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Amazing Fireworks – Tips & Tricks for Fantastic Photos

Amazing Fireworks – Tips & Tricks for Fantastic Photos

‘Tis the season for festivals, summer events, outdoor concerts & breathtaking fireworks displays that go hand-in-hand with summer nights. While those are all awesomely fun, my favorite part is capturing amazing photos of the fireworks. When researching how to take the best photos of fireworks you’ll find […]

Simple Fennel & Orange Salad

Simple Fennel & Orange Salad

This is one of the easiest salads to whip up — the perfect light side dish when paired with grilled or baked seafood or poultry and travels well as a make-ahead for a potluck brunch. Light, crisp, refreshing & with only two main ingredients — […]

Step Back in Time at Kline Creek Farm

Step Back in Time at Kline Creek Farm

One of our favorite springtime activities in the Chicago area is stepping back in time at Kline Creek Farm for their Lamb & Wool Festival. Typically occurring toward the end of April, the 2017 festival will be Saturday, April 22 & Sunday, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the farm is also open year-round.

 

 

We first attended the Lamb & Wool Festival when our little one was a toddler — she was in awe as we watched the sheep shearing event and spent time visiting the different animals and their newborn babies at the farm.

Now that she’s older, she still loves seeing the animals but also enjoys the historical aspect of this wonderful DuPage County treasure. Volunteers in period dress teach visitors all about the different day-to-day tasks that the 19th-century farm family & workers would have performed — everything from outdoor & indoor chores, cooking & baking, canning, animal care, gardening, farming & tending the orchards, curing sausages, as well as the ways they would have had fun on the farm with music, crafts, quilting & games.

 

Testing out a pair of stilts – they had lots of games & toys for us to try while we were visiting the farm. Some of the outdoor games that kids played back in the 1890s weren’t all that different from things we still play today.

 

Chasing chickens in the yard near the farmhouse.

 

The farmhouse is open during the festival & docents are there to answer questions & elaborate about farm life. During our last visit, the yummy scent of homemade biscuits & a ham dinner greeted us as we entered the kitchen. In the parlor, we were treated to a lesson in tatting and bobbin lacemaking — we all got a kick out of learning the basics & even having the chance to try it ourselves.

 

One of the farm’s volunteers – she was cooking and baking & it smelled fantastic when we stepped into the old farmhouse!

 

 

 

 

After our fun in the farmhouse, we explored the backyard chicken coop & hung out with Shorthorn and Angus cattle until it was time for the next sheep shearing demonstration. It is always a big hit for those of any age as the farm’s Southdown sheep get their spring haircuts. You can even try your hand at washing and hand-dyeing wool and seeing how it is spun into yarn.

 

Showing off her new look after her haircut – we found it interesting that the sheep made a “purring” noise while they were being sheared – the farmers said that it was a sign that they were enjoying their trim.

 

Rounding out the fun, they have sheep herding demonstrations where you can watch trained border collies do their thing — such fun to watch — and the dog handlers are available to answer questions all about the dogs & the training process.

 

The border collie is out of view, but she got the sheep to head toward us.

 

Even if you can’t make it to the Lamb & Wool Festival, keep Kline Creek Farm on your radar. Part of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, they are open year-round & have all sorts of amazing activities throughout the year as well as different programs and camps where kids can spend time helping out as a farmhand as they learn all about historical farming.

 

Helping out with farm chores during our visit – they helped carry veggie scraps to the compost pile.

 

Depending on the time of year, you may see the Percheron work horses working the fields as corn, oats & other grains are planted. Even if they aren’t in the fields during your visit, you can still say hello to these majestic creatures in other areas around the farm.

 

Visiting the horses – they weren’t working the fields during the festival but we were able to hang out with them during snack time.

