A Slow and Cozy Fall Day

Saturday we hit the city; Sunday, we were back tromping in the woods. It was the most perfect fall day. Not too cold, not too warm. The leaves were a blanket over the ground, crunching under our feet, paving a yellow golden road for us. We didn’t hear many birds, just some geese flying overhead occasionally, and sometimes catching a glimpse of a woodpecker or two, with their distinctive red heads. Mostly we walked and talked and listened to the woods, keeping our eyes open for an owl tree, where an owl may by roosting. A few signs would be a tree that has been “whitewashed” and owl pellets at the base. Despite our best efforts though, we didn’t spot one. Billy and I are going on an owl prowl in a few weeks though, so hopefully we spot an owl that night!

I found the teeniest little baby acorn!! We may not have spotted any owl trees but we did spot lots of mushrooms, and stopped to make some nature art near the trail out of acorns and oak leaves. Billy also made a “clock” to signify the time we took to hike together that morning near the trail as well.

When we got home, we dug in and kept cozy, listening to music, having impromptu dance parties, and baking. Well, Billy and I at least. I made an apple pie while Billy tried his hand at a hand raised hot crust pork pie, inspired by the Great British Bake Off. We have a pie project for this month, and this was our first attempt. I have never made a completely from scratch pie, nor has he, and we didn’t do too bad for the first round. My dough was a little tough, which I guess can be too much water or over handling. Billy needed a little more flavor in his filling and he had made his crust a little too thick. So, we will see how we do next time! My recipe came from the Art of Pie, and the filling was delicious! I ended up using Granny Smith and Gala apples and it was very tasty together. And I apologize, I am the worst at food photography!! I thought Billy’s little dough piggy looked cute though.

I am so glad that we had such a fabulous fall day together, because the next morning we woke up to a whole new landscape…

We got 6.5 inches of snow!! Our little gnomes in our gnome garden are totally snowed in! And it is still here, sticking around.

But hey at least we had pie!

A Sunday of Foraging and Gathering

After a week of not feeling well, by the time Sunday rolled around I was feeling well enough to get out. And I wanted to. Needed to really. Cooped up for so long at home we all needed to stretch our legs and breathe in some fresh clean air. Greenfield Village is closing for the season in two weeks, and we wanted to get a last trip in before they close. We have had so many fun day trips there this year that we wanted to take a last walk around. And I knew it was decorated for their Halloween event so it was bound to look pretty cool too!

The air was brisk and cool, the day was a bit overcast, but it all added to the moodiness of the moment, with the jack o’lanterns lining the streets as far the eye could see, the hay bales, the spooky scarecrows – we felt like we had entered some sort of creepy children of the corn type town this trip.

We meandered our way over to the gardens, which in the summer time is bursting with blooms and busy bees, little birds darting here and there, and elegant butterflies floating from flower to flower. A garden in fall can be just as beautiful, but I think they are in spite of the lack of life. The beauty is a stark one, a lone candle in the window, if you will. The colors shine so much brighter, mimicking the colors on the trees around. There is glory in the brightness of fall, the last flare before winter.

Billy is naturally an outgoing person, and he and Wyatt strolled around that red house while I poked about in the garden. He ran into a friendly gardener who gave him two seed heads, from a sedum and a blackberry iris. She told him that if saw anything in the garden that we liked that was either off the plant and on the ground, or had gone to seed, we could gather and save for our garden next year! I usually have my seed envelopes with me because I am a nerd so we spent some happy time gathering seeds from flowers that we will plant in the spring. Wyatt enjoyed playing among the rows like a little bunny, some of the flowers taller than him. He is such a sweet kid, smelling the flowers and enjoying time in a garden.

Needless to say we found some things. We harvested seed pods and black walnuts, just a few and left the rest for the squirrels, and nicked a few blooms that had been already been bent practically off by overzealous wildlife, or perhaps other people, or their purses and bags or strollers. We felt so lucky leaving with our bounty!

It was nearing lunchtime so we picked one last spot in the village to visit before heading home – Daggett Farmhouse, my favorite. It makes me think of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and it was so perfect to visit so close to Halloween.

If I could move into the village, this is the house I would pick. I love it so much. The colors, the simplicity, the squareness, the big garden, and the windmill next door. Lol. So very New England. It was built before America was America, this house, can you believe it? We poked around outside and headed inside where the reenactors were sitting down to a lunch of pies and cabbage. It looked delicious honestly. Wyatt really enjoyed the mention of pie – I am pretty sure he is going to dig our month or so of pie making. Or at least the eating of them.

We headed home to our lunch soon after, bowls of warm chicken lemon rice soup, which I think did much magic for our colds. It was a good day!

Harvest Full Moon

Tonight is the full harvest moon – and coincidentally, Friday the 13th!! OOoooooOOO…

The Harvest Moon is the moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox which is coming up on the 23rd. This time, the moon is also a micromoon, meaning it will appear smaller in the sky, the opposite of a supermoon. So much happening in our skies right now! We are spending this harvest moon with my brother and his family, having a fire in the yard and eating cheesy corn chowder and apple bread made from the apples growing on our tree. The moon won’t rise in our area until after midnight, so it probably won’t be Friday the 13th anymore technically, and I kind of am ok with that.

