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picking asian pears

September 15, 2017

asian pears close up on tree

What is better than getting fresh fruit at a Farmer’s Market?  Getting fresh fruit from a farm, of course!  Today, for Friday field trip you are joining me as I pick some Asian pears!

asian pears on the tree

Have you tasted an Asian pear?  They are delicious!  With a texture similar to apples, the light sweetness and crispy texture (maintained long after they are picked) of this pear make it a really great addition to salads.

asian pear taking a bite

Asian pears are native to Japan and China where they have been grown for over 3000 years.  The most common grown in the U.S. are Japanese varieties which have a shape similar to an apple.

asian pear close up

The first documented appearance of an Asian pear in the United States was recorded in 1820 when a Chinese sand pear was imported to Flushing, New York.

asian pear top of tree

Today Asian pears are grown not only throughout Asia but in Italy, Spain, Australia, France, Chile and New Zealand as well. In the United States, the bulk of commercial production comes from California and Oregon with a smaller supply coming out of Washington State, Kentucky and Alabama.

asian pear bunch on tree

We are so lucky to have some Asian pears growing here in Connecticut and people come from far away to pick them!

If you haven’t ever tried an Asian pear, I hope I have inspired you to do so!  Sliced on a green salad and garnished with a fig vinaigrette…yum!

asian pear field

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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nybg

August 25, 2017

The best part about visiting a botanical garden is knowing that every visit is unique. There are so many variables that contribute to creating the environment – ensuring that no two visits are ever the same! And, with 250 acres and over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire! For Friday field trip today, we are visiting the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). Spanning 250 acres and containing over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire and each visitor to NYBG is sure to experience it in a different way. Here are a few of my favorite glimpses from a visit on a rainy day in August! Enjoy! Have a fabulous weekend! Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

The best part about visiting a botanical garden is knowing that every visit is unique.  There are so many variables that contribute to creating the environment – ensuring that no two visits are ever the same!  And, with 250 acres and over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire!

NYBG herb garden

NYBG water lilly

For Friday field trip today, we are visiting the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).  Spanning 250 acres and containing over 1,000 plants, there is certainly plenty to admire and each visitor to NYBG is sure to experience it in a different way.

NYBG hydrandgea

NYBG fern

Here are a few of my favorite glimpses from a visit on a rainy day in August!

NYBG bench

NYBG water garden

Enjoy!

NYBG black eyed susans

NYBG rock garden waterfall

NYBG conservatory

Have a fabulous weekend!  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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eclipse cookies

August 18, 2017

gifting eclipse cookies pleasure in simple things blog

I picked up a pair of glasses from my local library so I can watch the eclipse on Monday afternoon safely.  But, after all the hype, is that it?  Glance up to the sky wearing a pair of paper glasses?   I feel like there should be more!

How about a special snack?  For today’s Friday field trip, I am sharing my eclipse snack idea…black and white cookies!  Isn’t a classic New York black and white the perfect eclipse snack?  I thought so!

eclipse cookies from pleasure in simple things blog

I searched online for a recipe for the classic cookie and found many – I decided to go with a Gourmet Magazine recipe from February 2002.

Making the cookies makes the eclipse seem a little bit more like a celebration!  Because, after all, don’t all good celebrations include good food?

eclipse tags pleasure in simple things blog

My very first batch ever of black and white cookies was pretty successful!  (My only advice is to avoid getting crumbs in the white frosting!)  You still have time to make your own eclipse viewing snack!  If not a black and white, how about making some whoopie pies?

cookie tray eclipse cookies

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things!

Whoopie pies in 2024!  Happy eclipse viewing, Jackie

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baby goats…cute or creepy?

