July 29, 2010

Beatrix Potter Birthday Tea!

The Red Astrachan, An Early Summer Apple
Yesterday, July 28th, was Beatrix Potter's Birthday.
"The counter inside was a convenient height for rabbits. Ginger and Pickles sold red spotty pocket-handkerchiefs at a penny three farthings." - from the book "Ginger and Pickles" by Beatrix Potter.

Tasha Tudor once had a store at her home in New Hampshire, called "Ginger and Pickles".
In Beatrix Potter's book, Ginger the Cat and Pickles the Terrier had a shop called "Ginger and Pickles", that the entire town frequented. The customers at "Ginger and Pickles" always bought goods on credit, never paying for anything as their credit bill became higher and higher. Ginger and Pickles did not have any money to buy food for themselves or a dog license for Pickles, and when tax time came rolling around there was no money to pay their taxes, so they closed their shop.
Their competition, Tabitha Twitchit, who also ran a shop, refused to give credit and, when "Ginger and Pickles" closed, Tabitha raised her prices.
Sally Henny Penny the Hen, decided to take over "Ginger and Pickles" shop, specializing in bargains but without the convenience of credit.
Diane has always loved this story about the store, as she played store in her mother's cupboards when she was little, which included delivering the items using her trike and delivery vehicle. Up the walk, down one side of the drive, up the other, down the walk again, past the house, up the hill, turn around, back down the hill, and start all over again...
When she got older Diane started collecting old fashioned store items...

Above is a photograph of Sarah and Tasha Corgi in the Corgyncombe General Store, which also includes a soda fountain and ice cream parlour. Sarah has enjoyed having birthday parties in the store.

Diane has a huge collection of old price tags, wool union suits, wool muffs, collars, and, as Tasha Tudor always referred to them, "fine boots", made of leather and i
n a multitude of sizes. These items were found one glorious day in a little country store in the mountains, run by a little old lady.

Beatrix Flopsy Bunny

Upon filling her water can Diane thought it was just a leaf in the bottom of the water can and thought nothing of it, until something wet and slimy touched her hand. Diane set the water can down and "it" went back into the water. The camera was fetched and The Corgyncombe Courant photographer Diane, tipped the water can, and photographed it as it emerged.

Ah yes, 'twas Mr. Toad, this brings to mind Mr. Jackson in "The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse" by Beatrix Potter. As Mr. Toad retreated back to a cooler spot in the shade under the porch, a "Babbity Bumble" bee was seen buzzing close by.

We share our apples with Grunhogda the Groundhog, who lives in the ash fill under the Corgyncombe barn ramp.

The Red Astrachan Apple.
There is a tree at the end of our woodshed that produces an enormous amount of Red Astrachan apples. The corgyn like to enjoy one after breakfast. This is an apple that starts producing in July and is known as an early summer apple. The Red Astrachan originally came from Russia.

As you put your cheek next to this early apple you can feel the warmth of the sun and smell that apple fragrance that reminds you of autumn, though autumn is still quite a ways away with lots of warm summer weather yet to be had. They are also a delight to the eye.

"Corgyncombe Carrie" keeps watch over the old kitchen and apothecary.

One day Diane saw out of the corner of her eye empty clay pots moving and clanging and banging on the porch. Closer observation revealed a young Groundhog, probably a descendant of Grunhogda. Diane let her go about her business undisturbed, as Groundhogs can be quite fierce when cornered, and not near as docile as "Corgyncombe Carrie".

Making apple pie cookies.

The receipt for the dough is the "Christmas Cookies" receipt from "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook".
Instead of Mince, Diane used Apple.

Apple Pie Cookies, warm from the oven.

A cup of "Tasha Tudor's Welsh Breakfast Tea" and an apple pie cookie for afternoon tea on the garden wall for Beatrix Potter's Birthday!

The Valley

One of The Corgyncombe Courant's all time favorite songs is "Perfect Day", sung by Miriam Stockley. It was used as the theme song of "The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, Beatrix Potter".

Here is the link to:
"Perfect Day" on YouTube.


July 24, 2010

Helen Allingham's "Happy England"

The Lovely Fragrance of Summer's Rose
Helen Allingham's "Happy England".
Helen Allingham was famous for her watercolour paintings of children in charming clothing, thatched cottages, gardens, stone walls, and lovely landscapes.

A pink Corgnycombe rose on an old vasculum. The vasculum has such a lovely button latch.

Helen Allingham
Atop the book is some lavender from Corgyncombe gardens that Diane dried.

Grace and her Mummy Eva
Diane's Great Aunt Eva bears a striking resemblance to Diane's mother and to Diane's daughter Sarah. We also think that Aunt Eva bears a resemblance to Helen Allingham. Eva's great grandfather came from the same area in England that Helen Allingham's grandmother was from.

Little Grace reminds us of the little girl with the doll on the left, in the Helen Allingham painting "The Young Customers". The little girls are considering purchasing a toy flat iron. The old lady clerk reminds us of Tasha Tudor.


July 18, 2010

An Independence Day Tea!

"Revolutionary Tea"
The Bee Balm at Corgyncombe Cottage gardens started to flower around the 4th of July.

The little basket's base is only 4 1/2 by 7 1/2 inches and is just right for two stacks of Eagle Cookies.
The receipt is the "Christmas Cookies" receipt from "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook".

"A Guide to the Wild Flowers", written by Alice Lounsberry and illustrated by Mrs. Ellis Rowan.
The well worn book was originally owned by Mrs. T. B. Shepherd.

