_IMG2467

Our Little Feathered Friends

Don’t forget about our little feathered friends.

This morning as we started out on our snow shoveling adventure, I mentioned to my brother-in-law Steve, who lives in the house behind us, that the birds couldn’t get through the snow that was covering the bird feeders he keeps at the back of the yard.

Of course he had to drop everything and trudge through the nearly knee deep snow to take care of the matter. His little buddies have to eat.

If you live around here or where the snow can pile up a bit, now’s the time to stock those feeders and keep them clear.

Don’t know if birds are capable of being happy about that, but at least they’ll be able to eat.

_IMG2412

A Rare Sunny Day

Last weekend I was presented with a rare sunny day.

That’s not quite the whole truth.

I’ve noticed during the week there are a number of them, but during the week they don’t matter.

Like many, I’m stuck indoors counting the minutes till the work day ends.

Since we’re in the middle of Daylight Savings Time, by the time I leave work and get far enough west, far enough away from the blandness that is the Chicago western suburbs, the sun is gone.

It’s dark.

If only I had that one extra hour.

So last weekend I had one of those rare sunny weekend days.

Only one and I feel lucky to get that lately.

That one sunny day makes a person manic.

Desperate to get out and soak up some sunshine.

Desperate to catch light and shadow, color and contrast that these gray days destroy.

Quality of image takes a backseat to quantity.

Shoot and shoot and shoot a few more.

Not sure I can say, nice image.

I can say, nice light.

North_Aurora_Dam_Removal

Fox River North Aurora Dam Removal

On January 8th the above article on the Fox River North Aurora dam removal appeared in the Aurora Beacon News. I thought it would show up on their website, but it never did. Rather than leave it on my Waterdog Journal Facebook page, I thought I would put it up here.

The day the article came out, I put up the following:

Two of the best fishing stretches on the Fox River are between Batavia and Aurora. I say two, though it could be one, but it’s split in half by the North Aurora dam.

These are the stretches where I used to spend the bulk of my time fishing and know them well. I’ve canoed the pool above the dam numerous times and years ago when I spent a lot of time and energy on dam removal issues, I dreamed of the day I could wade around in that area. I already know where I want to go.

In today’s Beacon News there is an article by Denise Linke (I’m assuming she’s related to Rob Linke). It’s about the possible removal of the North Aurora dam. If nothing screws up, it can happen in less than two years.

I’m speechless. I would like to see this happen without a single glitch.

Did you know that between the dam and the mouth of Mill Creek, on the west side, there are small limestone bluffs?

Like I said, I already know exactly where I want to go.

A couple of things I find disturbing about the article is that one North Aurora Village Trustee, Laura Curtis, cast the only dissenting vote. I’ve read other articles where she compares the North Aurora dam to the ones in Geneva and St. Charles. They built their downtowns around their dams, so they have some value, don’t they? She failed to mention that those downtown areas evolved around their dams over a period of over 100 years. In all the years that the North Aurora dam has been in place, the Village has done virtually nothing in the area.

You have Harner’s Bakery and Restaurant on one side (worth stopping there if you get a chance), and a dance studio and the police station on the island. That’s it. There’s nothing really to speak of radiating out from the dam. Old strip malls if you can call that a down town.

The other thing I find bothersome is the insistence of keeping the mill race. The article states that the whole project could be benched if the mill race can’t be preserved.

That I don’t understand at all. I’ve walked the whole length of the mill race numerous times. In the water. I like it because it behaves like a small creek for a relatively short length, the whole thing is not that long, and the fishing isn’t bad on a good day.

But if their reason for preserving it is because it may have some kind of historical significance, I just don’t see it. Again, for all the years the mill race has been there, the Village of North Aurora has done practically nothing with it.

One side can’t be accessed at all because of the handful of homes that line the shore. The island side that’s a park isn’t much better. Most of the shore is overgrown to the point of being nearly impenetrable. And if you could get through it, the bank is too steep to do anything with. My suspicious nature tells me there’s more to it than meets the eye. Has me wondering who lives in those handful of homes along one shore.

Hopefully the engineering studies will show that water will still flow through the mill race if the dam is removed. Over a dozen years ago when I was heavily involved with the dam removal studies and issues on the Fox River, I checked out the area where the mill race starts. There’s a good chance the water will still flow.

I hope so. I’d like to see that dam gone. It would be disappointing for something as insignificant as that mill race to end what could be a vast improvement of a nice sized stretch of the Fox River.

But then, who am I to talk. My own desire to see it gone is so I can go wading around in the river between where the dam currently sits and the mouth of Mill Creek.

Did I mention the small bluffs along the west shore?

Really would be nice to find out if the fishing is as good along there as I think it could be.

Doesn’t get any more self serving than that.

IMG_4008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

IMG_4010

Gone away, is the bluebird
Here to stay, is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland

IMG_4017

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say are you married
We’ll say No Man
But you can do the job
When you’re in town

IMG_4018

Later on
We’ll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we’ve made
Walking in a winter wonderland

IMG_4016

Sleigh bells ring

Are you listening

In the lane

Snow is glistening

A beautiful sight,

We’re happy tonight

Walking in a winter wonderland

IMG_4014

Gone away, is the bluebird

Here to stay, is a new bird

He’s singing a song

As we go along

Walking in a winter wonderland

IMG_4012

In the meadow we can build a snowman

And pretend that he’s a circus clown

We’ll have lots of fun with Mr. Snowman

Until the other kiddies knock him down

IMG_4009

When it snows

Ain’t it thrilling

Though your nose, is a chilling

We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way

Walking in a winter wonderland

IMG_4013

IMG_4019

IMG_4007

Which is Worse

I can’t decide which is worse.

Wasting my time, energy and debatable artistic talent tying a fly.

Or, sitting down and making a multicolor etching of said fly.

I can and have done both in what seems like another life, but the combination of the two…

I don’t know.

In 2015 both talents seem quaint at best.

I can buy all the flies I’ll ever need for considerably less than the investment it would take to tie them.

As for etching, don’t they make a Photoshop filter for that?