1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Water to Wine

....We cannot make bargains for blisses,

Nor catch them like fishes in nets;

And sometimes the thing our life misses

Helps more than the thing which it gets.

For good lieth not in pursuing,

Nor gaining of great nor of small,

But just in the doing, and doing

As we would be done by, is all....

(from "Nobility" by Alice Cary, 1820-1871)

A Sunday morning walk at Rend Lake gave me a little taste of the beach again, although the salt was not in it.

The waves which appear to be rolling in from some tidal motion are merely the result of a boat which passed by a few minutes before this picture was taken.

By far my favorite amenity of all the recreational facilities at Rend Lake, the bike trail offers miles of paved surface for bicyclists as well as for us slower moving bipeds.

There are always curiosities to be discovered along the trail, some etched in place for all time (or until someone fills them in), like these tracks left in wet concrete by one of the many deer populating the area,

or left behind at the side of the trail, most likely by a large tractor disking up a nearby field. At first we thought that an animal or pack of animals had attacked the fawn, but a predator would not have left the carcass out in the open, neatly deposited next to the trail, and certainly would not have torn the head and front legs off the body. We noted some tractor tire tracks and a bloody trail leading up to where the body was found and surmised that the fawn was too frightened to run away from the tractor and got caught underneath where the blades did their deadly work. Yesterday evening when we walked by this same spot, the body was gone and so was any blood stain from the concrete surface of the trail.

This vine has always been a familiar sight in southern Illinois forests but is now becoming popular in a more domesticated version.

The wild version of the grapevine threatens the health of many mature trees like this one. The vines grow up the tree, using it for support but can end up weakening it by girdling the tree, damaging its bark, and essentially choking or starving it to death.

On a healthier note, we found some Hibiscus moscheutos growing near the disked field at the edge of the trail.

Some sort of beetles were enjoying a sip of dew on the flower.

This plant belongs to the family of mallows in the order Malvaceae. The mallows have been used extensively in the past for their healing and softening properties.

After lunch we drove a bit farther south on I-57 and then a little east on I-24 to visit Ferne Clyffe once again. We had walked about four miles in the morning so we decided to just take a leisurely stroll around the lake instead of tackling the trails in the cliffs surrounding it. Here I found another swamp-loving plant, marsh milkweed, or Asclepias incarnata. The Latin name suggests the legendary healer appearing in the flesh.

The monarch butterflies seem to think this plant is something special. I can tell you the smell was heavenly.

The lake from this vantage point, halfway around it, looks like silver.

Bald cypress trees adorn this side of the lake, seen from about three-quarters of the way around it. I did see a few knees sticking up close to the water but was afraid to get close enough for a photo. We could see tracks left there by snakes.

I think this columnar, flower-bearing stem belongs to a fine specimen of Lamb's ear or Stachys. The leaves are soft and silvery and supposedly distasteful to deer.

Not too many miles from Ferne Clyffe, Bella Terra Winery lives up to its name which means "beautiful land."

The vines here, a domesticated version of the ones we saw at Rend Lake, appear to be well-tended and healthy. They dominate the landscape which appeared to be pasture at one time. The cattle and horses seem to have done their work exceedingly well, spreading fertilizer for the new kid on the block, wine grapes.

I'm not sure what this particular variety is called, but my husband grabbed a small cluster as we were walking to the car and pronounced them to be quite sweet and tasty.

After leaving Bella Terra, we saw a sign for another winery close by, a fairly new one by the looks of it.

Windy Hill Winery might be a little short on class but has its own charms.

We found a quiet place to sit on the covered front porch and watch dozens of hummingbirds feeding on sugar water. I actually found this spot more relaxing than the other winery which hosted a DJ with his karaoke machine. It was kind of funny, though, watching the performers there stumble up to the microphone, full wine glasses in hand. Their first attempts sounded fairly good, but they sounded more and more off-key as they consumed bottle after bottle of the tasty stuff. I think they were probably more accustomed to drinking large quantities of beer. The wine goes down pretty smooth, but it can sure sneak up on you.

These hummers were a bit shy when we first sat down but got used to us and the camera after just a few minutes. I guess their appetite overruled their fear.

My beloved puts up with a lot of...well, you know, "fertilizer" from me. He never lets the wine or me sneak up on him.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox, 1855-1919--


  1. A miraculous post! The poem stopped me in my tracks – what lovely sentiments, and what the deceptively simple golden rule is all about.
    I love when you take me on a walk. Your horticultural knowledge, your eye for a picture, your sleuthing skills, and your tastes in wine all delight.
    But as usual, I’m most taken with your words. You have a wonderful way of seeing the world, and it is matched by your talent at sharing your vision. I particularly loved the little detail about your husband snitching a taste of the grapes. And here I thought you were law-abiding persons ;)

  2. I love the hummingbird feeder at the winery--wonder if they made that themselves? My husband and I took a tour of some wineries in southern Michigan a few years ago and had a great time. I'm not a wine connoisseur, but it was fun finding all these little places hidden away on back roads and enjoying the peacefulness of the countryside.

