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TURKEY Illinois farmer discusses care and well-being of the birds he raises

HE CAME, HE SAWED Chainsaw artist carves ‘designer’ firewood


SWEET REUNION Find nostalgic treats at Tuscola family candy shop



This Issue at a Glance 4 1






9 8

All stories in the last issue of Partners were well written and so enjoyable we want to congratulate you on the wonderful magazine. My husband and I have been the tour guides of the J.H. Hawes Elevator in Atlanta [“Storing History,” Fall 2011] since the elevator opened for tours. We have just given up the job and turned it over to a wonderful man named Homer, and he is doing a great job. The article on the Hawes elevator was so accurate and one of the nicest articles ever written about the elevator. We want to thank you for the fine article and look forward to many more enjoyable issues of your wonderful magazine.






FALL 2011



G an EducaIN tion VIEW FINDE

R Farmer reap s harvest of photog raphs

Chicago hig h sch on agricultu ool focuses re curriculum



TORY Route 66 museum elev ates grain’s pas t and pres ent

WRITE TO US Email us at We welcome any feedback, story ideas, gardening questions or recommendations for our events section.

Jim and Marjorie Ann Coleman Atlanta, Ill.

HOW MUCH PUMPKIN? 1. Belgian Chocolatier Piron in Evanston 2. HoKa Turkey Farm in Waterman 3. Christmas Walk at Heritage Canyon in Fulton 4. History and holiday fun in Galena

The recipe for Henrietta’s Pumpkin Bread [“Pumped for Pumpkin,” Fall 2011”] says “1 can pure pumpkin” – please state the size of can. I went on [your website] and found it, but there is a 29 ounce can also. Judith Ann via

Editor’s note: We heard from a few of you about this. The recipe calls for the 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin (or 15 ounces homemade pumpkin puree). We apologize for the omission, and please note that we do update our recipes online as soon as we learn of any errors or confusion. Sorry for the inconvenience!

5. Christmas with the Lincolns in Springfield 6. Christmas Candlelight Tours in Quincy 7. Flesor’s Candy Kitchen in Tuscola



8. Chainsaw art in Granite City

9. Bald eagle tours at Pere Marquette State Park illinoispartners



WATCH OUR VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE illinoispartners Illinois Farm Bureau


Features 8 Sweet Reunion Tuscola’s family-owned candy shop is a nostalgic treat


12 Talking Turkey Kauffman family farm raises safe, savory birds for consumers’ holiday dinners

18 He Came, He Sawed Chainsaw artist Brian Willis carves ‘designer’ firewood

Every Issue

26 Travel Illinois: Galena


Galena is a historic gem just waiting to be discovered

Christmas by candlelight – but not by choice

6 ALMANAC ’Tis the season to find an Illinois Christmas tree

17 COUNTRY WISDOM New legislation means new rules on death and taxes

20 RECIPES Warm and hearty recipes are simple in the slow cooker

24 GARDENING As flowers grow and bloom, so do the people who plant them

30 WINTER EVENTS Celebrate the holidays at the Lincoln Home in Springfield


ON THE COVER Photo by Antony Boshier A farmer holds a one-week-old turkey at Kauffman Farms in Waterman.

MORE ONLINE Watch videos, read stories and browse photos at

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Publisher Dennis Vercler Editor Dave McClelland Associate Editor Martin Ross Production Manager Bob Standard Photographic Services Director Ken Kashian President Philip Nelson Vice President Rich Guebert Jr. Executive Director of Operations, News & Communications Chris Magnuson

Managing Editor Jessy Yancey Copy Editor Jill Wyatt Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Blair Thomas Contributing Writers Charlyn Fargo, Cathy Lockman, Martin Ross, Jessica Mozo, Jan Phipps, Joanie Stiers, Lorraine Zenge Media Technology Director Christina Carden Senior Graphic Designers Laura Gallagher, Vikki Williams Graphic Designer Taylor Nunley Media Technology Analysts Becca Ary, Chandra Bradshaw, Lance Conzett, Michele Niccore, Marcus Snyder


Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord

Woolly Wonders Sheep are the most prevalent producers of wool, though it also comes from rabbits, goats and alpacas. Find out which animal provided the fiber for your favorite sweater at

Staff Photographers Todd Bennett, Antony Boshier Web Designer Richard Stevens Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan Information Technology Director Yancey Bond I.T. Service Technician Daniel Cantrell Accounting Diana Guzman, Maria McFarland, Lisa Owens


County Program Coordinator Kristy Duncan

Eagles Fly High Did you know Southwestern Illinois is home to the second-largest over wintering bald eagle population in the world? Learn more at

Receptionist Linda Bishop

Office Manager Shelly Miller

Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Sr. V.P./Operations Casey Hester Sr. V.P./Sales Todd Potter, Carla Thurman Sr. V.P./Agribusiness Publishing Kim Holmberg V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./External Communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens Controller Chris Dudley Marketing Creative Director Keith Harris Distribution Director Gary Smith

grow, cook, eat, learn


Illinois Farm Bureau Partners is produced for the Illinois Farm Bureau by Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (800) 333-8842. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Illinois Farm Bureau Partners (USPS No. 255-380) is issued quarterly by the Illinois Agricultural Association, 1701 Towanda Ave., P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL 61702. Periodicals postage paid at Bloomington, IL 61702 and additional mailing offices. The individual membership fee of the Illinois Agricultural Association includes payment of $3 for a subscription to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners. POSTMASTER: Send change of address notices on Form 3579 to Illinois Farm Bureau Partners, P.O. Box 2901, Bloomington, IL, 61702-2901. Member Member

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Find food gifts and holiday treats at 4

Illinois Farm Bureau

PRAIRIE STATE PERSPECTIVE ABOUT THE AUTHOR Joanie Stiers writes from West-Central Illinois, where the pigs in the barn at the family farm earned as much attention as the presents under the tree during a Christmas party.

