Tuesday, June 30, 2009

All is not as it seems...

Along the highway, we spot this police car, which causes Jon to check his speed. What’s inside? I got a good laugh as we passed, and Jon stopped to let me take a couple of photos.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Art, folks?

The front porch of the Torrey Trading Post is filled with folk art.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Quaint AND quirky!

Leaving Capitol Reef, we stop in the tiny town of Torrey, Utah, to stock up on camping supplies and mail postcards. This quirky signage welcomes us to a small shop near the post office.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Where have all the pioneers gone?

Historic old buildings, such as this, dot the hills as we make our way out of Capitol Reef.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Ah...the days of yore...

On our way out of Capitol Reef, we pass this old wagon. Seeing farm and transportation implements from the past brings a sense of nostalgia.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Panoramic vista...

The clouds add to the drama in this photo from Sunset Point in Capitol Reef. Far in the distance, the blue-black silhouette of Mt. Ellen looms. (Thought of you, Ellen!)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

5 long miles later...

The goal! The best views of the Cassidy Arch are from up top. It’s a hike to get here, but the views are worth it!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Some welcome shade

DBF Jon poses underneath a rock overhang, carved by wind and time, on our way to Cassidy Arch.

Monday, June 22, 2009

You can enter, but you can't leave

On our second day in Capitol Reef, we set off on a hike to Cassidy Arch, so named because legend says cowboy Butch Cassidy had passed through this area of Utah. Early on our route, we pass a narrow slot canyon. From our vantage point, it appears there is no exit, so we back out and continue on our way.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shadows, morning and night

We started our hike early enough that the long sun shows our shadows as we pause to look at the Hickman bridge. At the end of the day, the setting sun casts a pleasing shadow of the Castle rock formation on the wall behind it.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mother Nature's camoflauge...

These small lizards, darting everywhere on our hike, are as monotone as the rocks on which they like to sun.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Now where do we go??

When hiking off trail, or over Utah slick rock, hikers use rock piles, called cairns to mark the way. Sometimes it’s a puzzle to follow them. Can you see the next cairn, off in the distance?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Red dirt country

The high iron content in the soil of Capitol Reef lends a deep red cast to the dirt trail as we hike up the ridge towards Navajo Nobs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not urban, but . . .

rural. The first stop on our road trip is Capitol Reef National Park, in southern Utah. The campground is nestled in an orchard that was planted by early settlers. The original barn and homestead now serve as housing for horses and a small general store, giving the area a decidedly rural feel.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chopped + Chipped = Chores

For many years in my area of town, we were not allowed to burn yard waste. My trash carrier did not pick up yard waste. What's a girl to do? I started a branch pile behind a tree in the back corner of the yard. Years of pruning, chopping down 3 small trees, and general tree and bush maintenance left a pile that was over my head. One weekend, we rented a wood chipper and ground it all down to mulch. The red arrows show the size of the original pile. A couple of loud, dusty hours later, we had had a knee-high pile of mulch, which is now spread on the flower beds.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Home sweet home?

Really, sweet, apparently. If this website is to be believed, woodpeckers create holes to attract a mate, search for food, or create a home. I'm a big believer in home being where the heart is, and some woodpecker's heart must have REALLY been in this project, to have drilled an entire condo complex!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's a kayak . . .

. . . but it reminds me of a gar fish. Squatting down low for this picture, I found the resulting image to be quite distorted, but I liked the effect. Call me warped...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


While Jon was patiently waiting out the Scarlet Tanager, I continued on the trail around the lake and wondered how long it would be before this tilted old tree went for a permanent swim... Used a touch of Topaz Simplify to tone down some of the bright leaf detail.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Scarlett O'Hara? The Scarlet Letter?

Nope...it's a Scarlet Tanager. On a recent hike, DBF Jon was patient enough to capture this stunning photo, which nicely showcases something with wings. I asked if he'd be my guest photographer for the day. I'm sure he'd appreciate any comments!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Greetings from Utah

Hi, everyone. Thanks so much for all the recent comments...I'm on the road and haven't been able to comment on YOUR blogs as much as I'd like, but I'm slowly catching up. A few more "Illinois" posts are coming up, then join us on our road trip out west...starting with the red rock state of Utah!

A fowl, crying "Foul"!

This little guy was honking up a storm as we hiked a little too close for comfort.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Not all gardens are horizontal

My neighbor, who lives on the corner, has an elaborate shade garden behind his house. I like how he continued the garden motif into the shrubery he uses as a privacy fence. For a few short days each spring, both his lilacs and his bridal veils are in full bloom, creating a brilliant display for everyone who drives down our street. Each is well over 10 feet tall. Thanks, Mr. Neighbor!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Broke, but not broken

This old tree succumbed to either age or a lightning strike, and though it's clearly broken and just about doubled over, it still supports new growth. Amazing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

In case we hadn't yet decided what to see...

. . . this advertisement for Mary Poppins greets us as we walk up to the Cadillac Palace. It's unfortunate that photography is not allowed in the theater (typical, but unfortunate). The interior of this theater is gorgeous, and the sets and special effects for the production were absolutely jaw-dropping.

This ends our trip to Chicago. Heading back home!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What would Pablo think?

This unnamed Picasso, one of Chicago's better-known works of public art, is adorned with a replica of a hockey helmet in recognition of the Chicago Blackhawks being in the hunt for the Stanley Cup. The statue, housed at Daley Plaza, is just around the corner from the theater, so we enjoyed the sunshine and people-watched as we waited for the box office to open.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Interesting juxtaposition...

I love that word! Here's a chance to use it! In the theater district, banners are routinely hung on the lightposts, announcing current and future theatrical attractions. On our visit Memorial Day Saturday, Chicago's hockey team was in the playoffs and dreaming of a Stanley Cup. The City Fathers hung a block full of banners celebrating their successes.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Two of Chicago's finest . . .

Because it was Memorial Day Saturday on this trip, we got to watch part of the parade being held downtown. This officer and his equine companion helped with crowd control and answered questions from the celebrants.

If you look carefully, you'll see that the browband on the horse's bridle matches the hatband on the officer's hat. Pretty spiffy, eh??

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Childhood favorite

I lived in Chicago during my elementary and middle-school years. A favorite summertime activity was visiting Buckingham Fountain, in Grant Park on the lake front. When we get back into the city, we try to get down to the fountain at least once during the summer. We packed a picnic and had lunch here before heading over the to theater.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Anyone know what these are called?

In the public gardens on the grounds of the Art Institute, we found these beds of amazing white and purple flowers, standing tall in the spring sunshine. If there was a sign giving their names, we missed it. Anyone?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Not too far down Michigan Avenue from Millenium Park is the Art Institute, with the somber, regal lions guarding the entrance. I don't own a cat, and don't know anyone who does, so this photo of one of the Institute's guardians will serve as my entry for "Feline Friend".

Monday, June 1, 2009

Where have all the settlers gone?

Empty old buildings, such as this, dot the hills as we make our way out of Capitol Reef.

Another take on "The Bean"

Cloudgate ("the Bean"), in Chicago's Millenium Park, is no doubt one of the most-photographed landmarks in the city, and we often visit there when waiting for a theater to open its doors. I enjoyed the repeating patterns of this artist, (wearing a shirt depicting a painting of the Bean), working on a painting of the Bean, in front of the Bean, reflected IN the Bean (although he's standing in front of his reflection). It was enough to make me feel as though I'd entered a parallel universe!