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After a long winter hiatus, a handful of Chicago Kossacks got together and in the spirit of volunteering presented ourselves to the Heller Nature Center on Chicago's North Shore. The lovely broths and her husband were our hosts. Mr. broths has been a volunteer at the Center since its inception and was our team leader in the work we did to help in the eradication of an invasive species called buckthorn. It's a nasty invader and its name describes it well.

The day started off with a sparkly dusting of snow from overnight but you can see in the photo (taken looking out at the alley from my 3rd floor deck) that the early morning sunshine held great promise.

good morning 009
railfan took the train (but, of course) up to Highland Park where he was met by broths. They beat MillieNeon and yours truly to the Center by almost an hour. We were delayed a bit by my piddly-poor mapping.

You can see that Spring has not yet put in an appearance in our kind of town. These were the woods that greeted us.

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railfan (yellow jacket) at work with some other volunteers.
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He wielded a mean saw, too, I'm here to tell ya. He attacked that buckthorn like a champ! There was one scary moment, though, when he and I were working on one particularly unyielding trunk. As it fell all I could think of to say was "fore" as MillieNeon barely escaped being hit on the head by the falling "tree." She was texting at the time. Really!  ;-D

jon w orange highlights 012

Here's our fantastic supervisor, mr brothsseeing to it that there are still some woods left by the time we were done.
mr broths supervising 022

MillieNeon makes sure her orange hat isn't sacrificed to the fire gods.
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broths and MillieNeon in the thick of it.

barbs in woods 011

Our lovely hostess
broths 020 great

Here we are at the beautiful broths home joined by a late arriving and new Chicago Kossack, Empower Ink (in the hat.) We were treated to a healthy and beyond tasty salad made by broths, pizza and the most delicious brownies ever! Again, a broths concoction. Oh my gosh, they were good!

group at broths 033

Bonus points for reading below the fold.....

Yours truly just being happy spending a good part of a lovely day with other Kossacks. It's always such a treat! figgy 015

Just for the heck of it.... I was intrigued by this blue catfish in the Center's aquarium. The ghostly image may even be better.

ghost catfish032

We are hoping to get our next meeting scheduled sometime around the 3rd week of May. Thinking of a more traditional get-together, perhaps a week-day dinner at Pegasus in Greek Town. Of course, when I'm at the wheel you can be sure that community volunteering activities will take precedence. That and standing up to the PTB. Know of any good rallies coming up?

Our own MillieNeon has been named Poet-in-Residence at The Plant,

a fish hatchery, hydroponic garden, commercial kitchen, and brewery for both beer and kombucha tea. Perhaps best of all, the waste from one part of farm serves as raw material for another, making it a net-zero energy system, according to Arch Daily. Everything is recycled, making it a kind of "green factory."  
      -- HuffPo article
I'm sure she would love to take our Group on a tour one day, as that is part of her job description, too.

Suggestions are expected and welcome!!!  

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