Digging in, digging out and getting out leads this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
So earlier this week after the big snow, I think we totaled around 5 inches, I happened to look out our front window and saw a neighbor man shoveling snow out of his lawn.
Something like that catches my interest. At first I thought maybe he was just clearing a space for somebody to do holiday gathering parking in his lawn.
At any rate, I kept watching.
He kept piling it up. So I thought he was doing some sort of stir-crazy sculpture just to get out of the house and do something with his hands.
Then after he had it piled up into a pyramid about 7 feet high, he brought out a wooden slat and began shaping the pile.
So I grabbed the camera and got him in the building stage. I find the building part more fascinating than the completed snowman.
After getting the general three-ball shape of a snowman, my neighbor went back in and came out with a butcher knife.
He truly shaved the snowman into perfection. It was so fascinating I asked if he was a brick and mortar guy by trade. No, just somebody who took building a snowman seriously. He followed that with the finishing touches: a weird topping, weed branches for arms and facial ornaments.
It looked like something manufactured and maybe bought at K-Mart. He shaved it so well my wife asked if it was fake. Nope, just done well.
The point is get out and play. It doesn't look like winter is letting up any time soon.
SNOW PLAY: Well, this makes a repeat for all four weekends in December. Do something outside. Find a new hill to sled with your kids. This new snow today should be wet enough to build a snowman. Try cross-country skiing, rent from your park district or a shop. Ice fish.
ICE FISHING: Ice fishing is going across much of the state, so even if visiting Grandma's house in southern Illinois you might want to take a jigging rod. Nearly all spots on the Chain O'Lakes are safe. Just about any neighborhood lake or pond has fishable ice, watch current areas or spots swam open by geese. Ice fishing on Chicago harbors is underway, but perch catching has been on the tougher side because of dirty water. The most interesting spot may be Willow Slough, where fears of a winter kill have made authorities revert to statewide regs (including no limit on bluegills) at the great bluegill spot near Chicago.
PERCH FISHING: Weather has limited access and dirtied the water for the favorite of Chicago fishing. But they have been busting ice to try at Navy Pier and they have been doing some from shore at 92nd. Haven't heard much on boat guys.
WATERFOWL HUNTING: If you have open water or a good field, you should have good goose hunting and duck hunting ends Tuesday in the central zone.
A NICE PIECE OF FISH: The boys at Mik-Lurch over in Hammond are cooking up fish on Monday. If you're in the neighborhood, stop in for some fish.
EAGLE WATCHING:With rivers locking up, bald eagles are being spotted regularly along the Fox and Kankakee. The great concentration is not going yet at Starved Rock, the Illinois is too open in spots, but there are eagles to be seen there if you are in the area for the holidays. And this time of year is a wonderful time for hiking or viewing at Starved Rock SP.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses and much more regularly. Click here.
PERSONAL PICKS: The kids and I have been getting in good snow play. We will do more today. . . . One of our Christmas traditions has become a winter hike before eating Chinese (yes, we got the idea from the movie and it has become a favorite family tradition). . . . Mainly, this is a Christmas weekend with the family. . . . If I sneak out, it will be play on the town pond for bluegill, but I doubt the time will be there. . . . Next week, I need to hit the Chicago harbors to do some ice fishing.