Candlelit Christmas Generators save the pigs and holiday dinner A dreaded scene unfolded for our family Christmas celebration on the farm a few years ago. The host cook, my mother, lost power 15 minutes before dinner was complete. The newborn pigs’ heat lamps turned cold in the barn. That lamp protected them from a temperature of zero that felt much colder with 25 to 30 mph winds. The night before our family holiday party, the hogs were heavily bedded, and Mom baked homemade rolls. She routinely anticipates weather’s dire consequences and predicted the outage. She knew just as well as the power company that forecasted high winds for the day of our family gathering would be enough for us to lose power after the recent half-inch ice storm. She started the meatballs early, but, as it turned out, 15 minutes too late. The oven stopped heating just before they were done. Of more critical concern were the pigs in the barn, particularly the baby pigs that spend the first few weeks of their lives under a heat lamp at around 80 degrees. The men drove to the local farm equipment store for a second generator and borrowed a third from a neighbor. This allowed one generator for the house and two for the pigs in the farrowing barn, where the furnace and heat lamps were too much for one generator to handle. In the meantime, Mom considered postponing the celebration. She had planned a couple weeks in advance for a smooth day, and now she wasn’t even able to shower, as their country home needed electricity to pump water from the well. We kids and the grandkids insisted it would be OK. What developed was enough for my suburban-reared sister-in-law to blog about her newest adventure in the country after less than two years of marriage to a farmer. “I had never witnessed ‘survival mode,’ where everyone was working to do what they could to make sure we and

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the livestock would survive without power,” she wrote. My dad, brother and husband simultaneously worked to tend to the livestock and fix Mom with minimal household electricity. The farm’s herd of hogs is relatively small, allowing them to heat just one building and its heat lamps to keep the mothers and babies warm. Meanwhile, Dad used his farm-acquired electrical skills to use a generator to power the furnace, fridge, kitchen lights and a few outlets for two crock-pots with meatballs and potatoes. We ate by candlelight, only two hours late, with plenty of hearty, home-cooked food, despite the power outage eliminating one casserole from the menu. The guys again checked the livestock, and we proceeded to open gifts around the unlit Christmas tree. We pulled open the drapes to bring in as much gray light as possible while the spirit of the season filled the room for one of our most memorable celebrations. As much as we plan ahead for life’s most cherished traditions, we often most remember the unplanned in our lives. My husband recalls a childhood Christmas Day spent between the emergency room and home – without going to Grandma’s house – because his sister developed a fever that spiked to 105.3. I remember the holiday when Mom shattered a glass from the cupboard into a favorite bar-cookie dessert, ruining its enjoyment for the day but forever giving the recipe a story. I smile about the year our brother-in-law brought British party crackers from his homeland. After reviewing their contents, Grandpa, at age 93, wore a metallic-gold paper crown from his party cracker while quietly and fervently eating his mashed potatoes with complete disregard to his appearance. Our candlelit Christmas joins the list.


Treat Your Friends This holiday season, give the gift of handmade Belgian chocolates from a Chicago area chocolatier. Trained in Belgium, Robert Piron and his brother, Fred, opened a small European-style chocolate shop in Evanston to bring the flavors and richness of fine Belgian chocolate to Chicago’s North Shore. Celebrating more than 20 years in business, the Piron brothers make all of their treats by hand using fresh butter and cream, as well as a variety of flavors and ingredients imported from Europe. Go simple with marzipan or truffles, or enjoy a decadent delight such as the Paté de Noisette – chocolate diamonds filled with milk chocolate, hazelnut praline and diced pecans. Buy the chocolate online at, or visit Belgian Chocolatier Piron at 509-A Main St. in Evanston.

Farm Focus: Potatoes The potato is the most important non-cereal crop for feeding the world, ranking behind corn, wheat and rice. The starchy vegetable is about 80 percent water and grows best in a long, cool season. Here are some other potato facts: • After dairy products, potatoes are the second most consumed food in all of the United States. • The average American eats just under 140 pounds of potatoes every year – more than 50 pounds fresh, 55 pounds frozen, 2 pounds canned, 13 pounds dehydrated and almost 17 pounds of potato chips. • Illinois potato producers harvested 5,600 acres in 2010, up from 5,200 acres in 2009. • In 1995, potato plants were taken into space aboard the space shuttle Columbia. This marked the first time any food was ever grown in space. Find more potato fun facts and links to our favorite potato recipes at Sources: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Idaho Potato Commission, National Agricultural Statistics Service

SENDING SOY TO AFGHANISTAN A Yorkville soybean farmer was part of a team that helped send soy flour to families in Afghanistan. Bill Wykes, director of the American Soybean Association’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health, traveled to Portsmouth, Va., to see 3,525 50-pound bags of the protein-rich soy flour leave the Port of Virginia en route to help feed 5,000 Afghan women and their families. Wykes also serves as a director for the Illinois Soybean Association. 6

Illinois Farm Bureau

Trees & Trimmings


‘Tis the season to traipse across Illinois farms with your families in search of the perfect tree. Phillipstown Christmas Tree Farm in Crossville offers pines and firs as well as garland, wreaths and other Christmas decor. It’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting. Contact this Southern Illinois tree farm at (618) 966-3641. Four E’s Trees in Decatur grows several varieties of fir, spruce and pine trees that visitors can choose and cut themselves. Wreaths, roping and boughs are also available at this Central Illinois farm, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays). To learn more, call (217) 864-4704. Find firs, pines and spruces as well as fresh wreaths and hot cider at Christmas Tree Forest at Flora Tree Farm in Belvidere in Northern Illinois. For more information, visit Each of these farms opens around the third weekend of November. Find even more tree farms at

Growing the Market A University of Illinois Extension online marketing program is growing and adding new features to better serve both farmers and consumers. The 8-yearold marketing database MarketMaker connects the people who grow our food with those looking to eat locally. The website, originally started in Illinois, has since expanded to include 16 states. Recent improvements to the online resource have made it more consumer friendly. New mapping tools have expanded the ability to search for farms with retail operations and other business outlets.

ROAD RULES FOR WINTER WEATHER Here are some safety tips to keep in mind if you have to get behind the wheel during icy or snowy weather: ●

Drive slowly, and allow at least three times more space than usual between your car and the vehicle in front of you.

Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.

Don’t use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads. Find more tips at

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Another new function highlights the in-season products, linking to lists of all participating growers, farmers’ markets and stores that sell that item. You can find MarketMaker online at www.marketmaker.



Illinois Farm Bureau


REUNION Tuscola’s family-owned candy shop is a nostalgic treat STORY BY

Cathy Lockman Antony Boshier



here can you sit on a 100-year-old stool at an original marble soda fountain and sip an old-fashioned ice cream soda or a Green River phosphate while enjoying a handful of homemade toffee, a freshly made caramel apple or a selection of hand-dipped chocolates? For those traveling near the Central Illinois town of Tuscola, the answer is just down the street and around the corner at Flesor’s Candy Kitchen. This family-owned confectionery has been a local favorite since Gus Flesor traveled from Greece and opened his doors in 1901. MANY TASTY RETURNS The candy kitchen is a return destination for anyone looking for a taste of small-town Illinois.

