A few weeks back, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker signed a bill that provides for a path to create a new State of Illinois flag . Redesigning government flags has been *a thing* for a while - which can be directly traced back to this TED Talk by Roman Mars on vexillology . And....he was right: government flags are terrible - with a few exceptions. Since that TED talk, there's been a bunch of movement(s) to bring new flags forward - all of which have been signficant improvements on the previous (usually low-thought, ugly flags with writing on them). The Illinois flag - which features the seal of the state - is one of those terrible flags. It has all the marks of a terrible flag (per Roman Mars): has too many colors, has tiny symbols that are hard to see when flying on a tall pole and (I think the worst of bad-flag sins) has writing on it. Now...the State of Illinois has PLENTY of big and signficant problems and the state flag SHOULD be way, way, way down the list of what our
Showing posts with the label downers grove
In a remarkable coincidence (at least to me, dear reader...), I'm posting a front porch sunrise one day shy of one year from the date that I posted a very similar photo here on the blog . This is from November 29, 2021 . What was the sunrise like a few days ago from our house? See below for what is a vivid sunrise in the suburbs in November: What a way to start a day. I have a whole archive of posts over the years that are tagged with [colorful sunrise] .
2022 is shaping up to be a pretty light year in terms of planting trees on our property. And that's, ok in my book. Why? Because there are fewer and fewer spots that trees make sense left AND that means I'm becoming a little bit more picky in what I want to do. The last tree that we planted this year was in late May when we dug in a VERY SMALL Saratoga Ginko tree that one of the kids bought at the Morton Arboretum Arbor Day sale . When I say "very small", I mean very.small. We tucked this tree (more like a seedling) into an existing small, curved bed in our front yard. It is planted almost *amongst* a little cluster of Little Henry Sweetspire by our front walk. I put it there on purpose - because the tree WAS so small, I thought it needed both a little bit of protection both from damage as well as the conditions. This way, it can put on some new growth, get established and do that all in the shadow of the shrub. I also didn't want to have a tiny tree -
'Tis the season to hear a 'loud, rattling bugle call' from high up in the sky and look up to see a marvel of nature: Sandhill Cranes flying (as a group) as part of their seasonal migration. I 've posted about this experience a few times here on the blog including last March when I shared video of the bugle calls . On my walk home from the train station this past week, I heard that familiar call. And stopped, looked up and found the Sandhill Cranes flying high in the sky. Here, below, are a couple of photos of this group flying in a couple of 'v-patterns' high above Downers Grove, Illinois in mid-March. I'm almost certain that my kids and Nat are tired of me stopping and talking about Sandhill Cranes, but I find them incredibly fascinating. According to this post, there are about 20K Sandhill Cranes that migrate over Illinois . I was fortunate to experience a couple hundred last week.
I was going through some of my draft posts from earlier this Summer and I noticed a draft post about a Japanese-inspired concrete garden object that I saw in a garden on the border of McCollum park in downers. I thought I'd bring it up-to-date and publish it here as a marker towards some garden object-inspiration. Here's what I saw in a garden in Downers Grove below - a short, stout object that looks like a lantern. They are called a toro . I've posted about being drawn toward Japanese-inspired gardening and even have a visit to Gotenyama Garden in Tokyo as inspiration where they have a large Toro (or at least that's what I *think* it is). From that post : I also went to the Chicago Botanic Garden late this Summer to visit with a friend and colleague and while there, we tool'd around the Japanese Garden . It was really lovely. Here, below, is a photo I took with my phone as we walked towards the Japanese Garden section from the main entrance. In that sam
In what I know many of you will find to be a dissatisfactory notice, I'm disappointed to report that last night - Halloween 2021 - there was no visitor trick-or-treat tally that was conducted. This is (now) the second year in a row that I've failed to both conduct the tracking assessment as well as failed to post the results here on the blog. I'll take a COVID pass for 2020. But, this year? Just a product of the new neighborhood, going out with the kids to trick-or-treat and not being able to control the tracking. Now...like a lot of you, we have video evidence that I could go through to try to recreate the visitor list and make a tally, but I don't have time for that this morning. Here's an example showing the Mandalorian and his buddy who plays for the Chicago Bears. ( Note...I grabbed this screenshot without the kids faces showing on purpose... ) Of note, I have started to track the weather on Halloween. Yesterday - Halloween 2021 was perfect. 50's
There were more than ten large birds flying together in what you could call a boil . Or, a kettle or even a cast. I missed much of them, but was able to whip out my phone quickly and snap these photos over our backyard on a recent afternoon. No idea what type they are, but based on my bird feeder visits, I'm guessing this was likely a boil of Cooper's Hawks . The photo below shows seven of the (more than ten) hawks in the low-flying boil.
