Although we still have some highs in the 80s here, it is cooling off and there are signs of fall everywhere…changing leaves, cooler nights, an abundance of Michigan apples, and college football. This Texas gal will never get over how truly breathtaking Michigan is in the fall! We recently made our first batch of veggie chili at home and watched our first Texas Tech football game of the season on TV last Saturday (TTU 52 – ASU 45). We paired two excellent, local beers with our college football experience last weekend too: Wolverine Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest and Homes Brewery “Bang Down” Oat Stout. To top it off, we enjoyed watching the game while relaxing on our DIY pillow cases; we found some beautiful wool fabric at an estate sale which we bought for next to nothing and managed to sew 8 pillow cases from out of 2 different fabrics (4 euro shams and 4 standard shams). Happy fall!
We decided to make Maddy some homemade dog treats, following this recipe, today and she seems to love them. It wasn’t difficult and went pretty quickly (the most difficult/time consuming step was getting the treats to come neatly out of the cookie cutters and onto the tray without breaking) and it’s good to know exactly what goes into them as we made them ourselves. We used various cookie cutter sizes and shapes and, pictured below, Maddy waited patiently at our feet while we put these together. I’m sure we’ll be making more and trying some different recipes out in the near future; here’s to happy, healthy pups!
It’s peach season in Michigan and there is an abundant supply of juicy, ripe fruit available at our local farmer’s markets – or if you’re lucky enough to have a friend who has peach trees and is willing to share, from friends too! We were inspired by our friend Jennifer, who recently made and shared a beautiful peach crisp photo, and our friend Laura, who generously gave us a bag of peaches from her yard, to make our own peach crisp and it did not disappoint; we used this recipe as a guide (thank you, Jennifer!) and Ryan did a bit of tweaking using what we had available in our pantry (we added oats and cinnamon and left out the garam masala).
While we aren’t growing our own peaches, we are growing our own tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, peppers, and herbs this summer and our tomato plants are producing some beautiful fruit; just look at this heaping bowl of tomato (there’s a zucchini hiding in there too) goodness! As our ripe tomato count is rising, we’re considering what do with them all…pasta sauce, salsa, etc. I couldn’t resist snapping a quick photo of them all piled up in this beautiful bowl by Abigail Murray Studio on top of this tea towel by MirDinara.
We also took some time this weekend to use the laser cutter at Maker Works to make a custom-etched dog tag for Maddy; what we ended up with was 100 times better than what we were able to get from the machine at the pet store too. DIY for the win!
1 city permit, approximately 130′ of linear fence/750 sq. ft., 1 rental of a 2-man auger + 1 friend to help man it, 110 1″ x 4″ x 16′ cedar boards, 24 cedar 2″ x 4″ x 12’s, 30 cedar 2″ x 4″ x 8’s, 16 4″ x 4″ x 10′ pressure treated posts, 7lbs of deck screws, 3 cans of Penofin Verde (Natural), 4 Boerboel compact gate hinges, 1 tamper head digging bar, 1 post hole digger, ~3 weekends of labor, 1 truck rental to dispose of old fence that was falling down, 1 finger that had a screw drilled into it, 1 near accident of oily rags and spontaneous combustion… and we now have a beautiful backyard fence which was designed, built, and constructed all by ourselves!
We enjoyed a full day at The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village on Friday; the House Industries Exhibit was fun to walk through and we enjoyed all the rides at the Village as well. You can view photos and videos of our visit here.
We managed (with help from a friend – thank you, friend!!!) to get all 16 of the holes dug in our backyard to place the fence posts into on Saturday; looking forward to finishing that project and appreciating how hard DIY work can be sometimes! This experience has definitely taught me a few things:
- I’m not as strong as I would like to be (or thought I was) and/or I may have underestimated how difficult manning a 2-person auger really is.
- Having friends/family who are willing to give up an entire Saturday afternoon to help you dig 16 very deep holes in your backyard is invaluable.
- Ryan’s strength and focus when it comes to projects like this never ceases to amaze and impress me!
After all that hard work and heavy lifting (the 2-person auger we rented to get the job done weighed 71 pounds without the bit or extension attachment!) on Saturday, it was especially nice to spend some time resting inside our home on Sunday…here’s Maddy peeking in from the kitchen in the photo below.
Last, but not least, wishing my wonderful Dad a very happy Father’s Day!
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!
Fog, rain, more fog, dog naps (in our house, they will always be dog – rather than cat – naps), and homemade bitters (more on that below) – this was what our weekend was made of; that and a nice dinner out with friends one evening, at which point I saw one those signs posted at the bar that says you have to have been born in a specific year (currently 1996) in order to legally drink which caused me to settle into a momentary state of depression… 1996? I’m not even going to say why that year is of significance to me, but I didn’t like how it made me very aware of my age.
About those homemade bitters, we’re very excited to try our hand at making our own for use in some delicious cocktails at home, and we used this very nice Christmas gift our dear friend gave us to make our first attempt at doing that over the weekend! We used their recipes and ingredients provided with the kit, and added a few of our own ingredients to the mixes; we’re also attempting to make our own lavender tincture (inspired by a former Ann Arbor Distilling Company cocktail called a Rise & Shine). We’ll see how they turn out in about a month, when they will supposedly be ready, I’m crossing my fingers.
Our sweet dog, Melody, is 15 – going on 16 – years old (in human years) and we thought that elevating her food and water bowls might be helpful and more comfortable for her; so Ryan managed to put together a quick, simple but stylish solution with some wood we had sitting around in our garage. I think Melody approves!
We managed to refinish all of our outdoor furniture (two Adirondack chairs, one side table) and we rebuilt our outdoor table with built in cooler trays over the weekend too; it was so nice to sit outside and enjoy our backyard with friends on Memorial Day! Our garden is all planted and I’m loving all the flowers in pots – I mean…just look at these sunny yellow zinnias and roses. And we really enjoyed dinner and drinks at Salt Springs Brewery in Saline on Friday; the building is over 100 years old and was a former church – the stained glass windows are beautiful and the food and drinks were delicious.
Some of the highlights of last week for me were enjoying gelato/sorbet with friends, more (dairy-free for me) frozen yogurt with Ryan (they don’t know our names yet at Orange Leaf, so I can rest easy for now I think), meeting this adorable Australian Shepherd puppy, all the great things Ryan and I accomplished after two days of yard work at our house (#yardworkishardwork), and flowers…always flowers – this week it was peonies, lilacs, and lily of the valley; we planted zinnias, yellow roses (my Granddaddy would have loved them), peonies, alstroemeria, dahlias, and marigolds in our yard/garden for the summer.
Our weekend projects included: painting and cleaning our AC unit in the backyard – no more rust and now it almost looks like new, filling our garden boxes and pots with flowers and vegetables, planting two peonies in our side yard and finishing bed with stone border and mulch, raising and replacing two more stone borders in our yard, more mulch, weeding, mowing, cutting down a tree, organizing and cleaning our garage… Whew, I’m ready for a nap! I’ll leave you with this – just a little Paul Simon and my Melody to make you smile.