“Flesor’s is the one place former Tuscola residents are sure to visit when they return for class reunions and family celebrations,” says Dan Ponder, a longtime customer. But no one would be coming back to the candy kitchen if Gus Flesor’s granddaughters, Ann Flesor Beck and Devon Flesor Nau, hadn’t come back first. The sisters, who grew up sitting on those stools and then working the soda fountain and the cash register, never intended to enter the family business. In fact, Beck had been an administrator and management consultant on the East Coast for 25 years, and Nau had taught English at Eastern Illinois University for nearly 20 years when the two considered reopening the business that had closed in the late 1970s after their father, Paul, retired.

Flesor’s Candy Kitchen reopened in 2004, thanks to the hard work of Devon Flesor Nau, left, and her sister, Ann Flesor Beck. Established by their grandfather in 1901, the confectionery had closed in the 1970s.

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Sisters Beck and Nau, top right, make Flesor’s divinity, hand-dipped chocolates, peanut brittle and other treats the same way they were made 100 years ago. They also still serve old-fashioned soda fountain drinks and phosphates using the shop’s original fixtures.

“I had come to town and saw the ‘for sale’ sign on the building, and that started me thinking about what it would take and what it would mean to reopen the store,” Beck says. “We knew it would be a challenge, but also an opportunity for us to get back to our roots and to do something for the community.” Beck was right on both counts. The challenge was made a little easier through economic incentives provided by the city and the state, but the real coup was finding out that all of the former candy kitchen’s fixtures had been removed from the nowdeteriorating building and were never 10

sold. In fact, they had been kept by the original buyer and preserved for more than 30 years. The fixtures included not only the marble soda fountain and stools, but also the original wood cabinets, booths, tables, etched glass mirrors and stained glass lamps, as well as the marble slab candy-making tables, copper kettles and popcorn machine. Knowing they had the treasured fixtures to begin their business, the sisters purchased the building in 2003 and began an extensive renovation, which included restoring the original mosaic floor and tin ceiling, and cleaning and

refurbishing all the wood. One year, almost a million dollars and untold hours of sweat equity later, Flesor’s Candy Kitchen reopened. OLD TRADITION, NEW BEGINNING Renovating the building was one step. Learning to make the candy by hand was a second. “The recipes we had were little more than a list of ingredients and a temperature,” says Nau. “There were also some notes that my grandfather and dad had made, but we had to learn by doing. When we were growing up, our mother taught us how to dip the candy, but actually Illinois Farm Bureau

IF YOU GO ... Flesor’s Candy Kitchen is located at the corner of Main and Sale streets in Tuscola. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Lunch is served daily from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. In addition to the wide selection of chocolates available year round, Flesor’s offers an array of candy specialties for the holidays. For more information or to order online, visit or call (217) 253-3753.

cooking the candy was considered a man’s job, so our brother, Scott, learned that while we worked the cash register.” The old tradition now had a fresh start. Scott came in from Michigan and taught his sisters the art of candy cooking. Nau became the chief confectioner, wielding big copper kettles of Illinois corn syrup to whip up batches of honey-salted caramels, peanut brittle, divinity and chocolate treats, including their signature “turtle” candy called Paul’s Pecan Favorites, after their dad. The sisters then added more seating and a bistro menu, which features a wide variety

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of sandwiches, salads and daily specials, so customers can enjoy lunch along with their sweet treats. HOME SWEET HOME Every morning, a group of Tuscola businessmen, which includes Ponder, starts its day with coffee at Flesor’s. He remembers Gus attending a community concert more than 75 years ago and handing out tokens for a free nickel Coke to all the musicians. “He was always generous to the kids,” says Ponder, who was an 8-year-old cornet player at the time. According to Jack Allen, another member of the group, the sisters have followed in their grandfather’s

footsteps. “The women, and the store, are valuable community assets,” he says. Not only do they make great candy, they also donate generously to the town, provide jobs for local residents and bring visitors to Tuscola. Many of those visitors comment that Flesor’s reminds them of their childhoods. And while the Cokes may no longer be a nickel, the handmade treats, nostalgic ambiance and small-town hospitality are reminiscent of an earlier time. Says Nau, “When people step into our store, we do our best to make them feel at home.”



Illinois Farm Bureau

alking urkey Kauffman family farm raises safe, savory birds for consumers’ holiday dinners STORY BY

Martin Ross Antony Boshier



auffman Turkey Farms at Waterman has supplied fresh oven-ready turkeys for Northern Illinois tables for more than 75 years. Founding farmer Howard Kauffman left his indelible mark on the stillthriving operation: The “HoKa turkey” is a regional fixture. Some things have changed under son Robert’s watch. Advanced breeding has produced a more robust bird, and consumers demand ever more from their turkey. Some things remain the same. Even at a whopping 80,000 birds, the Kauffmans run one of the country’s last independent family turkey farms with its own federally inspected dressing plant. His turkey is fresh and local, but Robert Kauffman resists trendy catchphrases such as “organic” or “free range.”

And Kauffman remains steadfast in one key commitment: Safety first. The DeKalb County farmer raises birds both on the range and, during the winter, in what he refers to as the “house” – an environmentally regulated indoor facility. Responsible care is a crucial factor in consumer safety, welfare of the turkey flock and the Kauffmans’ bottom line. “Every year, the turkey we’re raising is slightly different,” Robert Kauffman says. “[But] the way we keep that bird healthy hasn’t changed. You start off with a very clean environment – we do a complete cleanout and disinfection after a flock has left. We try to keep the entire building, the entire environment, the water lines as clean as possible and get that bird off to an

Robert Kauffman holds a young turkey, known as a poult, at his farm in Waterman, an independently operated and family-owned turkey farm. His father, Howard Kauffman, began raising turkeys in 1933.

