November 10, 2016

Nutmeg Flits Amidst Autumn Loveliness!

Like a Hummingbird She Flits and Flies!
Nutmeg was out amongst the autumnal leaves busily flitting about, gathering any flowers that she could find.

She found some wild asters around the little apple tree.

Nutmeg flew over to the maple trees.
What a lovely day to flit and fly about in!

Nutmeg flits and flies about so fast, like a hummingbird, she is quite difficult to keep up with!

She took the asters over to the stone wall where she has a little cave amongst the rocks!

She flew out to the garden and what a delight to find some sweet violets amongst the sweet woodruff and autumnal leaves!

Over to the edge of the bird bath, the water covered with fallen leaves.

In she slides and floats atop a colorful maple leaf.

Lovely Autumnal leaves at water's edge on Corgi Creek. Green forget-me-not leaves can be seen under water.

"Thursday, October 19th. - The brooks and streams are often gayly strewn with the fallen foliage; the mill-dam at the Red Brook was sprinkled this afternoon with bright leaves, red and yellow, like a gay fleet from fairy-land."
~ "Rural Hours", published 1850, by Susan Fenimore Cooper

Landing near her cave with her sweet violet.

Nutmeg was made by talented dollmaker Margaret Flavin.

Nutmeg tucked in her cave amongst the rocks.
The fragrance of the violet fills Nutmeg's cave with a wonderful scent!

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our previous writings elsewhere on the internet.

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copyright © 2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

November 1, 2016

Frost, Pumpkins, and Falling Leaves!

Sweet Pumpkin Moonshines!
Lydia Lindenwood found an acorn on a Corgyncombe outing in the woods.
The jack-o-lantern and black cat candy containers look as if they are laughing and jolly!

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"Wednesday, November 1st. - Decided frost last night; yet very mild this morning. Bright, cloudless day. Long walk on the hills. The woods are getting bare; even the willows and abele-trees are thinning. The larches are deep orange; their evergreen forms look oddly in this bright color."
~ "Rural Hours" by Susan Fenimore Cooper

There indeed was a "decided frost" at Corgyncombe last night and the morn dawned sunny with the brightest blue sky as time progressed!

"Thursday, November 2d. - Very pleasant. Delightful walk in the woods...
The earth thickly strewed with fallen leaves, completely covering the track, and in many places burying the lesser plants - a broad, unbroken carpeting of russet...
Acorns and chestnuts are plentifully scattered beneath the trees which bore them. How much fruit of this sort, the natural fruit of the earth - nuts and berries - is wasted every year; or, rather, how bountiful is the supply provided for the living creatures who need such food!"
~ "Rural Hours" by Susan Fenimore Cooper

Tasha Tudor called carved and lit pumpkins "pumpkin moonshines". Above is a sweet pumpkin moonshine that we carved and photographed several years ago. He reminds us of our lad Eliakim May Corgi when I was about to give him his tummy elixir and he decided not to take it! The pumpkin also reminds us of the moon! We prefer to carve sweet pumpkins!

Lovely Charlotte sitting on her stone wall holding her pumpkin.

Sarah looking for the best pumpkin in the patch.
Tasha Tudor was delighted by this photograph that I took of my daughter Sarah.

Sylvie Ann and Ethlyn Corgi from Corgyncombe celebrated the
70th anniversary of "Pumpkin Moonshine" in 2008.

Tasha Tudor's first published book was "Pumpkin Moonshine" in 1938. In Tasha's book, Sylvie Ann went out to the cornfield to find the largest, best pumpkin. In "Pumpkin Moonshine", Sylvie succeeds in getting her pumpkin out of the cornfield but the pumpkin has multiple mishaps as it rolls uncontrollably down the hill!

 Ethlyn Corgi is very curious, steps up and gives the pumpkin a nudge with her nose...

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our previous writings elsewhere on the internet.

Our email:
copyright © 2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

October 24, 2016

Tillie Tinkham's Golden Thimble Society!

Lydia Lindenwood Learns to Sew!
Lydia Lindenwood is busy sewing for her younger sister.
She is making a pattern for the bodice of a gown.

Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse at Corgyncombe, looks over Lydia's shoulder to check on her progress and offer advice. The little pincushion doll stands at the ready with her little scissors.

A sewing bird is attached to the tavern table. The strawberry emery was in my Grandmum's button box for years. Lydia has a fondness for strawberries.

Lydia has sewn the cartridge pleats to the waistband on half of the skirt and the flat area in the center and is sewing the other half of the cartridge pleats. The cartridge pleats make for a nice full skirt.

Here in a closer look, one can see Lydia's mouse-like stitches that Tillie approves of!

The Golden Thimble Society commenced as Tillie wanted to assist the Queen Anne English Wooden dolls with their needlework.

Our dear readers may recall that Tillie also previously started "Tillie Tinkham's Sewing Circle" for the Corgyncombe and Towpath Cottage Hittys and enjoys sewing with the dolls!

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copyright © 2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

October 18, 2016

Autumn Loveliness in Ancestral Landscapes!

Autumnal Splendor in Vermont!
"Monday, October 2d. - Soft, half-cloudy day; something of spring in the atmosphere. The woods also are spring-like in their appearance to-day: many trees are just on the verge of turning, colored in light, delicate greens of every tint; the effect is very beautiful, and strangely like May. But here and there, amid these pleasing varieties of verdure, we find a brilliant flash of scarlet or crimson, reminding us that we are near the close of the year, under the influence of bright autumn, and not of gentle spring."
~ "Rural Hours" by  Susan Fenimore Cooper

Laura accompanied us as we admired our ancestral Vermont countryside.
How she delighted in the spectacular autumnal colours!
At a village green, she found a lovely autumn leaf.
Laura, a Queen Anne English wooden doll, and her clothing were made by talented dollmaker Kathy Patterson.

"Wednesday, October 11th. - At this very period, when the annual labors of the husbandman are drawing to a close, when the first light frosts ripen the wild grapes in the woods, and open the husks of the hickory-nuts, bringing the latest fruits of the year to maturity, these are the days when, here and there, in the groves you will find a maple-tree whose leaves are touched with the gayest colors; those are the heralds which announce the approach of a brilliant pageant - the moment chosen by Autumn to keep the great harvest-home of America is at hand."
~ "Rural Hours" by  Susan Fenimore Cooper

Susan Fenimore Cooper wrote the book "Rural Hours" as a journal of her frequent nature walks out and about the countryside. It was published in 1850.

Mellow autumn loveliness on a road less traveled.

"October 11th. - In a few days comes another and a sharper frost, and the whole face of the country is changed; we enjoy, with wonder and delight, a natural spectacle, great and beautiful, beyond the reach of any human means."
~ "Rural Hours" by  Susan Fenimore Cooper

"October 11th - We are naturally accustomed to associate the idea of verdure with foliage - leaves should surely be green! But now we gaze in wonder as we behold colors so brilliant and so varied hung upon every tree. Tints that you have admired among the darker tulips and roses, the richer lilies and dahlias of the flower-garden - colors that have pleased your eye among the fine silks and wools of a lady's delicate embroidery - dyes that the shopman shows off with complacency among his Cashmeres and velvets - hues reserved by the artist for his proudest works - these we now see fluttering in the leaves of old oaks, and tupeloes, liquid ambers, chestnuts, and maples! "
~ "Rural Hours" by  Susan Fenimore Cooper

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copyright © 2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

August 29, 2016

Tasha Tudor Birthday Celebration 2016!

Tasha Tudor 101st Birthday; Celebrating Kindred Delights!
August 28th, 2016 would have been Tasha Tudor's 101st birthday.

My daughter Sarah and I were so blessed to have Tasha for a friend.

Tasha Tudor's Birthday Celebration is more than just a one day celebration. It is, to us, every day kindred old fashioned tasks and the seasonal celebrations all throughout the year.

Tasha Tudor delighted, as we do, in refined, simple elegance, in a country way, and the combining of the every day old fashioned tasks as our ancestors did, with artistic skill that could be seen by the beauty in their accomplished results... such as baskets, clothing, gardens, pottery, textiles, furniture, food preparation, architecture, and even their tools.

My daughter Sarah was the model for Tasha Tudor's illustrations of the little girl Kathy in "The Real Pretend".