One of the big things that I've started to do every work day ever since we were put into lockdown and I stopped going to the office was getting out for a walk. It started with a mid-day walk up and down the block a few times a week to loosen up my back and my Psoas muscle. But, at some point, it changed to a 'first thing in the morning' walk. For a while, the sun was coming up on my walks and I was greeted with the first light of the day. I posted a photo from one of these walks back in June when we were up in Wisconsin . You can see the daylight/sunrise in that photo . Recently, the days have grown darker in the mornings and I now leave and get back to our house all in the dark. That's brought some new experiences - including skunks, possums and raccoons picking at cans on the curb on garbage days. But, it also has shown me some interesting weather experiences like what you see in the photos above and below from Randall Park in our neighborhood . Randal
Here's the tally from last night's visitors in Downers Grove: 32 kids we know. 20 kids we don't know. 15 adults with costumes. 3 kids no costume. And 3 Adults no costume. That would be a total of 73 with a pretty big asterisk. Last year, we had 24 total. All kids we knew . And that was a pretty sad number. I think it is safe to say that these numbers are in dispute. For sure, the numbers in the red circles below, I think we can just simply throw out. It was snowing like crazy and we don't live in Elmhurst any longer so there were no Adults and no babies out there like there have been in some years. So, let's throw out those numbers. Minus 21. Takes our 73 down to 52. That seems plausible. We did the whole 'bowl on the front porch' thing when we were out, so there's no counting those kids. But, like we do every year, Nat has a little party at our house after trick-or-treating and there are more than a dozen kids that c
I just noticed these two plaques on the Fairview Avenue Metra Station in Downers Grove. The bottom one says 2016, so it has been there for some time. But, perhaps the top one is newish? At least, I've never really noticed it despite walking by it a few times a week. They both mark the same thing: the station as a 'landmark'. I found t his set of minutes from the Village of Downers Grove Village Board that recommended a resolution making the station a "Landmark Designation" . Here below is a closer look at the story in the bottom plaque: If you read closely, you'll see that this isn't the original station, but was built in 1916. I'm a little bit 'get off my lawn' on this landmark status. Have you seen the Fairview Station? Go look at it here in all of it's stucco glory . I love me some old, vintage buildings. But it isn't the original station. And now we've effectively handcuff our government into NOT changi
Last Summer, I posted a photo from a walk I took with Lizzie around Barth Pond at Patriot's Park . That photo is here . The park is very close to our house - like maybe six houses or so away and it is a nice spot to go walking. Sometimes with the dog. Sometimes with the kids. Recently, I went down there with the two little ones and we spent some time in the playground. On the way to the playground, I was struck by how nice it was out. This path in the photo above is one of two on the north side of the pond with this one being 'closer' to the water. The pond has something to do with water management in our area and I think part of the reason there's two paths is because this part of the path is occasionally under water. On this day, it wasn't. And the goose turds that normally make me tiptoe around? Those were gone, too. Felt like my lucky day.
