Welcome to Smallville

I knew the Welcome to Smallville mural was around somewhere, but for as many times that I drive through town, I’ve never bothered looking for it.

Didn’t bother looking for it this time, but I stopped at an intersection and there it was.

Forecast had been calling for partly cloudy skies all day, but I was sitting under a low, overcast sky with no clearing in sight. I had a feeling my sunset cruise was going to be cancelled due to lack of sun, so I decided to go wandering around in Smallville in areas where I normally don’t go.

This town has been around since the early 1800’s. There’s an old section down by the creek. Old sections of towns have old dumping grounds filled with old stuff. Figured I may as well start there. I like finding old, abandoned stuff.

And that I did.

Buried in and tumbling down a hill, old stuff all over the place.

I imagine 100 or 150 years ago… just throw that there stuff down the hill by the creek.

And that they did along with the occasional newer item, as you’ll see in the pictures below.

Nature is slowly winning this garbage battle, but I imagine it could be another century or so till it overtakes it completely and that depends on whether humans keep adding to the pile.

As a testament to our warm fall weather, I came across a fungus that I can’t recall ever seeing sprout this late in the season. We did have recent wet weather and for this area, relatively balmy temperatures.

These were huge, also much bigger than I normally see, one on each side of a big old tree standing at the base of this garbage dump.

I know it’s edible when it first sprouts like this and I toyed with the idea of taking a big chunk of it home for dinner. But the tree is a good 75 years old, growing at the base of this garbage dump for it’s whole life and I didn’t have the heart to hack off a chunk of this beautiful fungus that struggled to come out this time of year.

At that moment, it didn’t seem like the right thing to do.


A Seep

I call them swamps, but this one is technically a seep.

Said so on the nice informative sign not far away.

I don’t remember what it said a seep was. I don’t have an interest in looking up what a seep is.

Which is why I call them swamps. So much easier.

All I care about is… how do they look.

How’s the light, the reflections, colors, shapes and how do they all come together. This is the second time I’ve come here just for that and I may have to keep going back. See how it keeps changing.


Just a duck. Technically, a rubber duck. Dicky Duck to be precise. Has nothing to do with anything other than I like to take my little Dicky out for walks with me.


Stopped by a creek to shoot stream beds through water and see what the reflections looked like with a cloudless sky.



Wound up taking 247 shots this day with the last of them being sunset shots. Don’t feel like putting up any of those today.

Quite a few of the images of the swamp, stream bed and reflections have potential.

I need to revisit them over the winter, on a miserable cold day, when the last thing I want to do is be outside wandering around.


Another no Name Ditch

It’s just another no name ditch that feeds into the Fox River.

Not far from my house and I walk over if fairly often.

I’ve stopped in the past to take shots of reflections, but it’s not an easy ditch to explore.

A bike path, a relatively busy 2 lane road and an old railroad bridge all cross the ditch at the same point. The ditch is forced to flow under the road through a concrete pipe.

From here to the river is private property and based on the growth along and over the ditch, walking it would be a challenge.

Something I had never done was see what the ditch looked like as it came from the east.

So, over a guard rail, across the road and over another guard rail.

East was almost as intimidating as west. I settled for a couple of shots of reflections off water. The darkness of the ditch made one come out a bit blurry, but reflections are a bit blurry to begin with.

With a lull in the traffic just behind me, I could hear the tinkling of water over rock.

I hunched down and moved some brush. The sun was setting, the brush along the sides and arching over the steep little canyon walls made the ditch dark. About 50 feet away and through all the foliage I could barely make out a limestone wall about 5 feet tall and what little light was reaching it was reflecting off the water trickling down.

It was a little waterfall.

I sized up the ditch about eight feet below me. I sized up how to get down to it.

There’s a twisted ankle, there’s a slide down into the ditch.

My back wasn’t up for the small adventure today. Practically crawling up another no name ditch probably would not have gone well.

Next week perhaps. Weather’s not supposed to be too bad. Calling for sunny.

Do some stretches, limber up a bit and hope I don’t break an ankle when I hit the bottom.

Sounds like a plan.


I See a Spider

I see a spider.

I’m sure of it.

Who would think a spider would be sitting on the water in a swamp.

I’m sure I see a spider.

Or a well camouflaged leaf.


No Name Ditches and Creeks

I learned a long time ago that the no name ditches and creeks that feed the Fox are havens for all fish that live in the river. Especially if they have water flowing in them year round. This one is a good mile long before it disappears into a cornfield.

May have to walk the whole thing soon.

Some of these fish are more skittish than others. The bigger they are, the less they stand still. Assumed I was seeing creek chubs up to 6 inches darting around.

Till I got home and took a better look at the pictures.

Caught one off guard, both him and me. Never saw it while taking the shot.

There’s no mistaking that red eye.

Does explain why I’ve always enjoyed fishing inland a bit on these little bodies of water when the river is at flood stage.

That’s when the big boys come in to eat and play.

Click on this if you want to see it a little bigger. Lower left corner.