I don't have any big beers waiting but I too am looking forward to the cooler weather. Standing over a boiling pot of wort in 100+ degree heat is never a fun thing!
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Apricots are nice but you will need a lot of them to gain any noticeable flavor. At least 10 pounds for a five gallon batch.
I use a cheap digital I got for $7 at Walmart. Works great and isn't too painful on the chechbook when I inevitably drop in the mash.
I also use my "Green Egg" remote thermometer when I'm heating mash and sparge water. I mash inside and heat stuff outside so using this setup I don't have to go outside anymore than absolutely necessary. 8^)