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 🙂
Last week, I wore boots and gloves, and just last weekend, I moved all outdoor furniture into the basement and folded the big outdoor umbrella. And then, the Universe gave us this incredible gift: not just one day, but three days of summer in November, and three more days to come! Yes, I pulled my sandals back from storage, and I biked, and I had my kitchen door opened for the whole day. How much of summer those who above is going to give us, I will take it all!
The weather forecast for these days in Helsinki was mediocre, but the reality appeared much better. So far, the only rain occurred last night, and it was over by 10 AM. I will need to work remotely on Monday and Tuesday, so I tried to be outside during the weekend as much as possible. Boris still is not allowed to bike after the surgery, so we walk a lot. Actually, I went for a bike ride yesterday: he forces me out :), but that was a very short one, and with relatively low speed: I was afraid to get lost – I never biked in Helsinki alone.
Back to walking. It was always better in Helsinki than back home, plus I wore boots for the first time this season, and I walk better in boots. But still: yesterday, I walked for 2 hours 40 min straight with no stops! I think it was the first time in four yeast that I could walk that long with no hint of pain. In April 2017, when Vlad and I were in London, we walked a lot, but I already started to feel pain back then. Today, I walked for 1.5 hours in the morning and then again for two hours in the afternoon. Just one word: happiness.
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 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!
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.
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!