Let’s say you are a tiny rodent. A field mouse, maybe. You’re out looking for something to munch on for lunch. You sense something overhead. You look up. You see this. The hawk was looking for lunch, too. The raptor was seen overhead, on display, at the Giant City State Park visitors center.

Some summer adventures...and other stuff...

Please read this...

So much to write about. That, I suppose, is a good thing. So little time. Maybe not so good.

For various reasons, the last couple of weeks were a bit of a challenge when it came time to craft some sort of world salad culinary masterpiece. Thanks to a couple of visitors from the south and east, we have some adventures and some special memories to share.

Because of that little pandemic thing you might have heard about, and some other factors, we hadn’t seen our visitors for quite some time. Except for a couple of Zoom interactions. Ugh.

Fortune smiled on us, and them, in the summer of ‘22, unless, of course, you don’t take some rather hot and humid weather into consideration, and they were able to make a road trip.

Their journey started with a visit to St. Louis, and a Cardinals ballgame. The Cardinals won. After taking in some of the sights and sounds of St. Louis in the summer time, they headed south.

The Other Half and yours truly tried to come up with some activities in the midst of the wonderful heat and humidity we’ve been experiencing in the Land Between the Rivers.

One afternoon last week, three of us motored to Giant City State Park near Makanda. Wisely, The Other Half stayed home. In the air-conditioning. And took a nap.

We paid a visit to the visitors center at the park. If you have been to the visitors center, it’s well worth a stop. And it was air-conditioned, too.

Among the many exhibits which can be seen at the visitors center, my favorite one was “Who’s Pooping in Our Woods?” 

“Scientists don’t usually say poop,” the display noted. “They call poop SCAT!”

We have a scientist in our family now. She was not with us at the time. I am not a scientist. I am a journalist. Journalists say poop. 

Turns out there are at least seven furry animals pooping in the woods in our little part of the world. These critters include minks, raccoons, opossums (better known as just plain old possums to most of us), grey squirrels (we have red squirrels, too; I assume they also poop in the woods), coyotes, striped skunks and white-tailed deer. 

At some point, we are pretty sure that raccoons, possums, squirrels of one color or another, striped skunks and white-tailed deer have paid a visit to our yard, where they have pooped in The Other Half’s garden. Along with groundhogs and armadillos, which, I assume, poop at some point. They were not mentioned in the display.

After learning about who’s pooping in the woods at the visitors center, we headed to the nearby Fern Rocks Nature Preserve Trillium Trail at the park. On a sweltering hot Southern Illinois afternoon, Fern Rocks had kind of a cool sound to it. 

Nope. It was hot. And humid. I later learned that the heat index during the afternoon of our visit to Giant City State Park was approximately 158.6 degrees. However, there supposedly was a wind chill at some point during the day. 

Last week involved a couple of other adventures, too, including visits to:

The Mississippi River at Grand Tower. Snake Road. The Trail of Tears State Forest (a creek bed, of course...got there just in time for a “scattered shower” to fall on us). The Lincoln Memorial Picnic Grounds in Jonesboro (on the way, we drove past the house along South Main Street in Anna where Mr. Lincoln spent some time back in the day). All of these little adventures once again reminded me of all the treasures we have right here in our backyard. 

During the evenings last week, we played a couple of games of Scrabble....in honor of the memory of a very special person in our lives. The Other Half won both games. 

One other evening, we had garlic bologna sandwiches...on white bread...again, in honor of the memory of the same special person.

I have one other special memory from last week. A culinary treat, of sorts. In case you might be interested, here are the ingredients and the very simple recipe:

Two slices of bread. White bread is preferred, wheat is acceptable, especially if that’s the only thing in the kitchen. One banana. Ripe. Mayonnaise.

Slice the banana into “coin” shapes. Spread mayonnaise on one slice of bread. Place banana slices on the bread. Spread mayonnaise on the second slice of bread. Put second slice on top of first slice and bananas. Yup. A banana and mayonnaise sandwich. You probably have the same thoughts I did. Actually, it wasn’t bad. 

By the way, the mayonnaise has to be Duke’s. Just because...


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Anna, Illinois 62906
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