There are many things which I will miss in Palatine, and one of them is Deer Grove Forest Preserve and my volunteering there. I am sure that I will be able to find some other nature restoration projects, but I will miss that particular one, both the place and the people.
Last weekend, I went to scout my area. It was it a very decent shape, I found not more than a dozen of garlic mustard plants overall:
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!
On Saturday, I took Mom for a walk in the Deer Grove forest preserve. We were walking the beautiful path with flowers blooming on both sides from us, and as usual, I was telling her the names of the plants, and we both admired the gorgeous view..
And then I saw these two people. First, I saw a lady coming from the opposite direction with a huge bouquet of blue asters in her hands. I mean, it was not like you were passing by and could not resist an urge to pick one of these beauties. No, those were “commercial quantities.” I said: excuse me; you are not supposed to pick the wildflowers here. But she passed me as if I said nothing.
In a moment, a guy came the same way with an even bigger asters bunch. I stopped and said: Sir, do you are not supposed to pick the wildflowers here? And he is: OK. I am: Sir, I am a Forest Preserve volunteer, and we work hard here to restore the prairie, don’t do it anymore. And he is: OK, thank you! And he walks away. “Thank you”? Seriously?!
After I talked to my fellow volunteers, I found out that this is not an isolated incident, and that mine was a relatively “mild” one. Now I know that I can call the Forest Preserve Police, but… I just can’t get over it! You can’t even imagine how many flowers were destroyed!
Seven years ago, nothing but the white clover was around, and it took years of fighting invasive species, collecting seeds and sowing to make the prairie look like it looks today. It hurts to see such an attitude.
For those of you who already saw my Instagram post – yes, I my goal is to put it on all of my social media and on the NextDoor.
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!
My girls went back home today. We spent a wonderful five days together, going to places, doing things together, and talking non-stop. After they left, I told Boris that I either became too old or out of practice because I felt tired of all these non-stop activities. He replied that he thinks that I am just out of practice, and I asked whether he implies that I should do it more often. He laughed and said that probably yes.
Speaking about activities, we went to the Botanic Garden on Tuesday.
On Monday, “we” – some parts of Chicago and Northern Illinois and some other Midwest States – had severe storms (I didn’t know what “derecho” means, but now I know that it’s exactly what was happening :). I didn’t post any photos or videos, because what was happening in Palatine looked horrible, but way better than in most other places. I believe there were seven tornadoes reported around Chicagoland.
We didn’t have a tornado, although tornado sirens were going off for several hours. My mom didn’t have electricity for six hours. Actually, two blocks on her street didn’t have power, and the ComEd crew worked there for several hours. There were so many outage reports that ComEd notification system went down. I was able to report through the automated phone system, and later it turned out that this was the only system that was still up. In about 20 minutes, they started to send me text messages about the status of repair work. I took mom to my place, fed her dinner, charged her phone, and gave her some hot tea in a thermos because I was unsure how long she would be without power.
It was major stress for her, but I know that some people were without power for two days or more. On Tuesday morning, I went biking, and it was mostly combining biking with weight lifting:) because I had to carry my bike over the fallen trees eight times!
All of these fallen trees were removed the same day, and today I biked with no obstacles, but here is how it looked on Tuesday morning.
It’s Sunday night, and a new work week ahead. I spent many hours of this weekend writing, and it seems like there was no weekend at all. But then I remember many happy moment of the past two days , and I thinking – it was a good weekend!