Walks with Ella: Oh the Corn . . . !

In Illinois the number of churches grew smaller and the number of colleges and universities and schools grew larger. Road side rest stops had recycling bins, information, and on one occasion, a demonstration garden with native prarie plants. Like Steinbeck's Charley, Ella tried to pee on every new plant while I snapped a few shots (see below). I just wish it had signs with the names of the plants. Maybe later.

But more than anything we saw corn fields, and the first RV park we stayed in was a little clearing in the corner of one. It was early July and the drought was not yet as bad as it would become so the corn was green and tall.

It really is farming country.

There were dragon and damsel flies species near the lakes. Oh and chiggers. My ankles were blistered, insanely itchy and slathered with clear nailpolish to help the bites subside.

These guys only posed every time I didn't have a camera with me.

Frogs loved the gooey stuff near the lake edge.

Cattails by a cornfield.

Late afternoon reflections on the lake.

We saw metal signs with the cool flying DeKalb corn cob at the edge of fields everywhere in IL. There were often other signs nearby explaining that this GMO crop is used for fuel. Our gas mileage got considerably worse with ethanol fuels.

Ella loved the pond where these grew. She couldn't go in the lake or the pond, but she could hope.

From the southern Illinois cornfields, we moved to northern Illinois cornfields.

Endless corn fields . . .

There are few RV parks close to Chicago, which was our goal. Those that are close, are either bloody expensive, or bloody awful. And sometimes both. We opted for one on little twin lakes is the sweet town of Sycamore, about 60 miles west of the city. Our trips into Chicago got pretty expensive with all the toll roads. Gas was nearly 40 cents cheaper in Sycamore than in Chicago.

Cow Parsnip

We were awed by the beautiful swans on the twin lakes. It took us a while to figure out that they were plastic and tethered to the lake bottom with the intent of keeping geese away. Are new glasses in order?

Killdeer love gravel and the flat grasses near the lake. Their funny bobbing run and high plaintive cry fascinate Ella.

There seemed to be one family of ducks on the lake, but this one was pretty solitary. Papa duck?


I'm sure someone out there knows what this is.


DeKalb County Couthouse in Sycamore, IL

Ella and I walked around the two lakes pretty much every day, and we always saw something different. The photo at left is from the Web, but it is a sampling of the the style and era of the town of Sycamore. Its parking meters were 5 cents, and a parking ticket was $1. There was classical music piped along the main street (Mozart, I think) as we walked, apparently something done by the city since the speakers are on light poles. It has some new subdivisions, but most of the town retains the heart and look of earlier years.

Tall yellow flowers and a robin in the demonstration garden.

Wooly blooms in the same garden.

Prairie thistle is way different from New Mexico thistle.

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