The Shortest Day aka The Winter solstice is upon us 'down under'. In fact by the time this posts the precise second that the solstice itself occurs will have passed & we will be well into our longest night & the ensuing shortest day. Tomorrow we will probably get around eight & a half hours of daylight.
If you think of a solstice as an astronomical milestone, rather than a mid-point between seasons things make more sense. In meteorological terms, solstice doesn't fall in the middle of summer or winter. The heights of the seasons usually occur around 6-7 weeks after the solstice due to temperature & seasonal lags.
The first day of Winter in New Zealand (as in Australia & South Africa) is 1st June, so as far as I'm concerned we are almost a third of the way through.....one almost down - two & a bit to go ;)
The solstice itself is no reason to celebrate, but I'll certainly be celebrating the fact that the days can only get longer. I always feel slightly bummed after the event of the longest day in Summer, somehow feeling that from there on in it's a downhill slide towards the shortest.
It's strange in a way as I recall some years back when at the time of the shortest day it would get dark around 4.30pm yet today it was still light at 5.00pm. Only just light but it certainly wasn't the dark of night yet.
In essence all this means is that from here on in the nights get shorter & days start getting longer. Before we know it there will still be light at 10pm
.... & I wont be having to show my ineptitude with the night settings on my camera when I want to take a photo like this at 5.44pm !
I've been thinking about this. Perhaps because I have always been a little different to what is, or has been, expected of me.
My beads have taken the complete opposite path to that which I imagined when I first started lampworking. I set out wanting to make precise dot beads in bright colours & beads with raised floral designs.
Goodness knows why, because they wouldn't have worked in with the style of jewellery I was making at the time. None the less those are what I wanted to make.
I never quite got there as the glass had other plans for me, & now I can finally say that I am happy with that.
Today here is something a little different to what I usually do with Chalcedony...style wise at least!
The arrival of some very special seeds this week necessitated the dragging out of my much neglected gardening books, the making of lists & the writing up of tags.
Such precious seeds, some of which aren't really intended for this climate, deserve some careful research before they are planted in order to provide them with the correct conditions in which to germinate successfully.
Breakfast went uneaten & my coffee cold in my eagerness to discover everything I could about these treasures.
I know that I could have quickly researched the information needed online...but somehow that just isn't the same. When I last had my own garden there wasn't the ease of access to information that the internet now provides. It was all referenced in books & catalogues.
One thing I have learned over time is that you can't rush nature & that, in itself, is the very essence of gardening.
So why would I need to rush the research, why not just relax & enjoy the winter sunshine & fresh air outside with the 'old fashioned' but infinately more satisfying books.
A gardener is patient & well knows the anticipation with which one can look forward to a seasons change & all that can bring.
A gardener knows that even though it is cold & the ground is chilled that is what some seeds need in order to germinate in spring or tree's to produce their spring buds, just as others need the opposite.
Gardening teaches you patience & gives you an appreciation that the cooler months are needed. A garden is basically a whole lot of inspiration in one place. It also gives you something to look forward to.
I can't believe that I had forgotten all of the things that gardening taught me in the past... & it's incredible how quickly so much has come rushing back to me.
Sitting out there in the sun & looking through my books had a vivid recollection of my first action every morning - a wander around the garden, with coffee in hand looking to see what had sprouted through the ground or was forming buds or blooming.
Quite simply these seeds have given me something to look forward to - something to inject a little anticipation & inspiration into every day.
Finally, a couple of new hearts to go up on Etsy over the weekend.
I've not been slacking on this project by any means. But somehow I did slip into a comfort zone of laziness, beguiled by how easy it was just to supply the Cafe..& not have to stress over photographing, listing, packing & sending.
Comfort zone's can be dangerous. I'm doing Haiti a disservice by not appealing to a far larger audience than just the local one ;)
Sometimes you make a bead that you are inordinately pleased with. Something about it just calls you & for whatever reason, you dont want to put a price on it & list it.
This is one such bead.
If I didn't know better I'd call it a happy accident. But it wasn't, not really.
I'd been trialling the corals & reds of some new to me 104coe glasses I'd recently received.
Having worked with 96 coe for so long I'd forgotten just how shocky 104 can be. I'll be honest, I work hot & forget to pre-warm the canes ;)
At the end of the torch session I had a whole lot of 'bit's all over my work area & decided to utilise them along with the short ends I had left.
A clear base, three shades of red/coral, some silvered ivory stringer, a bit of intense black & a lot of intense heat & there you have it.
It looked good going into the kiln - it blew me away when it came out. I love mornings like that.
I'd rather mow the lawns than vacuum the house or get pricked pruning roses than dusting the furniture, I rather undergo torture than take a trip to the supermarket....& I'd far rather melt glass than cook!
It's not that I don't like to cook, I just don't enjoy it as some people do. It's not that I dont like food either, believe me I do, I simply get more of a buzz using my hands & my time to create a slightly more lasting eye candy over something that will disappear minutes after everyone sits at the table. I always have & I always will.
I'm cool with that though as it give certain family members something to tease me about every time there is a gathering of the extended family.
I've always had rather a warped theory on some things. I like to see something 'lasting' for my money & time. Yet there was a time when I'd far rather spend my money at a plant nursery than at a clothes store.
These days I'd rather spend money anywhere other than at a supermarket though.
The strange thing is that I haven't always felt this ambivalent towards supermarket shopping & cooking. I suspect it has happened over time & to some extent has been influenced by the fussiness & bland tastes of those that I have resided with in the past.
I was fortunate enough to be brought up by parents who had diverse tastes in food, & a mother who was way ahead of her time in testing out exotic dishes & recipes in an era where most families here were busy living on the bland meat & three vege fare.
I grew up developing a taste for the exotic which, in turn, developed into a love of chilli's so hot they would leave me eye's streaming & almost speechless & wasabi intense enough to cause a nasal orgasm.....
I like my food to be a taste sensation.
Suffice to say that if I could afford to have a pantry full of fresh spices & such on hand so that I could cook whatever I felt like on any given day, without having to make a trip to the supermarket or some speciality store or other, I'd no doubt enjoy cooking.
The again sometimes I surprise myself. Last Friday a trip to the fresh vege stall up the road yielded not only the 3kg's of banana's I purchased for general consumption, but almost as much again of slightly over ripe banana's given to me by the people who run the stall.
Some banana recycling was in order! The first night I made some caramel banana's for dessert then, on Sunday, I had a banana bake-a-thon.
Wonders will never cease! I call this little lot 'Banana by products'
There's a banana cake, banana bread, a banana & walnut loaf & choco banana muffins.
Because I dont particularly like baking done with banana's personally I splurged & made myself some apple cinnamon & walnut muffins.
This lot was supposed to last to do some of the school lunches this week. I think there is enough cake left for the lunches tomorrow & a few pieces of one of the loaves.
A year down the track & Gaffers Chalcedony still has me firmly in her grasp.
Exactly where she wants me I suspect, calling me back every time I attempt to ignore her & play with something else.
I try to play with all of the lovely colours in my glass stash, honest I do. While I'm playing with the other glasses I am sure that I hear her (& Chalcedony is indeed a she) muttering words of mutiny in the corner.
I reluctantly pull out a rod just to convince myself that she isn't about to do anything different from the last time I teased her with the flame - & she does. The siren sings her song & weaves her magic again.