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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
There was a heavy thunderstorm through the whole night and morning; and when it was finally over, I decided to take a short walk – just to get a breath of fresh air. And I met not one, but six deers less than ten minutes walk away from my house!
There are eight pictures in this instagram post – click on the side arrows to scroll.
Last weekend, Saturday was as bad as it could be – rain all day without stopping. The forecast for Sunday, however, was gorgeous, and I thought that I might try to take mom to the forest preserve. Mom is holding up very well, but it’s not so easy for her. I am not taking her anywhere, even to the grocery store; she does not get a chance to meet my friends anymore. I thought that I might at least let her see some beautiful sights.
The week before that, the forest preserve was so crowded on Sunday, that I was afraid that it would be closed. But that Sunday morning, when I was biking, I barely saw any people. I told mom that we are going to try. She asked: you think it’s safe? I told her: I will drive you there and we will see. If there will be too many people for my comfort, we are turning around and driving back.