Saturday, August 25, 2012


8-24-12 Seen outside Loglis. Maybe getting ready for a fall promotion.

Mike Ditka Wine
Seen at Walgreens Today

Rock Cut State Park Hike 8-25-12

We came in at the route 173 entrance and parked there. We followed some horse trails down to the horse camp, and then went due east to Puri Crest, then used the east loop of the multipurpose trail and part of the bike path to return to the parking lot. 5.3 miles according to Base Camp.

It was 73F when we set out and 88F when we got home. We both did OK. The creek by the horse camp was dried up. I tried to get Wilma to drink from the horse watering faucet at the horse camp but she was uninterested. Maybe I need to bring a bowl for her to drink from. She did drink at Puri Crest. She refused to drink from the faucet again but was happy to lap up water off the concrete that surrounds the water faucet there. She drank some more when we got back to the car. I keep a bowl in the car for her.

Overall a nice hike. Lots of people though - horses, bikes, runners, walkers, picnicers. Especially on the trail along the camping area going toward Puri Crest.

Nothing of any special interest today. Just a nice walk in the woods.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Turkey videos

Fran took this video of a herd of turkeys along the park road inside Rock Cut State Park.

8-23-12 I saw these baby turkeys along Harlem Road by Rock Cut SP on the way to work.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Praying mantis

8-21-12 Seen on the wall at Loglis this morning.
Good sized bug.
Body is 5 or 6 inches long.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

J. Norman Jenson Forest Preserve

Wilma and I have come by here several times in the past but it was always locked. I don't think it was officially open yet. Today the gate was open so we went in to look around. Just a gravel road and a parking area next to one of their fancy outhouses. The web site still says it is not open to the public, but it appears it actually is. No trail map on the web site, but there is one posted on site. Here is what their web site says as of today.

J. Norman Jensen Forest Preserve was purchased in 2004 and has not yet been developed for public access. The 112.5 acres of land along the Rock River west of Rockton provide scenic river vistas as well as important prairie wetlands and natural areas
Acres: 112.5
Access Road: Yes
Restrooms: No
Drinking Water: No
Pay Phones: No
Picnic Tables: 1
Shelterhouses: 0
Playground Equipment: No
Ball Fields: No
Horseback Trails: No
Hiking Trails(miles): 0.75
Campground Sites: 0
Boat Launches: 0
Canoe Access: No
18 Hole Golf Course: No
Illinois Nature Preserve: No
Special Facilities:
Donated Land: No
Natural Areas: Yes

All reservations subject to the GENERAL USE ORDINANCE. Location – 14400 S. Bluff, Rockton, IL 61072

Jensen is undeveloped and does not have an access site. It is on the south side of South Bluff Road north of the Village of Rockton and the Rock River, east of Prairie Road.

The map posted at the parking area does not indicate there is a water pump and I did not see one. It does say there is a "small picnic area". I did not see the picnic area.
They have posted a handy chart showing the time for sunset for the entire year so one can know when the preserve closes.
There is a posting that says bow fishing is allowed. I wonder if that means they ban it in other preserves. I have not noticed a sign either allowing or banning bow fishing in any other FP.

Update 8-21-12 - I emailed the district yesterday and asked about the bow fishing sign. The reply I got today said bow fishing is allowed in all of the preserves as long as state fishing rules are followed.

Rockton Township Nygren Wetlands Overlook

I have been by this overlook a number of times but had not stopped in before.
Nygren Wetlands is owned by the Natural Land Institute and they have banned dogs for some reason from their property. They have what looks like a nice trail. I do not know much about them, so I don't know why they hate dogs. But, it is their property and they can do as they see fit with it. It appears the overlook is the trail head for the trail that goes around the big field of weeds you can see from the deck structure seen in the video. I have been by this overlook a number of times but had not stopped in before.
A couple of pictures of their trail map.
The yellow dot is the sign location where the trail head is. I think the black dot is the deck structure.
Short video.

8-19-12 Sugar River FP Hike

It was warm, upper 70s. But, Wilma did Ok. She got to play in the river a few times. I cut our walk short because some clouds came up and I did not want to walk in the rain that was forecast for the afternoon. It did not actually rain though. We parked on the south side of the preserve near the canoe launch and explored the trails on the south side of the preserve. We have been on some of them before, some not.
I saw what may have been a deer. Just a flash of white tail. Did not have much of a chance to get the camera on him. Lots of birds.

We have not been down to the watering hole before. It is not on the trail map, and the last time we were on this side of the park we did not go by that sign, at least I do not recall it. Short video.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rock Cut State Park Hike 8-18-12

Wilma and I have not been out in the woods since early June. It finally cooled down enough I thought it was safe to take her out. Still, it was 77F, so I kept it to a short hike. We both came out OK. We ran across a lot more people than we normally see - 3 hikers and 3 bikers. One of the hikers we ran across twice as he was looping opposite of the way we were. This is called the multipurpose trail. It has usually been kind of muddy on previous hikes, but only one very small mud puddle this time. Mostly shaded. The trail is in very nice shape.
The multipurpose trail we hiked today is the trail shown in yellow and blue on the park map in the NE corner of the park.
Some video. Not all that much of interest.


8-18-12 The Carson and Barnes Circus is at the Rockford Speedway this weekend. Never heard of this circus before. They do have an elephant, and there was a large tent and that seems to be the primary requirements to be a circus.

More Stuff

8-2-12 Full moon at 4:30 this morning when Wilma and I set off on our walk.
8-5-12 Some small branches that came down in the front yard apparently during the storm yesterday.

tomato farm update

8-8-12 This is the last picture of the upside down tomato plant. Fran picked the three ripe ones and then removed the plant, as there did not appear to be any new tomatoes that were going to grow on it, likely due to the unusually hot weather.