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Illinois Farm Bureau

excellent start. It’s not really going to have a developed immune system for at least five weeks. We have to keep it healthy.” Consumer safety is a watchword throughout the turkey industry. Central Illinois’ annual Tremont Turkey Festival is a gobbler gobbler’s dream (attendance reached record levels last June, with workers at one point serving 1,000 turkey sandwiches per hour). According to 2011 festival co-chairman Jim Moore, the Tazewell County event also has become a model for public safety, from the compressed-air injection of the marinade that gives sandwiches their smoky flavor to the gas grilling that has supplanted charcoal cooking. Tremont’s 46-year-old celebration is one of the largest U.S. festivals still allowed to prepare its own food. Birds are processed and frozen out-of-state, thawed carefully, injected with the marinade and stored at a prescribed temperature prior to grilling. Public health officials from throughout the country visit the small-town gala “to show other festivals how to do this stuff,” Moore says. The Kauffmans’ own health and safety program includes early vaccination for routine turkey diseases. Kauffman is sensitive to the public debate over antibiotic use in mature poultry. He uses veterinary drugs only when unexpected threats put consumers at risk or may cause animal suffering. He questions the concept of “antibioticfree” meat, citing federal standards that assure birds are clean and clear of antibiotics by the time they reach market. “The majority of our turkeys do not receive any antibiotics once they are on the farm at one day of age,” he explains. “However, we do treat flocks that get sick. We feel that’s the right thing to do.” Kauffman takes a number of precautions to prevent disease. In order to maintain a secure environment, he discourages visitors

from entering the turkey house. Visiting farmers or industry colleagues wear disposable “boots” and sometimes protective coveralls to prevent disease transmission between flocks. If modern birds are more highly protected, they’re also meatier. Breeders have increased breast mass to produce a table bird with more white meat, which has fewer calories, less fat and cholesterol, and more protein. While satisfying consumer demand, that also has led to misconceptions about turkey welfare. Kauffman stresses that while his birds may not be “free range” per se, his birds do remain mobile. “They walk to the feeder; they walk to their water,” he says. If they were to collapse under their weight, he says, as their caretaker he would have done something drastically wrong. Kauffman sees range-only production as a real challenge. Turkeys on open range are potentially exposed to pigeons, migratory and predatory birds, coyotes, skunks and diseasespreading organisms. The range is much more stressful on the turkeys than the house, which offers heat and shelter during the winter months and shade and air circulation on sweltering summer days, he explains. “People driving by our farm can see for themselves how we keep over 20,000 turkeys on open range,” Kauffman says. “However, our later flocks are not grown outdoors as they will be too small to face the harsh yearend weather. They do receive extra room and, of course, our expert care.” After all, as with any livestock or poultry operation, the responsibility of animal care is at the forefront of this farm. That commitment to safe, healthy and greattasting turkeys has kept families enjoying the holiday tradition of a HoKa turkey dinner since 1933 – and for generations to come.

BUY LOCAL HoKa turkeys are available at the Kauffman farm in Waterman, and in meat markets, independent grocery stores and some specialty chains throughout Northern Illinois. For farm hours and a list of stores selling the turkeys, call (815) 2643470 or visit www.

Animal care and welfare are Robert Kauffman’s main responsibilities as a turkey farmer. His farm’s health and food safety program ensures that HoKa brand turkeys are safe – and tasty – products for consumers.

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The Secret Life of the Turkey Learn turkey trivia from bird brains to ‘birdzilla’ # BY THE NUMBERS


million turkeys raised in the United States in 2009


million turkeys raised in Illinois on average each year


pounds that the average turkey weighs


pounds that the largest turkey at Kauffman Farms ever weighed

An estimated 88 percent of Americans surveyed still serve turkey for Thanksgiving. The average table bird is 15 pounds, sporting about 70 percent white and 30 percent dark meat. In 2009, roughly 250 million turkeys were raised nationwide. Turkey consumption has risen more than 100 percent since 1970, and Illinois annually supplies some 2.7 million birds to feed that need. But do you know your turkey, really? Chew on this: GROUP DYNAMICS Turkeys exhibit a definite flock mentality, with birds often acting and reacting with what appears to be a single mind. “Every flock has its own personality,” turkey farmer Robert Kauffman says. “Some flocks are noisy. Some flocks like to wander. Some flocks just like to hang tight to their feeders.” BIRD BRAINS The turkey is an emblem of holiday family unity, a virtual symbol of dietary virtue in the breakfast or lunchmeat aisle. Gobblers even hob-knob with the president for photo ops. But Kauffman’s the first to admit they’re no geniuses. “You ever heard people say that birds are the modern dinosaur?” he inquires. “That explains a lot to me. They have a very primitive brain.” GLUTTONOUS GOBBLERS Turkeys are omnivores: Like the kid in the cereal ad, they’ll eat nearly anything. According to Kauffman, that may include anything that crawls or buzzes, hose ends,


rocks, even the occasional arrowhead. Kauffman strives to keep his birds on a more disciplined diet of home-raised corn and soybean meal processed under tight quality controls. He questions claims that some open-range poultry are raised on a “vegetarian” diet. “Did they tell that chicken it couldn’t eat a bug while it’s out on range?” Kauffman wonders. WHITE CHRISTMAS The common commercial turkey displays white plumage simply because the color has been bred out. Pigment in the feathers can discolor the bird’s skin during dressing, resulting in a less appetizing supermarket presentation. GENDER EQUALITY What’s better eating, the hen or the tom turkey? The consensus: There’s no difference in taste between males and females. DRUMSTICKS AND DROWSINESS Beyond the carb-loaded overindulgence of the traditional holiday table, a hearty turkey dinner is indeed conducive to postcelebratory napping. Turkey is naturally high in the amino acid l-tryptophan, which is believed to produce a calming effect. BIRDZILLA? Kauffman’s largest turkey to date weighed in at 50.12 pounds, dressed. However, a bird that hefty is difficult to handle or dress. “Generally, we don’t want to have anything over 40,” he says. - Martin Ross Illinois Farm Bureau

COUNTRY® WISDOM ABOUT THE AUTHOR Joe Buhrmann is a Certified Financial Planner™ certificant and the Manager of Financial Security Field Support for COUNTRY Financial. Visit COUNTRY on the web at

Death & Taxes With new legislation, these events are far from certain When our country was in its infancy, statesman Benjamin Franklin penned the phrase, “The only thing certain is death and taxes.” For years, that quote held true. Taxing bodies, large and small, have levied taxes, and have frequently sought the rich and, in particular, those who were both rich and dead. I’ve often thought that our government targets this group as its members don’t vote, nor do they write letters to their representatives. UNCERTAIN TIMES Over the last 10 years, the estate tax legislation was on a series of relatively predictable annual changes. All that changed in December 2010 when Congress passed estate tax legislation that included the following: • A top tax rate of 35 percent. • A $5 million-per-taxpayer exemption for lifetime gifts and transfers at death. The $5 million exemption is portable, allowing (in the case of a married couple) the estate of the second spouse to die to utilize any unused portion of the first spouse’s exemption (certain requirements apply). Without further legislation, these changes will end after Dec. 31, 2012. The top tax rate will revert to 55 percent, the exemption will revert to $1 million and the portability provision expires. While these changes apply to federal estate taxes, many states enacted their own estate tax legislation. The federal estate tax exemption increased to $5 million per taxpayer. However, the Illinois exemption is only $2 million (and the state has a top tax rate of 16 percent). In addition, there is no provision for portability under the Illinois estate tax.

