I enjoy Quixotic quests in the outdoors, which is why every couple months I explore Island Park in Momence with my younger kids.
OK, it's partially so the young ones can play on the swings and stuff.
But it's also one of my silly outdoor quests.
In this case, to see gray, fox and red squirrels in the same place at the same time. I've seen all three there--Island Park is one of the rare places in Illinois where that is possible--but never at the same time.
Grays are the common squirrels in Illinois, so common many of us (I am chief among those) consider them a nuisance in the backyard.
But last Sunday ended up being about berries more than squirrels.
I didn't even see any squirrels, let alone a fox, red and gray at the same time.
But on the return, we made a side trip, to Mary's Berries, just southwest of Momence off Dixie Highway (Route 1).
I was mainly hoping to check on the progress of the blueberries, but as we are driving in the gravel lane, I spotted strawberries still going.
There are advantages to our late spring.
So my 7-year-old daughter and I took half an hour to pick a box or two of strawberries, enough for a good family treat that night.
The eating was good. The picking was even better.
Bending over, getting down in there, to pluck strawberries from the rows is a graphic memory fixer that strawberries grow on plants and don't magically appear on Jewel's shelves, boxed and wrapped in cellophane.
The squirrels will be there another day. Chances to pick strawberries with my daughter will grow rarer.
Mary's Berries is west of Dixie Highway at 9495 E 1500N Rd. Call (815) 472-6015.
Island Park is east of Dixie Highway in Momence on the island in the Kankakee River. For info on Momence, go here.