a real treat

For as long as I can remember, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, purchasing hard tack candy has been a tradition in my family.  What’s hard tack candy?  Just think of pounds of sugar, bottles of corn syrup, scented oils and various flavorings.

Since the holidays are just around the corner, the timing of my visit to the farm couldn’t have been better to drop by the Jamison’s Orchard Farm Market in the neighborhood…in hopes of purchasing some of that candy.

As soon as we opened the door to this adorable tiny market, the aroma of pure sweetness just filled the air.  “What is that amazing smell?”   “Oh, they’re making candy in the back room…head on back and take a peek!”  Well that took very little convincing, so my mom and I made a beeline to the back of the store.

After all of the years of enjoying this candy, I’d never seen it made.  So what a treat to now have the opportunity to see first hand from beginning to end the entire process.  Oh how I wish I had my camera, but at least I had my iPhone.  <whew!>


First, the boiling mixture is removed from the stove and poured on a marble table top…

hard tack candy making


Then flavoring and scented oils are added…

making hard tack candy


Timing is everything in this process…every second counts…

making hard tack candy


As the candy begins to cool,

it’s cut into long pieces and then distributed on the confectionary sugar covered table.

making hard tack candy


Then everyone begins to cut before the candy hardens…

making hard tack candy


making hard tack candy


A little about the Jamison’s Orchard Farm Market…Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains here in Virginia, the Jamison farm has been in operation since 1875.  Amazing to think that as early as 1900, the family was shipping apples in barrels to England.  Ever since, their livelihood has been based on the sales of apples, peaches, vegetables, apple butter, and many of items to numerous to mention…much like the farm that I grew up on.  Love the fact that their honeybees work overtime by not only pollinating their orchards, but also supplying that luscious golden mountain honey.  My daddy grew up with the Jamison family…you see my grandparents were old German Baptist Brethren too…a religious movement that began in the 1700’s in Germany…

Hmm…that reminds me…with my still life photography project documenting my family/travel treasures, I need to pull out my grandmother’s working bonnet!  I’m sure you’ll see that at some point in the future!

I can’t say thank you enough for all of your visits and comments.  I so enjoy sharing my experiences!

the city life

Back in the 80’s when I put my Roanoke, Virginia home on the market to make the move out west to Arizona, the house sold almost immediately…necessitating an interim move.  I chose the downtown area of Roanoke for that short amount of time as “city” life had always been an attraction to me.  So when I return to visit my family, I try to carve out a little time for a photo walk around downtown area just to soak in the “old” days…always enjoying the old with anything new.


The Taubman Museum is always a draw…but normally I find the building more interesting than many of the current exhibits…such as the stairs from the second floor to the main lobby area as shown below.   My feelings still remain the same as when I blogged about the museum back in 2012, I love the architecture of the museum surrounded by the buildings from back in the late 1800’s.


steps in the Taubman Museum in Roanoke VA


Something new this visit…the mural painted by Scott “Toobz” Noel…a self-taught artist who is also challenged from being color blind. He presents his fascination with horses and ancient cave paintings with his abstracted view of galloping horses merging into one massive mythical horse…just beautiful…


My visit to the farm is coming to a close…and I’ll be heading back to my city tomorrow, but I must share one more event. They say “timing is everything” and it certainly was…so stay tuned for my next posting!  Enjoy your weekend!


creating with mom


My main goal for trying still photography has been to document those special treasures handed down in my family, as well as items collected from my travels…and since I’m on the farm and spending quality time with mom…it’s the perfect time to begin creating…

For the past 50 years my mom has baked cakes (who knows how many) in this tube cake pan…pound cakes, fruit cakes, pineapple upside down cakes, and angel food (sponge) cakes…all made from scratch.  Now this tube cake pan is a real treasure, right?



My favorite cake?  Pound cake…especially the ones that have the real crispy toppings…<omg yum>

And yes…see that little piece of crispy that is no longer in the upper left hand corner?  Yep…that was me.  <shhhh>

mom's pound cake

Warning:  This is definitely not diet friendly…but just in case…here’s mom’s recipe…<smile>

2 sticks of butter                    1 cup of milk

             1/2 cup of solid vegetable shortening                    3 cups of plain flour      3 cups of sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

6 large eggs                             1/2 tsp. baking powder         1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter, solid vegetable shortening such as Crisco, and sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.  Add milk.  Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add vanilla.  Mix well and pour into greased and floured tube pan.  Bake one hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees.  Let cool for an hour before removing…

Now we’re off to make biscuits…

or cornbread…

or pumpkin pies!


bryant park holiday market

Ice skating…chess…bocci ball…lunch al fresco and shopping!   Bryant Park has it all and even more inviting on a 65 degree day as we head into winter.  I love the outdoor holiday markets that spring up all over New York City this time of year.  Rows and rows of small unique shops offering something for everybody, whether a gift for yourself <love those> or anyone on your Christmas and Hanukkah list.  This isn’t your typical mall experience though…we’re talking small businesses with unique products.  Businesses that are local and from all over the world…which brings me to a favorite…

Meet Jordan below…working at No Chewing Allowed where you’ll find the best chocolate fix ever.  Made in France for three quarters of a century…carrying on the roots of the traditional French Truffle…passed on from generation to generation…

Jordan at Bryant Park - No chewing allowed

This is what I love about a business…bringing us the best of the best from the generations before us and there is no doubt…No Chewing Allowed delivers.  That rich creamy feel on the tongue…just letting it melt in your mouth.  As my father would always say…so good it’s sinful!   Oh, and if you chew…you’re definitely missing out on the experience!

No Chewing Allowed in Bryant Park niece

 Besides the unique small shops…it’s the people that hang out here that makes it all so interesting too!