August 11, 2017

baby goat 2

Baby animals are cute, right?  I thought so…until, I spent some time around baby goats and had some second thoughts on that!

baby goat 10

For today’s Friday field trip, I will let you make your own decision!

goat 2

They start out all cute and cuddly…

 

baby goat 17

But then, maybe not so much?

baby goat 6

baby goat 11

And, what the heck is up with these eyes?!

baby goat 13

Creepy?

baby goat 15

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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harkness memorial state park

August 4, 2017

garden flowers

Today, I am sharing a few photos from my walk around Harkness Memorial State Park.  The park is the home of Eolia, the former summer mansion purchased in 1907 by the Harkness family, set on over 230 seaside acres in Waterford, Connecticut.

gate at Harkness Park

shore at Harkness

Never having been to the park, my goal for my first visit was to explore the gardens on both the east and west lawns as well as the Alpine rock garden.

gardens at Harkness

Tree over a century old Harkness State Park

And, as it happened, the facility was being set up for a wedding on the afternoon I chose to visit, so I did not venture inside the mansion itself.

the mansion at Harkness State Park

column Harkness State Park

I hope you enjoyed a few photos of my walk around Harkness Memorial State Park.  If you should be in the area, it is definitely worth a visit and the park is easily accessed from I-95.

queen annes lace pleasure in simple things

ferns pleasure in simple things

The 200+ acres were left to the state of Connecticut in 1950; becoming a part of the state park system in 1952.  The park is open from 8:00 am to sunset all year long and entrance only requires a minimal parking fee.

Harkness coastline

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend!

daisies at Harkness State Park

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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naples botanical garden

June 27, 2017

Naples succulent pleasure in simple things blog

June is coming to an end and since Friday’s post this week will be the monthly giveaway, today will be more like a field trip.  I shared my favorite exhibit in the Naples Botanical Garden in a post this month…it was a temporary exhibit called Origami in the Garden. (Click here if you missed it!)

Today, in keeping with my garden focus, I am sharing my favorite floral spot in that garden.  And, guess what?  The flowers aren’t white!  I know – out of character, but can you see why I fell for this gorgeous spot in The Naples Botanical Garden?

Naples pleasure in simple things blog 194

Naples pleasure in simple things blog 201

Naples pleasure in simple things blog 199

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Once in a while, I am a sucker for some color!  Like this:

Naples pleasure in simple things blog 163

Talk to you again on Friday.  If you haven’t entered the book giveaway for June, you have a couple more days.  I will pick the winner at midnight on Thursday.  Click here to leave a comment on the giveaway post to be entered to win.  Good luck!

Docent Naples botanical garden

A docent at the Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida.

Thanks for stopping by!   Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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artisan details

June 23, 2017

green moss and gray ribbon

I know not everyone gets as caught up in details as I do.  Some of the details of an event that really get me jazzed are things like paper products, fabric, ribbon, favors, flowers…

silk and willow package

Beauty is absolutely in the details and I often obsess over many of them when I am planning an event.  The details are what really ‘bring it home’ when creating an aesthetic.

Silk and Willow ribbon packaging

Today on Friday field trip, I am sharing with you a supplier that is fabulous for some of these details.   Silk & Willow creates labor-intensive plant dyed silk ribbon presented on hand carved and stained Acacia wood spools.  Can you see how a detail loving person like me would go nuts over a product like this?!

ribbon from plant dyed

The heirloom quality plant dyed silk ribbon is not the only product available from Silk & Willow.  Other artisan quality items include handmade paper, handspun twine, and 100% natural fiber table linens.

table runner silk and willow

To illustrate my point, the photos on today’s post are from a recent Silk & Willow order.  Can you see how a detail like a ribbon or a table runner can be transformed by the choice of your supplier?  These handcrafted details cannot be duplicated and truly make a special occasion special.

moss and ribbon

I hope you have enjoyed the photos on today’s Friday field trip.  To see more about Silk & Willow, located in Hudson Valley, New York, visit their gorgeous website.

spool silk and willow ribbon

Thanks for stopping by!

gray table runner silk and willow

Have a really fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

P.S.  I wasn’t asked to endorse Silk & Willow and I have not received any consideration in exchange for this post.

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the fountain at the breakers, palm beach

June 16, 2017

Front view Breakers Fountain

This month I have been on something of a plant/garden kick…it always happens this time of year.  I love go to nurseries and I love admiring plants and great plantings and containers.  Of course, part of the whole garden experience is to add some interesting features.  I have been thinking about and admiring water features of late and it got me thinking of the great fountain I saw on my recent Palm Beach trip.

Alligator detail Breakers Fountain

The great fountain I am talking about sits in front of the iconic Breakers Hotel.