 

Kline Creek Farm is also known for beekeeping. Volunteers have been keeping bees on the farm since 1984 and have established different educational programs and tours so visitors can learn why honeybees are so important and understand the process of caring for the bees and extracting honey from the hives. Bottles of honey are sold in the farm’s gift shop located in the Timber Ridge Visitor’s Center. Proceeds help support the beekeeping program & other farm activities.

If you are part of a school or scouting group, you can learn about different educational opportunities — there are lots of fun options. Further information can be found here.

If you are local to the area and are interested in becoming a volunteer at Kline Creek Farm, you can check out their site to learn all about the different options for Family & Individual Volunteers — perhaps you would like to help bring history alive to guests at this wonderful living museum!

 

One final shot – the lighting inside one of the farm buildings was gorgeous and I absolutely loved this image in b&w. 🙂

 

Kline Creek Farm is located within the Timber Ridge Forest Preserve at 1N600 County Farm Road, West Chicago, IL 60185.

Happy Adventures!

 

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Easter Treats

Easter Treats

This spring is flying by — in a blink, it’s mid-April! We didn’t end up making the spring desserts we planned to share during the last five weeks since our chef & baker broke his wrist recently, but we still found something fun to make for Easter […]


Marvelous Maine!

Happy Birthday, Maine!

Happy Birthday, Maine!

Happy Birthday, Maine — oh how we adore you!

Hovering up there in the northeastern corner of the U.S., Maine became our 23rd state on March 15, 1820 when it entered as a free state as part of the Missouri Compromise.

Maine is the largest of our six New England states — all of which are awesome in their own special ways. Approximately 320 miles long and 210 miles wide, Maine’s total area of 33,215 square miles is greater than all of the other five New England states combined.

 

Top: One of my favorite shots at Ogunquit Beach. Bottom: Looking over the edge at Acadia National Park.

 

When most people think of Maine, blueberries & lobster immediately come to mind, and for good reason, too! Maine boasts the largest wild blueberry crop in the U.S., growing 99 percent of our wild blueberries & approximately 85 percent of American lobsters are trapped in the waters of Maine.

Then you have the best of both worlds with mountains & the sea as well as both sandy & rocky beaches along the coast. There are spectacular national and state parks — tons of fun adventures await as you explore awesome spots such as Acadia National Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park — including the north end of the Appalachian Trail — just to name a few.

Maine’s coastline is stunning. Stunning really isn’t even a strong enough word, though. Did you know there are thousands of islands off the coast of Maine? Depending on the source, there are 2,000+ of them! Many are uninhabited so they are as unspoiled as you can imagine.

The harbor towns & fishing villages are gorgeous. One of our favorite drives is from Boston, Massachusetts up into Maine & then along Coastal Highway U.S. Route 1. The drive can take about five hours with minimal stops or you can turn that drive into an overnight or two (or three!) so you have a chance to stop along the way to explore lighthouses, quaint little towns & boutiques, fabulous forests & parks as well as some of the prettiest harbors you’ll find in the U.S.

Not an outdoor enthusiast? No problem! There are wonderful cities & towns rich with cultural arts, wonderful shopping, galleries & restaurants. Portland is great fun & a fabulous place to begin your journey!

Feel like taking a class while on your getaway? There are so many options! Check out places such as The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship — a two-week class is what first brought us to Maine many years ago. My husband took a woodworking class during the day while I went lighthouse hunting & had a blast shooting photos. Having two full weeks to explore the central coast wasn’t enough, though. We’ve been back since that original trip & will continue traveling back to Maine whenever we get a chance — it’s so much fun discovering new things each and every time!

We’re planning future articles where we’ll explore a few of our favorite spots, but for now, here is a highlight reel of some wicked awesome places to see in the wonderful state of Maine!

 

Shots of some of our favorite places to see while visiting Acadia National Park!

 

Have you been to Maine? If so, what were some of your favorite thins to see & do?

Happy Travels!

 

Maine Facts Source: Check out the Maine Office of Tourism for more fun facts & travel information!
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