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WHAT’S THAT MEAN TO ME? Your gross estate may include the value of your home, personal possessions, investments, bank accounts, retirement plans, business interests and proceeds from life insurance you own on your life as well as life insurance on others for which you have the power to change a beneficiary or borrow against the policy. Someone with a home and retirement assets could be well within the federal estate tax exemption, but now could be subject to the Illinois estate tax. Someone with a $3 million taxable estate may not be subject to the federal estate tax, but could face an Illinois estate tax of more than $167,000. And, with the state of affairs at both the federal and state level, there is little that is certain or predictable when it comes to “death and taxes.” WHERE TO FROM HERE? Estate planning is more than just minimizing taxes or making sure your estate is distributed as you want to your heirs. It’s designed to identify the best way to accumulate, preserve and protect your wealth by implementing a plan to meet all of your objectives. A well-prepared estate plan can help with lifetime management issues as well as assist you with passing on your assets at death. A number of estate planning tools are available. It’s important to work with a qualified professional in this area. Your estate planning team may include an attorney, tax professional, trust administrator, insurance professional and financial adviser. With a little foresight and planning, you and your team of experts can develop a tangible plan that provides the certainty of meeting your needs today and provides the flexibility to deal with uncertainty ahead.


He Came,

He Sawed Chainsaw artist Brian Willis carves ‘designer’ firewood


Illinois Farm Bureau


Joanie Stiers




here a camper sees wood for a bonfire, Brian Willis sees potential “designer firewood.” Seven years ago, the chainsaw artist learned the craft of turning a tree-cutting tool into a gas-powered paintbrush. Now he transforms tree stumps, logs and firewood into artwork for homes and yards. “I basically carve anything from little eagle heads and bears the size of a cigarette lighter all the way up to 14-foot tree stumps in people’s yards,” says Willis, who hails from Granite City, about a five-minute drive from St. Louis. “The subject matter is just about anything. The bears, raccoons and eagles seem to be the biggest sellers.” In 2004, just three years after losing his job when a local steel factory closed, Willis made a career for himself. For years, he had hand-carved wood into flowers and duck and goose decoys. A friend introduced him to the art of chainsaw carving, and he applied his hand-carving skills to the chainsaw, developing a craft that started as a hobby. “Now it’s a love affair, and it’s what I do for a living,” says Willis, who calls his business Willis Wooden Creations. Two years ago, he and his wife, Tracy, opened a year-round shop in nearby Pontoon Beach where he works and sells his artwork, which varies from benches, tables and three-dimensional wildlife carvings to plaques and signs. Prices range from $50 for small signs and critters up to more than $1,000 for large carved tree stumps. Most

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pieces sell for around $150 to $300. In addition, he gives demonstrations and sells products at up to 15 festivals and events annually within a four-hour driving distance of his home. He owns six chainsaws ranging from 12 to 24 inches in length and with different tip sizes for everything from block cuts to fine detail work. On a typical piece, he uses two chainsaws to completion. Bigger pieces might require three or four chainsaws. Some artwork can be produced in less than an hour. Large, detailed pieces can take days. His favorite wood for chainsaw art is catalpa, which holds detail well, has minimal cracking, is rugged in the elements and is beautiful finished naturally. However, he most often uses red oak, walnut, cedar and sycamore because they are more readily available from the tree trimmers who provide most of his wood. To finish his products, he torches and wire brushes the wood to remove splinters and sharp edges. He then will paint or stain and finish with a coat of polyurethane at a customer’s request. Otherwise, he recommends his customers protect the artwork with outdoor deck oil. The long-time chainsaw owner and firewood cutter gains inspiration from everyday life and almost daily writes or sketches an idea. “I always tell people I like to create smiles,” Willis says. “That’s why most of my bears have little grins or tongues hanging out.”

WILLIS WOODEN CREATIONS • Owners: Brian and Tracy Willis of Granite City • Products: Chainsaw-carved wildlife figures, benches, plaques and signs • Where to buy: Call or visit the store • Store location: Intersection of Hanfelder and Horseshoe Lake roads in Pontoon Beach • Phone: (618) 530-0513 • Website: www.williswooden


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charlyn Fargo got her start in food in 4-H. Her love for the culinary arts helped her land a job as food editor of the State JournalRegister, a daily paper in Springfield, and eventually a master’s degree in nutrition. Now a registered dietitian, she teaches nutrition and baking at Lincoln Land Community College and consults as a dietitian.


Illinois Farm Bureau

Slow & Simple

Warm your winter with recipes made easy in the slow cooker Charlyn Fargo Jeffrey S. Otto



hink of your slow cooker as the workhorse on the farm. She may not be the sleekest piece of equipment on your kitchen counter, but can she ever be a lifesaver, day-in and day-out. Of course, our mothers had slow cookers, but it wasn’t until I started working full time in a city 35 miles away from home that I realized what a blessing dinner in the slow cooker could be on any given day. Slow cookers are made for busy people who would love to have dinner made when they come home. Slow cookers are made for those of us who wish we had a personal chef at our beck and call. That covers the majority of us. My slow cooker ties with my stand mixer as my most essential kitchen appliance. And lately, slow cookers seem to be getting a facelift. Just on the shelves at Williams-Sonoma, a book by Brigit Binns called “The New Slow Cooker: Fresh Recipes for the Modern Cook” features a new way to use your slow cooker by enhancing dishes with bright, fresh flavors. Binns admits that a slow cooker can turn out soft textures, watery flavors and dull

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colors. Her approach is to use herbs, garnishes, salads and other fresh components to heighten flavors and appeal. She also recommends browning some ingredients before they go into the cooker to contribute more complex flavors. Slow cookers operate on the principle of low and slow heat. The low setting keeps food at 180 degrees and the high setting at 300 degrees. Recipes for the low setting will cook at least 8 hours; the high setting has most food done in 4 hours. The slow cooker also uses a lot less electricity than an oven or stovetop – about as much as a 75-watt light bulb. And, nutritionally speaking, no vitamin or mineral escapes since the lid needs to be left on. My favorite recipe for the slow cooker is one of the simplest. Use it to roast a chicken, and when you get home at night, it will literally fall off the bone. We use any leftover chicken and the broth in our version of chicken chili, also a recipe that works well melding flavors in a slow cooker. We’ve also included a recipe for an updated beef stew.

