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Posts Tagged ‘3 French Hens Market’

As we left Morris on Saturday, we took a spin around its quaint streets with well-tended turn of the century homes and an old stone church, sitting quietly on a corner. How interesting that it is now divided into condos. We passed a long footbridge we saw earlier while at  the 3 Hens Market, then pointed the buckboard, aka mocha VW, to the road out of town.

Off we went, Ma and Pa, taking in the colorful display of Autumn kissed trees blushing in the sunshine. It was such a splendid day and we were so enjoying the scenery  that we just meandered along, like the slow moving I & M Canal we were leaving, and neared the confluence of the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers.

We’ve been lucky of late. We seem to be finding the loveliest of places as we’ve wandered  on those roads less travelled. Such was the case on Saturday as we found ourselves coming upon the Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area. Tom stopped the car, we rolled down the windows, and sat for spell, listening to the ancient peace of the Illinois prairie.

As I looked out at the more than 2,500 acres of reclaimed prairie, “the largest remnant of prairie left in Illinois”, I felt just a glimpse of what early pioneers must have felt and seen as they traveled westward in covered wagons, seeking a better life and some land of their own. I could smell the scents of the tall grasses, some over ten feet in height, and I could  hear the music of the wind in the prairie cord grass. The rusts and golds and bronzes were glorious with the goldenrod and asters peeking through. It was a panoramic vista and we were one of only a dozen or so pilgrims on the prairie.

The day was starting to cast its shadows, so, we took the shorter Tall Grass Nature Trail, which led us to a small marsh and replica of one of the first log cabins in the area.

There is no lake on the Goose Lake Prairie. Settlers drained the 1,000 acre lake for farmland in 1890, which proved to be a folly, for the land remained too wet to farm. The clay, so prevalent in Illinois, was used for pottery, the land mined for coal, and later, strip-mined. In 1968, the first 240 acres were purchased by the State of Illinois, with more land being reclaimed through the following years, giving us all the 2,500 prairie today. Thank goodness for the foresight and determination of those early environmental pioneers who saw the vision of returning the prairie.

We walked along, finch flitting about in their search for seeds, some butterflies looking for nourishment, and a chorus of crickets and frogs.

The reconstructed Cragg Cabin, was, according to the preserves’ brochure, “A predecessor to a truck stop. The Cragg cabin served as a stop on the old Chicago-Bloomington Teamster Trail.”  The Cragg family lived there and often put up twenty or more teamsters a night.

Well, dear reader, Ma and Pa’s pioneer adventure is over for now. The 21st century has crept back in as I hit the “publish” space.

Snip, snap, snout – this tale’s told out.

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Ma and Pa Go to Market

Once we got the iPhone extracted from the sunroof Saturday morning, we continued on to Morris, Illinois and the 3 French Hens Market.  My friend Roz mentioned it to me earlier in the week. On Saturday, I hemmed and hawed until Tom convinced me to go, even volunteering to come along.

Getting out of the car was enough of a thrill as we spotted this stately house.

We walked the few blocks to the crowded market where there was produce, bakery, cheeses, and such. There were also booths with all kinds of wares: tools and Depression glass, dolls and carriages, repurposed objects and objects to be repurposed.

It’s fun to dream of all life’s possibilities, isn’t it?

From the park, we walked a few blocks to the main business district, and had some lunch in a cute little diner, Weits Cafe, where we were greeted by the most pleasant of waitresses, who acted like we were two of the regulars. Small town diners are our kind of place. This one didn’t disappoint.

After our lunch, we wandered around a bit and went into an antique store. Who should round the corner shortly after we arrived? My friend Roz and her cousin, whose name, I’m ashamed to say, has already escaped me. Her friendly manner and poise have not, and it was a pleasure to meet her and to see Roz!

Thanks, Roz, for telling me about 3 French Hens.

Next stop, Ma and Pa on the prairie.

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