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Under Rocks

  • What do you think of when you hear the word "mead?" Vikings, Renaissance Faires, a cloying sweet nectar? The Under Rocks team discovers the joy of modern mead during a visit to downtown Elburn.
  • The Culinary Historians of Northern Illinois are preserving our stories, recipes, and community cookbooks -– and putting it all into a bigger societal context. Join WNIJ’s Under Rocks team as we take a deep dive into grandma’s recipe box and serve up a big slice of chocolate kraut cake. Your ideas are welcome at rocks@niu.edu!
  • Flags fly over Sycamore, Illinois as it celebrates the world’s favorite orange gourd: The Pumpkin Festival gets underway the last full weekend before Halloween. It’s those orange flags with the grinning jack-o'-lantern that drove a listener to contact WNIJ’s Under Rocks team to get answers to some burning questions. And make sure you listen ‘til the very end of the show for a special appearance by our favorite Illinois Enthusiast!
  • You don't need a passport to get to a world-renowned meditation center. In fact, the Illinois Vipassana Meditation Center is just a short hop from Rockford. The Under Rocks team takes you there — but can they go ten days without speaking?
  • How would you handle yourself in a medieval melee? Do you know what realm you live in? In the latest Under Rocks podcast, our team joins up with Team Belegarth in a Kane County park. When the herald cries "weapons up," these foam fighters really "lay on!"
  • So you've spotted a flock of huge white birds with comically-large beaks riding the Rock River surf. They couldn't possibly be pelicans, could they? They're far too exotic for the Midwest. Right?WNIJ's Under Rocks team heads out in search of the American White Pelican — and finds a festival devoted to these spring-time visitors along the way.Email us your story ideas at rocks@niu.edu!
  • Sometimes, the best way to fix something is to burn it down -- especially when it comes to natural areas choked with invasive plants. Things heat up for the Under Rocks crew as they tag along with Jack Pizzo and Associates for a prescribed burn at his house.
  • A splash of real maple syrup can mean the difference between a good waffle and a great waffle. And once you know the amount of work that goes into making that tablespoon of sweet amber liquid, it becomes even more delicious. We tap into our local sapspert to guide us through the magical transformation we're calling The Sappening.
  • Dry your tears, curling fans! You don't have to wait another four years for the Olympics to roll around to get a fix of your favorite icy sport. There are more than 40 curling clubs in the Midwest, including the Waltham Curling Club, the oldest in Illinois. For the first time, the Under Rocks crew deals with actual rocks as they hit the sheets and aim for the button. Who will come back for the next bonspiel? Good curling, everyone!
  • What's an "Illinois Enthusiast?" Behold county expert and Under Rocks fan John Kokoris. He shares his love for his home state and schools the Under Rocks crew on county seals. Check out his seal rankings on Twitter — @johnjkoko.Send your ideas for future episodes to rocks@niu.edu!