Our cat, Roe v, or Rovey adopted us many years ago. She is a 2001 model, but looks like a youngster to everyone. She was injured when she arrived, but we did not notice right away. She sat on our woodpile and did not leave until she got the help she needed.
She is still with us. Beautiful silky black, she is an indoor/outdoor kitty who wants your love, your touch, a clean litter box EVERY DAY (!), and food and water. That litter box must be cleaned every day -- or she'll let you know, one way or another, if it isn't.
HOT DAYS/COLD DAYS. Roe v must be indoors if the temperature gets too high -- a quick dash out in the morning before breakfast will be okay, but the sun can be a killer between noon and four. There MUST be WATER available to her in a shady spot on the deck. If the forecast is for heat and you plan on being away all day, KEEP HER IN; upon your return she may want out and then, in the cool night, she can be let out. You will find her at the great room door nearest the kitchen in the middle of the night or when you awaken in the morning.
If you're here on cold fall or winter days, Roe v can tolerate about minutes in the sun under the kitchen window, in but probably will want to come in after that. By cold, we mean lower than 50F, day or night. If it is too cold, she will not even step out.
The house is a quiet, breezy one-level ranch home on 10 acres of re-established prairie with a stocked pond. Specifically, it is two miles northeast of Marengo, IL 60152 on a road recently designated scenic. McHenry County is known for its conser-vation practices and preservation of open land.
Our home is smoke-free. The property is too (except when we burn the prairie!) and we do not use pesticides in the house nor outdoors unless the safety of people is at risk. Once, however, we resorted to an exterminator to help eradicate aphid-eating beetles that resemble lady bugs. Our southern exposure in the Great Room is, evidently, perfect habitat for them when the sun is right. But we have kept the property free of pesticides for the most part so as to allow the wildlife better habitat---and us clean air! We have lived here since 1986.
The pond now feeds great blue herons, kingfishers, wood ducks, a resident snapping turtle, and frogs that will croak you to sleep if it is mating season; one pair of Canada geese annually claims one of the two islands as a nesting site .
The hillside down to the pond is favorite habitat for butterflies, moths, birds and bees, and of course the ever-changing prairie wildflowers. Be sure to look for the stunning dragonflies and damselflies. On the right night, you may walk out on the deck to take a look at the stars and be amazed at the "come hither" party of lightning bugs (fireflies) in the grasses. Their blinking golden lights delight those who have never seen such an energetic display from insects.
The house is a walk-out hillside ranch with three bedrooms, three baths (including a small en suite). One bedroom serves as an "office", one as a single guest room, and the third is where we---and you---sleep. (Queen bed, walk-in shower with seat, double sinks). There is a lovely sitting room that we call "the window room" which puts you up in the trees because the main floor becomes the second story on that corner of the house; there is a walk-in closet.
A quiet dishwasher, ample storage for food, an electric range, a microwave, and a simple refrigerator with a top freezer equip the kitchen. We make ice in trays.
The "Great room", one short step down from the main level, has a wood stove, ceiling fans, love seat recliner, bathroom w/walk-in shower, library, DirecTV, laundry and loft; it connects to the large deck with its stone fireplace (wood provided) to help lengthen the enjoyment of cooler seasons.
No matter what season, the deck is a favorite for sunbather, artist, stargazer, photographer, or chilly wine-lover needing a blanket and a roaring fireplace. A shady side yard usually features at least one hammock. We will provide you with your first can of mosquito repellant.
Helpful neighbors are near, but rarely seen or heard. Do not be shy about calling. (Phone numbers will be provided.) Across the road you will see horses grazing---rescued by our neighbor from abuse and neglect.
CHORES? Water outdoor plants & vegetable garden during dry spells and heat waves. Every other day, a good soaking is the best policy in the summer.
NO MOWING! We have a mowing service that visits regularly to mow around the house, trim wild branches from trees and shrubs.
GARBAGE NIGHT! On Tuesday nights, take the garbage cans to the end of the driveway; every 2nd and 4th Wednesday the pick-up includes clean recycling (no foodstuffs).
There are NO SPECIAL CANS.
As you walk down the drive to set the cans out, head
LEFT with GARBAGE CANS-------RIGHT with the RECYCLE CANS.
There is no need to sort the recyclables. (Hooray!)
TIRED OF ALL THE PEACE AND QUIET?
Trains to Chicago depart regularly from the Woodstock Metra station. Woodstock is the charming town where "Groundhog's Day" was filmed. Summer offers great ethnic festivals with food and drink in the wonderful city neighborhoods. Pick up a Chicago Trib some Thursday to check for upcoming events and shows. Or look for the Mayor's (whoever he/she may be) Calendar of Special Events on-line.
Northern Illinois University in DeKalb is about a 40 minute drive from Marengo on Rte. 23. Check the NIU for sports events, concerts and speakers.
Golf is popular with snow-birds returning to see friends on the links. There are excellent courses in the area. Try Googling "golf courses near 60152".
Rockford offers many places for fun and enjoyment. My fave is the Burpee Museum of Natural History where you can visit Jane, the best adolescent T-Rex ever and meet Sweetie, the 14-year-old fox snake on the third floor, the Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden, the River Walk, the Discovery Museum for children, and a full service airport if you dare to take some "trial" flying lessons or are welcoming guests who may be able to take advantage of it as an easy alternative to O'Hare. O'Hare is about an hour's drive. A livery service to O'Hare will cost about $85, not including tip or off-hour surcharge.
Harmony features a very active glider club and every pilot needs more miles in the sky. Find the club just before you arrive at the intersection of IL Rte. 20 and the entrance to I-90, a major interstate. The club sold me a one-day membership (for insurance) to take me up for an aerial view of the Midwest. My pilot actually took me up higher in the glider, 12,000 feet, than I ever flew a plane in flight school! It is a thrill. They do not fly every day, so you'll have to check on current practices. The day I was taken up was a Sunday, their meeting day.
Thanks for your interest.
Pictures at: Gallery