Deer Grove at It’s Best

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!

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Another Long Day…

Once again, way too many things happened today. Some were good, some – very satisfying, some funny, and some sad.

And because I do not feel like writing about the sad things at the moment, I will put here several pictures from the forest preserve. First, the ones I took on Friday early morning, when I was biking.

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Volunteering Together

For the first time since March,  Friends of Deer Grove had a workday, not a “solo volunteering activity.” I was delighted to receive a message earlier this week that the workdays will be resumed!

We pulled garlic mustard in one of the areas which were not scouted for the invasives that season. The weather was just right, and it was easy to pull out the garlic mustard gigantic plants. When you look at the pictures from the middle of the woods, it seems like everything is green and greener. In real life, there are hundreds of shades of green, and the surrounding looks gorgeous. 

It seems like “green on green,” but the pods of the garlic mustard plants are easy to spot
Volunteers in the woods 🙂
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Some Pictures from Last Week (Forest Preserve)

Last Sunday, I had a great time wandering the Deer Grove Forest Preserve. It was two days after Illinois entered Phase 3 of reopening, and I just got a permit for individual volunteering. For me, it was one more thing I always enjoyed doing, and which I could do again.

After a long time, I was together with my friend and a steward of the Forest preserve, who spends way more time in the woods than me. Also, she knows tons more than me about plants and nature in general.

I didn’t post any of the pictures on that day because life took a different course, and my mind was occupied with other things. But today, I week later, I want to show some of them.

Tradescantia
Bluegrass and a compass plant
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A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (II)

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.

Very foggy morning, meeting a number of deers
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A Perfect Memorial Day Weekend (I)

Every year we hope that the weather will be nice on Memorial Day weekend and that what is considered the official start of summer will bring the summer weather.

Unfortunately, more often than not, that’s not the case. Either it is raining, or it is below 70 F or both, but most often, the weather is not good for swimming on the day when pools are official open.
This time, it was the opposite. The pools are not open, but the weather exceeds expectations! I decided to take upon the advice of the health authorities and spend most of this weekend outdoors. And also, doing some good things for myself.

Biked to the Farmers Market: they asked me to leave my bike at the entrance and kept an eye on it.
Greens, bread and chocolate – all you need! (plus coffee!)
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Busy. Tired. Tired. Hopeful

I would think that if I have so much work, I won’t be upset about anything else. But somehow it adds up: my ginormous workload, the overall worrisome situation in Illinois with a still-growing number of cases, being apart from the rest of the family, mom going crazy because of isolation.
I am trying to imagine how restless other people are becoming when even I, with all my understanding of the necessity of quarantine, have a difficult time continuing that way.

Last week, I started to bike early in the morning regularly. I loved these very early bike rides for a long time, but now it’s even better because usually there is nobody on the bike paths before 6 AM. However, today, I met several large groups of people walking in the forest preserve. That explained why there were no deers today :). One group consisted of at least ten adults with no masks on. And it was 5-40 AM.

One of the things which makes me feel tired is the fact that I constantly hear comments, both from “left” and “right,” about my behavior. It looks like in the eyes of half of the world, I am not doing enough and endangering myself and everybody around me. And for another half of the world, I am a panicer subdued to the propaganda.

My honest feelings are that none of us have enough information to evaluate the risks completely adequately. And every day, more information becomes available. I do not know about others, but my opinion on what’s the right behavior changes often. I am trying very hard not to criticize anybody’s behavior because I am not sure whether the ways I am handling the situation are better. I am trying very hard not to be angry with people. Success varies :).

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