Happy Halloween!

...from Chris, Dan and Mike

me too!

Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest!

With only three more days until Halloween, we had our annual pumpkin carving/decorating contest today. Here are all of the pumpkins, click on the image to enlarge it.

Don't be shy, let me know which one you like best by adding a comment!

traceypumpkin wolfpumpkin
Tracey's and Mike's

scottpumpkin jerrypumpkin
Scott's and Jerry's

joshpumpkin dannypumpkin
Josh's and Danny's

chrispumpkin pirateskullpumpkin
Chris' and Tom's

Chris' from school

Visit to the Zoo

Saturday was a great day for a trip to Brookfield Zoo. The weather was warm enough so we didn't need heavy coats, and most of the animals were still outside. It was also Boo at the Zoo, a day when kids can dress up in their Halloween costumes and participate in lots of fun activities.

click to enlarge photos
Lion resting

Wolves keeping watch

Baby gorilla playing

Salt Creek

Click to enlarge
View of Salt Creek from Brookfield Zoo
Brookfield, Illinois

Fall Colors

click to enlarge
Boy Running
Brookfield Zoo
Near Chicago, Illinois

Great Spot to Read

Reading Under Live Oak
Phillippe Park
Safety Harbor, Florida

Wishful Thinking

Click to enlarge
Caladesi Island State Park

Counter at Eberly's Fruit Farm

Click to enlarge
Cash Register
Eberly's Fruit Farm
North Liberty, Indiana

First Snowfall of the Season

The weather report said a chance of snow flurries, but when they say snow in October, it usually means five flakes an hour and you need to stare outside at a black building in order to see the flakes.

Not this year!
Snow on October 12th?

The earliest measurable snowfall in the Chicago area in 120 years.

I thought the earth was warming?? Guess if I use the same logic as some global warming alarmists who claim global warming when we have a day over 95 degrees, I should start yelling, "Global cooling!"

Let's all crank out our aerosol cans and start spraying to warm things up!

Anyway, it looks nice, but it's way too early for me.

Fruit Scale

Click to enlarge
Fruit scale
Eberly Fruit Farm
North Liberty, Indiana

Old Cider Barn


Cider Barn

Eberly Fruit Farm
North Liberty, Indiana
October 7, 2006

Apple Orchard

Click to Enlarge
Apples waiting to be picked
Eberly's Fruit Farm, North Liberty, Indiana
Saturday, October 7, 2006

Rescue Helicopter Landing

Had the opportunity last Saturday to snap a couple of photos of the Loyola Medical Center emergency helicopter landing in a parking lot in Orland Park, IL.



The leaves and other debris can be seen flying around the parking lot.

Captain Aaron

Captain Aaron
Anclote River
Tarpon Springs, Florida

Ice Cream Anyone?

Little ice cream shop in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

I hear there are a few of these buildings left in the country, but this is the only one I've ever seen.

Lincoln's Birthplace Memorial Building


Inside this memorial stands a log cabin claimed to be the cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born. There are doubts that the cabin is the actual one, but it did travel across the country in the late 1800 or early 1900s as the original.

What is original is the Sinking Spring Farm where the log cabin stands today. Named after the fresh water source on the property, this farm was owned by Lincoln's father and little Abraham walked around these grounds and drank water from the sinking spring (which still exists today).

I Could Use This Now!


With the temperatures dropping at night to the 40's, it's sinking in that Fall is here. I hate Fall. It's a pretty time of year (at least the first few weeks are until the leaves fall off), and it brings Halloween, but it leads to winter and I hate cold weather.

It's kind of like me shooting the messenger!

Sponges for Sale

One of my favorite stops in Florida is Tarpon Springs. This town still has the old world Greek charm along the sponge docks of the Anclote River. The sponge harvesting operation thrived until the 1970's then the Sponge Exchange (the place where sponges were sold at auction) closed and became a shopping plaza.

Small shops, like those shown below, still line Dodecanese and some other intersecting streets. These shops haven't changed since the 1970's except for air conditioning and credit card machines. The shop owners come out every so often and dip the sponges into a bucket of water to keep them soft.

Click to enlarge
Curio Shops
Tarpon Springs, Florida
June 2006

Baby Bird

Found a little baby bird in front of the house last week. Seems a little late in the year for a fledgling, but maybe it's normal. This bird was only able to fly about two feet at a time before it stopped to rest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Hope he's able to fly south with mom and dad in a few weeks.


With all of the rain we've had around here, mushrooms and other fungus have begun to show up all over the forest.

Click to enlarge
Mushroom on Tree
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
September 14, 2006

This mushroom found an interesting spot to grow- out of a 1/8 inch woodpecker hole in a dead tree (a similar hold can be seen at the top left of the photo). At first I thought this was bracket fungus, but as I looked closer, I noticed a stem and the stem was coming out of a small hole in the tree.

Just think, a tiny spore blew up from the ground and landed right inside that tiny hole.

Click to enlarge
Orange bracket fungus
Bachelor's Grove Settlement
September 9, 2006

Click to enlarge
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
September 3, 2006