Monday, July 25, 2011

Green Acres

My husband grew up on a farm. His family stayed in the same geographical area for his entire childhood surrounded by their very large extended family.  I, for the most part, have always lived in towns or cities.  My family moved around a bit as a kid but I did spend a large portion of my childhood in the vicinity of Iroquois County, Illinois.  I met my now husband when he was 12 years old while my dad was drilling a water well for one of the buildings on the farm. I was 11 and remember him as being tall and skinny.

Anyway...Thursday, we headed back to his family farm, which he now co-owns with his two brothers.  My husband and his brothers look at their farm not only from the perspective of their family history but also from the perspective of costs, profits, production, blah, blah, blah...more work than fun. 

It turns out that it takes a great deal of work to plant crops like soybeans.

My brother-in-law is a good guy and a good farmer

We are pretty much the equivalent of a modern version of Green Acres with a twist.  My husband knows a lot about being a good farmer as he grew up on the farm. BUT.... He likes the city life.  I know next to nothing about farming, much like Eddie Albert's character, Oliver and I think farming looks interesting...dare I say fun.  So in our version hubby is Lisa and I am Oliver.
From where we live in Kansas City it takes 7.5 hours to get to Iroquois County, IL.  We always take the small state highways as opposed to the Interstate highways because it makes for a far more interesting drive.
Oddly enough, taking the backroads gets you there in exactly the same amount of time. 

This is what would see if one would drive on the Interstate

Ahhh, the beauty of traveling the Interstate (you do get the sarcasm here, right???)

The backroads however always have neat things to look at. 

If you ever need some tacky souvenirs, Nostalgiaville is the place to get them.
Need anything with Betty Boop on it???  Kingdom City, MO

Crossing the Mississippi at Louisiana, Mo

The Mississippi River (my tinted widows are making it look wasn't)
 Stopped in Springfield, Illinois for lunch.  If you haven't ever visited the historical area of Springfield it is worth a look.  The Lincoln Museum and Library is really interesting.

Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, IL
Be sure to check out the show  "Ghosts of the Library".  You won't
believe what you are seeing.

A little gas station in Dwight, IL that sits on RT 66

The little town near hubby's family farm is L' Erable.  It is tiny at around a hundred or so people.  You would have to hand count the inhabitants as the US Census doesn't recognize it as a town.  Still, it is the home to the oldest wood framed church in the state of Illinois. St. John the Baptist, Roman Catholic Church is still used today.

St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, L'Erable, IL

We recently attended a very pretty wedding
at St. John the Baptist

The largest town near our farm that would have hotels is Kankakee, Illinois.

Civil War Memorial in front of the Kankakee courthouse

As a little girl I thought this was the most magnificent waterfall.
I hadn't ever seen a real waterfall at that point.  Who knew??
Kankakee gets a lot of negative press as it has experienced an economic slump for a number of years but there is a lot of pretty places around town as well. 

We make a few trips back to the farm any given year but it is especially nice if we can go during the time of the county fair.  This year it worked out. 

So today, I am just getting you to the farm...tomorrow, I will post some farm pictures and Wednesday will be a post about our day at the fair.

The Good for the Day...It was a fun trip visiting old familiar places and seeing our family and friends.

The Bad for the day...when will this hot weather ever cool down.

The Weird for the Day... Kankakee is about 50 miles south of Chicago.  Saturday morning, we walked out of a mall to a downpour.  The rain was so heavy that it flooded nearby areas including O'Hare Airport.

A song about a train leaving from Kankakee


Rob in Lausanne said...

Hi Cheryl

You are so fortunate to have that family farm. My grandfather's 300 acres with half a kilometre of beach frontage was sold up in 1971. I sometimes drive down the lane to the old farm house just to look at it. The majority of the farm is a national reserve these days and other parts of it you are not able to build on. It was an awesome place to grow up, but a lot of work for pop.

best from the Oz east coast

Nicky said...

L'érable?! That's French for The Maple. Cheryl, it's like we were separated at birth, I tell you!!

I love these pictures and the fact that you guys don't take the Interstate. I love driving, and that looks like an awesome drive.

Cheryl P. said...

Hi Rob,

I hope we are able to keep it in my husband's family long term but farms are a lot of work. After my brother-in-law decides to retire we will have to find a tenant farmer or someone that would be willing to farm it. Time will tell.

A national reserve sounds interesting. I bet it was a great place to grow up.

Talk to you soon. Hope all is well with you and your wife.

Cheryl P. said...

You are right. (I read French better than I can speak it) L'Erable was settled by French Canadians. I went to school with a lot of French sounding last names. In fact, some of our relatives have French names but it is because they married into the family. My husband's family is Dutch.

We do have a lot in common. (other than you are young and cute) I am going to do a post on Thurs. with pics from the return trip. We just love to visit the small town in the Midwest and look around.

jayne said...

What a great trip back to the farm. Long drive but lots of interesting markers along the way. It must feel good to breath in all that fresh farmland once you arrive.
Great photos!

Kimberly Wyatt said...

Great pictures! I love that taking the small highways doesn't cost you time! We used to travel to Bloomington, Indiana every year to visit my cousin when she was attending IU, and whether we took the back way or the major expressways, it took 2.5 hours. So we always took the scenic routes!

This farm looks beautiful! I can't wait to hear more about your trip!

Cheryl P. said...

Thanks Jayne, I really enjoyed the car time as hubby has been traveling a lot lately and it was fun just talking. You are right that it is nice to get out in the country.

Cheryl P. said...

Isn't it amazing how that works out to take the same amount of time. I have driven to Bloomington, IN a few times for work and I rather enjoy the drive there too. I am still thinking nothing can top Rabbit Hash though.

Aleta said...

Ok, don't laugh, we used to live on Green Acres Road! That was the first home that my parents owned and the first home of my childhood memories. My friends thought I was kidding when I tell them that road name :) Love the pictures and wild seeing that airplane with the flooding!

Cheryl P. said...

What a memorable name for a road. Was the road named prior to the TV show?

That was crazy how fast and heavy that rain hit. The storm drains couldn't take the run off fast enough. They closed down the Dan Ryan Expressway for a couple of hours too. I can't remember that ever happening before.

meleahrebeccah said...

Seriously, just looking at the photo of the bridge gives me a panic attack.

Cheryl P. said...

Breathe steady, my friend. Bridges have that effect on some people, I know. I just love bridges. (unless they are really, really narrow) Do heights bother you or just bridges? I wonder if those things are related? I hope you don't have to deal with that too often. Don't want you being stressed.

meleahrebeccah said...

Oh yes, heights are definitely an issue for me too.

Cheryl P. said...

That is a really common fear. Have you always had a problem with heights? I used to have a real phobia about being surrounded by heavy traffic. Since we lived in Chicago, I was really struggling. Over the years I have gotten past it for the most part. Although, I hate to have semis next to me in really heavy traffic situations. That still makes me "white knuckled" on the steering wheel.

Jewell said...

HA! I don't need to go home...I just need to read your blog to remember why I don't live there anymore! =) If I had to live in the middle of a cornfield again I just might strip a stalk of it's leaves and slice my wrists. It wouldn't do much to help but still.... =)

Cheryl P. said...

I still waver back and forth depending on how much I hate my neighbors any given day. Plus I really like the people around our farm. I suppose we will continue to be cityfolk for the immediate future. (so very conflicted)

Rick Gleason said...

Good bless farmers! Salt of the earth! And those truckers too we see along the Interstate.