Saturday, February 13, 2010

For Miles in Every Direction......No Trees

I bet when you read my profile on this blog you came across the words, "plains of Illinois" and scratched your head. Before I moved here two years ago I didn't believe Illinois was part of the plains either...isn't that Kansas and Iowa? Nope...Illinois has plains...and here are the pictures to prove it.

EAST - Those are wind turbines you see over the state border into Indiana, about four miles away. One of these days I'll post about those. Very eerie at night but very cool. The red barn is only two miles away. See that? No trees.

SOUTH - This old barn is about a half a mile away and is fun for the boys and me to explore in the spring before the corn gets to high in the fields to walk through. Just past the pine trees is our nearest neighbor about three quarters a mile away from here. Those pine trees don't count; they're just a windbreak.

NORTH - If you look carefully you will see a barn and a silo on the left in this photo which is about three miles away. That's not a tree on the right just my lilac bush.

WEST - Here is my poor clothesline that gets battered by the spring winds. This barn is only mile away. And once trees.

I grew up in Indiana, just a hop skip and a jump away. Every time I make the three hour trip back home I am always surprised by how much the landscape and topography changes in, what I view, such a short distance. I love trees...I miss trees. I grew up cutting down trees every winter weekend for our wood burning furnace. Despite how much I complained back then I'd volunteer to cut wood today if it meant I could spend time with trees! Trees were a major part of my life...but I never realized it until I didn't have any. Illinois doesn't have trees. Yeah, we have four trees in our yard but it isn't the same as that cozy feeling you get walking in a woods surrounded by trees. Giving hugs, the trees do, keeping you warm by blocking the wind.

Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, we don't see too many people out here. The mailman and maybe a couple farmers drive down our road during the day and that's about it. Since there are no trees I can usually see them coming miles away. Of course being so far out in the country means I feel comfortable letting my kids go outside to play without me. On the flip side, it also means they feel comfortable running around as naked as a jaybird during the summer with no trees to hide behind! Like they would hide...little exhibitionists! I'm just hoping that's a phase they'll outgrow or I'll have a lot of explaining to do when they're teenagers!

The wind...somedays I wonder if the wind will ever stop. My first spring on the prairie I wondered if I wouldn't lose my mind from the sound, the feel, the constant battling against the wind. Battling to keep my hair out of my face. Battling to keep lawn furniture from blowing away. Battling to keep clothes on the clothesline. Battling the giant snow drifts built by the wind. Battling the constant roar in your ears....oh wait, that's the sound of the kids. That's a different battle for a different post.

This is the plains of Illinois and I'm learning to deal with it and to love it. (Send saplings!!)

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