I have been reading Harvest Moon books to Wyatt this week, in preparation for this moon that signifies harvest season and family. And because I am always curious and forever reading more on things, I also looked up books on superstitions for my own reading. Mine haven’t come in at the library yet, so I won’t get to read them until maybe next week, but I am looking forward to flipping through them.

These were all great reads, but our favorite is Possum’s Harvest Moon. This little possum just wants his friends to get together and celebrate before winter arrives, and meets with a little resistance at first! Eventually, all the friends have a great time together, hanging out at the Harvest Moon. Kind of like we are going to do with my brother and his family – although we will see him after winter arrives too. I am guessing though, historically, that for people in the “old days”, that once the snow fell you might not see your neighbors until spring, so maybe people back then had celebrations of their own, before snows kept them isolated.

I have to admit, the superstition of Friday the 13th does get to me… my family is very superstitious, I blame our Irish and Scottish ancestry! As I mentioned above, I went digging for some books on superstitions, as my curiosity usually does lead me to do. These were the few I found that looked really interesting!

We actually had the Encyclopedia of Superstitions in the library I used to work at, and the kids checked it out like crazy. I had to order a new one for the library eventually, it became so worn out. So, I figured that had to go on my list! I am sure I won’t read these cover to cover, all of them, but you never know I guess! What the Moon Said is a kids chapter book that drew my interest as well, it looks really interesting. They had me at Little House though…

How about you guys? Any plans for tonight? Any suggestions for a harvest moon play list?

Goodbye October, Hello November!


hello november

November. The month of my birth, a month I tend to think of as the beginning of the cozy part of fall. October for me is full of frantic activity – November I tend to turn more inward. Warm socks, soft knit gloves, cozy blankets are all pulled out as we put our flip flops and sandals away. We turn to hot drinks, savory soup, hearty bread; our lives take on a more gentle rhythm, taking our cue from mother nature herself.

This year to help me to be more mindful I joined the Wilder Child Slow Down Challenge, a 30 day challenge with different prompts for every day. Today’s prompt – make your child laugh. For my gigglepuss of a boy, this is an easy one for me. But many others include family traditions and more together time – reminding us to find our family in our chaos. I know that my days are so busy, running here and there with Wyatt, cleaning the house, shopping, planning – doing all the things we all do everyday. Sometimes it seems like I just check stuff off my list, but haven’t really been present in the moment. I want to do better. If you are interested, here is the link to the challenge. There is a private Facebook group too, for support during the challenge.

I keep seeing Nonfiction November being talked about around the book blogging world. I am becoming more and more of a nonfiction book reader, so I am unofficially joining in. I have a few different books picked out that I am going to attempt to read this month, interspersed with fiction. I usually read nonfiction books a bit slower, so I might not get to all of these, but this is my general plan, as far as nonfiction goes.

I am super excited about the Lewis-Stempel book. I actually bought it – the first book I have bought in two years!! It has to come all the way from England so it’s going to get here at the end of the month, but it should be pretty quick to read at 96 pages. I must have been on a roll because then I went and bought Braiding Sweetgrass too! I checked it out from the library a bit ago, but had to turn it back in before I was done. I was enjoying reading it so much and taking my time with it, that I decided gosh darn it, I was just going to buy it.

I am very much looking forward to this month – the family time, the food, the books and blankets and tea drinks. And pumpkin pie! I can’t wait for pumpkin pie. How about you? Is there anything you are looking forward to this month?

Drinks with a Ghost..

Like every city out there, Detroit has its own ghost stories and weird lore. From the Nain Rouge , the little hobgoblin who appears before a disaster, to the myth of Harry Houdini haunting the Majestic Theater, to the various and sundry other ghosties out there, we have our share! Usually I don’t think about them, but of course Halloween and my current reading material has them front and center in my thoughts.

Billy and I have been trying to have more date nights lately and last night we splurged. We headed downtown to The Whitney, which is an old beautiful mansion from the lumber baron days of Michigan’s history, turned into an elegant, fancy restaurant. It was built in 1894, and was described at the time as being one of the most opulent houses in the west. It is one of the few opulent mansions left, and it is a gorgeous old lady, towering high above Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

And it is said to be haunted.

Stories are told of the elevators operating themselves, doors opening and closing and moving between floors; one staff member even saw an older gentleman disappear into thin air when asked to leave.

The third floor of The Whitney serves spirits – and people thank goodness – in its Ghostbar, and it is where we chose to go for our date night. When we got there, the bar was empty, but it was early on Wednesday night. We chose to sit in the big leather seats, all cozied up to the bar, and indulged in decadent drinks and desserts.

 

I ordered the yummy nutty tasting Chocolate Ugli Cake, which is a flourless cake with a chocolate ganache, and their famous martini, the Witching Hour. And it was delicious!! Made with Valentine White Blossom Vodka, Limoncello, St. George Raspberry Liqueur, and fresh lemon, it was delightfully sweet and tart, without being too much of either. I can see why it is a drink that they are known for.

