Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Light

We hopped the ferry this morning to visit Jordan's Farm in Cape Elizabeth for vegetables to roast: leeks, potatoes, squashes, garlic, carrots.  And they had the loveliest brussel sprouts, still on their stem.  I'll be blanching those tomorrow and then browning them with butter, shallots, and walnuts.

The leaves are still glorious.  Is it just me, New England friends, or is this a spectacular foliage year?  And the sky.  Just look at it!  The blue sky in fall on a cold New England day is what makes me glad I live here (Someone remind me of this post when I'm moaning in February about the cruddy weather).

No pleasure trip to Cape Elizabeth is complete without a stop at Portland Head Light.  This is the lighthouse people think of when they imagine the Maine coast.  Winslow Homer, whose studio was nearby, painted it, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who often walked to the lighthouse from Portland,  wrote about it in a poem aptly named "The Lighthouse."  I'll admit here that Longfellow isn't my favorite poet, but I love how he evokes the flashing signal in this stanza:

They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils,
Gaze at the tower, and vanish as they gaze.

This is still very much a working lighthouse, although it has been automated since 1989.  Before that, a long line of keepers kept it going.

Two lighthouses are visible from our cottage at night, but Portland Head Light is on the other side of Cushing's Island, just out of our line of sight.  Even though we can't see the lighthouse itself, however, most nights we can see its beams sweeping in an arc above Cushing's.  I can only imagine the comfort  and guidance these beams have given sailors ever since President George Washington appointed Portland Head Light's first keeper in 1791.


  1. Those photos are absolutely stunning....the beautiful colors of the foliage and the sky - WOW...! Love the lighthouses and the poem too! Enjoy your time there, Gigi - it's an awesome life experience!

  2. Gigi,

    Something very strong and dignified about these structures. I'm homesick for the blue New England sky-magnificent.


    P.S. Our son was just here from China, and we made the three hour climb up to and around Point Sur lighthouse.

  3. Oh Gigi,
    I want to come on over and enjoy those delicious brussel sprouts with you underneath the gorgeous blue sky, and after the sunsets, you can make up great stories about the many keepers of the magnificent lighthouse!

  4. I love the blue sky and the red of the leaves and the red rooftop, really gorgeous.

    I'm with Mel, me too :)

  5. Come on over, girls! Let's cook ourselves up a feast.

  6. Your photos are so incredibly beautiful they make me want to jump on a plane and come visit - such a shame it's on the other side of the world! You're right - it's everything I imagine Maine to be! Perfect. Leigh

  7. If only I lived next door, Gigi....those brussel sprouts are calling me !
    We are having a beautiful autumn this year. The turning leaves are especially beautiful's because of all of the weather conditions we had over the summer that makes such a spectacle.
    Love your photographs of stunning colours of leaves and sky and lighthouse. What a wonderful place to live, Gigi. XXXX

  8. I grew up on a windswept rocky island off the coast of Ireland, and love the lushness of your island! It's as though mine had retired and taken up golf and organic cocktails.

  9. Thrilling to the photos of this beautiful, famous light house, Gigi! Am I too late for your roast veggies feast? Oh... save me a portion of those sprouts in butter and nuts!!... 'sigh*... Thank you for this delicious post... Happy Day :o) ((HUGS))

  10. Oh, Gigi, what a beautiful november light, so different from ours.... Everything is so grey and boring here , the sun didn´t show it self for quite a long time now...=( .
    It´s dark at 4 in the afternoon, allready. So it´s dark when I leave home for work, and dark when I return. Well, it´s cosy too, I must edmit, with all the candlelights and the fireplace at home...

    Have a lovely weekend.


  11. Gigi, what a wonderful pairing of images, imagery, and poetry (despite your nonchalance about Longfeller) - what a great post.

    Have you every been to Islesford/ Little Cranberry Island? My husband's great great grandfather built a house there and we spend a glorious week there when he returned from Iraq in August. This was before I "knew" you- !

    Some pics here, in case you're interested:

    xo and lots of New England love,

  12. Why is it that lighthouses so capture our imaginations? I find them so very compelling. There are lighthouses in Oregon that have been turned into tiny, tiny inns. I dreaming of staying in one some visit.

  13. Your photos are simply jumping off my computer screen. They are gorgeous. You really live in a beautiful place.

  14. The blues are so intense!...and I just love Brussels sprouts still on the stalk:)

  15. Wow, how beautiful! What a perfect day - a ferry to get wonderful veggies. The sky is stunning as you said. That house in your previous post if freaky. It looks terribly haunted.
    Thanks for visiting my blog - you leave such nice comments. Missing Goat is just available here in BC Canada right now. Shipping jams is shockingly expensive - more than the jam itself. hmm, I'll have to investigate this further...

  16. Lucky gal! Looks beautiful, what a gorgeous day! :)

  17. You actually made brussels sprouts sound wonderfully tasty! (I'm not a big fan, but I would try yours anytime!)

    There is something so romantic about lighthouses. And mysterious. And comforting. I always thought it would be an interesting place to live for a year or so. Great place to storm watch.


  18. Absolutely beautiful and sounds like fun!


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