Autumn in Central Illinois

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!



My parents' Shih Tzu, Marshall, was my assistant during my photography excursion. You can see him co-piloting my car here.




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!


Autumn frost has just started nipping at the perennial beds around my parents' house



I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Central Illinois.  Is it feeling/looking like fall in your part of the world yet?

7 thoughts on “Autumn in Central Illinois

  1. Doug-
    I love this post! Never been to Illinois so it was a treat to see your home. Seems very peaceful there. Would love to see what you could do with the old school house…it’s funny, I spend a good part of my vacations imagining what it would be like to live in that place and dreaming about fixing up interesting old buildings I see. I think it drives my husband crazy! Best of luck with the new shop…


  2. Hi Doug!
    The first thing I thought when I saw the picture was that it looks just like the field down the road from my subdivision. And then I looked at the title and realized it might as well have been! I live in Champaign (originally from the Southwest) and I love how the seasons change here. I swear I have never seen corn grow so fast and leaves change into the most beautiful colors. I’m glad you were able to enjoy fall before everything turned bare! 🙂


  3. There are two things children need: roots and wings and your parents gave you and Ryan both 🙂 Beautiful pictures; beautiful family.
    thanks for sharing…. Zoe Dolbee


  4. Thanks for taking us along, Doug….

    Hey, I have been stalking YOUR house since seeing it featured in a few blogs recently. Did I read that it’s around 1940’s or so? Mine is, too.

    Get your doors painted black and post it! I want you to be my guinea pig, OK?

    Love ya! Donna


    • Donna–I’ll send you an email with all the details, but yes, my house was built in 1942. In a very generically bland ‘colonial’ style. Door painting will have to wait because a certain REALLY BIG magazine is coming over to take some photos soon. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s