Once again, the days get away from me faster than I realize, and two weekends have elapsed since we last caught up! The primary reason for my virtual silence (apart from the usual “working for a living” reasons) is that my free time is devoted to working on multiple Ye Olde Secret Knitting (YOSK) projects that, unfortunately, can’t be revealed at this time. I love working on all of these projects and I enjoy the challenge of making them perfecto, but it certainly does leave a big hole in the knitting content around here!

So consider the coming onslaught of pictures to be my attempt at an apology for fewer posts and barely any knitting content. Hey, at least I’ve been doing fun things in between!

Two weekends ago, we were sweating it out in NYC – literally sweating constantly. I don’t think I’ve ever felt heat like that before (in excess of 110 degrees F with the heat index), and I’m not particularly eager to make a habit of it.

Steamy beach

Even with the cloud cover, our regular weekends-at-thebeach routine was cut short in favor of seeking out air-conditioned surroundings.

Steamy beach

I even attempted to do some more knitting on my linen Nyanen tee while sitting outside in my bathing suit, but it was a pitiful attempt that didn’t last long. It went back in its bag pretty quickly.

Luckily, we also had some great dining plans in place to beat the heat. Andrew and I met up with some good friends at Red Rooster, the new restaurant by Marcus Samuelsson in Harlem.

Red rooster

Red rooster

The menu is kind of like soul food with a twist (think cornbread with tomato jam, slab bacon with a poached egg, dumplings made from chickpeas in a curry-scented sauce), and it was fantastic. The portions are also tremendous, making it a great value as well. We particularly liked the drink menu with its witty references to rap lyrics/slang – I had a “gin and juice” and Andrew had a “dillio.” The whole bar area in general was nice, as it had a genuine neighborhood feel to it, with some people dining at the bar instead of at the restaurant in the back.

Red rooster

Red rooster

Red rooster

Red rooster

Since we live in central Queens, the restaurant is only a quick drive over the Triboro Bridge for us (I’m just not ever going to call it the RFK bridge – sorry), so I definitely see us going back regularly.

By Sunday evening of last weekend, a huge rainstorm had rolled through the area, cutting the heat and humidity to a tolerable level. More than tolerable, even, as I grabbed my camera phone for a walk to capture some of the neighborhood’s golden glow.

After the rain

After the rain

After the rain

I also judged that the weather was sufficiently cool enough to dare turning on the oven, and out popped a decently yummy blueberry/blackberry crumble – what can I say, I go for the fruit desserts in the summer!

Yum

The week that followed was alternately cool and steamy, and before I knew it, I was boarding a plane to Rochester for the weekend. Could someone please explain to me what was behind the epic check-in and security delays that occurred at Terminal 5 two days ago? If that’s what July 30th looks like at 6:45 in the morning, remind me not to show up on December 24th.

jfk in the earliest morning light

That complaint notwithstanding, it was a beautiful day to fly and I made it to Rochester in no time. My first order of business? Securing an iced cappuccino from Tim Horton’s before hitting up Wegman’s. (If you haven’t experienced either, put them on your bucket list. I’m not kidding.)

tim hortons and wegmans

Sigh, just seeing these beautiful displays at Wegman’s does a local girl’s heart good. I almost drooled on the glass, but luckily, Mom was there to keep me moving along.

wegmans meats

wegmans produce

Now, Wegman’s does a lot of amazing things, but one thing they don’t always do perfectly is sweet corn. And that’s where our local stand comes in – behold, the season’s earliest corn cobs. (Insert reverent music here.)

corn stand

Davins cornstand

We were so excited for it that we bought 26 ears in two days to feed 7 people….what?

But wait! There’s more! A trip home has come to mean canning in the last year or so, and this trip Did. Not. Disappoint. On the docket? Bread and butter pickles, or “sweet pickles” to some. Mom always adds onions to her batches for a bit of crunch. I learned the whole process, including packing the cukes in ice to draw off the excess water, and how to properly can solids with enough brine, and am prepared to obnoxiously flaunt my jars as soon as they arrive in the mail.

unwrapping the goodies

Packing in ice

drawing off the water

pickles in brine

Finished pickles

Not to be outdone by our bread and butter campaign, I just got a voicemail from my mom that she also made twenty-one pints of dill pickles today. You can’t keep a good woman down!

The “real” reason that I went home this weekend was to attend my cousin’s baby shower yesterday. My mom and I got to go with my sister-in-law, and it was big treat to spend the afternoon together. Unfortunately, my sister couldn’t make it, but she put together an epic gift of onesies and all kinds of Dreft products with the help of my mom.

Shower gift

I couldn’t help myself – I had to take a picture of the favors – little butter cookies in the shape of baby feet. I can happily confirm for you that they were also delicious. It was a great party and my cousin looked radiant – now we just have to wait and see if her hunch that it’s a girl is correct!

Baby Shower favors - delish!

In between all this party time and kitchen time, there was oodles of outdoor time. The weather on Saturday was about as perfect as it ever gets in Western New York in the summertime, and we all took full advantage from our favorite vantage point: the pool. (Fear not, my trusty Dark and Stormy was only two doggie paddles away.)

drinks + pool = perfect

happy plants

Cloudless

Cloudless

And because the weather was so perfect, we took full advantage of the grill to enjoy a classic summer meal. Yes, there was sweet corn involved.

summer feast

The weekend flew by and I was enjoying another cloudless Sunday sunset from my favorite perch when it was time to hit the airport again.

Brilliant sunset

Well, I hope this tale of two weekends (with its teensy “city mouse, country mouse” undercurrent) has entertained you sufficiently to distract you from the lack of knitting content. Let’s hope August goes a little slower than July, so that we can soak up the rays and slacken our pace a bit. Then again, maybe that’s why summer is so sweet – it just seems so much shorter than the other seasons….

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