illinois, et cetera

waking up happy in Illinois

We arrived home last night after 5 1/2 days away, greeted by a tired but happy papa and an extremely clean home and yard (we are refinancing and the appraisal was yesterday morning, he spent the majority of his time cleaning/fixing/organizing while we were away). We were also greeted by more rain and the unhappy news that our tomatoes are succumbing to late blight pretty hard.  Ah well.  All else is looking pretty great out there so I'll try to hold my complaints.  Today I gave them (the tomatoes) a big hair cut though, in hopes of holding the fungi at bay long enough for the fruit that is already on there to ripen.  You could definitely say they are getting a bit more ventilation now.  We've already had the first sungolds.  The taste of summer, in my book.  More on the garden in a few days.

For now, Illinois.  We spent 5 days at the home of a dear friend of mine, and felt so very much at home.  Claire playing with her children's toys and happily settling in, my friend and I catching up over cups of coffee and tea enjoyed at a lovely old table in her bright and sunny kitchen.

We drove over to St. Louis on Saturday morning and went to the Tower Grove Park farmer's market, played at the playground and fountain, and then ate at a mediterranean restaurant before crossing back over the Mississippi. 

There were plenty of walks around the neighborhood and to the little park down the street that ends in a sunken garden.  I love walking down the brick roads, looking at all of the old houses and down at the Mississippi river stretching far and wide away below.

This is the view from the end of the road (Bluff Street), just half a block from her house. The mighty Mississippi, sunsets, bluffs and caves, watching barges go by.....

Before heading out on Tuesday, Claire and I joined my friend and her kiddos and a friend of hers and her kiddos for some blackberry picking.  Unsprayed, $2 a pound.  Don't mind if I do, thank you.

We ended up with about a gallon and a half.  Time for more jam.

Driving out of Illinois, large farms stretched out as far as I could see.  Flat, flat land with tractors rolling by in the distance.  Such a different landscape from the rolling hills and mountains of western NC.  So wide open.  Once in Kentucky, some of the corn farms were replaced with tobacco farms.

I decided to make the trip home in two days, and so we found ourselves in Clarksville, Tennessee Tuesday evening.  Had we more time and energy, I'd have liked to have walked down by the river and explored the town a bit more.  But instead we just drove around for a bit before settling in at the hotel.

Where we ate burritos and cherries in our room, and stayed up way too late thanks to her nap that lasted pretty much from Alton to Clarksville.  We woke Wednesday morning and slowly got ready then hit the road.  Driving into NC from Tennessee along interstate 40 is always beautiful, though a bit unsettling with at least 20 miles of extremely curvy and steep highway winding up and down and around the mountains along the border.  But beautiful, beautiful.  The skeletal remains of so many of the hemlocks are an eerie and sad sight to behold, but even they add to the beauty, scattered among the large oaks, poplars, spruces and pines.

And now, home.  Where visits with friends and the garden call our names and where right now she runs around the house, naked, singing "row, row, row your boat".

Life is but a dream~


  1. sounds so fun and adventurous!! love seeing the mighty mississippi. a sight that makes one feel small for sure. we walked along its banks in new orleans a few weeks ago. watched the barges go by...i love watching the landscape go by - even in your pictures. america is such a beautiful patchwork blanket.

    1. it really was fun, even though we mostly just hung around. but that's definitely my kind of vacation- coffee, food, conversation, a few walks and some antique browsing... I get used to the rivers around here and they seem so small in comparison, for sure. it really is amazing how varied the landscape in this country is.

  2. sounds like a fantastic and wonderful time in illinois :) great pics! i especially love the one of the sunset and the one with the pillars.

    mmmmm...blackberries! we love berries - we are enjoying strawberries and raspberries over here.

    lovely to have you back :)

    1. we had fun! those pillars are part of a pavilion in Tower Grove Park, and oh how I'd love to walk to the end of my street to see that sunset every evening!

      our strawberries and raspberries are pretty much done for the year, but these blackberries will hold us for a little while and then on to blueberries hopefully!

      why thank you~

  3. beautiful trip! I love the view of the Mississippi the best, it's breathtaking!!Thanks for sharing, glad you are safely home now.

    1. I still can't get over that she has to walk just a couple hundred yards to that overlook.... a lovely sight, indeed!

  4. Lovely trip!
    Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. we had a nice time~ happy to share!


thanks for taking the time to read and comment~