Bryant Park bocci ball


playing chess in Bryant Park


Bryant Park People


Bryant Park in NYC


There are many other holiday markets here in the city this time of year…

Columbus Circle…Grand Central…Chelsea Market…to name a few…

which is amazing to think the holidays are just around the corner!


Heading to the farm and will share more soon!


the last hoorah of autumn

Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain…

and Friday I head to the farm…

so today was technically my last day of autumn here in my city…


sharing some last minute captures today…

the last hoorah….


Autumn in Central Park, NYC

Autumn in New York City Central Park

The Met, NYC

Central Park - Sweden Cottage

Central Park NYC

Central Park Reflection

Autumn in Central Park, NYC

Autumn in Central Park NYC

History Museum in NYC

All captured in Central Park…

with the exception of the last one…as I made my way home…

walking past the American Museum of Natural History

in the hood…

<chat soon>

the woolworth building

My first tour through Untapped Cities and certainly not the last! 

An hour long experience in the normally “off-limits” Woolworth Building with the best tour guide ever…Lisa Swyers…a preservationist working directly with the archives of the building.  Ms. Swyers shared her knowledge of neo gothic architecture…stories from the past…and the changes happening today…at this historical landmark that once was the tallest building in NYC from 1913 to 1930.

Woolworth Building NYC

So love the gothic touches throughout…

it’s such a treat to see these amazing structures up close and personal…

sprinkled throughout my city!

Woolworth Building NYC

The Woolworth Building NYC

Woolworth Building NYC

See those top eight floors including the cupola in the capture below?  The penthouse…called the Pinnacle…is on the market for a cool 100 million or so. <cough/snort>  Three bedrooms, three bathrooms and three powder rooms, as well as a private elevator. Two of the floors (about 4,700 square feet) will contain the main living and dining spaces for a total of over 9,000 square feet. The cupola will offer a library or media room…with an observation deck at the very top – of course.  (There’s a rumor that Leonardo DiCaprio was in negotiations, but couldn’t work out an agreement…Don’t you know he could throw some parties in that space!)

Woolworth Building NYC

Woolworth Building NYC

A wonderful opportunity to see the magnificent landmarked lobby featuring marble, mosaics, and murals as well as a peek into the abandoned bank vault in the downstairs.


On a totally different note…classes are finally coming to an end and oh have I enjoyed my still life photography course – Start to Finish – with Kim Klassen!

This class was so much fun and Kim is THE BEST on-line instructor/artist ever!

(That combination is really hard to find…)

Photographing family treasures and travel keepsakes will most certainly keep me busy for a long time.

wabi-sabi roses

Oh…and on another note…Just saw the movie BOYHOOD over the weekend…have you seen it?  You can watch an actor grow up – in real time – with self taught writer/director Richard Linklater’s movie.  He traces the growth of a boy from the first grade until his first day of college…while shooting sporadically over the course of 12 years.  Filming started during the summer of 2002 in Austin, Texas, and completed in October 2013.  The cast would meet once or twice every calendar year over 12 years and shoot for three or four days at a time.  Put it on your list…it’s soooooo good!

autumn color in central park and beyond…


 “Fall has always been my favorite season.

The time when everything bursts with its last beauty,

as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.” 

Lauren DeStefano


color in central park



Artist in Central Park



Central Park



Autumn in Central Park



autumn color in central park



Conservatory in Central Park



color in central park


Central Park Conservatory



and then…

an amazing drive through the Long Island Sound of New York…

Oh My.

Gotta go back there…

Long Island Sound, New York

the home of the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park

that includes another magical Japanese Maple…

Planting Fields Arboretum

Planting Fields Arboretum in Long Island

Planting Fields Arboretum in Long Island

Have a wonderful weekend!!

autumn color at the new york botanical garden


These past few days here in New York have been an overdose of autumn color!

Absolutely mind blowing…


Starting with the The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx…


with a touch of abstract tossed in!



New York Botanical Garden


New York Botanical Garden


New York Botanical Garden


New York Botanical Garden


New York Botanical Garden


omg…so totally smitten with this japanese maple…

japanese maple at the New York Botanical Garden


japanese maple at the New York Botanical Garden


japanese maple abstract at the New York Botanical Garden


as well as the 50-acre forest along the banks of the Bronx River…

New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden


oh…and the Conservatory…

New York Botanical Garden

New York Botanical Garden


oh oh and then there was this most interesting wall…have no idea why it captured me so…

just reminded me of a little girl walking in the forest…

even though it was just cracks and a drain hole.

<twisted mind>

New York Botanical Garden


and a peak inside the window of the snuff mill turned eatery…

New York Botanical Garden


Hope you’re in the mood for some more!

Cause coming up…I’ve got the Planting Fields Arboretum in Long Island, New York

and of course color in my own backyard…Central Park

Happy Autumn!

nyc’s ambassador



Through 2015, Welcome To New York global tourism campaign

will continue with more engagement with Taylor Swift,

in which she will share her New York City experiences

including additional videos and editorial content

of her favorite things to see and do throughout the five boroughs.”

And all along I thought…

- the gotham girl -

was THE Ambassador of Tourism of New York…

Now who does she think she is?

ok…..Taylor Swift.


Sharing some moments…

Times Square NYC

Times Square…iphone capture



Dilia at the Cutting Room in NYC

dilia – fabulous concert at the cutting room in manhattan (iPhone)



Lasker Rink and Pool in Central Park

a touch of abstract tossed in (taken at the Lasker Rink and Pool in Central Park)


Cobra work in NYC


Really like the “on the street” work by Kobra (above) and Betten (below)

Betten in NYC



Jeff Koons’ Balloon art

displayed outside Christie’s Rockefeller Center headquarters which is expected to sell for $20 to $30 million.


tour around manhattan

 from the architectural tour around manhattan…

Happy Monday!