rail to trail havenside

Biking through cornfields, blueberry farms and forests was a weekend highlight. The air seemed so clean and oftentimes smelled like Welch’s Grape Juice. We did about 15 miles on the bike, which is probably why I thought a pre-ride double coffee cinnamon roll from Julia’s and post-ride kettle chips and raspberry stout from Round Barn were acceptable. Other indulgent sustenance included a packable tasty Chicken Curry lunch recipe courtesy of Backpacker Magazine and fresh apple cider from Paul & Ethel’s Farm. I really should find myself a good used bike.

last day for blueberries

Before hopping on the Kal-Haven bike trail Saturday morning, I got to enjoy the South Haven Farmers Market. Kind and generous farmers and artisans were as abundant as the produce. There is still plenty of gorgeous fruit for picking up there, though the woolen mittens remind everyone that Southwestern Michigan fully embraces all of the seasons.

berry sunny saturday

Yesterday my niece turned 3! In the morning, the two of us went over to the Fishers Farm Market together and started celebrating with slushies and soft pretzels. The day continued to be filled with sunshine and happy bellies. I am so lucky to be the aunt of this berry sweet girl.

first sunday in august

When I was in the sixth grade I wrote a poem about my family reunion for Language Arts class.  It started out, “The first Sunday in August, before the weather is cool, our destination is a place past old Scott Center School.”  The poem goes on to describe what I came to expect at our annual Covell-Beck gathering, including black raspberry jam, corn-on-the-cob, and scalloped potatoes.  20 years later, loved ones have passed and new generations have grown, and I still look forward to the food!  This year the reunion included a fitting memorial service for my beloved Great Uncle Bill in the family plot.  I got to spend time with family from Texas, New Jersey, California, Michigan and Virginia.  I even caught myself saying, “I remember when you were just a little thing,” like people used to say to me.  Auction and fire may have claimed the family houses, but we still meet on the farm past old Scott Center School where memories and laughter remain.  Now because of the tradition, new memories are born.

my favorite monsters

When I found out that my nephew liked these Monster Pops molds I had to get them for him for his birthday. Many healthful and gourmet popsicle recipes do exist, but today I celebrate the tried and true Kool-Aid popsicle. It’s good to be a kid and make monster faces and run around the yard eating icy sweetness. In the words of Kool-Aid Man, “Oh, yeah!”

when it’s hot & dry

There has been extreme heat this month across the country, and without compensating rainfall or exorbitant water bills, many of the usual green-lawned neighborhoods are now brown and weedy.  Tonight while a pie was baking in the oven (upcoming post!), I went outside in my mom’s flowers.  I was drawn to the effects of the heat wave in the garden, like pop up Queen Anne’s Lace, dried up daisies and thirsty cone flowers.  Then I thought about the thalo green grass that sometimes appears from under the snow in late winter.

scenes from magazine street

A couple of days ago I literally walked my shoes off on Magazine Street!  A few miles in I thought the bottom of my feet felt funny, so I looked down and my sandals were trashed. Now I have an unintentional souvenir pair of flip flops called feelgoodz from the Crescent City. Being in good company, taking in the sights, stopping along the way.

what’s better than a porch

A porch swing.  What’s better than a porch swing?  Pie on a porch swing!  My sister came up to her in-laws’ this week and somehow through the magic of text messaging and family recipes they put together a lovely spontaneous cookout.  Not bad for the middle of a workweek!  She made some pies, her father-in-law did some grilling and we all ate well.  The cherry pie is a Southern Living recipe, and the peaches and cream pie is from Great Grandma Manges’ family cookbook.  The internet is pretty great for recipe finding, but family recipe cards and books are among my personal treasures.  Later I will have to say more about spaghetti squash and shrimp on the grill, but right now I’ll appreciate the coziness of a welcoming front porch.