As of yesterday, August 11, I have been working from home, physically distancing from everyone but my immediate family, wearing a mask when out in public, etc... for 150 days. So, I thought it'd be a good time to share some of the things I've been enjoying/creating for the past few months! My brother Jason, sister-in-law Erin, and niblings (it's a new word I've learned - the gender-neutral word for nieces/nephews!), Max & Becca, drove up to Rochester from Alabama and stayed at our family's cabin in the Finger Lakes for two months. It was wonderful having them here, and we were able to do all kinds of cool things together...
In June I took Max & Becca to a Project AIR (Art In Resistance) event in Fairport called "Generation Creation." Along with many others spread out in a large park, we made Black Lives Matter posters, which will be scanned and produced to be put up in Rochester & the surrounding areas. I've also been volunteering with Project AIR to deliver lawn signs to those who have ordered them. You can check out the designs available for purchase on their Facebook page, and email them if you're interested!
Parks, Murals & Cemeteries
Either on my own, with just my mom, or with multiple family members, I've explored the following parks this summer:
Genesee Riverway Trail, Lower Falls Park, and Middle Falls dam
Thomas Creek Wetlands Walk (Fairport)
Turning Point Park
Brickyard Trail (Brighton)
Lock 62 Trail (Pittsford)
Linear Park (Penfield)
Ellison Park - Penfield Rd. entrance, and North Landing Rd. entrance
Holley Canal Falls (in Holley, about 45 mins. West of Rochester)
Birdsong Fairy Trail in Mendon Ponds Park
Webster Park on Lake Ontario
Maplewood Rose Garden
Rochester is incredibly fortunate to have a huge number of beautiful mural artwork all over the city. In addition to having the nonprofit Wall Therapy, an art & community intervention project that brings in artists from around the world, we also have a lot of muralists and graffiti artists right here in Rochester. You can find a map of all of the Wall Therapy artworks on their website, but some of my favorite locations are: Cobb's Hill water towers, the Swillburg, South Wedge, & Susan B. Anthony neighborhoods, in & around the Public Market, and the El Camino Trail.
New to Rochester as of this summer are the black chalkboard-paint walls of MLK Jr. Park (formerly Manhattan Square Park, next to the Strong Museum) and in the empty lot on Scio Street. Local artist Shawn Dunwoody started with a smaller section on Scio Street with the word "Enough" in paint, and the rest open for people to write messages concerning the Black Lives Matter movement. It was such a big hit that he then chalkboard-painted all of the fountain area in MLK Jr. Park. It is a wonderful rotating gallery of beautiful quotes, drawings, and thoughts.
My mom and I have also had a lot of fun seeking out small, old cemeteries, and then using this Cemeteries of Monroe County website to review the "inhabitants." We love the ones that are small enough for us to wander around and see all the graves in an hour or so, and that have a long history in the area. Many have very early immigrants, Revolutionary War veterans, and Civil War veterans. A few of the cool ones we've been to:
Bushnell’s Basin Cemetery (on Route 96, near Powder Mills Park)
Early Burial Ground (Perinton, on Fairport Rd.)
East Street Cemetery (Pittsford)
We all got very inspired by the fairy houses along the Birdsong Trail in Mendon Ponds Park, and decided to make our own for my mom's back yard! My mom and I will likely keep working to do some painting of fairy doors on trees, but with the kids we decorated bird houses and transformed them into beautiful fairy homes. Mine is the large blue one - that is the home of a clockmaker fairy. She lives next door to my mom's creation, the "crazy lady" fairy.
I've been cooking and baking up a storm this summer trying new recipes, and perfecting old ones. A few of my dad's recipes - Italian Easter Bread, and fruit pie with a shortbread crust (Strawberry Rhubarb pie for my mom, and a Peach/Nectarine/Apple/Black Raspberry pie for my birthday). I've made Banana Bread a few times, Peach Jam with local peaches, and a Sausage & Spinach pie (my Aunt Ann's recipe). I also made a delicious Pasta Carbonara, with roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes, and crispy prosciutto.
Homemade Pizza, Linguini with White Clam Sauce, Homemade Turkey Burgers, Stuffed Napa Cabbage with Stir Fried Ground Turkey, Dark Sea Salt Chocolate & Candied Ginger Cookies, an Apple/Pear/Blueberry pie for Mother's Day, and probably some other meals I'm forgetting.
And obviously, I'm reading a lot. Quick update on my yearly reading so far: 34 books, and I'm halfway through the 20 items on my 2020 Reading Challenge.
(All images by Tate DeCaro)