Road Construction

8-2-12 This is the other end of the pipe that is running along the community center. It is up at the intersection of Copper and Indigo.

8-4-12 The big pipe by the community center seems to be finishing up.

8-12-12 More progress up at the intersection of Copper and Indigo.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Harbor Freight 27 LED Portable Worklight/Flashlight

My wife bought a couple of these a few weeks ago after a power outage. I have seen them before at HF, and had thought one might come in handy, but never got around to actually buying one. They go on sale periodically for $3.49, including cheap batteries. It seems reasonably well made - for $3.49, you can't expect perfection. The HF website describes it like this:
Name 27 LED Portable Worklight/Flashlight  
SKU 67227  
Brand Gordon  
Manufacturer Warranty Detail 100% Satisfaction Guarantee! If for ANY reason you are not satisfied with this item, you may return it within 90 days for a full refund or replacement.
Ideal for under the hood of a car, in drawers, closets, toolboxes or during an emergency roadside repair, this handy work light provides powerful illumination with 24 LEDs and 3 front LEDs that can be used as a flashlight. The portable flashlight can be secured by its magnetic base or by its folding 360 degree swivel hook, depending on the application. The work light features an easy on/off switch and runs for up to 48 on 3 AAA batteries.
  • 24 LED's for powerful illumination, 3 front LED's for use as a flashlight
  • Magnetic base
  • Folding 360 degree swivel hook
  • Easy on/off switch
  • Includes 3 AAA batteries
  • Overall dimensions: 3-7/8" L x 2-15/32" W x 1-31/64" H
The HF web site describes it pretty well. The back has a hook that can be used to hang the light, and has a nice slot that the hook stores in when not needed. The magnet is right in the middle of the back of the light.
It hangs very nicely on a flat steel surface. The magnet is strong enough that it seems quite secure.
With just the 3 LEDs on it is an adequate flashlight, although not exactly the handiest thing. Not real ergonomic.
With the 24 LEDs on it produces a decent amount of light.
The switch seems decent too. A lot of cheap flashlights seem to have flimsy switches that don't last long. This one snaps on and off with authority. The switch sequences from off to 3 LEDs to off to 24 LEDs back to off.

While it may seem a bit of a gimmick, I think it is actually pretty useful.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

3pc knife set. Serrated blades

By some wierd random chance I saw these on eBay. Free shipping and sitting at 99 cents. So on a whim I bid on them and got them for $1.04 shipped. I did not expect a whole lot in a 35 cent knife. I got a little better than I might have expected though.
They are folding knifes with a lock. The blade has jimping on it and a thumbhole in the top of the blade, presumably for quick deployment. The jimping works pretty well, although I am not sure that the plastic handles are strudy enough that I would want to exert all that much force on the knife. I suspect the plastic would break.

I tried using the thumbhole to open the blade, but it is just not a useful feature IMO on such a small blade. 
The blade is chisel ground with serrations. I am not real fond of either. The end of the blade that is not serrated will cut paper, but is not sharp enough to shave arm hair with. It locks up a lot better than I would have expected, and a while a couple of them have some side to side play in them, for a 35 cent knife, they seem reasonably sturdy. The blade is stamped China and stainless. They went in my desk drawer. No idea what if anything I will do with them.

seller: charlie459
eBay description:
You are bidding on a three piece knife set. Very handy to have attached to your fishing vest, hiking pack, put just for everyday use on your keychain.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bird's Eye Frozen Baby Broccoli Florets

I don't eat these real often, but Fran prefers them to the larger florets I usually get. But, sometimes WalMart is out of my usual brand so I eat these some times too. They are a brand name, and I won't normally pay extra for something just because it is a brand name. Good stuff.

PictSweet Frozen Chopped Collard Greens

I get a hankering for collard greens every now and then and these hit the spot. I don't eat collard greens every day like I do broccoli, just a few bags now and then. I get them at WalMart. Never had any trouble with this brand.

Key West Habanero Pepper Sauce

Not sure where I got this, or how long I have had it, but I recently used it up. As habanero pepper sauce goes it is pretty good. Not overwhelming, but with a nice bite. I looked on the web for the company but they don't seem to have much of a web presence. The back of the bottle says manufactured for Bay Island Coffee Co., 171 Cheshire Lane, Plymouh, MN 55441. There appears to be a company by that name in that area, but no website. Given the company does not seem to be making any effort to market the product and I don't even recall where it came from, it seems unlikely I will ever use it again.

Great Value Frozen Beef Patties 1/4 Pound 75% Lean

I eat a fair number of these. Its a Walmart brand. They do have a fair amount of fat in them, which may well help explain the low cost. Never had any trouble with them. They are a basic frozen hamburger patty.

Tomato farm update

The upside down plant now has one tomato that is ripening.

Fran picked the ripe tomatoes from the Roma plant. She asked me to bring most of them to work as she would not be eating all of them.
8-1-12 I brought them to work and left them out on the lunch room table.
8-3-12 Another one on the upside down plant is ripening now.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Harbor Freight Scissors 99 cents

I have bought a bunch of these scissors from HF since they put up a store in town. They go on sale regularly for 99 cents. As 99 cent scissors go, they are pretty good. In the end though, I either lose them or break the plastic handles.

They have serrated metal jaws that can be used to open tight jar lids, but as often as not when I have tried to use that feature I have broken a plastic part when I applied force to it.

The cutting edge has small serrations along the blade which makes it cut well, even if it is not especially sharp. I don't see anyway they could be sharpened, but I have never had a pair go dull on me either.

I keep buying them because they are cheap, and it does not bother me any to lose or break something that cheap. As scissors go, they actually work pretty good, and at 99 cents it does not bother me any to use them to cut wire or other stuff that might ding up the blade.