SLOW COOKER SECRETS • Brown meats, poultry and other proteins before adding them to the slow cooker. Browning builds the flavor of a dish. • Don’t place frozen foods in a slow cooker; make sure foods are totally defrosted to be food safe. • Never fill a slow cooker more than two-thirds full and no less than halfway, for optimum performance. • Use dried rather than fresh herbs when slow cooking. • As a general rule, dishes cooked on low can be cooked safely on high for half the time. • Keep the lid on. Slow cookers can lose 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time when the lid is off.


Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

TIP Use the leftover roast chicken to make the Hearty Chicken Chili recipe.


roasting hen, 6 to 8 pounds


bay leaves


lemons, sliced


teaspoons poultry seasoning

salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


large yellow onion, sliced


stalks celery, including leaves, sliced


clove fresh garlic, minced

fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Take out neck and gizzards,

and reserve for another use. Take 1 sliced lemon, ¼ of the onion, ¼ of the celery and ¼ of the garlic, and place in cavity. 2. Place chicken in slow cooker. Add rest of onions, garlic

and celery. Sprinkle with poultry seasoning, salt and freshly ground pepper. Add bay leaves. Do not add any water to chicken. (It will make its own liquid). Start on high setting, then after 30 minutes, turn to low. Let cook for 6 to 8 hours. Discard bay leaves. 3. To serve, pull meat off bones. Garnish meat with fresh

lemon slices and parsley. Serve with fresh asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. Makes 6 servings.


Illinois Farm Bureau

Vegetable Beef Stew 3

pounds cubed beef stew meat, such as beef bottom round


tablespoons ( 3/8 cup) all-purpose flour, divided

salt and freshly ground pepper


tablespoons olive oil


cloves garlic, minced


cup baby carrots


large potatoes, cubed


tablespoon dried parsley


bag (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained

1¼ cup red wine 1

cup beef stock

¼ cup warm water


tablespoons all-purpose flour


sprigs fresh thyme


bay leaves

fresh chopped parsley (for garnish)


cups leftover or rotisserie chicken


tablespoon canola oil


large yellow onion, finely chopped

salt and freshly ground pepper


cloves garlic, minced


tablespoons chili powder

1½ tablespoons ground cumin ½

teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, optional)


cups chicken stock (leftover or canned)

1. Place meat in a large plastic bag. Combine ¼ cup


cans (14.5 ounces each) great northern beans

of the flour with ½ teaspoon salt; pour into the bag with the meat, and shake to coat. Remove from the bag and tap the excess flour from the meat.


bay leaf


green onions, finely chopped (for garnish)

1 3


cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)

2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

sour cream (optional, for garnish)

¼ cup red pepper, finely chopped (for garnish)

Add stew meat, and cook until evenly browned on the outside. Put beef in slow cooker. In the same skillet, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Add the stock, thyme and bay leaves, and pour the contents of the pan over the beef in the slow cooker. Add the carrots, potatoes, parsley and pepper. Stir in the onions. 3. Cover, and cook on high for 30 minutes. Reduce

heat to low and cook for 6 hours or until meat is fork tender. 4. In a small bowl or cup, mix together remaining

2 tablespoons flour with warm water. Stir into stew and cook uncovered for 15 minutes, or until thickened. Remove the bay leaves before serving. Serve in bowls sprinkled with ground pepper, fresh parsley and red peppers for color and crunch. Makes 6 servings.

Hearty Chicken Chili

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In a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat, add oil and the chicken. Brown chicken slightly to bring out the flavor. Add the onion, 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper, and sauté until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne to taste, and stir together for 2-3 minutes to release the flavors. Transfer contents to the slow cooker. Add the stock, beans and bay leaf. Turn slow cooker on high and let cook for 6 to 8 hours. Discard bay leaf. Ladle the chili into bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and garnish with green onions and cilantro. Makes 6 servings.

MORE ONLINE Find even more about slow cookers, including a chocolaty dessert perfect for holiday parties and additional slow cooker secrets, at



A Gardener’s SEASONS As flowers grow and bloom, so do the people who plant them

O ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jan Phipps is a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener. She farms, gardens, writes and podcasts near Chrisman.


ver the course of the summer, gardens change. Likewise, during the span of our gardening careers, what piques our interest is constantly evolving. Where are you on your horticultural journey? Entry level for gardeners is usually with annuals. They are easy to find at discount stores, home centers and even some grocery stores – places we already shop. Annuals are inexpensive, very colorful and not only provide instant gratification, but also summer-long blooms. Most vegetables are annuals, and some gardeners get their start by growing their own food. The next stage is perennials. They are larger, and the fact that they return year

after year is appealing. By now, we are paying more attention by reading and talking about plants. Along the way, we learn the names of some of the more common perennials and decide to give them a try. Enter phase three – falling in love with a particular genus of perennials. Before we realize it, we have become a “collector.” Do you recognize any of these? Hosta hoarders, daylily divas, fern fanciers and those who find irises irresistible, or become passionate about peonies. Looking around our yards, we discover everything is at the same height, and we enter the fourth stage – shrubs and small Illinois Farm Bureau



There are little bumps on the trunk of my ficus. What are they?

flowering trees. Woody plants with four seasons of interest are the new must-haves to give our landscapes more visual interest. Occasionally, the collecting phase and the woody plant phase morph into the miniature conifer stage. They are just so cute, and the range of foliage colors and textures is so alluring that it’s easy to understand their popularity. Finally, we are now very experienced gardeners, and it is time to enter the fifth stage by harkening back to phase one (annuals) and two (perennials) – with a twist. The twist is being a specific color and texture plan that has something blooming from last frost to first frost. Out come all

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the reds and yellows, because they clash with the blues, violets and pinks. The bigleafed plants get moved to the edge of our property, where they demand less visual attention. Perhaps we put in a moon garden with white-only blooms and silver-leafed plants. A few other garden-related stages might be happening on the side as we progress through the plant phases. There is the yardart phase, cycling-through-various-mulches phase and the soil-knowledge-leading-tocomposting phase. Whatever stage you are in, enjoy it to the max while learning all you can about soils, plants and how they grow.