There are many handwritten notes by previous owners on the pages of the book noting the date and location that they found the particular wild flower.
Although the book was written at a later date, the earliest date in the handwritten notations is an 1848 sighting.

Oswego-Tea, also called Bee Balm: "Found in Grandmother's garden, near her bee house when a child - West Martinsburg"

In Revolutionary times some folks would use Oswego Tea as an alternative to the imported tea taxed by the British.

Diane's 5th great grandfather Eliakim May's 1st cousin Colonel John May participated in the Boston Tea Party. John was colonel of the first, or Boston, reg't militia. 'Tis little wonder that Eliakim responded to the Lexington Alarm and marched for the relief of Boston. Eliakim's father Nehemiah, Col. John's father Eleazer, and Louisa May Alcott's great great grandfather Ebenezer were all brothers. They were sons of John and Prudence (Bridge) May.

Colonel John May married his 1st cousin's daughter Abigail (May) May. (Abigail's father was also 1st cousin to Eliakim May.) Abigail (May) May was an aunt to Abigail (May) Alcott..... Marmee in "Little Women".

Colonel John May and Abigail (May) May had a son which they named George Washington May.

Hummingbirds love Bee Balm.

Oswego Tea, also called Bee Balm, illustrated in "A Guide to the Wild Flowers".

A grand fireworks display, that Diane thinks resembles Bee Balm.

An engraving of the painting "Spirit of 76" by T. H. Matteson, found in "The American Gift Book".

In doing some family research The Corgyncombe Courant found some information about the painter T. H. Matteson and we think that he was a cousin of Diane and Sarah. T. H.'s mother was likely a 2nd cousin to Diane's 4th great grandfather Samuel Moulton. It appears that our common ancestors were from Brimfield, MA. T. H. could also be a cousin of Diane and Sarah through the Matteson family.

T. H. Matteson was famous for his patriotic scenes and he loved the Pilgrims.
Like Tasha Tudor he was truly an American painter and he preferred to wear clothing of a different time.
Even though he lived much lated than the Pilgrims, T. H. Matteson is said to have worn a steeple crowned hat like the Pilgrims.

Here is a link to: Information about T. H. Matteson and his painting

Diane has always loved the Pilgrim hats and someday hopes to make one!
Here is link to: A hat said to have belonged to Diane's 10th great grandmother Constance Hopkins

A poem from
"The American Gift Book":

Revolutionary Tea
by Seba Smith

There was an old lady lived over the sea,
And she was an Island Queen;
Her daughter lived off in a new countrie,
With an ocean of water between.

The old lady's pockets were full of gold,
But never contented was she;
So she called to her daughter to pay her a tax
Of "thrippence" a pound on her tea.

"Now, mother, dear mother," the daughter replied,
"I shan't do the thing that you ax;
I'm willing to pay a fair price for the tea,
But never the thrippeny tax.

"You shall," quoth the mother, and reddened with rage,
"For you're my own daughter, ye see;
And sure 'tis quite proper the daughter should pay
Her mother a tax on her tea."

And so the old lady her servants called up,
And pack'd off a budget of tea,
And, eager for thrippence a pound, she put in
Enough for a large familie.

She ordered her servants to bring home the tax,
Declaring her child should obey,
Or, old as she was, and almost woman-grown,
She'd half whip her life away.

The tea was conveyed to the daughter's door,
All down by the ocean side,
And the bouncing girl poured out every pound
In the dark and boiling tide.

And then she called out to the Island Queen,
"Oh, mother, dear mother," quoth she,
"Your tea you may have, when 'tis steeped enough,
But never a tax from me -
No, never a tax from me."


July 12, 2010

A Tasha Tudor Art Stand Made by Seth Tudor!

A Lovely Art Stand to Display Things Upon!
The Corgyncombe Courant is thrilled that Seth Tudor made a reproduction of Tasha Tudor's art stand for us!

 The art stand is beautiful and is perfect in the library for displaying books, cards, photographs, and art. It is also useful in the kitchen whilst cooking or baking for holding your receipts (an old word for recipes) or cookbook.

In the photograph above, "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook" is open to the page titled "Accompaniments". This is one of Diane's favorite illustrated pages in Tasha's cookbook, with many of Diane's favorite things.

Diane has always admired Tasha Tudor's art stand. Last winter, before Christmas, Seth made a miniature art stand for little Tasha. Diane was hoping that someday Seth would make her a full size art stand and he did!

Little Tasha is looking at an illustration of a Corgi licking a candy cane, with ribbons and holly all round. The book stand that holds the corgi illustration, is a miniature copy of the one Tasha Tudor had on her artist's table. It was made by Tasha Tudor's son Seth Tudor.
Little Tasha was named after Tasha Tudor because The Corgyncombe Courant was reminded of the portraits of Tasha Tudor when she was a girl painted by her mother Rosamond Tudor.

Little Tasha's miniature art stand was featured on Day 8 of "The Days Until Christmas: Amelia's Favorite Things" Advent Calendar.
Here is the link: "The Days Until Christmas: Amelia's Favorite Things"

A Helen Allingham painting titled "The Dairy Door, Farringford" in the book "The Homes of Tennyson".

Seth Tudor made the delightful miniature reproduction of the chair Tasha Tudor sat in whilst at her artist's table.
Priscilla Francelia, known by her dearest friends as Frizzy, and her Baby Doll wearing their Lapland clothing designed and made by Tillie Tinkham. Tillie Tinkham is the seamstress mouse at "Tillie Tinkham's Frocks & Fashions" at Corgyncombe.