We went on a field trip last Monday (my wife and I) to a farm on the shores of Lake Michigan were are raised a whole variety of creatures: deer, chickens, cows, pigs, championship racehorses, and bees. We had come for the bees. Now, my wife had been talking for a couple of years about becoming a beekeeper, and this summer everything came together for her. Her apprenticeship under a master beekeeper formally commenced this July. Here, in mid-September, it was now time to harvest the honey. For me to be invited to join her for this stage in the honey-making process was, indeed, a delicious treat. Read more

Autumn commences this weekend (Saturday at 10:49 a.m., to be exact) in the autumnal equinox (equinox, literally, “equal night”), presumably so named because it marks the time when the night is as long as the day. It’s the day after which daylight begins to yield itself, by degrees, to a creeping darkness and the lengthening of shadows. But, in the height of autumn (October), Michigan really shows itself off in a burst of color, in the perfume of decaying vegetation and ripening apples, and through its bounteous yield of produce. Here, then, are ten ways to drink deeply of what Fall has to offer. Nothing new under the sun here: just a remembering, really, of why it is that we in Western Michigan, we in the Midwest, and our friends and family in New England find this season the most intoxicating of the year. Read more

What I’ve been attempting to do in this series (“A Quest Begins”) is certainly no more than Theodore Roosevelt attempted in African Game Trails, the serial account, written from the hunting fields, of the African safari on which he embarked just after his presidency (and if this sounds like hyperbole, it is). Our quarry: not water buffalo, elephants, and lions but simply the best beef we’ve ever tasted. Our field: not the savannahs of the Dark Continent but the farms and ranches of North America. Apparently, judging from a Wall Street Journal article (“Having a Cow About Steak Quality”), this has not been the first attempt at such a quest but one undertaken by Mark Schatzker and chronicled his book Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef . Read more

“La Foret Chapel Gate,” Pam Holnback. Used with Permission.

The “Quest” alluded to in the title of this post refers to my company’s pursuit for the most flavorful, succulent beef: an adventure arising out of a conversation with my friend Ben and recounted in the previous post (please see  “The Quest Begins [Part I]“).

Our first stop was to be at a small but thriving family ranch in Monument, CO, just northwest of Colorado Springs. The meeting was tentatively for the following Tuesday or Wednesday, but first we would spend the days leading up to the visit with friends and loved ones in the area (I lived in Colorado for seven years prior to moving back to Michigan). Driving into Colorado Springs late Saturday afternoon, June 23, we were greeting by a portentous omen: a great plume of thick smoke rising just behind the ridge line. This was Day One of the Waldo Canyon Fire, Read more