So after two hours being crushed in the Taste of Chicago, we decided to redeem our souls by visiting North Park Village Nature Center Friday. And had an even better treat than anything we sampled at Taste.
The 46-acre site at Peterson and Pulaski on the North Side is one of Chicago's great wild treasures.
Early in our marriage, we lived a few blocks from it and were there often to visit. Our oldest boy took nature classes in the summer. Now that we live south, we only visit NPVNC about once a season.
It's like all good nature centers, there's lots of kids stuff: bones, skulls, critters, stuffed critters, microscopes, play areas and multiple walking paths through multiple landscapes.
We stopped in part to see the bees, they have a hive right inside the door where the bees exit and enter through this pipe system, then you can watch the hive being constructed behind glass.
There was some concern there Friday because nobody had seen the queen bee for awhile.
The kids finally quit messing with the bones and skulls, so we did our walk across the bridge. And a big group was clustered on another trail staring at something.
Oh, it was worth staring at. Two big bucks in velvet had walked out into the water. The one was a quality wide spread (about 2 feet wide) 8-point and the other was either a 6- or 8-point. I couldn't tell for certain. It had a narrower rack, but was very high rack.
It was just a highlight.
Of course, there's an irony here. Deer are one of the great problems at NPVNC. There's no hunting or predators inside the fences, so the deer overtake the landscape and themselves.
The idea solution would be to allow a tightly controlled bow hunt, every few years. But that will never happen.
The kids wandered off to climb the small hill at the east end, and survey the grounds. Then crossed the dry swale and tried to understand what that means.
It was time.
Oh, it really was. They close up at 4.
And I rued leaving the camera in the car. So the wading bucks live in family memory only.