Oct 22, 2010

Stranahan's Distillery

Back at the end of August, we took a trip to a local whiskey distillery.

The tour was an in depth look at whiskey making. I had the idea that to make whiskey you just threw a bunch of ingredients in a barrel and let it age. It's a little more complicated than that.

The employees have homemade refreshment available 24/7.

The gift shop and tasting room.

The decor included an old western saddle, with a wooden tree and stirrups.

Tasting time, yay! I've never been a whiskey sipper, I prefer a shot that makes my belly all warm and fuzzy. But at Stranahan's I discovered I like the taste of whiskey and water. Our guide described the taste as "mellow gold" and I agreed with her. Guess what you're getting for Christmas, Mom?

Oct 18, 2010

Arizona Musings

Shaun and I spent Labor Day weekend this year in Phoenix with his family. I was thrilled to finally be that far west! It was great to get to know his family better, on their home turf. And I was nerding out at the possibility of seeing a live coyote or gila monster! Alas, I saw neither. But...

I saw the first live scorpions I'd ever seen. Diane (my future mother-in-law) saw this tiny scorp from the side of the pool. Good eyes, Diane! Just look how tiny it is compared to my thumb! But totally capable of stinging the hell out of you.

Tom (my future father-in-law) found this one out on the patio under a mat, while he was cleaning. There wasn't time to think about picture quality when I took this shot, I pressed the trigger and got the heck away from this little alien. I think at this point it had two back legs that weren't actually working, but it was still proud and determined to let me know it wasn't going to take any crap from me. Boy, were these creatures built to look intimidating, or what?!

The dyed flowers I held for our engagement photos turned the vase water indigo. That color makes me think of my grandmother, Essie. She loved that color. I do, too.

The family's elderly dog, Buddy couldn't resist a midday dip. Especially when Tom egged him on and threw his tennis ball in the pool.

The first thing I did when I came down each morning was to look out the back window for signs of wildlife, on the South Mountain reserve behind the house. Wrong time to be coyote watching, but I thought I might get lucky. You have to admit there's a stark beauty to the desert. I loved the colors. And I couldn't get enough of just looking at the way the sky looked especially bowl shaped.

But the only other wildlife that I saw or had a chance to photograph was a chubby pigeon drinking pool water for breakfast Saturday morning.

Renee and I went for a hike about halfway up South Mountain on Saturday morning of that weekend. We only made it halfway because I was nervous about overheating. My midwestern raised, woods loving self started getting the shakes after 25 minutes and I decided not to push it. It was my first hands-on (feet-on?) experience with the desert.

It was 96 degrees at 7:30 in the morning! I noticed after a while that I was hot but wasn't sweating, and then I realized it was because my sweat was evaporating that fast. The heat made the air so heavy and dry, it was like walking while wrapped up in a thick blanket I couldn't unwrap myself from. But worth a chance to see a view of town from a cactus forest.

Heh heh, this shot would have been nice without the reflection. Oh well.

Met a fellah named Nathan and his cat, Marty McFly.

And since I was excited to be staying in the house and town my man Shaun grew up in, I just couldn't resist taking a pic of a pic in the guest room we stayed in. Aww, high school band Shaun!

I have a bunch of photos of desert plants and trees too, but I'll have to share those another time when I can give you their names.

Oct 3, 2010

October Day and Evening in Colorado

This is our first fall in Colorado. This past week was very warm during the day and pretty chilly at night. But today was perfect for blankets in the grass at the park. I got to do some reading in the fragrant shade of a pine tree, Shaun walked Romeo over to the creek and Romeo went wading. Ah, Sundays.

And the sunset was fantastic. Doesn't the cloud in the second photo make you think of something out of a S. Dali painting?

And after a yummy dinner of lemon sage butternut squash soup and garlic toast, I threw together a spiced apple crisp for dessert. Huzzah!

Megan's Mouthwatering Fruit Crisp

Very simple, very rich, and so good that you have to eat it with someone, to share the guilt. Here're your ingredients:

About 4 cups of fruit (3 or four apples, pears, or peaches)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Optional = 1 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice mix (or cinnamon or whatever you like w/ fruit)
1 beaten egg
1 stick (8 T.) melted butter

And remember, this is just an outline! Don't be afraid to experiment here and there. Don't eat dairy and eggs or want to cut out some fat? Then use two egg whites instead of one whole egg (and save the yolk for your canine or feline pal). Or use vegan margarine and egg substitute. If you're watching your sugar intake, I've made this before with Splenda and it turned out fine. Toss in a couple of handfuls of rolled oats to get some whole grain in there. I've made this with berries before and used applesauce to moisten the flour mix with, leaving out the egg altogether. Ta da, turned out delish! I especially love this recipe made with BLACKBERRIES. *Que the Homer Simpson drool sounds*

-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
-Butter a small bake ware dish, line it with the fall fruit of your choice (apples, peaches, pears, cherries, any type of berry, or mix 'em up!, etc.)
-Stir the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl, then add the beaten egg and mix until the flour/sugar/powder/spices is moist.
-Spoon the flour mixture on top of the fruit, drizzle the butter over the top, and gently press it into the fruit. Bake for about 25 minutes until crispy and bubbly. If you're in a comfort food mood, serve it warm with cinnamon ice cream. Aaah, Sundays.

Oct 1, 2010

Happy 'Tocktober everyone!

This is one of my favorite months in Ohio. The air starts turning crisp, the trees go wine red, goldenrod, dappled brown, and you get cravings for everything apple, blackberry, and pumpkin. It's pie and cider time! I'm looking forward to my first fall in Colorado. The first week into fall though, we were breaking heat records here. Sometime early next month, we're going to head up to the mountains and try to catch the aspens changing color. It's always cooler up there. Pics to come.

Some artist bloggers that I follow also enjoy the change of the seasons. You can find Rima at The Hermitage and Karen at Moonlight and Hares.