteers and how they are not telling us what to do because we are self-guided and only need to coordinate with FPCC.
And it was a beautiful day, just like this whole week, and it was 75F, and I do not even know what it was in the sun 🙂
I know that at the moment everybody is posting the pictures of fall foliage. And I am not going to be an exception. Everybody has their own “the most amazing fall colors,” and here are mine – from Deer Grove Forest Preserve, the oldest forest preserve in Cook county.
I do not know who saw my Instagram post about the wildflowers (a copy of this one), or maybe my fellow forest preserve volunteers spread the word and reached out, but today, I spotted a Forest Preserve Police car :).
We spent Saturday morning collecting the seeds, .which are in abundance, and enjoying the end-of-summer prairie. There are still lots of flowers, blooming!
I saw sandhill cranes in the forest preserve, when I was biking this morning, so close, that I nearly ran into them on my bike. The didn’t walk away from me, and I was staring at them, and taking more and more pictures lighted by the rising sun – how beautiful they were in these morning hours!
This weekend, I spent a lot of time in Deer Grove Forest Preserve.On Saturday morning, I went out for a workday with Friends of Deer Grove. We were cutting the heads of reed canary grass, which is an invasive plant.
On Sunday, I took mom for a walk, and since it was not as hot as for the previous two weeks, she was able to walk for the longer time. I was looking for the black raspberry, hoping that I could pick some, but it is still just starting to ripe, so I need to wait for at least another week. When me and mom stepped a little bit away from the path to see the water lilies closer, we saw a deer! I come across them almost every time I bike in the morning, but it is unusual to see one at the bright daylight. And Mom saw a deer in the wild for the first time!
I love summer in Illinois. I am not talking about just summer in Chicago, filled with all these amazing events and activities: music festivals, parades, markets, Crown Fountain, icecream at the River Walk, and the fireworks on the Navy Pier. Chicago summer is fantastic, but I also love Illinois summer away from the city.
I love that it is hot. Yes, I know that many people hate the Midwest summer for being hot and humid. But I love it. Maybe, that’s because, since my early childhood, hot weather was a luxury. Something we didn’t get at home. You had to travel to The South. The South was almost as appealing as “zagranitza” (see related post).
In any case, I love it when the outside temperature is in the lower 80’s. My picture of the perfect summer is the following. It’s warm enough that I can wear shorts and a sleeveless top. I am on my deck, or rather on the wooden steps of my deck, I am barefoot, and my soles feel the warmth of the wood. The mourning doves are mourning; I hear their uuu! uuu! The sun is not setting down yet, but it starts to go down, My back is feeling the door of my kitchen. It’s never extremely hot on my deck because the sun never touches it directly. And it’s that moment when I sit there and do nothing. No audiobook in my ears. No looking at my phone. Nothing, but the sun which starts to descent, and the mourning of the doves …
Every year, the first day I can sit like this marks the arrival of summer. This year, it was so cold for so long that I could not even believe that this day will come, even a week ago.
And now, for the fourth day in a row, we have a perfect summer. Each day of the long weekend was a gift!
Here are some pictures of want I was doing on Sunday.