"If I miss one of the wildflowers, then I've got to wait another year to get it again."
It is now prime time to see the wildflowers in Turner's backyard. As for the front, Turner, who is recovering rapidly from knee replacement surgery, opened her door to show what became of her one-time lawn.
"My front yard is a prairie," she said. "And believe it or not, I burn it."
If you go
Where: The Reed-Turner Woodland Nature Preserve is at 3849 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove. The log cottage is now the visitors center.
When: The preserve is open from dawn to dusk 365 days a year, and volunteers sometimes give wildflower tours.
To learn more: Call 847-438-4743. Tobin Fraley's book, "36 Acres," is available through amazon.com and at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Clean the river: This Saturday will be the 19th annual Chicago River Day — a volunteer clean-the-river event and, this year, a competition between Chicago and Los Angeles. The two cities, which have hosted volunteer river cleanups for decades, are vying to see which one can get more volunteers and more Facebook fans. In Chicago, some 4,000 people are expected to collect garbage and plant native seedlings at 60 cleanup sites along the Chicago River or in outlying spots between Lake County and Blue Island. The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information or to volunteer, visit chicagoriver.org.
Paddle the river: May 22 will be the 54th annual Des Plaines River Canoe & Kayak Marathon, starting at Oak Springs Road in Libertyville. You don't have to race it. You don't have to paddle all 18.5 miles. And you don't have to arrange transportation back to your car; the Forest Preserve District of Cook County will provide continuous shuttle bus service. You don't even have to own a boat; outfitters will bring rental canoes or kayaks to the start line and pick them up at the finish. For more information, call 847-604-2445 or visit canoemarathon.com.
Bird talk: Renowned birders Don and Lillian Stokes will speak about their new field guide, "The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America," at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Cantigny Park, 1S151 Winfield Road, near Wheaton. Hosted by the DuPage Birding Club, the talk is free and open to the public.