While it feels nothing like fall in SE Michigan today (high of 89 and 94% humidity), with Labor Day behind us and September officially here…the summer is sadly over. We filled our last few weeks of summer with attending the Ann Arbor Wayzgoose and Printing Festival, a trip to Cranbrook Art Museum where we saw the Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Punk Graphics, 1976-1986 and Shepard Fairey: Salad Days, 1989-1999 exhibitions, visiting two new-to-us breweries (Atwater and Batch Brewing Co), and the start to college football season. Also, Maddy successfully completed the snoot challenge…have you seen all this cuteness?!? Pictured above is an arrangement I made with flowers and herbs from our garden – roses, lavender, mint, lemon balm, basil, and sage.
“Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.” – Charlie Papazian
We have successfully brewed our first homebrew beer; it’s an Amber that we’ve decided to call “Pimero Uno”! Is it the best Amber I’ve tasted? Of course not. But, it’s definitely drinkable and we learned a lot from brewing it ourselves so the next batch of beer, whatever style we decide to make, should be even better and I count that as a win. I must also acknowledge all the resources out there that helped us to get as far as we have; there are many great resources online (like the American Homebrewers Association), locally (like Adventures in Homebrewing, where we took an “Intro to Homebrewing Class” yesterday), and of course books you can purchase (like Brew Better Beer by Emma Christensen). Here are some photos/videos I took of our homebrew process along the way…
- Steeping the Grains
- Adding the Hops
- Chilling the Wort
- Measuring the Original Gravity
- Pitching the Yeast
- First Fermentation (…wait two weeks)
- Racking to a Secondary Fermenter (…wait two weeks)
- Bottling (…wait one more week)
- Open and Enjoy!
Cheers and more to come on our adventures in homebrewing soon!
The Pearl Beer bottle opener pictured above belonged to my Mema and Granddaddy. In March of 1942, my Granddaddy enlisted in the U.S. Army; on June 6, 1944, he – along with the brave soldiers of the 4th and 90th Division – stormed Utah Beach in Normandy, France. He was the recipient of the Purple Heart, Bronze Arrowhead, Five Bronze Stars for five major battles, three Overseas Bars and the French Legion of Honor Medal in addition to several other commendations. He lived to be 94 years old and I am so honored to have known him and to call him family. Thank you to all who have served.
Long, holiday weekends are heavenly…yet somehow, they never seem to be quite long enough; we thoroughly enjoyed ours and squeezed in a movie, lots of r&r, grilling, some more planting in our garden and yard (Bartzella Itoh Peony, Cascade Azalea, a few more herbs, and a mosquito plant), and – even with temps in the 90s here in May (that’s hot for MI in May!) – we spent a good amount of time outside enjoying our backyard patio space.
Speaking of things we enjoy…Ryan and I enjoy beer, I’ve been curious to try our hand at homebrewing, and we also enjoy a good DIY project on occasion – so we took the first step towards this and bought this book about it. We plan on reading up on it first and then we’ll see where that takes us; I’m excited at the possibility of creating our own homebrew, with a healthy dose of reality that this won’t be easy to do and will take a good deal of patience and practice to hopefully, eventually be successful at (fingers crossed!). My Dad shared with me that my Granddaddy once tried homebrewing and that it didn’t turn out that well for him – lol! I’m hopeful there will be more to come on this for us, stay tuned…
You can view more photos from our Memorial Day weekend here.
We purchased and planted most of our summer garden on Mother’s Day and are looking forward to some delicious garden goodies over the summer months! We are growing some of our annual favorites, but always pick out some new and different varieties to try as well. Here’s what’s growing in our summer garden this year: basil, oregano, thyme, mint, parsley, chives, shallots, strawberries, a variety of peppers (jalapeño, habanero, etc.) and tomatoes (Green Zebra, Mr. Stripey, Black Krim, and Chello), red leaf lettuce, kale, marigolds, nasturtium, dianthus, lavender, and ketchup and mustard roses. We’ll be adding coleus and maybe a few other things to pots in the coming weeks too. We also planted a few hanging baskets and pots with pretty, trailing plants like sweet potato vine, etc. Happy gardening!
