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Mike spreading some dandelion seeds
Not on my lawn....

Cloudy at St. Joseph

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View of Silver Beach
St. Joseph, Michigan

It was a warm Saturday when this photo was taken. The skies looked as if they were painted by Salvidor Dali; rain threatened but never materialized, and these logs were washed up on the shore of Lake Michigan by the last storm.

Bird Brain

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Seagull on Lake Michigan Seawall
Evanston, IL

Guess he can't read or he just doesn't care if he breaks the rules.

Waiting for Summer

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Lifeguard Tower Waiting for Summer
Washington Park Beach
Michigan City, Indiana

A bright yellow lifeguard tower stands out against the sand, water and sky. In just a couple of weeks, this beach will be filled with people sunbathing and swimming in Lake Michigan.

Round Barn Backlit

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Round Barn
Marshall County, Indiana

This round barn is on the grounds of the Fulton County Museum near Rochester, Indiana. The Rochester area is home to the most round barns in the country - nine, including the oldest round barn in the country.

Their Round Barn Festival is coming up June 7-9, 2007. I hope to attend the three hour tour of the round barns around Rochester.

Sand Dunes along Lake Michigan

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Sand Dune
Washington Park Beach
Michigan City, Indiana

Michigan City Light

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Michigan City Lighthouse
Washington Park
Michigan City, Indiana

It was a sunny Saturday in the high 60's, a perfect day to enjoy walking along the shore of Lake Michigan in Michigan City's famous Washington Park. A six dollar parking fee seemed well worth it once we stepped on the beach. The lighthouse was about two block away - down a long breakwater - and you can walk all the way out and around it.

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After the lighthouse, we enjoyed walking along the shore. The water was frigid, but splashing along wasn't so bad. The beach seems to be a few miles long and is pretty wide and has several tall sand dunes with "seagrass" blocking a lot of the housing and industry from view.

Amish Indiana

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Preserved Barn and Implements
Amish Acres, Nappanee, IN

On the grounds of the famous Amish Acres restaurant sits an historic farm. It was a beautiful warm April day when we visited, so we wandered around the grounds for a bit.

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Round Barn
Amish Acres, Nappanee, IN

This round barn was built in 1911 and moved to Amish Acres in 1991. There it was turned into a modern theater where plays are performed daily.

Grosse Point Light

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Grosse Point Lighthouse
Sheridan Road Side

I was unable to post anything on my blog for a few days! The blog disappeared and I couldn't do anything about it. Today, it reappeared and it's good to be back.

Sunday, April 22 was a beautiful 83 degree day in the Chicago area. A perfect day to explore the shore of Lake Michigan. I've wanted to visit Grosse Point Lighthouse for a long time, so we finally climbed into the car and drove up to Evanston to find the light. It was easy to find, and easy to wander around to take some photos. The kids even waded into Lake Michigan - well, the little warm tidal pools at least.

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Grosse Point Lighthouse
Beach Side

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Grosse point Lighthouse
From Lake Michigan

Let me tell you... Lake Michigan on April 22 is extremely COLD! I wandered in up to my knees for this shot and almost screamed in agony at the piercing cold water.

Snow and Dew

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Melting snow beads up on the leaves of a woodland plant

Peek A Boo

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Squirrel Hiding

Here's a little guy I ran into in the woods today. He kept peeking around the tree waiting for me to move on. Every step I took, he would move around the tree so only his head was showing.

More from the Little Barn

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Crib Barn
Orland Park, IL

Another shot of one of my favorite subjects. An approaching rain storm had the sky looking almost artificial. A few minutes later, a heavy, cold rain fell in the area, washing away any ideas of more photos.

April Snowstorm

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Crib Barn in Orland Park, IL
Covered in Fresh Snow

Winter showed the Chicago area that he's not finished yet. 1 to 3 inches of fresh, wet snow fell overnight with additional snow, rain and sleet expected throughout the day. All this after temperatures near 80 a couple of weeks ago and 50 yesterday.

At least it should melt quickly...

Metal Cupola

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Whalon Barn Cupola
Bolingbrook, Illinois

One of two metal cupolas on the old Whalon barn. The barn is the property of the Will County Forest Preserve, and is fenced in so vandals cannot enter. Perhaps one day it will be restored.

Lucky Star Farms

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Lucky Star Farms
No longer in operation

The Lucky Star horse farm closed about two years ago and has begun the process of deterioration. These barns seem to know when they are not occupied, they start to fall apart almost right away. I never noticed any roof shingles missing when the ranch was open, but just a few months after it closed, the shingles started to fall off! Coincidence - of course - but it does seem strange that the roof of a barn can remain intact for 40 years of more without any maintenance, but as soon as the farm closes, the structure falls into disrepair.

Whalon Barn

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Whalon Barn
Bolingbrook, IL

The Whalon barn in Bolingbrook, IL is an early 1900s barn in relatively good structural condition. The Will County Forest Preserve District is in the process of preserving it, or at least keeping it protected from vandals.

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Whalon Barn at Sunset

Budding Tree

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Tree beginning to sprout leaves

Came across this tree in the woods yesterday. I'm not sure what tree it is, but it certainly has some interesting flowers and buds. I don't think the flower will be any color other than green, but it sure looks substantial. The flower is only about 1 inch tall, so it's not very prominent.

I'll have to check back in the summer to see if I can identify the tree.

Trout Lily

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White Trout Lily
Seager Woods, Illinois

Did you ever notice how the woods change from day to day. This winter, the woods seemed stagnant; snow and ice melted and accumulated over and over, covering and uncovering the dull shades of brown. As the weather warmed, the browns began to show signs of green and in only a few days, the greens have given way to whites, blues, yellows and purples.

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Bumble Bee on White Trout Lily
with False Rue Anemone Growing nearby

This White Trout Lily is a native to Illinois. It blooms in the early spring for about a week, giving the small amount of bees some pollen to start their hives. The plant is about four inches tall, and the blossom is about half an inch wide, barely large enough for the bumble bee.

Each day in the woods, I see something totally new. Most of the things would go unnoticed if you just took a walk down the path, but when you start looking at the details close to the ground, you find flowering plants barely two inches tall. It's amazing that these plants spring up in just a day or two and flower in another day or two. I wonder what I miss when I don't get out to the woods for a day?

Star Magnolia in Bloom

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Star Magnolia

The star magnolias are in full bloom here in Chicago -- a sure sign of spring. Although today we had temperatures in the mid 60s, tonight it may snow as temperatures will drop to 31!

Winter's last breath...I hope.
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May Apple Plant Sprouting
Seagar Woods, Illinois

The woods were filled with these little guys today. They shot up in a couple of days and are standing like little soldiers, perfectly upright. They remind me of umbrellas on the beach or mini palm trees.