Thursday evening:

Such beautiful vistas today as I drive to Dixon along Flagg Road, a scenic country route.  Multitudes of blue cornflowers line the roadside, like parade viewers. In the fields, the corn grows so tall entire farms look as though they are somehow sinking.

In the distance, the dark rounded green forests stand between the corn and the sky. Gigantic red-tailed hawks balance on telephone poles looking for food. Farmhouses are dressed up with daylilies and hollyhocks. Large red historic barns with white trim stand majestically over the landscape. Horses graze calmly in meadows and the sky lightens up and sunshine comes through. There's a soft laziness now that it's the middle of summer.

I meet lovely landowners who let me take photos of their hard work, like the older couple at "Flower Lane" farm, (photos 1 and 2) and a lovely Ashton garden (photo 3) on the way home. A part of my trip back from Dixon followed the old Lincoln Highway. And horses! Lots of horses, even if they aren't real! A horse painted on a barn, tiny horses pulling a wagon in a garden, and metal sillouette horses.  I thought you would enjoy them, dear Reader.

And, would a trip be complete without flags - especially near the Fourth of July? As you can see from the photos ... other flags are represented, too. After all, we ARE in Illinois!  What would a true Cub fan be without displaying his favorite team flag on his porch? (Jeff, this photo is especially for you, as an early birthday present. Just because  you're in L.A., doesn't mean you can't pretend you're in Illinois!) 

Dear Reader, so much is going on I can hardly keep track of it all. I am getting closer to having a septic put in.  I have received a quote on a cement slab for the new garage. Little by little, step by step.

I had black dirt delivered (and some clods of clay, I'm afraid) on July 4th (see photos below). That's how Dave and  I spent the holiday...sweating and shoveling dirt. It was the only day Dave could work here. Notice the pile of metal taken from the "dump." Dave will take it to be recycled. If worse ever comes to worse, I know I'm sitting on a gold mine (so to speak). It's right beneath the surface. After the earthmover's roughing up the soil, amazingly Dave found a small china bowl all in one piece. He suggested I clean it and put it in JJ's chapel when the chapel is finished. I found two small bottles, perfectly intact, too. The chapel photo below was taken in the early morning, July 4th. Very relaxing there.

Most of the Land is ugly right now (yep! sorry to say). But it will come around, never fear! It IS paradise, after all. And I have so much more roughing up to do...I am about to tear down the greenhouse, dispose of the old shed, keep the new shed (but move it)l, and build a small garage. I have to move my bees, who won't appreciate it, so they will be out of the way of  construction. It is a busy summer!

Kary, Dan and family can't come out this weekend as planned.This gives me time before they come out to clean up the Land...or maybe make more of a mess! These things take time. And I haven't yet found the right windows for JJ's chapel, let alone started on the "house-on-the-hill!" No shortage of work here, dear Reader! But it's all fun!

As I write this blog tonight, I hear rustling right outside my long windows. I stare out at a very nice looking - and very lethal looking - skunk! I am not moving at all right now...and scarcely breathing. I wouldn't want to upset him, would I dear Reader? And don't expect a photo, either.

A few nights ago I saw Mama Raccoon in the backyard with four - count them! - four little babies. All the babies ran away as soon as they saw me, but not Mama. She continued to eat as though I wasn't there. She knew I wouldn't hurt her. We mothers stick together!

And last but not least, did I mention that two Great Blue Herons magically dropped from the sky right in front of my windows several morning ago? One never knows what to expect out here in Paradise.

These last few nights have been really sticky and humid. It's especially sticky right now, but I'm not sure if it's the weather ... or the thought of upsetting the skunk  that has me sweating!

Sleep well, dear Reader, sleep well!


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