California quail in a white pine. Spokane, Washington, November 2019.

My mother loved the quail which started to appear in the backyard years after I had left home for good. I’ve never bothered to find out why deer and quail became so common in the past few decades. Loss of habitat as the city limits pushed further out? Seems backwards. Regardless, appear they did, more and more, until coveys could be observed daily running through the backyard, spring through fall. Smaller groups appeared in the winter. My mother just loved them. She purchased a small wooden carving of one.

My wife, Philadelphia-born and -bred, also loves quail. A city girl, any game bird interests her, but the cuteness and the comical mating calls of the males in spring really grabbed her fancy and held on.

When my mother died in the fall of 2019, and we settled out the belongings, I took a quiet satisfaction when she opted to snag the little wooden quail and place it on our mantel at home.

California quail, Spokane, Washington. January 2020.

Brewery Ommegang

Brewery Ommegang, between Milford and Cooperstown, New York. October 2012.

When the tree leaves’ colors change, when Americans ready for Thanksgiving holiday and the mad rush of a Christmas season, my thoughts always turn to a few singular brewers. These brewers produce the quality I demand on my holiday table. Brewery Ommegang is one such brewer. Although this photo is from 2012, we first discovered this brewery a few years after it opened in 1997.

Ironically, there’s a fair chance an Ommegang beer will not grace our holiday fest. Two 750ml bottles of Chimay Grande Reserve await, plus a bottle of Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde (which seems an appropriate beer for our times). Then again… (says the thirsty avaricious one)…