ANSWER It’s scale, which, unfortunately, is hard to eradicate. There is a systemic insecticide which works for awhile, but it smells, is hard to get into the soil of an established floor plant and the scale eventually returns. After fighting scale for five years, I discarded my 25-yearold ficus to protect my other plants. E-mail your gardening questions to Jan at


{Travel Illinois}


Galena is a historic gem that glows at Christmas


Illinois Farm Bureau

Jessica Mozo PHOTOGRAPHY BY Antony Boshier STORY BY


ucked into the far northwest corner of Illinois is the small town of Galena, an idyllic slice of Americana that would make any Illinois native proud. Located in Jo Daviess County, Galena (population 3,600) was rated one of America’s Top 10 Charming Small Towns by TripAdvisor in 2011 and has been named among the 100 Best Small-Town Getaways by Midwest Living magazine. The accolades aren’t surprising, considering Galena proudly claims the home of 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant, a Main Street that takes you back to the good old days, several quaint bed-and-breakfasts, historical attractions galore and a thriving arts scene. The town hosts more than 1 million visitors each year, and when they come once, chances are they’ll be back again.

GALENA MUST-SEES Old Market House/Galena Welcome Center Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort Main Street Galena Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site Galena Cellars Winery & Vineyard Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant Galena Trolley Tours Wooded Wonderland Country Store & Sawmill DeSoto House Hotel Old-Fashioned Christmas in Galena

WINTER WONDERLAND Galena is a flourishing tourist destination year-round, but it is especially beautiful during the winter holidays. Begin your tour of the city at the Old Market House on Commerce Street, where you’ll find the Galena Welcome Center and a wealth of information about local attractions and history. Galena kicks off the 2011 Christmas season on Nov. 25 at the Old Market House with Santa’s arrival, a tree lighting ceremony, gift bags, hot cocoa, roasted chestnuts and caroling. Galena glows with holiday spirit the entire month of December with its annual Old-Fashioned Christmas in Galena celebration. The festivities include a Mistletoe Ball at Turner Hall on Dec. 3, where you can feast on an elegant Victorian dinner with President Grant, dance to a live orchestra, dress in 1800s attire and enter to win prizes. Tickets are $59. The Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration also includes Living Windows on Dec. 10, when Main Street merchants

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From left: In Galena, visitors can explore the 19th-century Belvedere Mansion and Gardens; shop along main street at businesses such as Honest John’s Trading Post; and celebrate an Old-Fashioned Christmas at citywide events throughout the month of December.

10 HISTORIC SITES IN GALENA The Dowling House Elihu B. Washburne House State Historic Site Galena History Museum The Old Blacksmith Shop Old Market House State Historic Site Old Stockade on the Cobblestone Street Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site The Belvedere Mansion and Gardens Ryan Mansion Bed and Breakfast Turner Hall

decorate their storefronts and their windows come alive with animation. On Dec. 16, you can embark on Galena’s annual Luminaria Pub Crawl down Main Street with giveaways and prizes. The pub crawl is a prelude to the magical Night of the Luminaria on Dec. 17, when all of Galena sparkles with more than 5,000 candle-lit luminaries on its streets, steps and sidewalks. On Feb. 18, 2012, downtown Galena will host its first annual Mardi Gras Parade featuring floats, Cajun fun and, of course, beads. The parade will take place regardless of rain, snow or sunshine. Professional snow sculptors will also be on hand, transforming blocks of snow into expressions of art. And if you live nearby, choose and cut your own Christmas tree at Ochs Tree Farm, which opens the Friday after Thanksgiving. PIECES OF HISTORY Galena is perhaps best known for its history, which is evident in its Victorian architecture and century-old buildings. In the early 1860s, Union General Ulysses S. Grant lived in Galena and worked at his father’s leather tannery. After the Civil War,

Grant returned to Galena as a hero and was presented with a completely furnished home on Bouthillier Street. The Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday, and much of the Grant family’s original furniture remains. Another place to soak up local history is the Galena-Jo Daviess County Historical Society & Museum, where you can browse exhibits on Grant, the Civil War, lead mining, steamboats and the railroad. Pick up a book or a handcrafted souvenir in the museum’s gift shop. For a historic tour of Galena, book a reservation with the Galena Carriage Co. The company offers several packages, some of which include a meal. Galena Trolley Tours also provide historically and architecturally narrated tours in open-air replicas of original cable cars. A Galena Main Street Walking Tour is available May through October, highlighting historic points of interest and filming locations from the 1989 Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams.” It meets in the DeSoto House Hotel lobby. While in Galena, tour The Belvedere

STAY ‘INN’ STYLE Galena has more than three dozen bed-and-breakfast inns that have earned it the nickname “B&B Capital of the Midwest.” Several are within walking distance of downtown, and many occupy 19th-century homes with modern conveniences. The DeSoto House Hotel holds the title of Illinois’ oldest operating hotel, opened in 1855. Ryan Mansion Bed and Breakfast, built in 1876, has ruby glass windows, 12 marble fireplaces, a library, several parlors and a ballroom. Dating to 1858 and located across from Grant’s home, Bernadine’s Stillman Inn features a wedding chapel and offers guests bottomless chocolate chip cookies.


Illinois Farm Bureau




Mansion, an Italianate 1857 home furnished with Liberace’s estate items, “Gone With the Wind” green drapes and lush gardens. It is open from May through November and is often called the Crown Jewel of Galena. SHOPPING AND SPAS Main Street Galena is a treasure trove of art galleries, antique stores and boutique shops. Stroll down Main Street, and you’ll find handmade jewelry at 1ofmykind Jewels, amusement at The Atomic Toy Co., everything from shoes to home décor at Honest John’s Trading Post, natural bath products at Galena Candle & Bath Co., and whimsical crafts and games at Poopsie’s. Love the arts? Stop in Artists’ Annex to see a live pottery demonstration. Also, don’t miss BRIO Art Gallery, Carl Johnson Gallery and Hello Galena!, where more than 79 artists sell and exhibit their artwork. If all that shopping leaves you in need of some relaxation, you’re in luck. Galena has nearly a dozen spas and salons, offering therapeutic massage, deluxe body treatments, manicures and pedicures, facials and lots of other ways to unwind.

hen Galena chefs Fred and Karyn Grzeslo opened a small European bistro on Main Street in 2006, they had no idea their friendly neighborhood diner, Fritz and Frites, would quickly become the city’s most popular dining destination. “People always tell us they feel like they’ve been transported to Paris when they eat here,” Fred Grzeslo says. “It’s nice and quiet, and even though we’re on Main Street, we’re situated away from traffic.” Grzeslo grew up in a Polish-German neighborhood in Chicago, where he developed a love for German food. He met Karyn while they both were honing their cooking skills at a culinary school that emphasized the art of French cuisine. The husband-and-wife team combined German and French traditions to create Fritz and Frites. “My wife came up with the name for the restaurant – Fritz is German for Fred, and Frites is French for french fries, so it’s a little of both,” Grzeslo says. Fritz and Frites’ best-selling dish is the wiener schnitzel, or breaded veal cutlet, served with sauerkraut or red cabbage and spaetzle, a dumpling. “We pound the veal until it’s paper-thin – you can hear us pounding it if you’re sitting in the dining room,” Grzeslo says. “Then we bread it and sauté it in butter.” The hanger steak is another popular dish that keeps Fritz and Frites in business. “When you order steak frites in Paris, it is a hanger steak – a small cut from a cow that you can’t always find at a butcher shop,” Grzeslo says. “We’re very happy to be able to serve that.” The steak is topped with parsley butter and served with pomme frites – a tall, tangled pile of thin and crispy fries. Poulet roti (garlic roasted chicken), tilapia and salmon with lingonberry sauce are also on the menu, and each dish is flavored with fresh herbs. “We make sure everything is fresh. We live on a five-acre farm, and we grow a lot of our herbs and produce there,” Grzeslo says. “We also have a plot of herbs growing behind the restaurant, so when someone orders a dish, we can pick the herbs right then.”

