Graue Mill

DSC_0978

What do you do when the week has been hot and humid and suddenly you have a beautiful, breezy day before you?

You put aside the deadlines that are ticking and get in the car and head out for an adventure.

I had read about Graue Mill, but had not seen it and wasn’t sure what it was all about (other than a mill). Not super close, but not miles away, I went to discover a new place. (After all, I had done well with the Lizzadro Museum and the American Writers Museum – what could go wrong?)

The Graue Mill and Museum is in a park in Oak Brook. The mill is the only working water grist mill in the United States, in Illinois or maybe it’s one of only two in Illinois. Wait, the only working grist mill in the Chicago area. (Sorry, that’s what I’ve read in different places – so not sure what’s what  not being super up on working mills.)- However, their brochure does say that they are  listed on the Illinois HIstoric Mechanical Engineering Landmarks, the only gristmill so designated on a national or local level.  So I do know that.

The mill was opened in 1852 by Frederik Graue, using water from nearby Salt Creek. One of the draws of the museum is that you can see the milling process in the process of milling … however, I did not see that. I’m sure it’s because I was there on a weekday and not that many people were around.. I did get an explanation of how it works. And I could’ve bought a bag of cornmeal or flour, but wasn’t sure I’d use it right away, so I didn’t. But it’s kind of great that you can.

The tour starts on the third floor where a lady explained the making-yarn-from-wool process which was very detailed and very interesting. I’ve seen demonstrations like this many times before, but she’s been doing it since 1992 (or something) and knew a lot of unique, informative details that I hadn’t heard before.

On the second floor, another lady showed me the loom which again, I’ve seen before, but the detail was interesting.

The basement of the building was an Underground Railroad stop.  Hideaways would stay at the mill until it was safe, then they would leave by boat down the creek – a tributary on the Des Plaines River – and eventually make it to the Great Lakes and cross to safety in Canada.

Visting the mill costs a few dollars. The grounds are pretty and contain a bridge to get across the creek and to the other side of the road to Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center. For somewhere to go on a beautiful afternoon – I would recommend it.

DSC_1029
The mill on a couldn’t-be-more-beautiful summer morning.

DSC_1019

DSC_0980.jpg

DSC_0984
Carding the wool

 

DSC_0995
The loom.
DSC_1002
Me – showing how they “ironed” ruffles into material.

DSC_0989

DSC_0992
A very cool alphabet game.

DSC_1009

 

Goldfield – Part 2

Here are more photos from Goldfield, Colorado (for more information, see my post from a few days ago.)

DSC_0333
Evening primrose (I think – please let me know if I’m wrong.)

DSC_0334DSC_0338DSC_0339DSC_0349DSC_0354DSC_0360

DSC_0359
One of the large trucks on top of the current area where they’re mining. You can see the size by comparing it to the trees down below.

DSC_0357DSC_0363

DSC_0366
Goldfield city hall from the 1800s

Garden of the Gods – Part 3

We didn’t see any rattlesnakes as we were wandering through the park, but we did see a mule deer, and a mountain bluebird and a spotted towhee and a family of pigeons that lived inside one of the formations. We all laughed as we watched them crawl (wait, I don’t think pigeons crawl) out of the split in the rock – they just kept coming.

DSC_0201Anyhow, I think my favorite was the spotted towhee because as I was standing on the path taking pictures, a tiny little girl walked up and stood next to me. Quietly she watched me take pictures for awhile and then she turned to her father, “What’s she looking at, Dad?”

I told her there was a spotted towhee in the tree and her father lifted her up so she could see it. She reacted with quiet reverence. The dad then repeated the name to her and she giggled. Later the father asked me what another bird was  – a pigeon/rock dove. (I didn’t even have to ask my brother to identify that one.) I don’t think the man was from the U.S. or maybe he just hadn’t been around a lot of birds, but he was friendly and inquisitive and his daughter was cute as she hopped along next to me waiting to see what other pictures I would take.

DSC_0208
Roger got its picture jumping over the fence, but I wasn’t quick enough.
DSC_0207
A mountain bluebird.
DSC_0162
A columbine – but not a good one – it’s on its way to wilting which I guess all flowers are – but this one was a few steps closer than some.
DSC_0203
a southwestern prickly poppy

SaveSave

BACK FROM DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS

I’ve been gone for several days – was down in San Antonio doing a conference on Saturday and then took a couple extra days to hang around town with my brother (who went with me to the conference). As much as I fly, I still marvel at the quickness of air travel. I took this picture about eleven this morning at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens.