Archive for July, 2011

A Flower Called Beardtongue

The weather has been hot, and I want to get outside with the camera.  Each time  I go outside, the air conditioning seems to call me back.  So, I started going through some old pictures.  Here is one that brings a smile and good memories.  Thoughts of cooler weather, soothing warm sunshine, and the sounds of nature’s music as life reveals itself everywhere I look.

Flowering Beardtongue at Sand Creek Conservation Area

Cooler days have been, and cooler days will be.  Soon, one of the local conservation areas will have someone waking the trails again, looking at all that is growing, listening to the birds in the trees, and enjoying some of the simple things in life.  If you have not tried it, you need to experiance it.  For more info on Natural Areas in Macon County visit

Ain’t Nothin But The Blues Festival And Bernard Allison

There is a great Blues music festival in Bloomington, IL. this weekend.  It is “Ain’t Nothin But The Blues ”  I ran up there Friday night and watched two of the bands.  This was the last one to play, and they were great.

Bernard Allison

The concert lasted about an hour longer than scheduled, so I got my moneys worth.

Bernard Allison at "Ain't Nothin But The Blues" Festival

 Bernard really made the guitar talk, literally.  He spent a couple of minutes making the guitar sound like words while moving his mouth to look like he was saying it.

If anyone has some free time today, again head up to Bloomington. 

Ballard Nature Center

Fourth of July weekend I took Saturday morning and headed to Ballard Nature Center   Ballard has a rich display of wildflowers.  This year was not as rich as in the past.  I think the trip was made 7-10 days too early.  There were wildflowers, but the area was not full of them.  The trip was still worth it.

Downy Sunflower at Ballard Nature Center – Altamont, Illinois

Rolling out of bed at 3:00 am is not my idea of fun.  But I wanted to arrive around sunrise.  It was a warm morning, but not as warm as it would be later that day.  Besides having better light to photograph by, the cooler morning made the trip much easier.  We had the park to ourselves till about 8am, then people started to arrive taking walks and just viewing the wildlife on the ponds.

There were compass plant, white wild indigo, swamp milkweed, purple coneflower, pale purple coneflower, rattlesnake master, spiderwort and many other prairie flowers blooming. 

Spiderwort plant with water droplets at Ballard Nature Center - Altamont, Illinois

 Spiderwort is a plant that blooms early morning.  If you wait till noon, you will be too late. Each flower blooms for only one day.  It is a flower that starts in the spring and continues into the summer.

White Wild Indigo at Ballard Nature Center - Altamont, Illinois

 White wild indigo is another plant that starts blooming in May and lasts through August.  It does not seem to grow in clusters of plants, but seems to pop up by itself around the prairie.  Native Indians used it to externally treat skin wounds.

If you have a chance to stop by Ballard you are in for a treat.  Their paths are wheelchair accessible and are truly what you think of when thinking prairie.  There are no hills to speak of, so it is an easy walk.

Have a Happy Fourth of July and enjoy some outdoors.