We have just about seen the last of the snow, although there was still some lingering in patches at Spring Valley Nature Center when I made my first visit there this year, earlier this week.
The usual access to the nature center was closed as they are making some alterations and improvements to the Visitors Center area so I had to take an alternate route and with many of the paths that were in the shade still covered in ice, my walking was somewhat limited. Still, it was so nice to get out in the fresh air and see something other than our own garden. I was glad that I decided to wear my wellies, however.
There were a few people about but for the most part it was very quiet, which is why I probably came upon these two deer.
I almost didn’t need to use the zoom lens, they were so close and they didn’t seem at all bothered about my being there. They eventually ambled across the path and disappeared into the undergrowth. I stayed for a while, hoping that they’d come out again but no such luck, so I continued on my way.
I can’t wait to see see what the improvements look like at the Visitors Center. It’s supposed to be finished by late Spring which means I will probably have to use this alternate route for a couple more months at least.
You don’t have to tell me twice to stay inside and keep warm, especially when the mercury is struggling to reach 10F. On the rare occasions when I’ve ventured outside to shovel snow, I’ve taken one or two pictures but for the most part, I prefer to observe things through the window.
Despite the current pandemic, life goes on. Preparations must be made for future events such as Spring at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The last time I was there they were planting thousands of bulbs which will eventually provide a colorful display of flowers in every area of the garden but more especially in the Crescent Garden.
They were also getting ready for their annual outdoor holiday display of lights, which I see from their website is already sold out. It certainly helped to make up for the lack of flowers on this trip. From what I could make out, part of the display will include installations depicting star constellations which would explain why they had the moon dangling from the bridge to the Japanese Garden.
Meanwhile, over at Brookfield Zoo, they were draining the ponds in preparation for winter and getting ready for their ‘Holiday Magic’ light display. Outdoor displays like this are an excellent way to lift our spirits while wearing masks and maintaining safe distances between fellow visitors. I just hope the weather cooperates.
This week, Ann-Christine invites us to share some Winter images for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. I have to admit that I am a creature of comfort and rarely stray too far from home during the winter months. The older I get, the less appealing the idea of getting togged up in boots, scarf, mittens and heavy winter coat becomes. These shots, three at the Chicago Botanic Garden and one at the Volkening Heritage Farm in Schaumburg are a few in my very sparse collection of typical winter photos.
This week, Tina has chosen Cold as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge. There was a time, not so long ago, when I would have thought nothing of standing around in the cold capturing images at the nature center. These days it’s almost impossible to convince myself that it’s worth the effort to put on fifty layers of clothing and risk slipping on the ice just for a few pictures, which is why I had to go some way back in the photo files to find these, taken at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.
With still no sign of anything growing in the garden, bitterly cold temperatures and gloomy skies, it was a welcome relief, as it usually is at this time of year, to visit the orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden where the theme was ‘In The Tropics.’
We’ve been safely tucked up inside the house these past few days; too cold to go outside for more than just a few minutes. We’re such softies! It makes you wonder how some of these little creatures survive in the teeth of this polar vortex. It’s supposed to warm up a bit, soon, but for now, I’ll get my view of nature from the window.
With the temperature at -3F and a wind chill factor of -30F, all I can do is dream of warmer days at the Chicago Botanic Garden. But as my dear old Mum, ever the optimist, always used to say, “Never mind, dear! We’re one day closer to Spring.”
In view of all the dreary, grey days that we’ve experienced recently, it’s sometimes hard to believe that the sun has actually put in an appearance from time to time. One such occurrence presented itself last week and I took advantage of the opportunity to go for a walk around Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg.
The one slippery spot that I came across during this trek was the observation deck that overlooks the pond, but luckily I had hold of the railings otherwise I might have had difficulty obeying the sign.
The Volkening Heritage Farm area is closed until March1st (unless you call ahead to gain admittance) but, leaning over the gate that blocks off the path, I got a good view of the horses enjoying some welcome sunshine outside the barn.
There were quite a few people at the Center, parents with their children, photographers, nature lovers and walkers, all making the most of the relatively fine weather, as the footprints on the paths and trails attested. We were all smiling, clearly pleased with the way the day was going and obviously hoping that the sun would continue to shine down on us, at least for another hour or two.
The sun stayed out at least long enough for us to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Now we are back to cloudy skies and the threat of snow later on today, but looking on the bright side, this may present us with more photo opportunities.