We had many kindred interests in common with Tasha such as spinning, weaving, knitting, natural dyeing, dolls, corgyn, goats, birds, gardening (flowers, herbs, and vegetables), old fashioned clothing, boots and frocks, fireplace and woodstove cookery, canning, sewing, quilting, old books, and the old ways of living.

These daily things remind us of Tasha.

How grateful we are to have been her friend and kindred spirit!

In celebration, we have for this post, chosen a gathering of our photographs that we think are reflective of what we and Tasha Tudor loved! We hope you will enjoy them here at the Corgyncombe Courant!

The teapot and teacup are decorated with handpainted roses.


The Queen Anne English wooden doll and her wonderful silk gown with antique lace, sewn with tiny stitches, were made by talented dollmaker Kathy Patterson.
She is weaving a lavender wand.

The sundial indicates 'tis time for tea in the garden.

I made a tussie mussie with one of my David Austin Roses.
In addition to roses, the teacup also has little handpainted sprigs of lavender.

Queen Anne has finished her lavender wand and enjoys its lovely scent.
She ponders how fragrant it will be amongst her linens.

Pretty blue Baptisia flowers with leaves that look translucent in the sun, almost as if they have a glow about them. In the background, Dame's Rocket flourishes and has the most delightful scent that  fills the air as twilight approaches!

The earliest violets of the spring, blooming in April. What a luscious fragrance fills the air from these delightful violets! When I am raking leaves off the garden in the spring I can smell them before I see them.

At The Corgyncombe Dairy the mixture for making goat ice cream is ready to be put into the old White Mountain Ice Cream Freezer.

Cranking the ice cream freezer.
For Tasha Tudor's Birthday we made ice cream using the receipt in "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook".

Tasha Tudor's Corgi Cottage

This is Tasha's back door where in "The Springs of Joy", illustrated by Tasha Tudor, a young boy is turning the ice cream freezer crank, whilst other children, anticipating the ice cream to come, wait with spoons in hand. The corgyn also eagerly wait hoping they will get a lick of ice cream, too. Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted on the page "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

These are my own personal photographs of Tasha Tudor and her cottage.

The receipts for the cake and ice cream are from "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook".
Corgyncombe Dairy Goat Carmella Lucille provided the cream and the milk used for the ice cream and cake.

At The Corgyncombe Dairy, a bowl full of Corgyncombe Dairy Goat Carmella Lucille's cream.

Cream is churned in the dasher churn by moving the dasher up and down. The repeated agitation of the cream causes the fat part (the butter) of the cream to separate from the buttermilk. The buttermilk is saved for baking.

Diane's butter churn that is a reproduction of a churn Tasha Tudor had.

The butter is pressed into pretty butter prints. Butter from the cream of goats is white. Printed butter is lovely to use at the table. Years ago farm wives would print their butter and take it to the country store for trading. If the housewife was known for superior butter, people would seek out the butter with her print.

A favoured view of the goats at pasture, framed in apple blossoms!

Sarah, Rosebud the goat, and Tasha Corgi.
Rosebud liked to nibble on the new growth of the spruce trees.
Sarah tried to persuade her not to.

Sarah with Corgyncombe Nubian goat kiddle Lucy.

We oft' times fondly refer to the goat kiddles as our "goatie puppies" as they will follow along behind as a puppy would.

Corgyncombe's Louisa May named after our cousin Louisa May Alcott.

The goat kiddles also like the Red Astrachan Apple tree but not for its apples but for its tasty leaves! They stand on their back hooves stretching and reaching for the prize leaves. They look like little ballerinas as they hop, stretch, and dance about on two hooves! Our apples are all organic so we don't have to worry about obnoxious sprays on the leaves or the apples!

Our apples from our favorite apple tree. I found this old basket near Tasha's in Vermont. It has the initials W.D. and is dated 1894.

We have an old cider mill and press much like Tasha Tudor's.

Corgyncombe's Darling Little Clementine
Our Sweet Goat Kiddle
Amongst the apple petals!

Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse and lacemaker at Corgyncombe, peeks out from under the chair.

The bobbin lace lavender sachet was made by Sarah.

