Fulton County Round Barn Festival

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Larry Paxton Round Barn
Fulton County Indiana Museum

It was the Round Barn Festival in Rochester, Indiana this weekend. I missed the actual festival, so I wasn't able to go on the tour of nine round barns (the most in a single county in the US), but I managed to find a couple the next day that were on the tour and just explored them myself.

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Jerry Calloway Round Barn with Animals Depicted on Roof
Fulton/Miami Indiana County Line

This is the Calloway barn, built in 1915. It's 80 feet in diameter with a 50 foot tall silo in the center of the building.


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Rubio Woods
Cook County, Illinois

Cicada Invation!

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Perodical Cicada
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery

Every 16 or 17 years, the northern Illinois area is swarmed by cicadas. Areas that have or had mature trees are hit heaviest. The cicadas emerge from a 16 year underground larvae stage and burrow up onto the surface to dry out and molt. Once they shed their "skin" their wings grow and dry out in about an hour, then they take flight up to the tree tops where they call for a mate. The cicada's call is the loud, buzzing sound you hear in the summer, but here where there are millions and millions of cicadas, it's almost too loud to think! The combined call sounds like a whaling fire alarm in the forest!

They only live for two weeks, just enough time to mate and lay eggs that will hatch, burrow underground and feed for the next 16 years.

Parts of the woods are literally covered in live cicadas and their skins. You can't walk around without one landing on you. No worries, the cicada does not have any mouth parts or stingers, so they're harmless.
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Cicada on Mike's Neck

Distant Skyline

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Chicago Skyline seen from Mt. Baldy
Michigan City, Indiana

Storm clouds break up and make way for some evening sunlight over Lake Michigan.

Mt. Baldy is a 125 foot tall sand dune in Michigan City, Indiana, and is part of the National Lakeshore.

I Saw the Light (house)

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Michigan City Lighthouse
Washington Park
Michigan City, Indiana

Memorial Day weekend didn't stop us from going to see the Michigan City lighthouse. Here you see the large boulders along the north side of the lighthouse breakwater. These rocks help break the waves and reduce "scour" a process that would undermine the concrete breakwater in a matter of years.

Fog of War

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Smoke fills the battlefield during a Civil War reenactment
Naperville, Illinois

Hersh and the McCarricks

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Lakeshore Theater
May 22

Kristin Hersh performed last night in Chicago with her loyal 50 Foot Wave band members Bernard and Rob, and the McCarricks from London UK. The show was at the Lakeshore Theater on Broadway and Belmont - a perfect, comfortable venue for this type of show.

Kristin Hersh on Stage

Kristin Hersh and Kimberlee McCarrick

Martin McCarrick performs on stage
May 22

Civil War Battle

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Cannon Firing
Civil War Reenactment
Naperville, Illinois

This civil war era cannon really lets off a boom during the annual Naper Settlement Civil War Days. Since the cannon was not firing a projectile, only about 1/4 the amount of black powder was used, but you could still feel the explosion a few hundred feet away. They don't use too much black powder in reenactments because it would break the windows in the historic settlement.

Woodland Flowers

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false soloman seal and shadow
False Solomon's Seal in dappled sunlight
Illinois Woodland

Sheriff Bikes

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Row of Berrien County Sheriff Motorcycles
Outside the Amtrack Station
St. Joseph, Michigan

A rather large crowd was gathering at Silver Beach on the shore of Lake Michigan to attend the festivities at the annual Blossom Time Festival. To help preserve the peace (or as Chicago's famous Mayor Daley once said, "To preserve disorder") several Berrien County Sheriff's officers parked their bikes to take part in foot patrol on the lakefront.


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Mother Goose and her Gosling
Lake Katherine
Palos, Illinois

Spring welcomes a new generation of geese at the Lake Katherine nature preserve. In addition to the teams of geese, ducks and heron were also seen raising new families.

Lake Katherine is just west of Harlem Ave. slightly north of Route 83 on Lake Catherine Drive and right along the Calumet Sag Channel.

Starved Rock

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Pine Tree on 125 foot tall Limestone Butte
Starved Rock State Park

Made the long climb up to Starved Rock over the weekend. Starved Rock is one of the many limestone buttes in the area around the small town of Utica, Illinois that can be climbed and explored. The state park has miles of trails through the woods and stone canyons near the Illinois River.

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Starved Rock Butte
Click to see the flagpole at the top

Starved Rock gets its name from an Indian battle where one tribe was driven up this butte and surrounded by another tribe. The battle lasted until all of the warriors on the butte starved to death.


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A Snake hunting in Tinley Creek Woods

Found a little three-foot long snake hunting for prey while walking through the woods on Sunday. A dog was puzzled when he found the snake, I guess he's never seen one before. Thanks to the dog the snake froze and didn't move an inch for well over a minute. It gave me the chance to photograph him up close.

Green Heron

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Green Heron Hunting in Lake Katherine
Palos, IL

Here's a little heron that just flew up from the south for the summer. He's perfectly happy hunting in this small inland lake in Illinois.


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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