Notes from the Prairie Blog
This morning I sat in my kitchen sipping a cup of coffee watching the foggy morning come to life. They gray swirls of fog became more distinct as the sun rose somewhere lessening the darkness but not yet able to wash through the fog. I had some time to think about foggy mornings and how they soften our world. The bare tree branches became a bit more distinct as I watched.
Been busy getting ready for the Holiday sale at the historic Yost House in Pontiac, it will be from 10-3 Saturday, December 3rd and 12-3 Sunday December 4th. The house is decorated for Christmas and I will be stitching away in the kitchen, enjoying the days.
Last week some members of my yoga group and I traveled to Mineral Point, WI for a few days of fun and adventure. Along the way we stopped in Shullsberg to visit the cheese factory and buy some cheese (the first of many cheese adventures). There we found info. on a "Gravity Hill" just outside of town. Of course we had to visit it. You literally drive down a hill along a country road -- then stop the car -- put it in neutral and roll back up the hill. I've always wanted to visit one, and this was an amazing experience. We are told it is an optical illusion, but all your senses tell you otherwise. Good for the soul to have reality questioned in such a fashion.
While driving along the roadways lately the old song - "up in the air junior bird patrol" pops into my head. The birds are gathering - lining the phone wires everywhere and practicing dare devil mid-flight turns inches above the cars speeding by. They are practicing for the journeys south. In the harvested fields you can see hordes of geese gleaning corn. They don't seem to head all the way south these days, but I have seen several v's of geese all heading south.
Wow, last night was a lovely hazy full moon, rising over the trees. When I woke up this morning, there it was, getting all orangish again as it went down. The full moon is always a treat to see and in the fall with all the leaves changing color, it is even more dramatic. My first historic festival, was and still it called "the Feast of the Hunter's Moon" however, this year it was several weeks ago - these days the reality of Purdue Home football games, trumps having the Feast on a weekend when there is a home game, so we pretend the Moon is full - even when it isn't.
This morning I treated myself to a Dutch breakfast. My daughter was an exchange student in Holland and while visiting her there, this was my favorite breakfast. I begin with a slice of whole wheat toast - I had a bit of Poilane country bread from France (but that is a story for another day) which makes great toast then lightly butter the toast, add thin slices of gouda cheese, and slice a (just barely) hardboiled egg onto the cheese, top with salt and pepper. If only I had a "sweetie" to go with it, that is sort of a sweet grapefruit that we also enjoyed on the trip.
Last night I sat with friends around a blazing fire at the Lincoln Log Cabin site near Lerna, IL. We were there for the weekend to demonstrate our crafts at the Harvest Festival. At nght the starry sky and crescent moon filled the sky. It was going to be a chilly night, and before heading off to my tent, blankets and buffalo robe, I was soaking up as much heat from the fire as possible. The coals were glowing, we searched out the big dipper for the children who were sitting with us and listening to the farm animals moving about as they settled down for the night.
Well all the signs are here, rainy days alternating with sunshine - when the sun comes out so do the combines, they are lumbering along our rural highways, anxious to get in the fields. Grain trucks wait patiently on the edge of the fields and those piled high with a yellow haze of corn beeline for the nearest grain storage facility. Yes - the harvest is underway here in central Illinois.
This weekend, I traveled some of what was known as the "Grant Prairie" which is an area from eastern Illinois stretching into western Indiana and ending just outside Lafayette. At the Purdue Agricultural Center, there is a stone marking this edge, from here east was forest, mostly anyway, heading east. From this point west was - a large unbroken area of especially flat prairie, only minimally crossed by rivers, streams and creeks. It was known as the Grant Prairie - I always though it sounded so romantic, but it is just flatter than many other places in Illinois.
One of the joys of my life is being a part of a great group of musicians who share their love of Irish music in a weekly session or two. When I can on Tuesday nights I drive 83 miles up to the Chicago area to join them as we play a "session" at the Irish Legends in Willow Springs, IL. Tonight as players trickled in we began with an energetic round of reels. I play the bodhran (Irish drum) and really love being part of the music. Tonight we had musicians playing fiddle, guitar, accordian, flute, concertina, a banjo and moi on bodhran. At a session the musicians mostly play for each other usually sitting in a circle. We play traditional Irish tunes, with a song or two as well. We love to have an audience and we had a very enthusiastic one tonight.