Sunday, September 27, 2009

Got S'More?

We went out for a bike ride tonight before more rains hit and saw this. We just had to turn around and go back for a photo. They were pretty interested in the helmeted goofball with a camera in the ditch as you can see.

It looked so comical..two cows standing around a smoking fire, just like they were waiting for the party to begin or maybe they were the last to leave?!?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Orchard, winery & barn tour

After a lazy start to our Sunday morning(man, I like Saturday night church!), we decided it was time to go for a ride. The nice Sundays are going to be few and far between as the weather turns, so wanted to take advantage of it while we still could. The main goal was to end up at an apple orchard but we wound up with some other interesting stops in the process.

There is something reminiscent of my childhood to see cattle grazing in the pasture. Notice the sunny sky too.

As they said "Go West young man" so we listened and headed west to Iowa.

We crossed my "favorite" (not) bridge between Savanna, IL & Sabula, IA. The bridge has a grated surface that pulls the bike all over the place plus you can see right down through it so it never feels very safe. Oh, and please disregard the road kill in the picture right above the windshield. Poor little guy didn't quite make it to the other side. Now, what was he thinking anyway? Silly animals!

Once you cross the bridge the road runs between the backwaters of the Mississippi River and is always good for viewing wildlife. These water are almost always loaded with herons such as this one.

The rolling farmground along the river in Iowa is always so picturesque. We'd like to return in a week or two as the leaves turn.

First stop on Rt 52 was the Gravert's Apple Orchard. I came, I saw, I purchased.
Goal accomplished!
While there, we found out about the Brush Creek Winery west of Bellevue and thought we would check it out. Sorry no winery pictures. I didn't even think about it. I did think about making a purchase there though and we did! The owner was really interesting to talk with and told us about a barn tour going on in the area. Knowing, we wouldn't have time to stop at them all as it was starting to cloud up, we went with the winery owners suggestion of which one was the most interesting. Wow, what a beautiful place!

This farmstead orginated in the 1850's with the original part of the house being built in 1870. Isn't it gorgeous? I love the limestone bank. The owners just added the wrap around porch this year. Aren't the steps cool? They were concrete but stamped and stained to look like wood.

A beautiful rock waterfall in the backyard.

Here are just a couple of the buildings. In all there are 18 remaining buildings on the farm. They were all painted the traditional red & white and all had green roofs.

The family that lives here raise alpacas. If you ask me, they kind of look like a poodle on steroids. The owners said they are a very gentle animal. They were definitely unconcerned about me taking their picture. The Mrs. had alpaca yarn for sale. I've never felt anything so soft in my life. I did resist the urge to buy some as the only knitting I've ever done is a simple garter stitch scarf but it sooo really tempting. I could just imagine it wrapped around my neck this winter.

By now, it was really clouding up so thought we ought to make a run for home. So much for the sun we had earlier in the day. We didn't quite make it before the rain hit. We rode in it for the last 25 miles. It was well worth it to spend the day with my hubby on the back of our bike.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sure signs

Sure signs fall is around the corner. ...

Foggy mornings

Fall decorations inside the house

and out

corn and beans drying down

and just a glimmer of the changing leaves

Autumn is by far my favorite season.

I just winter wasn't around the next corner.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The week at Extreme Makeover Home Edition in pictures.

Phillip and Joey Stott farm, Lena, Illinois -- how it looked before Hollywood got a hold of it.

The trailer the family was living in since their house fire early this spring.

and so it begins - the equipment moves in

After 3 days, the foundation is done, the shell is up, siding is being installed and inside work has begun

I spent most of my shifts in the Volunteer & Contractor check-in tent off-site. It was still dark when I would arrive in the morning but I was usually treated to a beautiful sunrise before long. Volunteers and contractors would come and park at this site, check-in with us and get on a bus to ride to the worksite 3 miles down the road. The busses ran 24/7.

This was my Saturday work crew. The man in the middle wasn't near as grouchy as he appears. Harley was really just a big ol teddy bear. He is a security guard with Extreme Security and travels with the show. His assignment for the week was the volunteer tent so we got to know each other quite well. He was a wealth of information. As we would think of questions regarding how they do something, he always had an answer and a story.

A sheep barn was remodeled for the family in addition to building a home.

Ed working in the Art tent building a bed for one of the boys. That's my boss, Scott looking over his shoulder.

Isn't the kitchen beautiful? My cousin, Dave led the cabinet installation team.

My brother-in-law, Tom and niece, Amanda installed this cabinet in the mudroom. It reminds me of an old bakers cupboard.

Here is the fireplace in a very yellow great room. I hope the family really likes yellow as it's everywhere inside and out.

Open stairway leading to bedrooms...the man who installed and trimmed out the staircase is the man who built our house.

Looking from the kitchen towards the dining area.

The back of the house. There is a fountain in the bed towards the corner of the home. A little further back out of the picture is a new residential wind turbine.

106 hours later, we have a completed house! Pretty wild, huh?

I'm struggling with how much to say about how the show is produced, what's real and what isn't so I think I won't say much along those lines. I don't want to shatter someones perception of it. I know it sure made a difference in how I will look at the show. Not necessarily in a negative way, just that some things weren't what they seemed before.

The show featuring this build is set to air sometime in December or January. If I hear more specifics, I'll be sure to pass the information along.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Out of pocket

No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth but have been spending much time in here processing volunteers. (please ignore the pile of garbage in front of the tent -- no time to edit pictures either)

I will post more photos in the next few days of the Extreme Home Makeover going on near us.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Family revealed

I shared last week regarding the buzz about Extreme Home Makeover coming to the area. The door knock happened this morning and the family has been revealed. Read all about them here and here.

I'm excited to be working in the volunteer check-in tent tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday which is housed off-site. Next week I'm working Tuesday night with Dan on-site doing whatever they ask us to do. Should be fun.

I'll try and post what I can but picture taking is not allowed. It sounds like they will be posting some photos on this website though if you're interested.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Everyone's abuzz

Our area is all abuzz with excitement.

Word came out last week that ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition is coming to town!

This is huge news for a small mid-western town!
My husband and I are volunteering as well as our son and daughter-in-law. Just about anyone else you talk with are either volunteering or wishing they would have signed up before all the slots were filled. Over 1500 time slots were filled in under 6 hours! It'll be so much fun to be a part of the project and interesting to see how these houses get built in only 106 hours.

Only a few chosen people know who the lucky family is but my, oh my, are the rumors flying. I swear, each day the rumor mill has it happening in a different area of NW Illinois.
Door knock happens on September 9th, the mystery will be solved and everyone will hit the ground running. I hope it's as fun as I'm imagining it to be.

I'll keep you posted as best as I can or you can follow along with the project at this website.

We're excited here in Northwest Illinois, that's for sure!