Hey, it’s Doug. I took a little vacation back to my parents’ farm last week to enjoy a few days off before things get really crazy back here in Birmingham with our new shop opening. Though it’s just starting to look like fall (and hopefully the temperature will catch up soon and things will cool off!) in Alabama, back in Central Illinois where I grew up, fall has definitely arrived.
No matter what time of year, there’s a simple beauty to Illinois. If you aren’t from the Midwest, or haven’t been there before, the first thing that strikes you is how FLAT it is. In the summer, especially out in the country, everything seems to be a shade of green. My parents’ house is surrounded by acres and acres of fields. In the fall, when the corn and soy bean crops dry and are harvested the fields all turn golden brown. Eventually the trees and grasses catch up and turn warm autumnal colors as well. One of my favorite things about Illinois is how incredibly BLUE the sky is — these pictures aren’t photoshopped, it really is that beautiful and because everything is so flat the sky feels really BIG above you too. Standing out in the middle of an open field with that huge blue sky above you is a very peaceful feeling.
I spent one afternoon while I was in Illinois driving around taking some photos, exploring some obscure country roads I’d not traveled down in a long time!
Just down the road from my parents’ house is a perfect little country church — it’s the one and only surviving building from the never realized village of Elwood (there used to be a small school across the road but it was torn down when I was little) — a small Quaker gathering has met in this building every Sunday since 1895 when it was built.
About a mile away, there’s a country school house that has survived. Though it’s not in the best of shape these days, I think the Yankee Branch School is still pretty perfect. I wish it was on my family’s land–I’d love to fix it up!
The house I grew up in was originally a 4 room 1929 farmhouse that’s grown over time, room by room. The earliest portion of the house is a Sears & Roebuck kit home–which means the entire house was ordered from the Sears catalog and it arrived in a huge pile of numbered boards with an instruction manual! There are still part numbers stamped on the rafters up in the attic!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Central Illinois. Is it feeling/looking like fall in your part of the world yet?