Monday, February 28, 2011

Bits About Rockford

Yep, it's been almost all month since our last post. Oops! Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to share some trivia about our new town/area.

Rockford skyline, bridge over Rock River
  Quick Facts
  • Rockford was first settled around 1835 and was named after the ford across the Rock River (who'd of thunk?).
  • The Rock River is a tributary of the Mississippi River, winds up into Wisconsin, and is about 285 miles long.
  • Rockford is the third most populated city in Illinois, behind Chicago (of course) and Aurora (which is part of the Chicago-Metro area anyway). Population is a little over 150,000.
  • Typical annual precipitation is 36.3 inches. The Rockford area is prone to violent thunderstorms from April to June (Yessssssss...I like thunderstorms. We did just move from an area that's perpetually in a drought!).
  • The oldest surviving Harley-Davidson dealership is in Rockford (built in 1910 and still run by the same family that started it).
  • There was a Navy frigate named USS Rockford.
  • The Rockford Peaches were based here.

Rockford Peaches
  • Rockford is nicknamed The Forest City because it used to be known for its elm trees. In the mid-1950s, Dutch elm disease pretty much wiped out the elm trees (plant disease shout-out!).
  • Rockford has the top Japanese garden in North America, Anderson Japanese Gardens.
  • Home of the Phantom Regiment Drum & Bugle Corps.
  • There are also lots of parks and forest preserves in the area.
  • Celebs: Hometown of Cheap Trick, Aidan Quinn, Michelle Williams (of Destiny's Child), and others of lesser fame.
  • The sock monkey originated here and there is an annual sock monkey festival in Rockford.

Sock Monkey
So, that's some of the interesting information about Rockford. Maybe we'll be able to check out the gardens, parks, preserves, and historical sites when the weather warms up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


You probably heard of and/or experienced the blizzard that just came through here. We've been amused by the hype; some have referred to it as "Snowmageddon", a "blizzaster", and the the local news channel called it the "Blizzard of '11" before it ever even hit. How do they know another blizzard won't hit in the year 2011? What if one does? Then what are they going to call it? "Snowpocalypse"? "The snow to end all snows"? "The Abominable Snowstorm"?

Anyway, we took some shots of our share of snow. The winds were pretty rough and moved it around a lot, so no one seems sure how many inches we actually got (and whatever we got in the blizzard is sitting on top of the few inches that have pretty much been on the ground since December). Here's the trench Ed shoveled out in our front walkway:

And a shot of our front yard area after the driveway area between the white car and the Jeep was plowed (taken from an upstairs window):
The wind blew snow into the back screen door, too:
And guess where it ended up? In between the back door and the screen door.

Here's a shot of our backyard. As you can't see, our two compost bins were completely covered.
Ed got the day off from work (yay!), so he went out and put a yard stick in the snow in the middle and got a reading of about 16 inches.
And to the right, where a lot of the windblown snow ended up, a reading of about 21 inches.

Finally, here's a shot of our backyard and beyond from an upstairs bedroom. You can see the parking lot past the cute little trees.

So, that was the result of the formidable "Blizzard of '11" in our neck of the woods. The one disadvantage to my working remotely is that I still have to work on a snow day. Oh well. Ed got to game, so he still got to have fun even though I had to work.