My drive to work is 40 minutes each way over back roads in mostly wide open spaces; bean and corn fields. The winds can be fierce in the winter months creating white outs with less than an inch of snow on the ground. Ground outs are also common – at least that’s what I call them; where the snow just swirls around just above the road so you can’t see the road. The roads can be icy and hazardous when the wind swept fields dump snow onto the road. When it is foggy, it is really foggy. Open fields, especially on damp days/nights, create very dense fog and as it is the country, at night it is especially hard to navigate since the only ambient light comes from the occasional house, many of which are hidden far off the road. Savannah Acres is a peaceful, serine place to live and the pros far outweigh the cons.
I live 1/8 of a mile from the Northern Illinois/Wisconsin state line in a small farm community of less than 10,000 residents. It is 50 acres of former pasture that also includes great stands of Oak and other trees, natural prairie, abundant wildflowers and a small creek. The main driveway is about 300 feet long and runs downhill, or uphill on the way out – this too can be a challenge in deep snow or when we get sleet or freezing rain. The top of the driveway is one of the highest points in the county offering some expansive views. The views are becoming a bit more obscured as trees mature, but it is still, quite beautiful, not to mention peaceful and very quiet.
The small creek that runs through the property, believe it or not, flows north! It is an extension of Nipersink Creek and flows into Wisconsin. On the property are large fields of Natural Prairie with over 40 species of Wildflowers and part of the property is in Illinois Acres For Wildlife. These types of areas are becoming more and more rare in the state. There seems to be a plague of building on any open green area that is quite disturbing. I suppose some call that progress, I call it ugly. I love that all around me are other properties of 10 to hundreds of acres; hopefully none of it will be sold in my lifetime, or for quite some time to come, to ‘urban sprawl’.
Because of the wide open spaces, sound travels for miles. As freight trains approach crossings some 5 miles away in Wisconsin, their whistles can be heard breaking the silence of the night. I lay in bed listening as they pass through neighboring towns. There is nothing more soothing than the rumbling sound of locomotive engines, the clickety clack, clickety clack as they make their way across the country. It is one of my favorite sounds to be sure.
There is however, another sound that shatters the night that is my least favorite. The eerie sound of the group yip-howls and barks of coyotes piercing the solitude. This can sometimes go on for over 10 minutes. The frenzy of their insistent yipping is perhaps one of the most disturbing sounds to me. I try to block out the gruesome images that form in my mind. Circle of Life.
Deer come to visit on a regular basis. As do the unwanted squirrels, raccoon, opossums and skunks. Occasionally there are fox to be seen lurking further afield. Even rarer, is the wolf but so proud and regal when he is seen, which of course is not often. I have seen him only twice. Unfortunately I wasn’t quick enough to capture him with my phone. Despite my being inside my house, as soon as I moved, his ears stood up, he lifted his head just a bit further, turning in my direction, and then he was gone. As though he were never there.
The property I live on as well as my commute to work affords many photo opportunities that I will be sharing with you over time. And yes, some of these photos are taken while driving – I do however, slow down 🙂 Why don’t I stop? You can see there is very little traffic if any many times. I did stop one night on my way home and out of nowhere, a Sheriff appears and wants to know if there was any trouble. Go figure! I just find it easier to slow a bit from 60 mph to snap a photo here and there – which also explains why some are not clear.
There are times I think I am in a different world in my commute. There seems to be a point where in an instant, normal winter driving, or a foggy day/night, becomes a treacherous, travel at your own risk, kind of world. Those I work with have a difficult time understanding when I explain my drive to them. Those not living in the country, really have no concept of wide open spaces and windswept fields. Weather in this area is a far different scenario than weather where I live. Although the town I work in isn’t a Chicago size city, to me, it IS the city. The traffic congestion, endless shopping malls, gas stations, mini-marts and fast food places are to this “country girl”, the city! I much prefer life at Savannah Acres.