Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Fall Wish List



Ahhh, autumn. I feel you in my bones too. My favorite time of year, when everything is turning to shades of oranges and reds, leaves crunch under your feet, crisp breezes, apple cider, hayrides, bonfires, and halloween. I am in love with fall. I of course have my wish list of activities for fall - apple orchards, bonfires, scary movies, spooky stories, and Halloween parties, but besides that, there are some more material items I would love to have this fall. Here they are, in no particular order.










What about you? Is there anything on your list for fall? 













Thursday, September 5, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Random 5 Friday is hosted by Nancy from a Rural Journal




1. Went for a bike ride with my husband, and popped my bike chain. I was a little upset, but decided to take advantage of the moment and take a photo instead. 


2. Spent a day wonderful afternoon at a vineyard. It was the perfect day.


3.  Got some free pears too. They were delicious.


4. Walked around Greektown in Detroit at dusk - Old St. Mary's has never looked more beautiful. I wish I would have had more than my iPhone for photos that night. 


5. Back to work for me. Started setting up my library Tuesday. So many new books!




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Day of Porch Sitting and Wine


Billy and I made the drive out to Jackson on Labor Day, to one of our favorite spots to relax and while away an afternoon, the Sandhill Crane Winery. It was one of those perfect almost fall days, sunny, blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and a cool breeze. The wide low slung porch, with an assortment of tables and chairs, has a view overlooking the ten acres of vineyards and orchards, and you can stare out at the horizon for hours.

Billy and I picked our spot, and our friendly hostess Annie came over to get us started on our tasting. One of the cool things about Sandhill Crane is that they make their entire menu available for tastings. You can skip around, picking and choosing from the choices, or you can go straight down the line and try the 30 some wines they have currently in their brand. Billy and I started out strong, tasting the the first thirteen in a row, but after those, we chose to skip around and choose the ones that appealed to us the most. I narrowed my selections to about 7, while Billy decided on 6. Of all the wines I tasted, my favorites were the 2012 Riesling, which had notes of sweet grass, guava, and pineapple, a wine called Solstice, which they describe as summer in a glass, and I have to agree, with its light refreshing qualities, and its flavors of the orchard fruits they grow on the property, including pear, nectarine, and peach. My final favorite was Blue Skies, a blueberry mead with local blueberries and honey.  It is seriously like blueberry in alcoholic liquid form. Billy's favorites included the Blue Skies and Solstice as well, but he also tried a raspberry desert mead called Veranda that was served with dark chocolate, which was amazing!!

They were also giving away free pears! You were invited to take as  many as you wanted! Billy and I filled a small bag; they were delicious!



Billy and I sat on the porch, with the cool breeze, the tinkling of wind chimes, hummingbirds, until I was so relaxed I could have laid down and taken a nap.  We forced ourselves to get up and walk around the grounds. But after we started our trek about the acreage, we knew it was worth leaving our seats on the porch. 




Finally, it was time to head home and leave this oasis of calm and beauty. We bought a bottle of wine, and hit the road, feeling rejuvenated and ready for our week.

If you get the chance, check Sandhill Crane Vineyards out. You will be glad you did.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Random 5 Friday - August 30th


Random 5 Friday is hosted by Nancy from a Rural Journal
 



1. My husband and I toured Shinola Detroit - it was very cool and I lots of pictures. They are a Detroit based company that builds bikes and produces Swiss engineering watches, all from their headquarters her in the D. Post to come soon!



2. I made some Bourbon Peach Jam and some Scotch Peach Jam. I honestly like the Scotch version better!


3. I found this series on Netflix and I have been watching it. I am slightly embarrassed to admit it.



4. Finished this book and loved it. Now I want it to be fall. Like right now. And I want to know how to knit. You can read my review here 


5. I have been trying to live by this manifesto all year - I thought it was a good time to reread it and recommit to this idea. Read about it here.










Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bourbon Vs. Rye Tasting - The Sugar House

Photo from The Sugar House facebook page
On August 6th, my husband and I attended The Sugar House's Bourbon vs. Rye tasting. The point was not to showcase the most expensive bourbons and ryes out there, but to learn the differences in taste between the two.

First I have to clarify, I am not much of a straight liquor drinker. I am more of rum and sour mix drinker, if I drink something other than wine. I have even been known to enjoy the Corktown Sours from Sugar House, which are a mix of Jameson and sour, but this summer my favorite hands down has been the Havana Sour.

So when I signed Billy and I up for this tasting, it was with trepidation on my part, but I was still curious and really did want to know the differences, and to learn about it from the people who know it best.

When we arrived about 20 minutes before it was scheduled to start, we found our seats along the end of the bar, which had been sectioned off for the tasting. We were surrounded by people who worked in the industry, which was cool because we learned a lot more by talking to them in between sips.  Our host for the event set handouts out in front of each of us, one a fact sheet about bourbon and rye and what makes them bourbon and rye, and another with four circles, big enough for a shot glass, with the name of a particular bourbon or rye next to a circle. We then received four one.five ounces of those specific liquors, and were instructed to sip, not shoot, the liquid inside.


