Sara drove Bannack and I upstate to an apple orchard to pick our own half bushel of some of the best tasting sweet apples I’ve ever eaten. Cars filled the parking lot outside the gift shop. Inside we bought our bag to fill and got advice on where to pick from a muscle shirted guy standing in front of his date, “Go all the way back.”
Back around the shop there was a duck pond, a pumpkin patch, chickens, goats and a rustic tree lined trail up to the orchard. I’ve never seen apples hang so heavily from trees before. Some branches were broken from the weight.
By the time we got to the top of a hill a man eating a huge stalk of broccoli stopped his light-duty four wheeler. I asked him where to find the best tasting apples and he pointed the way down the other side of the hill to a row of trees right on the edge of the farm. As he pulled away I noticed a bottle of beer in his cup-holder.
We charged down the path feeling a little like trespassers, the little road had a more private feeling than the open orchard. Down in the trees though it was near paradise. Apples from the first few trees were all of the same type but some were sweeter, some crisper, some more subtle. All astoundingly delicious, especially the ones that grew high up in the sunshine. We filled our half-bushel basket to the brim in no time and carried our loot back to the car talking about all the wonderful things we’d make with all these apples.
The next day Sara and I peeled, cored and sliced (by hand) about three quarters of the apples to make applesauce, spiced apple butter and enough canned apple pie filling for 6 pies. Last night we made a pie and even though I undercooked it—by just a little—it was just as tasty as if it was picked fresh off an apple pie tree. Apparently this sudden family obsession with apples extended all the way back to Montana. My mother sent this photo of the apple press my father cleaned up that they will use to make cider this year when their apples come in. Maybe a little applejack too? I hope so.
I just had to squeeze this last Bannack in NYC post in before starting with the European ones.
I miss you, little guy!
Hello, I live in Brooklyn. There is a great little park by my house, I call it June Park. Sure there are toys around—slides, bridges, a cement whale—but my favorite part of the park is this little hole in the ground. Let me demonstrate how I sit in it. There are more ways than you might think to sit in this hole. Ahh!
You’re welcome to come by anytime, the hole is always open!
Marc Campbell of Dangerous Minds says: “No, these are not photos of Mumford And Sons or the many faces of Bon Ivers or mugshots of Brooklyn hipsters. These are photos from 1957 of entrants in an annual beard-growing contest that took place in Kansas.” Via Boing Boing
Please refer any beard-related questions to Stephen, one of the founders of Montana’s famous Bruigher Beard Club.
Sara guided us to the waterfront yesterday afternoon to visit Williamsburg’s weekly flea market-style food fair Smorgasburg. There were lots of tempting food stands, each one filling a very specific gourmet niche. Out of all there was to offer we sampled mole tempeh tamales and smooth Basque gazpacho from Txikito, but the best in show were the killer donuts from DOUGH, a donut only bakery on Fanklin Avenue.
We ordered one cafe au lait, one toasted coconut, and one candied blood orange for us grown ups and Bannack got a dollar’s worth of cinnamon sugar donut holes. I’m going back because we still have to try lemon glazed poppy seed, hibiscus, or passion fruit with chocolate nibs.
The cupcake revolution is over, long live the donut.
Sara, Bannack and I made it to Imagination Playgound today. It’s a very well designed little stop on the South Street Seaport, not terribly far from the Cooper where Chris is attending school. The park is split into three sections, a sand box, a set of massive blocks and a little water park. Bannack played until he was drenched and literally couldn’t lift himself off the ground.
In spite of his best efforts He only played with about 30% of what was available to him in the half acre or so of playground. I guess that means we’ll just have to play here again.
More photos here.
We spent the afternoon with cousin Jill sipping Belvedere cocktails and playing Nerf tennis in Moët’s spaceport headquarters. Her company sponsors the US Open so they built a miniature tennis court in front of the bar, just big enough that you don’t have to put your drink down to play.
Bannack was pretty good at swinging the racket like an ax and yanking at the net but preferred running the ball back to the server to return it so I out-scored him pretty early in the match.
Before heading back on the train to Brooklyn we all got wide slices of pie at a little hole in the wall in Chelsea. We were just a few doors down from The Leo House, the small nun-run hotel that our family used to stay in for our first few visits to New York with the Carroll College plays.
Seeing the front door triggered memories of eleven year old me eating cold porridge from the early morning breakfast buffet, talking with my mom in the drizzly shabby back garden and asking the elevator operator for a lift to the sixth floor please.
“Are you sure?” He asks me from his worn out stool.
Suddenly unsure, I nod, “Uh huh.”
He closed accordion elevator grate and pushed the brass handle forward starting our slow and silent climb to the top floor. I took one step out of the elevator and knew immediately that I didn’t belong. The nuns lived on the sixth floor. I met one in the hallway and without a word she returned me to the elevator. I can’t remember if the operator apologized to her or not but it was an awkward ride down to whatever floor I was supposed to be on.
Sara and Chris and little June the Wheaten Terrier picked me up at JFK airport last night. It’s a short drive to their new apartment in Brooklyn and soon we were around the dining room table toasting over cold Manhattans. Maybe you’ve seen photos of their new place? It really is a unique and beautiful home, but what struck me most is that it is EXACTLY LIKE the last three places Sara and Chris have lived. So much so that Sara spent half a moment planning what to bring to a party back home, forgetting for that little while that she was in a New City. They’ve definitely found the right place.
This clown was catching up on sleep and had a long nap into the afternoon. He was up just after Chris and his brother Mike came home and the five of us, plus June, went for a meander through Williamsburg. McCarren Park was busy with little kids and littler dogs. Skaters filmed each other grinding on hurricane Irene’s one downed streetlight while outside the cameraman’s frame three sunbathers lay working on tans and a woman daubed at her plein air oil of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral that just peaked out over the trees.
Bannack alerted us every time he saw a subway station by asking for a, “Ride? Ride? Ride?” Sara and I had three dollar falafel at the corner just past the Bedford stop. We passed highfalutin dive bars, a few dusty book stores, a top notch cheese shop, a heavy metal barber shop with a pile of cow skulls in the window, a panoply of the coolest retail experiments of the millennium. But my favorites were the Brooklyn Art Library and Mast Bros. Chocolate storefronts sitting side by on North 3rd Avenue.
Sara, Chris and Bannack made it to New York and have been posting photos again. Here they are enjoying a cone from Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory after a bike ride through the neighborhood. Looks like they’ll fit right in!