On a recent Saturday, we took the three kids down a couple of blocks to Fairmount Avenue to the annual neighborhood Block Party and Soapbox Derby. 1 This is the second year in a row that we've participated and you can see a video and my post from the 2017 edition here on the blog . As I wrote last year, this is a really fun family event. The families that put this on go out of their way to make their block party a really special experience and they draw in families from not just their block, but from people like us - who live a few blocks away. Once again, they had a DJ tent set up, a really well-put-together starting gate/ramp, a big food spread including hot dogs, a frosty keg and lemonade/water setups for all the kids (and shandy setup by combining the keg and lemonade setups for me!), a snow cone station, a number of sawhorses set up by the garage to tune up your car and every tool and wrench and impact driver you could ever need. Oh, and they invited Guac and Ta
I've hit thirty in the [ coaster collection ] here on the blog with the posting and sharing of this coaster from Cadence Kitchen & Co in Downtown Downers Grove. This is the second in a row of Downers Grove joints on the coaster collection with the most recent one being Alter Brewing Company back in August . I took this photo on our third visit to Cadence Kitchen and each of them have been nice meals and experiences. Each of them also was on a date night with Nat, so those meals tend to be a bit more relaxed. One other thing about this one: I took this photo of the coaster at the bar - that's where we sat. At the corner seats of the bar actually. After a night at SMG meeting the teachers. From the sounds of it, we're going to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to upscale dining/bar options in Downtown Downers Grove soon with the eminent opening of Pierce Tavern this fall. If they have custom coasters, I'll be sure to add them to the collect
Here comes #29 to the [ Coaster Collection ] here on the blog - and this one is local. Alter Brewing Company is located in Downers Grove. And, when we were there...the place was bananas! We went on a recent Friday night for a party in their upstairs party room 1 and the entire taproom was packed. I had a few beers, but most of what they had in the party room were super-high alcohol beers. This is the first local, Downers Grove coaster added to the collection here, but not the first from a local craft brewery. Back in January of 2017, I posted these photos of a coaster from Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville . 1 This time, we were in the upstairs party room, but we've also been to a party in the rear, larger room. I really liked the upstairs room, but it was H-O-T!
There I was, minding my own business waiting for the light to turn green when - for some reason - I notice that there are a few cameras at the intersection of Maple and Fairview in Downers Grove. I then look closer and start counting. There are six cameras at this one intersection. This is just a four-way intersection and if I'm being honest, I don't normally look around at the number of cameras, but I have to believe that this seems like a significant number of cameras trained on just one intersection? Now, Maple Avenue does run on a diagonal and this *is* just a block or so away from the BNSF line, but other than that, it seems to be an ordinary intersection. Any ideas? I've embedded the map below:
There I was, minding my own business, walking to the train one recent morning at close to 5 am and I notice a little guy kind of prancing across the street. He sees me, turns tail and scampers off. He got to a safe distance, then turned and inspected me as I continued to go on my way. That's him right there in the red circle. Not super clear, but you can get the idea. He's pretty skinny, isn't he? If you read the Nextdoor section for our neighborhood, you'd know that these coyotes are all over the place, but this is the first one that I've witnessed myself. I've come across quite a bit of wildlife in our backyard (skunks, rabbits and even our Black Squirrel ) and on our block (foxes), but haven't seen a coyote...until now. Down the block from us is a large pond that spills over into a creek that runs behind the homes across the street from us. With an abundant supply of water, plenty of wooded cover and what I would presume to be a good supply
Most mornings, I catch the train out of the Fairview Station on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Metra line. Bordering the south passenger platform, past the station is a Pepperidge Farm factory. And it totally gives off a "Stranger Things" vibe to me. Every morning when I walk past it - and even more on mornings when it is snowing a little bit - I get this very specific Hawkins National Laboratory feeling as I see the trucks moving to/from near the docks. Now, making Goldfish crackers isn't going to open a hole to the upside down. But it doesn't keep me from smiling about it each morning I head there. You might be wondering...why is there a Pepperidge Farm factory there in the first place? Well...it is a place that provides a diverse employee base. And has been there for 65 years . It was selected due to our proximity to Chicago, but there also is this cute little story about how the founder just liked the Village's name: While the
If you ever find yourself at St. Mary of Gostyn Catholic Church in Downers Grove, make sure you take a moment to look at the painting of the Virgin Mary hanging in the vestibule right outside the church that is hanging just to the right of the main doors. That's it above. St. Mary's is the oldest Catholic church in Downers. From the SMG site : St. Mary of Gostyn Parish, the oldest Catholic church in Downers Grove, was founded by poor immigrants who came from Gostyn, Poland, shortly after the American Civil War. By the 1880’s, Polish-speaking priests from Chicago were regularly serving this rural settlement. Masses were said in homes or tents because there was no church. Founded by Polish immigrants. Cool, right? But also cool because my Mom is Polish. So that means, I'm Polish. And so are my kids. Right below the painting is this plaque that reads "The picture of the Virgin Mary and child dates from 1540." Yeah...1540?!?! If you click