EMU and UM have had their commencement ceremonies, the weather has FINALLY warmed, and we’ve had some windy, rainy days here in A2; the forsythia and hellebore are blooming in our yard, and while my lilacs are usually on their way out by now they are just starting to form flower buds and I’m looking forward to their intoxicating smell and beautiful color soon to come! We’re looking forward to a Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday (also Cinco de Mayo), among other fun celebrations, and a little bit of travel soon too. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I’m already planning out our garden beds and what we’ll want to plant for our summer garden in my mind. We’ve been enjoying more outside time with Maddy and nice walks in and around the area… Did I mention that it’s been a very long, cold winter? So happy to have the spring again!
Maddy is unaware of the concept of personal space when it comes to us and it’s both adorable and often times hilarious…
We enjoyed an exciting weekend of March Madness watching (this shot and this dunk – wow!) and a fun St. Patrick’s Day last Saturday; we cheered on the Red Raiders with a Guinness in hand and are thrilled to see them advance to the Sweet 16! We were sure to wear our green (even Maddy)…and red and black (Wreck ‘Em!)…and we enjoyed a delicious, homemade, holiday-appropriate meal of Bangers and Mash with Irish Cheddar and Irish Soda Bread. By some miracle, my bracket isn’t completely busted yet and I’m holding out hope that the final game will be a matchup between Texas Tech and Michigan…anything can happen! This makes me laugh.
Much to my disbelief, somehow it’s March 1st today and it is definitely coming “in like a lion”; while it was 60 degrees here earlier this week, today we’re under a winter weather advisory with up to 6 inches of snow possible. I can only hope this means that March will be going “out like a lamb” and have treated myself to some lovely spring things from my local flower shop; I happily trudged through the slushy, snowy mess with some cheery daffodils in a pretty new pot this afternoon to soothe my frazzled winter nerves. Another thing I have to lift my spirits is my sweet, adorable Maddy – just look at this face below! And in 19 days it will officially be spring!
With a winter weather advisory in effect and 3-5 inches of snow accumulation possible here today, these sweet, pink blooms and this adorable pup make my home feel even cozier and all the more inviting. Also, I love that Maddy has a habit of crossing her legs when she’s laying down – she’s my little lady. I’m looking forward to heading home this evening and enjoying a hot bowl of Butternut Squash & Poblano Chili with Toasted Pepitas & Charred Lime for dinner, likely curled up by the fire with a movie on. The Breakfast Club just happened to be on last night so we watched it of course; maybe another John Hughes movie – Pretty in Pink, anyone?
Here we are in late January and it’s been a dark and dreary week filled with little sunshine, some rain, a few snowflakes, and some very thick fog; I can’t help but feel the urge to hibernate this time of year and these photos of Maddy dozing off on our rug reflect my current mood. For me, this makes all the things that make me feel cozy, warm, and comforted all the more appealing of course and I’ve been curling up right by my fireplace as often as I can. “Treat yo self!”, as they say. Per this article in The New Yorker, “Winter is the most hygge time of year” and I couldn’t agree more.
The high temp today is 10, with an actual low of -5, and with the current wind chill it feels like -8; for the next two days our high is supposed to hover somewhere around 10 and we’re expecting more snow on Sunday. While the fresh-fallen snow is lovely to look at, from the comfort of my own warm home, it isn’t all that fun to walk outside into when the highs are this low in my opinion #winterainteasy. All those slow-rise mornings and days spent lounging around in my sweatpants in front of my fireplace have me mourning the end of the holiday break; Maddy seemed opposed to it too when Ryan was working on catching up on some emails yesterday (pictured below), ha! Luckily, tomorrow is Friday and I’ll have another weekend ahead of me to lounge to my heart’s content. The cold weather and snow don’t seem to faze Maddy though; she delights in bounding around in it, which you can see for yourself in this video here. We’ve also discovered her love for the heat vents inside the house, which is quite comical to witness as she scoots herself underneath the furniture in order to place herself right on top of the heat vent and naps the day away…just be sure you have a warm blanket and you’re all set.