Category Archives: Plant Life

Taking a Break

Atypical Chicago Skyline - by Michael Courier

This was near the Morgan Green Line stop. I arrived a bit early to a client meeting, just as sunset was approaching. I like that it’s an atypical skyline photo with a focus on creation, rather than completion.

Cloudgate - by Michael Courier

Prior to heading to my client meeting, I spent some time at Cloudgate playing with the reflections.

Last week I made some time for some personal photography, walking, and clearing my head. I explored downtown, the West Loop, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Lincoln Park Conservatory. It was a much needed creative break and fun to shoot outdoors a bit.

Plants at the Lincoln Park Conservatory by Michael Courier

This was taken outside of the fern room at the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

Plants by Michael Courier

After spending an hour at the Lincoln Park Zoo, this was my favorite photo from the place. I took this outside of the reptile house and was fortunate to catch some interesting light.

Plants at the Lincoln Park Conservatory by Michael Courier

The fern room at the Lincoln Park Conservatory is my favorite place to visit.

Chicago Botanic Garden in Fall

Chicago Botanic Garden in Fall 2015 - Photograph by Michael Courier

The Waterfall Garden.

Chicago Botanic Garden in Fall 2015 - Photograph by Michael Courier

Courtyard of the Regenstein Center.

Chicago Botanic Garden in Fall 2015 - Photograph by Michael Courier

The English Walled Garden.

The warm weather and fall colors are about to disappear over the coming weeks, so I figured I would take this moment to remember a trip I made to the Chicago Botanic Garden a few weeks ago.

Making Apple Cider at Red Fire Farm

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

When you pull into the entrance of the farm, this is the view you’re greeted with.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael CourierMaking apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

Once we selected two crates of apples, it was time to halve and quarter the fruit.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

Our two crates turned into four buckets of cut apples.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

While we waited to grind the apples into mush, I took the opportunity to explore the farm.

At the beginning of October, Shannon and I were out in the Boston area visiting our friends Brian and Abigail. During the trip we visited Red Fire Farm where we chopped, mashed, and squeezed a bunch of apples. We made apple cider!

I’ve never made apple cider before and it was fun to learn the process. It’s been years since I’ve been on a farm, so that was a welcomed experience as well. Chicago, or any major city, is very loud and hurried. Rural life can be a bit more quiet and peaceful.

Though I’ve grown accustomed to Thai food, museums, and life without a car, I often miss the tranquility of nature. I miss the stars of the night sky and getting lost in the woods. This trip has taught me, more than anything else, that I’ve done a poor job of balancing my love of nature with my daily hustle in urban life.

There’s even been studies done that say nature can ease depression and boost well-being. And yes, I’ve said this plenty of times before, but I really should explore more. Maybe someday soon I’ll listen to myself.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael CourierMaking apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

When we were done grinding the apples, we placed the apple mush into a bucket and squeezed them.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

With all the juice out, we discarded the remains into a giant bin.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

When there was enough juice collected, we started the bottling process.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

The final step involved filtering and funneling the cider into containers.

Making apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael CourierMaking apple cider at Red Fire Farm is Granby, Massachusetts - Photos by Michael Courier

When we left the farm, we had lunch at a small diner in the area. On the car ride home I promptly fell asleep. Shannon did, too.