Monday, April 11, 2011

Grutz says, "Who doesn't like people dressed in period costumes? Seriously?!" or "A clean forest is better than a dirty city."

Has anyone seen my bed key?
Yesterday evening, good reader, my left arm was pink.  Not both arms.  Just the left from driving in the country with the windows down, birds singing, frogs chirping.  Ahhhh, spring, no, dare I say, summer, peaked out yesterday with blazing (80+ for April 10 is blazing) temps and high humidity.  So Carleen and I finally made it out of Dodge Chicago.  After researching many forests in Dupage and Kane counties, we settled on LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve in St. Charles.
Carleen enjoying the serene stream and the early signs of spring.  No, that not a Cincinnati Reds hat, it a Paul's Big Game Room hat from Dubuque.  Yep, a Dubuque hat.

Not only is this a great outdoor retreat, with hiking, fishing, biking, and horse trails, but there are historic sites in the preserve.  Carleen and I hiked prairie and forests.  The many dogs and their owners basking in the sun and frolicking got us both talking again about possibly getting a little mutt ourselves.  Oh, the stress of newlyweds!  But the the lovely landscape and canines weren't the only joys to be found.

 Both the Pioneer Sholes School and Durant Peterson House Museum turned out to be surprising finds (it really helped that they were both open!).   Wonderful volunteers in period costume, both adult and children, lead us through both the school and the home.  Carleen and I, along with other guests, were treated to many interesting facts and items.  It was all hands-on and no areas were restricted (that means it was awesome). At the Pioneer Sholes School we told of the schools history and how it made its way to the park.  Also, children volunteers were playing games of the day with some young visitors.  How refreshing it was to see kids 'finding the thimble' or playing 'cat and mouse', games void of any of the technogadgetry of today's entertainment, and enjoying it.  The volunteer 'teacher' provided great detail and insight into the daily routines of the one room school house.  As educators, Carleen and I, found all this very inspiring and intriguing.  I'd suggest visiting the Pioneer Sholes School's web site here for some additional info.  Very good!
The Pioneer Sholes School, in service from 1872 to 1946.  To think, there might be people that YOU know that went to a one room school house.....  
The Durant Peterson House was home to the Durants in 1843, who had six children, all born at home no less.  Its a very small (by today's standards) home and, interestingly enough, the largest room was the parlor, which of course, was off limits most of the time!  In the 1880's the Petersons bought the home and added a workshop wing and a modern Victorian kitchen!  Here are some (great) photos....
A shot of the house during the summer.

Not the kitchen, the hearth room.  We were treated to lessons on hearth cooking, which I greatly enjoyed, due to my affinity for cast iron.  It took great skill to cook like Mrs. Durant.  No variable convection ovens here!

The Parlor was off limits except for important visitors.  Like myself.  The couch was the only thing in the whole house that you couldn't touch.  It upholstered in horsehair!

The workshop made me giddy with all the antique tools and implements.  To the right leads to the modern kitchen.  It had running water and, wait for it, an ice box!  Still had to step outside to use the outhouse, though. 
We had a great time at these sites and we were especially impressed with the volunteers.  We highly recommend LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve!

Getting something done around the house.
I mentioned in a previous post that I found some old windows in the alley and I finally did something with one.  Finally.  I made a chalkboard, because, well, every house needs a chalkboard.  Here's how....
I removed the glass.  No, not with the hammer (though that would have been kind of cool.  Until I had to pick up the pieces.).  I removed the putty and some triangular shaped tacks.

I painted a piece of laminated plywood with 'chalkboard' paint.  Four-five coats, just to be safe.

Ta-da!  All finished.  Now to hang it and get some chalk!
Your brains is looking a little tired, let me see if I can help.
Glenway Wescott (April 11, 1901 - February 22, 1987) was a major American novelist during the 1920-1940 period and a figure in the American expatriate literary community in Paris during the 1920s.His novel, The Pilgrim Hawk, A Love Story (1940), was praised by the critics. Apartment In Athens (1945), the story of a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who must share their living quarters with a German officer, was a popular success.
Christopher Smart (11 April 1722 – 21 May 1771), also known as "Kit Smart", "Kitty Smart", and "Jack Smart", was an English poet. He was a major contributor to two popular magazines and a friend to influential cultural icons like Samuel Johnson and Henry Fielding. Smart, a high church Anglican, was widely known throughout London.  His works include A Song to David, Hop-Garden, and Jubilate Agno.


Anonymous said...

Fabulous! I think I will like these places, too! Glad my favorite couple got a get-away on a truly amazing April day.... you certainly enjoy anything you do - love that about you!
Those triangular things are 'glazing points' and I see a new job in your future: Amazingly interesting chalkboards from 'found' objects! Seriously. Perhaps you have some friends with consignment contacts?
Mother Theresa

Lynn said...

Nick, Dude. I just re-read your earlier post and can't believe I didn't catch your insulting comment about Indiana. Seriously? Shit-talking my home state? You are from Iowa!!

Nick said...

Lynn, nary was there shit talking about Indiana! Listen, we're talking about midwestern states that start with "I", something in common. Sure, they're both full of stretches of farmland/grazing/silage. Both Indiana and Iowa have some interesting conservative governors. Yes, there is better basketball and soccer coming out of Indiana, while in Iowa our football and 'rastlin' are doing well. And there are hotbeds of of higher education and,dare I say it, progressive, forward thinking. I guess the only pertinent thing different between Indiana and Iowa is that you were born in Indiana and I was born in Iowa. Oh, and anyone can get married in Iowa, including homosexuals. Pa-pow!