The four we were tasting were Temptation Bourbon, Redemption High Rye Bourbon, Old Overholt Rye, and Redemption Rye, in that order. We started off with the Temptation, which is a mash of 75% corn, 25% rye, and 5% malted barley. This is important because a difference between bourbon and rye, which I should have guessed, is that bourbon is mainly corn, while rye is mainly, well, rye. The flavor notes that were suggested for this one were caramel, sweet and sour corn, with a nose of honeysuckle, and citrus. 

Next down the list was Redemption High Rye Bourbon which is a mash of 60% corn, 38.2% rye, and 1.8% malted barley. It has notes of caramel, soft floral and nuttiness, while the taste is said to be more woody with a slightly sweet finish. Let the record show I was not able to get past the alcohol of these drinks to get these nuances, but Billy did say this one was nutty. 

After having tasted the two bourbons, we moved on to the ryes.  We began with the Old Overholt Rye, whose mash bill is 53% rye, 32% corn, and 15% malted barley. I believe they also told us that this particular rye has been around a long time. The nose was listed as pine with residual sweet corn, mint, citrus, and pepper, while the taste was listed as wood spices,, menthol with a dry finish.  Neither of us cared for this one at all. Billy did not like the menthol taste, which he said he could clearly pick up. 

The last on our list was the Redemption Rye. The mash bill is 95% rye, and 5% malted barley. The nose was listed with such things as grapefruit and buttered popcorn, with the taste being spice and pine, with a dash of nuttiness. I have to admit, I could see what they meant about the buttered popcorn! This was my second favorite of the night.

I didn't finish my glasses. Mine looked like they were barely drunk at all, but I tried! My favorites were the Temptation Bourbon and the Redemption Rye, the two most different of the night. Billy really liked the Redemption High Rye Bourbon.  We both felt it was worth the $20 each we paid for the lesson and the tasting, in fact, it was one of our least expensive nights there! 

Everyone we spoke to was happy to share their knowledge. We even got off subject and started talking about Scottish whisky. We learned that there is one out there called Ocotomore that is extremely expensive, so of course Billy wants to try it. It is $67 for one shot at the Sugar House, and they have fair pricing for what you are getting and for their extensive knowledge of what they do. I can actually go to bars in other areas and order lesser drinks which are the same price as what I would get for a much better drink at the Sugar House, so they are not fair and not overpriced, in my opinion.

I am definitely going to be watching their schedule of events now that we have attended one and loved it. I wonder if they will ever do a rum night? 

What I learned on Twitter in under five minutes

Today I learned some cool things on Twitter, in under five minutes, all while I was drinking my coffee. I wanted to share some of these facts and opportunities with you!



1893: Birth of perennially popular US short-story writer, critic & poet . Her COMPLETE POEMS:

First, it is the birthday of Dorothy Parker! When I was younger (ok I still do it) I tried to pattern myself for this woman writer of the 1920s, known for her sharp wit and place at the Algonquin Round Table. Oh, how I dream of staying at the Algonquin, and seeing that table for myself!



. Community Week presents free DSO concerts across metro , Sept. 25-29! More info + reserve tix:


Wow, a free concert from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra? Yes, please! I already reserved my free tickets, and I am looking forward to the show!




How about a behind-the-scenes tour of the Opera house and 6 other Detroit theatres with - Aug. 31?

This is an amazing opportunity presented by Preservation Detroit! I wish I could make it to this event, because it looks like it would be very informative and interesting, as well as one with beautiful architeture.






This is another event I wish I could attend, but can't tonight. This is also an event if you want to go, you should jump on right now, since this is the last night. I have attended a few times before, and it is always a great time.


And there you have it! Three awesome events in Detroit, and the birthday of one of the most powerful voices in women's literary history - And I learned about it all in the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee!




Friday, August 16, 2013

Random 5 Friday - August 16



Random 5 Friday is hosted by Nancy from a Rural Journal
 
 
1. My art opening last Saturday was awesome! I have a great support group of family and friends who celebrated my opening with me, and I even sold a few things!
 


2.  My husband and I attended a Bourbon vs. Rye Tasting, where we learned the difference between the two, and tasted two of each.


 
 3. After this post, I was contacted by Shinola's Social Media guy and offered a factory tour for my husband and I. I very excitedly answered yes. And I can bring my camera!

Photo Source





  4. I went to yoga with my mom this week. It was her first time ever trying it out, and I wanted to be there to help her as needed. She had a great time, and so did I.

5.  My tomatoes are finally ripening! Yay! This is the first tomato that came out of my garden; I thought it was adorable!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Billy's Birthday Morning Surprise!



