Orange Sky, Green Water

Orange Sky, Green Water

Not a typical evening on Lake Michigan. High winds and distant storms created waves on the Indiana shore; waterspouts in South Haven (should have made the trip up there)!

A few moments after sunset, the sky turned orange while the lake remained green. I was the only human in sight. It made for an interesting walk back from Kintzele Ditch, and I returned to my car in the dark. Alone. Something unusual for early Fall, but common for the months to come.

Catching the First Morning Light

Catching the First Morning Light

I'm up before the sun most days, but don't always get the chance to capture photos of the first light. For photographs, iIt can only be compared to the light just before sunset, but I think the morning light has much more going for it.
Fog, dew, haze, frost- so many little things that add interest to a photograph, not to mention to a morning walk. While these moments can be captured, it's almost impossible to capture the feeling of being immersed in "the morning." You need your other senses to get the full experience.

The Last Set

The Last Set

A few minutes before 1:00 am, the crowd thins out at Chicago's legendary Green Mill Lounge. A few minutes before, patrons lined the floor shoulder to shoulder. Playing to standing room only crowds every Thursday night for over ten years, the 15 piece Swing Shift Orchestra plays big band jazz complete with old time commercials, for a taste of a 1930's radio show.
The lounge opened in 1907, and continues to this day. Al Capone frequented the lounge back in the 20's (his favorite booth is just behind the dancers).


Teeter Totter

On the edge of a tiny town in northwest Indiana, kids play on a teeter totter left to decay in an overgrown playground of the empty Lincoln School.

Replaced with a new school a few miles away, the Lincoln School closed well over a decade ago. The monkey bars and teeter totters wait in silence for local children, but rarely if ever are used.

"Old School" Playground

Purchased by a local businessman, the school was used for a time for special events and parties, but now the "for sale" sign begs for a new owner.

I'm not sure what a small town could do with a building like this, but it's sad to see it stand empty, with only the echoes of the children who once roamed the halls, played in the playground, and sang behind the now boarded-up doors.

Basking in the Late Summer Sun

Basking in the Late Summer Sun

A small sunflower basks in the warm summer sun at the foot of a Lake Michigan sand dune.

Contrary to popular belief, sunflowers do not track the sun from morning to evening. You can see this proven here, by the shadows on the petals.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

No More Apples

No More Apples

Each Fall, we'd drive out to Eberly Orchards near North Liberty, Indiana to pick apples. The kids enjoyed it. There are countless "you pick" apple orchards around the Midwest, but none could compare to Eberly's.

Eberly Orchard

Visiting Eberly's was a walk into the past. From the hand pruned apple trees, to the old, rustic barn used as the store front, time seemed to freeze around 1949.


Upon walking into the barn, visitors were surrounded by hand written notes and signs - mostly jokes or riddles written by the owner. Hand made wooden shelves held a variety of fresh-picked apples, and a small assortment of empty bags for the u-pick adventurous type.

There was no such thing as a quick visit, as Mr. Eberly would talk at length to every customer as if he'd known them all his life. Kids would be questioned as to what they should do with the core of the apples they eat in the orchard. His response:

Boy: Apple core!
Friend: Baltimore!
Boy: Who's your friend?
Friend: Me!
Then throw the apple core at the person who said 'me'.

Before heading out into the orchard, Mr. Eberly would take an apple or two off the shelf and cut it into sections for you to try.

Only a few acres in size, the orchard was not fancy or manicured, simply left to nature. The trees had dozens of apples underneath, left to rot and fertilize the trees. The types of apples were written on white, plastic can lids, then hung from the branches of the first trees in each row. Eberly could tell you from the barn, exactly which row had Empire, or Red Delicious, "The fifth row is Empire, then the next two rows are Red Delicious, but they're not ready yet. Go over three more rows and you'll see the Gala."


After filling up our bags, we'd head back to the barn. Mr. Eberly would stop and see what we picked. All five of us would hold a half peck bag. The hand penned sign on the shelf read $2 a half peck. Of course he would ignore the sign and say," That'll be $5" -never full price. I think he remained in business just to visit with his customers.


On a wooden counter near the door was an antique cash register used to ring up sales. A few clicks of the number keys and a ratcheting sound followed by a bell, and the cash drawer would open up. He'd put in the money, then continue to talk. On the way out, he often offered the kids peacock feathers he collected from the peacocks that roamed his farm.

While I'm sure we can find lots of u-pick orchards around the county, I don't think we'll ever bother going apple picking again - it won't be the same.

As his hand written retirement sign stated.... "Thanks for the memories."

Little Fireworks

Little Fireworks

Found throughout the wooded areas of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, these flowers remind me of little fireworks.

Called Blazing Star, the flowers are star shaped when fully open.

Vivid Red

Vivid Red

The old saying, "Red sky at night, sailor's delight" was proven wrong on Saturday night. This glowing, red sunset preceded an overnight rain shower in LaPorte County, Indiana.

World War II Days

Machine Gunner

Each September, the Lockport, Illinois Park District presents reenactments of either the Civil War or World War II. This year, WWII was represented, and the final battle of the weekend depicted the capture of a small Polish village in 1939.

This early on in the war, the allied forces weren't formed, and the Polish fought to prevent a German advance.

Mort a Boche!
Here, a battle-damaged house shows signs of Polish resistance: Mort a Boche - a derogatory way of saying, "Death to Germans"

Reflections on the Little Calumet River

Reflections on the Little Calumet River

Using a fallen Cottonwood tree as a natural bridge, I walked out to the middle of the Little Calumet River to check out the view up river. The end of summer is near, yet flowers still populate the distant bank.

The river was so lazy, the current could hardly be detected.

Posing on the River

Posing on the River

Dan poses on a fallen Cottonwood tree spanning the Little Calumet River. Not sure how deep the water is right here (probably not more than two feet or so), but this tree made the perfect natural bridge.

Color Along the Little Calumet River

Little Calumet River

A Labor Day weekend walk along the bank of the Little Calumet River was quite peaceful and relaxing. Some Goldenrod on the far bank gave the landscape a pop of color.