IF YOU GO... Fritz and Frites, 317 N. Main St., opens at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday and takes reservations through 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. on weekends. Call (815) 777-2004 or visit

WE DON’T BITE Galena’s Adventure Creek Alpaca Farm is an ideal place for a log cabin getaway, and kids of all ages love the farm’s resident alpacas. Curious and gentle by nature, alpacas don’t bite and get along especially well with children. Book a weekend and stay in one of the farm’s 12 historic log cabins. Find more about Adventure Creek and other agritourism destinations at www.

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Holidays With Abe DEC. 7 THROUGH JAN. 8, SPRINGFIELD Discover where President Lincoln’s sons hung their stockings for Santa and how the family celebrated the holidays by taking a Christmas tour through the Lincoln Home in Springfield. The house, located on South Seventh Street, is adorned with typical 1860s holiday decorations such as greenery, poinsettias, cloved orange pyramids and ropes of cranberries. Visit this winter to find out what the Lincolns may have given each other as gifts, what foods were on their holiday menu and why the family didn’t have a Christmas tree.

GET MORE ONLINE For more information, visit the Lincoln Home website or call (217) 391-3226.


Illinois Farm Bureau

This listing includes a few events from around the state to add to your calendar. Dates were accurate at press time but are subject to change. Please check with the contact listed before traveling long distances to attend. Additional information on Illinois events is available online through the Illinois Bureau of Tourism’s website, Feel free to send event suggestions to

Walking in a Winter Wonderland DEC. 3, FULTON Enjoy an illuminated walk through the decorated Heritage Canyon, listen to music in the village church, stop by Town Hall for delicious cookies and listen for carolers during the Christmas Walk at Heritage Canyon. Located on the Mississippi riverfront in Fulton, Heritage Canyon is a recreated 1800s village of 13 buildings located inside a former limestone rock quarry. For more information and to keep up with the latest news on Heritage Canyon, visit

Light Up the Night DEC. 5 THROUGH JAN. 1, KEWANEE The streets of Kewanee are aglow in early December for the Drive of Lights to celebrate the holiday season. Thousands and thousands of twinkling Christmas lights adorn the city streets, neighborhoods and Windmont Park for locals and visitors to enjoy from 5 to 10 p.m. each day. You can take a drive through the luminescent neighborhoods, walk through the park, listen to carolers and enjoy cookies in the park’s shelterhouse. To learn more, visit or call (309) 852-2175.

A Victorian Christmas DEC. 11, QUINCY Tour six of Quincy’s historical and architecturally significant private homes decorated for the holidays during the annual Quincy Preserves Christmas Candlelight Tours from 4 to 8 p.m. The brick streets, lit by luminaries, will be closed off to allow horse-drawn carriage rides and carolers. For more information on which homes

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will be open for tours, visit or

call (217) 222-3432.

Illinois Jazz Festival takes the stage in Decatur. The Midwest’s premiere jazz event offers up three days of great music and a lot of fun, and features an all-star lineup of musicians including Black Swan Jazz Band, Dixie Daredevils, Tom Rigney and Flambeau, Vince Giordano’s New York Nighthawks and Robin Hopkins’ Sunset Stomp Jazz Band. For more information on events and to purchase tickets for this year’s event, themed “Jazz Heaven,” visit

Sights for Soar Eyes DECEMBER THROUGH MARCH, ALTON Every winter, Illinois welcomes more than 3,000 American bald eagles to its reservoirs, rivers and waterfowl refuges. From December to March, bird watchers can find eagle-viewing opportunities including bald eagle tours and festivals. Take a daylong adventure of eagle and wildlife spotting with a professional tour guide at Pere Marquette State Park. Find more information, tour dates and make reservations at

Skating in the Sky JAN. 1 THROUGH APRIL 8, CHICAGO Lacing up the ice skates this winter? Look up – this ice rink is 1,000 feet high in the sky. Located on top of Chicago’s John Hancock Observatory, a 900-square-foot rink constructed of state-of-the-art synthetic ice gives visitors the chance to skate in the sky. Skate surrounded by 360-degree views of the Magnificent Mile, Lake Michigan and stretching across four states – Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. The rink is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Each 25-minute skating session is $5 on top of admission to the observatory. For those without their own skates, rentals are available on the 94th floor for just $1. Book a skating session online at

All That Jazz

NOTICE OF ANNUAL MEETING Illinois Agricultural Association Notice is hereby given that the annual meeting of the members of the Illinois Agricultural Association will be held in the Palmer House Hotel, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60603, on Saturday, December 3, Sunday, December 4, Monday, December 5, and Tuesday, December 6, 2011, with the official meeting of voting delegates convening at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, December 5, for the following purposes: To receive, consider and, if approved, ratify and confirm the reports of the officers and the acts and proceedings of the Board of Directors and officers in furtherance of the matters therein set forth since the last annual meeting of the Association. To elect a President and a Vice President, who shall also serve as directors, for a term of two years. To elect nine (9) members of the Board of Directors to serve for a term of two years. To consider and act upon such proposed amendments to the Articles of Incorporation or to the Bylaws of the Illinois Agricultural Association and upon such policy resolutions as may be properly submitted. For the transaction of such other business as may properly come before the meeting.


James M. Jacobs

It’s all about jazz the first weekend of February when the 37th annual Central



ILLINOIS IN FOCUS THE LIGHTHOUSE ALONG the Great River Road near Grafton is located near the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. STAFF PHOTO

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Winter 2011-12 ILFB Parnters  
Winter 2011-12 ILFB Parnters  

ILFB Partners highlights what’s good about Illinois – from the best travel destinations and recipes to articles about important agricultural...