Saturday 27 May 2017. Out Yankee Ridge Road via Lush Meadowbrook

It was 64 degrees F at 6:20 under cloudy skies this morning as I got Rhododendron the road bike out for a long-awaited spin!
The nice people at Neutral Cycle put the pedal crank back into is working position, replaced the cables and brake pads, and reduced the number of speeds to five (really, who needs more than that, at least in central Illinois?) by removing the rusted-out front derailleur.

Was amazed by Rhododendron’s speed and smoothness and didn’t stop until Windsor Road, where I did not wait long to cross.

Made the customary stop at the rabbit-statue bridge.

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Then sought blue flag irises, which I found, more abundant and widespread than I ever remember seeing them.

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And of course there were spiderwort

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and Penstemon.

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Pasture rose provided a pink counterpoint to the greens, white and blue.

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At the Freyfogle overlook was lead plant, with its festive-looking foliage.

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The clouds broke up enough to reveal some blue sky and cloud-shapes over the land.

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Saw dew-beaded spiderwebs.

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The flowers and foliage at Meadowbrook this morning were spectacular and particularly uplifting, at least to this observer!

Then rode along Windsor road on the “sidewalk,” (which I see more as a multi-use path) to Philo Road and east on Old Church, then south on Yankee Ridge Road.

Here is Yankee Ridge at Old Church Road, viewed from the west

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as ever, a place of quiet. I think of it as a bit of sacred silence, accompanied by its stark and subtly beautiful view.

Wanted to go on

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but time limitations prompted me to turn back at the road that is paved to the east but is wet and unpaved to the west.

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Returning home rode into a north wind (which explains the ease of the trip out) and just wanted to get back!

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The fog blew toward me and I was sure it would rain even though the phone Ap assured me it wouldn’t. There was nothing to do (as is so common in so many aspects of life!) but hunker down and press on.

After some discomfort just settled into it as if I were lost, but not in a bad way, just absorbed in the present. And made it back with some satisfaction.

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Friday 3 June 2016. A Good Look at the Old Iris Patch

It was 59 degrees F at 5:20 this (yet another!) beautiful morning.

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Rode Discovery II to Meadowbrook Park, today via Vine Street.

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The early morning sky was decorated with pink clouds. Was happy to have been there for it!

Rode through the woods along McCullough Creek (the “small loop”) and saw lots of spiderwort and foxglove Penstemon.

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Passed through the Hickman wildflower walk, which seemed less devastated by the current management regime since some new vegetation has appeared, but did not photograph it.

Rode to the rabbit-statue bridge to get the customary view of the sun coming up on McCullough Creek.

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Then on to check out the iris, to which a path had been cut through the willow shoots.

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Availed myself of it and, lo and behold, there was the old patch in bloom.

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The color and simple, graceful lines of this flower make one want to take a lot of pictures of it,

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Against the sky or close-up.

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Farther down were more foxglove Penstemon with sunrise clouds behind them,

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more spiderwort with the morning dew starting to evaporate.

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Caught the first glimpse this year of pasture rose (Rosa carolina), tolerant of disturbed conditions but native and a beautiful contrast to all the beautiful blue and white of the spiderwort and Penstemon.

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Then another view of spiderwort against the sky

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and a spiderwort close-up

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before checking the handsome-leafed lead plant

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Stopped to take in the bright array of service berries (where did that name come from?) near the Vine street entrance to the park

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before riding homeward.

Friday 6 June 2014. Blue, White, Pink, and Yellow Flowers on the Prairie

Got a good start this morning–was out just before 5, when the street lights were still on. It was 59 degrees F and mostly clear.

Took the little camera, not the phone, from which to make sketches.

Went around the loop twice, with a little spur out Windsor to see the interrupted red sun-disc rise above Meijer between loops. For the first (counterclockwise, which I tend to prefer) loop the light was pale; the second time (clockwise) it was golden. Actually liked the counterclockwise better this morning.

Spiderwort and Penstemon dominated the prairie landscape, the Penstemon proving perhaps more abundant than I’d thought earlier.

Saw several deer, including one almost all the way into the vegetation before the camera caught it.

Saw Coreopsis,

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pasture roses,

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lead plant in bud.

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The common milkweeds also were budding. Don’t think I’ve caught them at this stage before!

Heard mourning doves, which I was just thinking were not so common as I remember.

Don’t think I’ve seen the light hit the spiderworts so beautifully before–won’t even try to sketch that.

Again was amazed at how going twice around the same loop can feel like two entirely different trips, the second one even better than the first.