Halloween snowstorm and a delayed harvest…

Not often do we find ourselves looking out into a blowing, white snowstorm on Halloween morning. Well, that’s exactly what has presented itself today here in northern Illinois. Of course, the possibility of accumulating snow has been in the forecast all week, and, sure enough, it was spot on! It will be interesting to see just how many little ghosts, goblins, and other ghoulish creatures come knocking on our door later today with determined attempts at garnering candy.

As I write this late in the morning, looking out my workroom window to the east, the snow is swirling and buffeting around the tall trees and the tall golden corn in the field beyond. That golden corn crop should have been cut already, but the weather has been an uncooperative force all along. When farmers are still struggling to get a harvest started—let alone completed—this little weather quirk will be one more fly in the ointment.

It has certainly been rough for them all the way through this year. From the beginning, being able to get into the fields in early spring was near impossible for many weeks, due to the massive amount of wet weather we had here in northern Illinois. Next, there was quite a number of storm damage done in the summer months, causing many crops to be lost. Now, when harvest time should be in full swing, there’s this day of snow, as though conjured up by the Halloween spirits to further test the patience and mettle of those dependent upon a successful harvest.

We’re definitely living in strange times, and one need not look any further than out my workroom window on this Halloween day, 2019, to begin to believe it!

Let the trick-or-treaters bundle up warmly and tread carefully through the white stuff later today, as they go about the business of gathering the goodies that await them. And best wishes to the farmers as they try to make the best of this continuing pattern of misfortune.

Autumn down many roads…


When last I wrote here, we had closed the cottage we’ve rented for several years on a lake in Michigan, sold our pontoon and watched it disappear from our lives on a trailer soon after I drove it onto same at the public launch site, and had busied ourselves with the lovely chore of finding places here at home for any “leftover” lake things that we didn’t wish to part with. Glad to report that all of that is finished!

And it was still pretty much summer, with temperatures riding most days in the mid- to high 80s, our air conditioning getting in an extended workout for several days thereafter.

But, as always happens, the calendar rolled around to September 22—the  first day of autumn, (and, by the way, our older grandson’s birthday). The changes—slight as they were—began to appear, showing signs of the new season.


Trees sported various hues of rust and gold. Fields of tall green corn became khaki-clad acres, and the thick bean field (a vibrant green all summer) out beyond our house, now a brown rug. Both patiently await the harvest that is sure to come—soon. And by then, autumn will be full-blown into the most wonderful season that it is!


Pumpkins and apples and doughnuts and cider and corn mazes at the many farms and orchards and roadside stands so plentiful out here away from the big city, will allure folks from near and far during these next wonderful weeks ahead. On those splendid sun-drenched days, with clear blue skies and an air that requires a nice sweatshirt, everyone will feel alive and happy that autumn has arrived.

It’s a time, too, whenever I have to drive someplace, that I insist on avoiding major highways and any other well-traveled roads. I’ve learned that there are more ways to get to a place, even though it might take a bit longer!

The venerable homesteads and farms in this part of Illinois, glorious in their appearance, surrounded by expansive and seemingly endless fields of corn and beans, provide a magnificent spectacle and panorama as I roll by along the sun-dappled country road. This


experience always conjures up thoughts and imaginings about who might have travelled these very roads down through the years, long before my time. What stories they could impart!

Back home, I grab a juicy honey crisp apple and settle into my favorite chair on the deck, enjoying the last of the day’s sunshine, feeling the chill of the coming evening ever so slightly as I take one more look out over the scene that has so quickly been transformed into the glory of autumn.



Hey, it’s good to be back home again!


Autumn leaf color
Autumn leaf color (Photo credit: INABA Tomoaki)


I think it was John Denver who had a big hit with a song by the same title, and I have to agree with his sentiments completely. It is good to be back home again! 


Another cottage/lake season has come to a close, and we have moved back home to northern Illinois. The beginnings of true fall weather are upon us, and it’s good to be under our own roof once again. The suitcases have been unpacked, the summer clothes have been stored away, and the writing room and desk are looking like the old, familiar friends they are. It feels wonderful to sit here, with good light and comfort, and type away.


 Though the summer was wonderful, providing me with much grist for my mill, I’m happy that the golden cornfields out back and in all the surrounding area are showing their autumn colors as harvest approaches. There’s comfort in all of that…CortlandWriter


Reconnecting and Traveling Along an Old “Friend”…

Back Home

November has arrived, and with it blue skies and plenty of autumn sunshine. A great majority of the corn and bean fields have been harvested now, leaving empty spaces of brown and khaki. There is a sense of wrapping things up for a while, preparing for the coming cold weather in the days, weeks, and months ahead. All around there seems to be a determination to get everything in its proper place: lawn furniture stored away in the basement; lawnmower cleaned and drained and stowed in the shed; a final application of winterizer/fertilizer on the lawn. No one says much about doing any of this, it seems to be an understood ritual every year about this time. This is November!

I was away for a few days, out in Ohio to visit and reconnect with relatives whom I hadn’t seen in many years. The occasion was an informal get-together on Saturday, and I really wasn’t too sure just how things would go. As it turned out, though, I’m glad I made the trip. The conversations were all about catching-up with each others’ lives and simply enjoying the time together. Perhaps the words spoken by one of my cousins when I first arrived sum up the reality of the occasion best: “We got old!” I never quite thought of it that way, because I’m forever young (in my mind) and still thinking about the things I want to do when I grow up. I thought his words were humorous, but the more I think about them, the more I realize that we did, indeed, “get old!” There was a time that I thought 61 qualified as being old, but one’s perspective certainly changes a bit when one reaches that age! 

As I write this, and think back on Saturday’s gathering, I’m glad we had the time and means to be together. For a short time Saturday, I found myself time-traveling back to when we were actually young–11 or 12–and I could not do the math quite well enough to figure out exactly where all those intervening years went. Most of us took very different paths to get to where we are today, but the quality of family love and warmth that we all knew well when we were young was still there on Saturday–all these years later. I miss those days of innocence and sharing with cousins–if only briefly a couple times a year–and the recent get-together will be something I’ll long remember as well.

On the way home yesterday, I avoided the usual drive on the Ohio and Indiana Turnpikes. Instead, I set out on the road that I’ve travelled many times through the years: U.S. Route 30. I will be devoting another Blog post to this very topic, so I’ll just mention it now. As it was with reconnecting with my cousins this past weekend, I was reconnected with a highway that holds many a memory as well. I look forward to sharing many of the memories of that old friend, U.S.  Route 30–The Lincoln Highway….MLA