    Beautiful photos (except for that poor fawn); southern Illinois has such a different terrain than up here in the central part of the state.

  3. WS, you are very kind. I'm just glad that I can get outside, walk, and gather up "material." It's kind of scary to think about winter coming when I will be forced to use my imagination for posting. As for the grape thievery, I was merely a witness to the crime but can't be called to testify. Besides, don't you remember the old standby from childhood: Do as I say, not as I do?

  4. Thanks, Rose. I didn't ask, but I'm guessing the hummer feeder was handmade. At least, I've never seen one like it for sale anywhere. It was quite appropriate for a winery and especially for one like this where you could tell a lot of sweat equity was involved. It must be the hick in me, but I really did enjoy our visit to the Windy Hill place more than to the fancier one. There was no fancy facade and no pretensions to greatness, just a warm welcome, friendly people, and genuine peace.

  5. Hi, I enjoyed your photos and stories here. Do you think "Bella Terra Winery" was named after me?
    Ha ha.
    I hope you are very well, and staying flexible to all the changes thrust upon you recently, that I read about here.

  6. Thanks, Terra, for visiting and leaving an encouraging comment. Believe me, I'm becoming flexible in more ways than one. It's amazing how my physical health is improving as I learn to "bend" to circumstances instead of always resisting them. You would think I would know how to do that by this stage in my life. I still have a long way to go.

  7. Great poems and photos. Thanks for your recent visit to my blog and for leaving a nice comment!

  8. Hello, Aiyana, and welcome to my place. I will be stopping by your site often to see water conservation in action. It's easy to forget how important that is when surrounded by so much of it here in southern Illinois. There are lakes, ponds, swamps, rivers, and creeks nearly everywhere you go here. Nevertheless, the quality of the water needs to be protected no matter how much of it exists. Aquifers don't just magically purge themselves of pollutants overnight.

  9. What a lovely lake and the poetry fits too. That is sad about the fawn.

  10. Sarah, at first I wasn't sure about posting that particular picture. Even my husband, who supports my forays into blogland, thought it was not appropriate for a "garden" blog. My blog, for obvious reasons, has metamorphosed into one that incorporates nature/poetry/natural history/walking stories/you-name-it. The world around me and my impressions of it have become my garden. So I couldn't be true to the story of that particular day and overlook or omit the one ugly "blot" on an otherwise beautiful day. The hapless fawn laid out next to the walkway seemed to be waiting for someone to notice and consider the irony of its life and death. I'm not sure, but I think the fields were being disked up so that a new crop of winter forage for deer could be planted.

  11. What a lovely blog with so much of interest; beautiful photos and verses too! I love the humming birds and I wish we had them here in the UK. Many thanks for visiting my blog earlier!
    Very best wishes,

  12. Welcome, Jane, and thank you too for visiting. As I mentioned in my comment at your site, I have a lot of old photos I would like to scan and make use of in my posts. Several of them are of hummingbirds and were taken at a property we used to own here in Illinois. It's a shame to have all of those wonderful old pics and not be able to see and share them except in a photo album.

  13. Hallo, my englisch is not so god, I will help you for the little insekt after the window. In Germany its name is "Taubenschwänzchen" and in lat. it is "Macroglossum stellaterum". Your photos are fin, I am also take photos, you can see in my blog.
    All the best for you
    from Edith

  14. Thank you, Naturwanderer, for visiting and for the insect information. That is one area in which I can use a lot of help. I do enjoy photographing them, though, even if I don't know their names.

  15. It's my first time to visit your blog. It looks like you spent your day the way I would love to (and it's been way too long since I have done so.) It was fun reading your account.
    I also wanted to mention the pretty bugs... they look like Japanese beetles, which are quite destructive. They have been nibbling on my roses the past several weeks, but I fight back by dropping them into soapy water. They are not a native species & are spreading each year.

  16. I was wondering when someone would point out what the noxious critters were. They are pretty things but not welcome anywhere you see them. Still, I suppose they do their part in spreading the plants' pollen. I'm glad you use a gentle disposal method instead of pesticides.

  17. You had posted a comment on Rambling Woods about monarch vrs viceroy. I don't see the band on your photos so I think you are correct. You can look here for a photo of both..

  18. Thank you, Michelle. I had no idea those two butterflies were so similar. It seems that when comparing the two, besides the missing horizontal band, the monarch has more of those white dots. Maybe like other monarchs throughout history, he hasn't earned his stripes in any discernible way but rather has had them appointed. ;>}