Breakers Fountain

Of course it is not a water feature I could ever have in my garden, but I thought I would share it’s beauty with you on today’s Friday field trip.

boy fountain detail The Breakers

boy with alligator fountain detail

When I stayed at the hotel, I saw more photos staged in front of this fountain than in front of the magnificent coastline – certainly that was the case with new brides and grooms at the hotel!

Fountain detail and palms

No matter what it’s form, you certainly can not beat the sound of water to create a sense of calm!

close up Breakers fountain

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Flag front Breakers

Have a fabulous weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things – like the sound of water in a fountain!  xo Jackie

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shakespeare’s garden in brookfield, ct

June 9, 2017

shakespeare 10

My friends have been holding out on me!  They have just recently shared what is currently one of my favorite nurseries!

shakespeare gardens bethel ct 9

Shakespeare’s Garden in Brookfield, Connecticut now joins a list that includes places like White’s Flower Farm and Terrain.

shakespeare gardens bethel, ct 7

What makes a great nursery?  For me, three important criteria!  First, and foremost, creativity!  The plants need to be presented in a beautiful way…with creative, imaginative, and even innovative added to the mix!

shakespeare gardens bethel,ct 4

Of course, plants can easily be purchased at a local grocery or warehouse store.  So, for a nursery to become a favorite means the plants aren’t just offered for sale, but are displayed in a creative way.

shakespeare gardens bethel ct 11

The second way to become a favorite is to have plenty of unique containers for plantings.  Vintage pieces or repurposed items used as planters are an example.  I’m looking for containers that help create an organic look or enhance the beauty of the planting it contains.

shakespeare gardens bethel ct1

The third criteria is for the nursery to employ a knowledgeable staff.  I want to be able to ask a question about caring for a particular plant or about the habit of a perennial I am purchasing and be confident I am getting an educated response.

shakespeare gardens bethel, ct 6

Those are my top three.  The bonus number four for me is a great gift shop!  Finding some unique and aesthetically beautiful items for sale is always a plus!

shakespeare gardens bethel, ct 8

Because Shakespeare’s Garden checked all the boxes for me – including the bonus item (!) – I am including some photos I took on my visit for today’s Friday field trip.

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I hope they have inspired you in some way!  Shakespeare’s Garden is worth a visit if you are in commuting distance.

shakespeare gardens bethel ct 15

Have a wonderful weekend!  Remember take pleasure in simple things – like visiting a favorite nursery!  xo Jackie

P.S. If you go, remember to say hello to Romeo – the resident cat.

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dominique ansel bakery

June 2, 2017

May's Ansel Cronut Flavor

A trip to a bakery seems an appropriate Friday field trip today on National Donut Day!

We are not visiting just any bakery, but the bakery of James Beard award-winning pastry chef, Dominique Ansel.

Dominique Ansel blossoming hot chocolate

Blossoming Hot Chocolate at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

Chef Dominique took New York City by storm when he launched his, now signature pastry, the Cronut!  New Yorkers waited (and still do) in long lines for the opportunity to taste one!

The tasty croissant-doughnut Chef Dominique created was named one of the ‘Best Inventions of 2013’ by Time magazine in the year it was introduced.

raspberry Earl Grey Cronut at Ansel

May’s special Cronut flavor at Dominique Ansel Bakery – Raspberry Earl Grey with Earl Grey Sugar.

Chef Dominique’s unique, delectable treats have earned him international recognition with bakeries in Tokyo and London, as well as New York City.  Consistently creating innovative desserts, while maintaining an incredible level of deliciousness, is the Ansel standard.

raspberry coconut pavlova ansel

On my most recent visit to the New York bakery, the new, flavorful kiwi sorbet bar instantly became my favorite Ansel creation of the moment.  This refreshing treat is made up of a kiwi flavored sorbet paired with Tahitian vanilla ice-cream.

Dominique Ansel kiwi sorbet bar

A new, refreshing kiwi sorbet creation by Dominique Ansel.

With some added poppy seeds and a ‘fuzzy’ chocolate exterior, the confection closely resembles an actual kiwi fruit.  Magnificent in both aesthetics and taste!

Ansel Bakery kiwi sorbet bar

I hope you enjoyed today’s visit to the Dominique Ansel Bakery for Friday field trip.

Dominique Ansel Bakery in NYC

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a fabulous weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things – like tasting a fabulous donut on National Donut Day!  xo Jackie

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