My husband Billy's birthday was the other day, and I wanted to plan a morning around him since he always works so hard and does whatever I want and goes wherever I want to go. He usually doesn't make time for himself, so on his birthday, I felt it was time he did. I left my camera at home, so I could be more in the moment with Billy, and off we went.

It was a gorgeous day in Detroit, the sky was so blue I was convinced it was fake.



Their photo from the website gallery
Our first stop was brunch at Foran's Grand Trunk Pub. I had been researching brunch menus all week, and decided that Grand Trunk Pub had the most creative offerings on their menu, including Lobster Benedict, Lobster Omelettes, and Candied Duck Crepes. I was sure Billy would order the duck crepes, he is adventurous like that, but he didn't see it and ordered the Hillbilly Benedict. That is ok, it just gives us another reason to go back! I ordered the French Toast with Grand Marnier, and a mimosa. The food was wonderful, with the exception of the potatoes o'brien style, which were rather bland.

My photo
Our next stop was Shinola. My husband loves bikes, and has been wanting to make one. Shinola is this awesome company that makes expensive bikes and watches in Detroit. They recognized the great manufacturing that is in Detroit, and put the motor city to work making a completely different product, but with the same level of precision and expertise.  I love that they are putting Detroit back to work and making a future in Detroit. If you are interested in their story, read more about them here, and take a Google tour of their shop here.

We walked around their store on Canfield, and Billy thought he was in heaven. The bikes are gorgeous works of art, the watches rival any made in Switzerland, and the leather goods are so buttery soft and sumptuous. I didn't take any photos in fear of being booted from the store and my iPhone taken away, especially since there is a guard posted outside at the door. (I have since learned that they are absolutely fine with photos) To a bike lover, Shinola is a wonderland.  Even I couldn't help falling in love with the Bixby model, and although I am not a bike fanatic I can recognize quality. In pink please!

We ended the birthday tour at Astoria in Greektown. Astoria is an amazing bakery, with big glass cases as tall as me (ok, a little shorter) packed full of pastries, croissants, cookies and cakes. I told Billy to go crazy, and pick out whatever he wanted for his party that night, and of course something to eat right then. He picked out a dark chocolate forest torte for the party, and a ham and cheese croissant to eat. I picked out a strawberry croissant, which is my usual order there. I of course have no photos, because I lose my head when I get in there, but I have included a few photos from Tripadvisor. Next time I will definitely take my own, even if it is just with my iPhone, it feels weird to use other people's photos, even if  they are properly credited.


Photos of Astoria Pastry Shop, Detroit
This photo of Astoria Pastry Shop is courtesy of TripAdvisor Photos of Astoria Pastry Shop, Detroit
This photo of Astoria Pastry Shop is courtesy of TripAdvisor Photos of Astoria Pastry Shop, Detroit
This photo of Astoria Pastry Shop is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Billy said that he had a wonderful birthday morning in Detroit, and is still talking about our trip to Shinola. I however, am still thinking about the food!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Taking a quick break

Taking a quicksy little break this week while I prepare for my art show on Saturday! 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Random 5 Friday



Random 5 Friday is hosted by Nancy from a Rural Journal



1.  Thrift shopping with my friend Mary, where I bought the cutest little plates and tea cups.




2.  The health of this goofball. I  brought in a bloom from my hydrangea, which Miso promptly chomped on. I looked up the toxicity of the plant, and found out they are poisonous to cats (and dogs). I contacted an online vet to see if they thought I needed to rush her in to a clinic, but they said based on how much she ate (half of a leaf) she should be ok aside from some mild gastrointestinal distress. She ended up only vomiting a little bit one time, and I am extremely glad she is ok.


Please ignore my wrinkly curtains!


3. Dinner and a view with my husband



4.  A  walk in the park along the Detroit River at dusk



5.  My garden is bursting full of kale, cucumbers, radishes, and tomatoes! Now, the tomatoes just have to turn red. Lol. 


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random Five Friday ~ July 26

Hosted by Nancy from A Rural Journal

Here are a  few things that made me smile this week.

1. Lemon Sugar Crepes - light and fluffy and tart, from Le Petit Zinc. And their coffee was heaven, although it gave me the jitters! I love the little courtyard; its a tiny garden oasis within the city of Detroit.

 


2.  A walk in the park with my husband and my dog Penny. Penny, a mild mannered English Setter, is usually a lazy bones unless outside. I had forgotten how excited she gets when around wild birds, and took her to a park with ducks and geese. She pulled me around the place in her quest to hunt and kill.



3.  Book Club with my friends. 

4.  A nice afternoon at Greenfield Village, which was started by Henry Ford. I love the Cotswold Cottage; you can have tea there!

  


5. Blueberry picking with my friend Jennifer and her son. We have been going together for 5 years. The first year her son was only a year and a half old! It was a wet and misty morning, and I didn't take any photos. Although I know they would have been beautiful, and I regret it. We followed our morning up with lunch at a restaurant overlooking a small harbor, where I had my first Summer Shandy of the season.

How was your week?