"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" ~ Mary Oliver

Tag: Northampton

noho . . .

zinnias from the farmers' market in noho . . .

zinnias from the farmers’ market in noho . . .

“Noho” is an affectionate nickname for Northampton, a college town in western Massachusetts. It also happens to be where one of the state’s largest yarn/knitting outlets called WEBS is located. Every Tuesday between April and November, there’s also a farmers market that opens at 1:30 – 5 pm in a courtyard in the center of town.

At Webs, I find a lichen colored tweed yarn that I exchange for some yarn that I had tried knitting with last week. It was too stark for my eye and required smaller needles (and more time) than I wanted to give to a project. Pleased with this lovely new yarn, I drive to the center of town, looking for a shady parking space and buy myself an hour and a half more time to wander about.

While waiting for the market to open, I do some window shopping and then treat myself to a light sushi lunch at the Osaka, just up the hill from the farmers market. The softshell crab tempura appetizer is a specialty there: plump, tender and crispy, dipped in a clear light broth.

Although the restaurant serves Japanese food, I’m amused to hear Mandarin spoken by the sushi chefs and by Johnny, the maitre d’ who says he remembers me from ten years ago when he was working as one of the waiters. It’s a special place that I feel most at home even though it’s located over an hour’s drive from where I live.

The vegetable sellers were setting up their tables as I passed them to do some window-shopping in Thorne’s. This is an indoor marketplace with a bookshop featuring unusual greeting cards, a shoe shop with interesting clogs, boots and heather merino knee socks and other commissaries of boutique clothing, vintage jewelry and flowers.

The second-hand bookshop on the side street around the corner featured a small outdoor display of five different volumes by the author, Henning Mankell, who died this past week. He was the mystery writer who created the Swedish series, “Wallander.” I’m a huge fan of the “Wallander” Swedish films featuring Krister Henriksson, much preferring them over the UK-produced series with Kenneth Branagh. For $3.50, I purchased a hardback (Knopf Borzoi edition) of “The Troubled Man,” Mankell’s most famous novel.

It was a dry, sunny day just on the edge of being warm and my sojourn to Noho was an enjoyable respite from my usual routine. Tomorrow, I’ll be taking another jaunt, this time to New Hampshire to visit an antique dealer friend and to have lunch together near her group shop outside of Concord, New Hampshire.

These soft days of late summer weather in the beginning of October with vibrant morning glories still in bloom on our 2nd floor landing are a gift of Mother Nature.

Soon, it will begin to chill with the first frost and we’ll batten down the hatches in preparation for colder weather. But today has been a halcyon day and fruitful besides, coming home with yarn, a book and some greeting cards with hand-painted birds decked out in finery that will come in handy when celebrating some family birthdays this weekend.

A perfect day in a perfect New England autumn.


a tuesday to remember . . .

Noho flowersToday, my daughter and I spent the day together, driving out to our alma mater town, Northampton, MA. where both of us went to school, a generation apart.

On Tuesdays from April to November on Tuesdays, a farmers’ market opens in the town’s courtyard at 1:30 p.m., the bounty of which comes from the rich soil of the Pioneer Valley (Connecticut River) in the surrounding area.

Even though there are only about a dozen vendors, the selection is of superior quality, ranging from vegetables to flowers, organic eggs and baked goods including small fruit tarts for dessert. Today, we had a leisurely lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant, the Osaka and finished just in time to go to the market when it opened.Noho 2

It was a good thing too, because a thundershower front which looked ominously dark approached us. We made it out of town just in time, sharing a fresh fruit tart and iced coffee in the car. When we drew into our yard, the thunder began to roll in while we ran from the car with our bounty before the rain came down in a torrent of water.  Noho eggs

What a wonderful day it’s been – filled with music that I played at home and then in the car as we chatted and caught up on our activities while she’s been in Europe on vacation these last few weeks. We’re planning to get together again next week to see Meryl Streep and Rick Springfield in “Ricki and the Flash,” a movie about a mother who abandons her children while they’re young to follow her dream of singing with her rock band.

The thunderstorms rolled through the state, large hail falling and trees being uprooted all around us. But we moved through the day under a halo of sun that didn’t darken until we got home, safe and sound.

C & K selfie



simple pleasures . . .

Here are some simple pleasures that I thought about this morning:

a. getting a good night’s sleep in spite of the current heat wave

b. listening to my canary sing while I am checking email

c. making a breakfast smoothie that tastes like a milk shake because of the frozen fruit: fresh banana, frozen peaches, frozen blueberries, almond-coconut milk, pure synergy powder, handfuls of fresh spinach

d. reading the New York Times newspaper

e. knitting a sweater for myself from sumptuous Noro Hitsuji multicolored yarn emulating the design of a sweater I could have purchased but decided to knit instead.

f. coming upon a deep brown Lopi pullover vest that I had knit and forgotten about while I was looking for larger size needles to make the sweater described above.

g. cooking rose-colored chioggi beets that I bought at the farmers market in Northampton yesterday which are hard to find with their striated pink flesh and delicious sweet flavor

h. making an open-faced fresh peach pie, gathering up the sides of the pastry like an European tart and sprinkling with cinnamon, nutmeg and coarse sugar

i. looking for a red agate canary to join the part goldfinch canary and finding a few possibilities within an hour’s drive from where we live

j. taking a whiff of the blooming gardenias on the small tree that is flourishing despite the heat

k. watering the gigantic “money plant” that is pushing up against the ceiling and now has decided to thicken its trunk and limbs instead

l. brushing my hair, liking the color and being glad I am growing it out (the length, not the color!)

m. watering the garden

n. looking forward to talking with my daughter to see how she did on her chemistry test

o. wondering how my other daughter is doing with my granddaughter on their daytrip to Versailles

p. glad that Jeremy Lin is going to Texas where he’ll get a shot at realizing his destiny rather than being put on an expensive shelf with the Knicks who treated him badly last season

q. making Lapsang Souchang tea in the morning so it’ll be iced for dinner

r. finding a patchwork design jacket on Etsy for little money that reminds me of my youth that I can wear next week to have sushi on Newbury Street with a new acquaintance

s. a perfectly cooked soft shell crab tempura at the Osaka Restaurant in Northampton yesterday

t. corn on the cob from the farmstand for dinner last night that had good flavor and was also tender

u. yellow-red rainier cherries in season and available at $3.99 a pound at Market Basket in Oxford

v. finding a Shell station in Northampton and getting 30 cents a gallon off gas by using my Stop and Shop card

w. watching reruns of “House” on TV in the middle of the afternoon while I knit

x. glad the power is still on and the air conditioning works

y. picking flowers from the garden and enjoying them indoors as well as out

z. knowing that I am in the right place at the right time.

seeing green . . .

Even though this winter has been unseasonably mild (hallelujah!) a friend and I went to the Lyman Greenhouse at Smith College, Northampton, MA a couple of weeks ago, a place usually reserved for snowbound winters. I had thought there were more exotic plants–or at least slightly unusual ones but most of what we saw was commonplace. That is, I had seen most of the plants somewhere before. The place was also looking a little rundown but maybe that was my imagination.

In any case, I took a few photos and downloaded them onto my IPhoto file. Then forgot about them. Yesterday, some of these images came onto my screensaver, slowly zooming in and out. And I swear, I could almost smell the fragrant, damp air of the greenhouse. It seemed like an oasis of plants. So, I thought Read the rest of this entry »