Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Certain slant of light

More than a hundred years ago, Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about winter's light, a certain slant of light. This is just the first stanza:
There's a certain Slant of Light,
Winter Afternoons -
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes - (ED, 1890)

Emily used a lot of dashes and capitals to emphasize certain words, and she created a mood that speaks very directly to me from across the years. I notice, although we still have a month before we actually reach true winter afternoons, the length of the shadows. The picture above was taken last Saturday while wandering around the Farmers' Market. A rhubarb leaf imprint was used to make this cement sculpture bird bath (or whatever one wants to use it for), filled above with seasonal gourds. Each one is unique. Linda at Back Lane Gardens holds classes on how to make these.

The much reduced market is still going on in our part of the country and will continue until December 19, the last Saturday before Christmas, and will then reopen in the spring. What's left of the bustling market that covered the entire parking lot has now moved inside, where the rain and the cold are much less bothersome.

The soap that Linda makes and sells here at the market is wonderful, and she hopes that people will consider these gifts for their friends -- or for themselves. I bought a bar of "gardener's soap" which has the "scrubbing qualities of the coffee grounds to help remove stains and odors." She has also added a hint of orange. I also noticed the way people wear their neck scarves, and this wrap (above) seems the most common (around the neck and then hanging down each side). This means I need to make my scarf about the length of my body (over five feet) to make it work right. The pattern just says to keep going until it's done, which is reasonable, assuming that I am aware of what that means.

While walking along the street, I saw this gorgeous cabbage catching the water droplets and simply looking elegant. They are so ornamental at this stage, and it makes me wonder if they are still edible. It looks like some bugs have found it to be pretty tasty, though, as I look more closely at it (click to enlarge).

We are getting ready for another round of wind and rain, starting this afternoon, after a respite from the last two. I'll take my bird feeders down before I go to bed, and hope that this one won't be as destructive as the last: While on the bus yesterday, I saw a huge tree cracked right down the middle. Today I thought I'd take a picture of it but it was already mostly sawed into firewood. Think I'll work on the scarf, which I might actually finish in the next couple of days...


  1. Great photos. FWIW, I made the scarves 72" long plus a 7" fringe. The scarves wrap around well with plenty left over to tuck in a jacket or make a fashion statement. lol

  2. So jealous your farmer's market is still going! Ours ended in September:( good luck with the wind! sounds like you guys are getting SLAMMED!

  3. I hope it isn't so windy there today..I am wondering how long til it gets here...a wicked wind by all reports. The farmers Market looks like fun..I had to laugh about the scarf.. my scarf has to be long enough to go over my ears and then go around my neck..and then when you take it off your hair sticks straight out..very fashionable:)

  4. The cabbage photo is really striking. The colors are magnificent. You are going to need that scarf. With all the wind you are receiving it will feel good.

  5. Can't wait to see the scarf on you! That cabbage was beautiful... it looked like a corsage!

  6. Very enjoyable post. I love the birdbath with the gourds, also Emily Dickinson.
    Nice to see your market still going, I miss the ones around here.
    I'm looking foward to seeing your scarf, I've been having an urge to start knitting again...if I can remember how!
    Sunny :)

  7. The pretty cabbage caught my attention it doesn't look like a cabbage! It looks like a flower icing to me, and if ever I see one here I will certainly buy it and use as a decoration. Is it really getting colder now, maybe you should work on with your scarf and then show it us when it's done. I bet it's gorgeous. Well...I gotta to go for now. Ooops speaking of soap, I will open a bazaar on Sat. and Sunday, my products would be all organic skin and hair care products, oh I wish you can all come.


  8. I love homemade Lye Soap and use it a lot. I get mine from and think it is about $4.50 a bar plus shipping. The next order I make will be for a package of 6 or 12. Save on the shipping.

    The odd thing about it is that your skin squeaks when you wash with it. I remember mom used to make it and told me I would be squeaky clean when I finished washing.

    I wonder what this ladies soap is made with. Mom's was old grease and lye.

  9. The pictures are great; had you not informed us that's a cabbage I'd have never known!
    I have noticed that scarves have gotten much longer over the last few years...I think it makes them more versatile. I'm sure if you knit until you think it's long enough you'll be more than happy with the results. I know it will be wonderful.
    I must say, your to do list sounds much lovelier than mine. Laundry, cleaning, entertaining a toddler while it continues to rain, etc. Oh well, that's pretty much every day (except for the rain). And I love it!

  10. Great pictures. I really love the cabbage plant that was so common whe we lived in the Pacific Northwest, but not here in Nevada. We already have really cold mornings - in the teens. I know what you mean about the light. It is watery, remote.

    I'm crocheting. An afgan for my daughter with bright, hippy colors. But I made it too long and ran out of yarn before it was wide enough. Now the yarn is no longer available, so I'm adding a new color, and then will put a ruffle around it in another color. I'm thinking there is a shelf life for this afgan and all it's colors. Hopefully I will finish it before she becomes more conservative.

  11. Great photos DJan, I too am jealous that you still have a farmers' market. Ours is going to have a Christmas opening once next month. I love my scarves nice and long, when the cold winds blow and the temps dip it feels so good. Also very fashionable to have them long these days.

    The cabbage is beautiful, I think those are kale and are for show and probably don't taste all that good.

  12. That soap looks wonderful and the names are very inventive too. We still have lots of markets over here, open all through the wintertime. I like to go to the one at St. Albans best of all. I suppose I should take some pictures of it next time I go because I enjoy looking at your pictures so much.
    Blessings, Star

  13. Loved the cabbage...I thought it was a flower!!
    I like the rhubarb patterned sculpture too.


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