Driving on Rich Road west of Annie Glidden Road, you may
first spot a 12-foot-high sculpture of a dragon carved from the
trunk and branches of a dead tree, then a Harvestore silo and
behind that a granary that has a front door and windows.
If you are curious, as I am, you may pull into the driveway
and look for the owners. This county used to produce mostly corn
and soybeans, then vineyards sprouted up, even whiskey distilling,
but what can you do with an old silo and grain bin?
Stop and ask Terry and Virginia Fleetwood for a look inside
their workshops and you will be amazed at the transformations.
The two structures have been insulated, heated, windows added
and made into two-story workspaces. Terry was a toolmaker by
trade for more than 40 years, retiring after they bought this
farmette, and Virginia is retired from the DeKalb County Farm
Bureau. At one time they owned Bygone Era Antiques on State Street
in Sycamore, but the business is no more.
Wanting to keep busy in retirement, they decided to convert
the two farm outbuildings. His is for furniture repair, restoration
and even replicating broken or missing pieces, using his extensive
array of tools, lathes and other woodworking equipment. She then
takes the project to her shop and does the refinishing and other
Looking around her shop, it looks more like an art studio.
She combines photography and art to make
Terry and Virginia Fleetwood stand outside their two
workshops, a silo at left and a granary in background. They remodeled
both farm grain storage facilities for use as a workshop and
art studio. (Schrader photo)
A dead tree trunk and branch was turned into a clever
wood sculpture of a dragon attacking a gnomes house, in
front of their Rich Road farmette. (Schrader photo)
framed creations, using a transfer technique to apply the artwork
or photos to other surfaces.
The results of their work can be found in local churches,
homes, businesses and even at Glidden Homestead. They dont
need to advertise, as word of mouth brings them enough projects
to keep them occupied year-round. In addition to this, they find
time to make toys, rocking horses, chests and little benches
for grandchildren and great-grandkids.
Virginia mentioned they have seven children, 17 grandchildren
and seven great-grandchildren, mostly in this part of northern
Illinois. Oh, and there are 18 cats at the farm. But, as we talked,
a mother cat was about to deliver another litter. Virginia said
she seems to always be calling friends and neighbors to see if
they would like a kitten.
So if you are out for a drive and would like to show the
family a fire-breathing dragon attacking a gnomes house,
find Rich Road. But beware of stopping; there may be a cute little
kitten in your car by the time you leave.