We enjoyed a fantastic weekend with family this past week; they were kind enough to fly up from Texas to visit with us and we filled our weekend with lots of delicious food, Michigan craft beer, pregame at Homes Brewery (where they did a pig roast and we sat by the fire pit and watched the snow fall!), tailgating near the stadium, an exciting game at the Big House on Saturday, and of course the best of times with the best company! You can view more photos of our weekend here.
I can hardly believe it’s already October, but here we are on October 1st… The weather has turned cooler here and it’s a grey, rainy day in Ann Arbor; leaves are starting to change and of course we’re enjoying college football, Oktoberfest beer, beautiful mums, and snuggles with Maddy as often as we can. Here’s a beautiful excerpt from Robert Frost to capture the mood of this day –
by Robert Frost
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow…
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 enjoyed a few days in lovely Boston, MA – a.k.a. “Beantown”! There were so many interesting sites to see – here are a few we made a point to stop at: SoWa Open Market, Freedom Trail, Boston Common and Public Garden, Bunker Hill Monument, The Mapparium, ICA, Harpoon and Sam Adams breweries, Fenway Park, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Walking through and past all the historic neighborhoods and sites was a treat, and the weather was beautiful too; it’s a very walkable city, which is always a pleasure, and we found ourselves equally happy just roaming around the neighborhoods and getting a feel for the place. You can view additional photos and videos from our trip here.
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.
If you can find a nice patio, with some shade and preferably a cool breeze (and a cold beer) on a summer day, take advantage of it always! We began our weekend doing just that at Dominick’s and it was lovely. While my Texas friends and family may laugh at this, I’m going to say it…we’ve had some hot temps here in A2 this last week, with highs climbing into the high 80’s and low 90’s over the weekend; it definitely feels like summer here – hot, humid, and sweaty. Despite the weather, Ryan managed to dig out all of our existing fence posts (which were all that was left of our dilapidated fence) over the weekend and we currently have brand new ones sitting in the floor of our garage waiting to be placed into the ground; we’re very excited at the prospect of having a new, functional fence – complete with gate – in the near future and are looking forward to enjoying our backyard with Maddy. And we have now added a post hole digger to our growing pile of tools and equipment in our garage.
We enjoyed a walk to Zingerman’s Roadshow with Maddy for breakfast bright and early Saturday morning and we saw Wonder Woman at the theater (here I am, as a kid, in my Wonder Woman suit). Hope you’re having some summer fun of your own and enjoying the sunshine!
It’s peony season here in Ann Arbor and the Peony Garden at Nichols Arboretum is quite the sight to see…absolutely gorgeous! I’ve taken a stroll through there twice now in the past week (where we met this sweet little pup) and I can’t get enough of it – the variety of peonies is impressive and the smell is heavenly; here are some photos and videos I captured of the gardens last week; they also have some lovely Dogwood, Rhododendron, and Azalea, etc. Our own peony in our garden at home is blooming now too. I’m here to pet all the puppies and smell all the flowers!
We enjoyed some delightful patio time at Wolverine on Friday afternoon and at Beer Grotto (where we met this sweet little pup) on Saturday, stopped by the Mini Maker Faire, and are having so much fun with our little imp of a puppy, Maddy!
We enjoyed a cool, rainy weekend here in A2; watched some movies, cooked this Blue Apron meal, and visited my 26th Michigan brewery when we stopped by Brewery Becker in Brighton – my personal favorites on tap were the West Coaster (west coast style IPA), Victoria (Victorian era export stout), and Hefeweizen (classic wheat beer of Bavaria). Looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend ahead!