 

Billy ordered the Kahlua cheesecake, which was exactly how you think it would taste – rich and chocolatey, a bit boozy. Yum! It was topped with a coffee infused maple cream that was delish as well. To drink, he had the Spoonful, which is made with Mansion reserve Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Luxardo maraschino, and angostura bitters. It was pretty good too, but not as good as mine! Lol.

We had a great time, enjoying our little moment. It was such a cold night midweek, and we had the place to ourselves with the just the bartender. Although, it did make me feel a little bit like I was at the bar in The Shining..just a little. And that bartender – was he real? Hmm.

I can’t say we witnessed any ghostly behavior or saw any ghosts, but it was fun to hang out there and spend time with my guy.  If you are ever in Detroit and want to grab a cocktail before a show or after dinner or just because it’s a cold Wednesday night and you have a bit of free time, I suggest you step into the Ghostbar and try one of their amazing cocktails. You won’t regret it – and maybe you will see a specter!


If you are interested in more Haunted Detroit, there are many options out there! If only I had the time to do all of these, how fun would that be? Some of the events may be seasonal, or sold out but these tour groups have different tours all the time, so maybe one will open up, or something completely different will catch your fancy!

Wheelhouse Detroit- Haunted Tour and Dusk Tours – Visit haunted locations from the seat of your bike!

Preservation Detroit – Cemetery Tours

Haunted Detroit Tours

Detroit History Tours – they offer a Halloween in Detroit tour which is sold out, but there is a bizarre Detroit tour that still has availability

Historic Fort Wayne Tours After Dark – these are also sold out, but the Fort has many cool events coming up, including a Christmas at the Fort event. And there is always next year!

A Wonderful Weekend

Sometimes everything just falls into place and things turn out perfectly.

This weekend was like that. The weather was gorgeous, sunny, with that bite in the air that lets you know that fall is here and summer has waved goodbye. I love the crispness, it feels so fresh and alive to me. So weather, en pointe. Add in some of my favorite people and a day of laughter and eating, and it was just the icing on the cake.

A few of my friends and I headed out western Michigan way, to Holland, MI. I don’t know much about this town, except that it does have a windmill and in the spring a tulip festival that looks amazing, full of bright colors and all things spring. There is a college there too, Hope College. And it also has a quaint little downtown, full of boutique stores and restaurants.

We had lunch at New Holland Brewery, a thing which excited a few of the husbands who were back home, who had made requests of their wives to bring them back some sort of special beer that is only made at that particular location. The food was ok, not anything terrible but nothing special either. I think here it is all about the booze. And even though time was just creeping up on noon, we had a celebratory drink to our girls day out. I ordered Full Circle, a kolsch beer. I only drink lagers if I drink beer, and it was a good one! K and J had pumpkin martinis, while C had Dragon’s Milk, which has a fantastic name right?

holland

After we ate, we poked around shopping, in and out of stores, each of us buying what caught our fancy. I ended up taking home with me a soft, warm pair of wool gloves knit in Peru from a Fair Trade store, a t-shirt for Billy, and a cute little Halloween book for Wyatt. I bought those gloves just in time – it is freezing here this week!

After a few hours, we were pretty shopped out and were ready to head to our next destination – dinner! By this time we had worked up an appetite with all that walking around so we were ready to hit the road. We had made reservations in a nearby town at Schuler’s Restaurant, based on J’s recommendation. She had been wanting to go there, and I am so glad that we did! When we got there, we got shown to our table, which was right in front of the fire. It was so cozy and warm, on such a chill night, and the decor was very old world charming.  I absolutely loved it in there. We settled in, ordered our drinks from the fall themed drinks menu, and enjoyed the cheese and crackers that were brought to us as we perused the dinner options.  I ended up ordering the Roasted Beet Salad with salmon, and it was amazing. Everyone’s food looked delicious actually, but for me, it was all about dessert. I ordered the Devil’s Delight, a brownie with vanilla ic cream. This sounds so blah, but so wasn’t. Chocolately and gooey,  warm and delicious with that cold ice cream to save it from being too rich. Yum!

Then Sunday, my hubs, son, and I went to the apple orchard. It was another fantastic weather day, the perfect kind for strolling around an orchard, eating apple doughnuts, and picking out pumpkins. The perfect Michigan fall day, really. The orchard we got to every year, Bennett’s Orchard, also makes hard cider and has a tasting room, so bonus! Lol. We took home a growler of Elderberry Cider, and plan on going back in a few weeks for a cinnamon version for the holidays. The owner told us to cook sweet potatoes in it for the holidays, which sounds like a fabulous idea! As were getting ready to leave, the parking lot was starting to fill up with yogis – they apparently host yoga sessions in the orchard on Sunday afternoons, which sounds like it would be a lot of fun!

Finally, later that evening we made a giant pot of chili for dinner, and watched It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. It was a great end to a wonderful weekend.