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New book celebrates Illinois couple’s turning back time in their own backyard

Wildflowers peek their heads through the grass. An eastern tailed-blue butterfly flits among the tall, swaying blades as a red-winged blackbird flies overhead.

When Fred Delcomyn looks outside, this is what he might see.

In 2001, when he and his wife, Nancy, moved to their home outside of Urbana, Illinois, it looked a lot different.

“We found this place, and it was about half wooded and half agricultural land,” he said. “You walked out the front door, there was a bit of a garden and then you saw a field of corn or soybeans, depending upon what they were growing at the time.”

The couple were looking for a home surrounded by nature, a quest that resonated with how they met at the University of Oregon.

“She used to hang around the lab, and we had a group that went out into natural areas around Eugene, and she kind of joined that group,” he said about his wife. “And that’s how we got to know one another.”

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Publication Date: 10/20/2021
Photo credits: Erik Delcomyn
Editor: Rachel Duckett