As an antique book collector myself, I loved Tasha Tudor's library at Corgi Cottage. There were also books on various kindred interests such as stoneware, yellowware, and old photographs. Tasha put aside a book by Richard Brown that she especially knew I would enjoy.

Wilma learned to spin on this double treadle spinning wheel soon after arriving at Corgyncombe. She is a talented spinstress and she spins a very even yarn!

A regular sized double treadle spinning wheel at the Woodstock Vermont History Center's Dana House Museum. The wheel is much like Wilma's wheel.

My 4th great grandparents Elias Jones and his wife Esther (Dana) Jones lived in Reading, Vermont, a town adjoining Woodstock. Esther and those who lived in the Dana House descended from the the same founding Dana family of early New England.

Elias Jones was a representative of the town of Reading to the Vermont General Assembly. In 1807 the General Assembly met at Woodstock, Vermont.

The toy cow is similar to one Tasha Tudor illustrated in the 1975 version of
"The Night Before Christmas".

There are many wonderful items and exhibits at the Woodstock Vermont History Center's Dana House Museum, such as dolls and toys, clothing, bonnets, band boxes, a parlour set up for tea with a beautiful old tea set and much more; all things Tasha Tudor loved!

Wilma collecting pussy willows.

I have many letters where Tasha Tudor rejoices in the coming of spring. Two of the first flowers to bloom are the pussy willows and the snowdrops. One can see the same look of delight as Tasha, when Wilma finds the lovely snowdrops.
Having many kindred interests with me, Wilma loves gardening and herbs!

Lydia made a bouquet of the snowdrops and pussy willows.

Easter eggs on Lydia's lap.

Lydia welcoming spring holding a snowdrop and pussy willow.
Behind Lydia is a wallpaper covered trunk to keep Lydia's treasures.

Tasha Tudor's greenhouse and splendid bay tree.

Wilma the herbalist with mortar and pestle.

Lady's Keys and pink violets in spring.

I've always said when these lovely violets all bloom together in May, the lawn looks like a Birthday party!

"Thursday, 18th May  - The violets abound now, everywhere, in the grassy fields, and among the withered leaves of the forest; many of them grow in charming little tufts, a simple nosegay in themselves; one finds them in this way in the prettiest situations possible, the yellow, the blue, and the white. A pretty habit, this, with many of early flowers, growing in little sisterhoods, as it were; we rarely  think of violets singly, as of the rose, or the lily; we always fancy them together, one lending a grace to another, amid their  tufted leaves."
~ "Rural Hours" by Susan Fenimore Cooper

Wilma with a scented violet, the first violet of spring.

My daughter Sarah wrote:
"In reading various entries in "Rural Hours" I was delighted to discover that some of Susan Fenimore Cooper's thoughts reminded me of my Mum's... not entirely put in the same way but still, similar observations, both often coming from an artistic perspective, aware of loveliness. It has been passed down to me, this tradition of appreciation of beauty in nature and landscape and old fashioned good taste. Knowing and hearing my Mum since I was a very little girl, I know her enthusiasm for such things. How I enjoyed reading pages of "Rural Hours" and as I noticed similarities, I kept thinking Mum and I have more in common with Susan than we have with much of society today."
~ Sarah E. Johnson

Iris Florentina

Along Corgi Creek, daffodils gathered for making into bouquets for May Day.
Nothing is more Tasha Tudor than daffodils!

 Lemonade in the garden is so refreshing on a hot summer day. In the background are hollyhocks and delphiniums.

David Austin Roses amongst the fallen autumnal leaves.

Down a country lane near where our ancestors lived there is an old moss covered stile for crossing over the fence into a cemetery. (Sarah's sweater is handspun and handknit, and naturally dyed with goldenrod.) Tasha Tudor loved this photograph of Sarah lovingly petting Tasha Corgi's head! When Corgyn anticipate a loving pat on the head their ears go back in such a sweet way!

Tasha Tudor watering and tending her plants around and about the front porch of Corgi Cottage.

Some of the photographs and some of the writings on this post are from previous Corgyncombe Courant posts that can be found here on the Corgyncombe Courant and from our previous writings elsewhere on the internet.

Our email:
copyright © 2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson