January 30, 2011

Winter Loveliness!

Flowing Beauty!


January 23, 2011

Tasha Tudor Called Saturday "Three B's Night"

Boston Brown Bread, Baked Beans, and Bath in a Wash Tub!
In "The Tasha Tasha Tudor Cookbook", Tasha mentioned that Saturday was called "Three B's Night" for "baked beans, Boston brown bread, and the weekly bath." In the photograph above Diane has gathered the dry ingredients for making the receipt for Boston brown bread from"The Tasha Tudor Cookbook". When Diane started this receipt the sun was coming in the window creating a lovely design on the cutting board.

After mixing all of the ingredients together, it is put in, as Tasha would say, "a well-buttered mold." The cover to the mold is buttered, also. The cover of the mold is tightly secured and the mold is steamed in boiling water. Careful attention should be paid whilst taking the mold in and out of the water, as it is very hot!

The brown bread has been turned out of the mold and makes the kitchen smell delicious!

In between the brown bread and continuing on with the baked beans I have to show my latest delightful find! Aren't these tiles just lovely! They remind us of a beautiful summer's day during the reality of a week of lots of blustery snow and sub-zero temperatures.

Continuing on with the beans, Tasha has in her cookbook a receipt for "Baked Beans" that she got from Nell Dorr. Nell Dorr is a renowned photographer who took delightful, old fashioned looking photographs of Tasha Tudor and her children. In the above photograph, the beans are sorted.

The beans have been soaked and cooked and the other ingredients have been gathered.

Everything has been added to the bean pot and it is ready for baking. How wonderful the baking beans scent your kitchen, especially when you are coming in from outside on a cold winter's day. The beans bake about 8 hours.

Boston brown bread, baked beans, and macaroni and cheese for the Saturday's evening meal.

Oh, so delicious!!!

Now on to Saturday night bath...

At her Grandmum's house, Diane took her Saturday night bath in the old wash tub, and from the looks of the wall and the paper on the floor it appears that she had a splashing, jolly good time of it!

Diane's cousin took a bath, too.
Two little cousins taking a Saturday night bath at Grandmum's house!

Dear Shan of Honey Hill Farm has taken the most delightful photograph of the yellowware bowl that she won in the Corgyncombe Courant Yellowware Bowl Giveaway! In her pantry she has the cutest mice exploring the eggs in the yellowware bowl! What a great photograph, Shan!!!

Tillie Tinkham, the seamstress mouse of Corgyncombe, squeaks a hello to the Tottinghams of Honey Hill!

Here is the link to Shan's delightful blog: Honey Hill Farm


January 7, 2011

St. Distaff's Day!

A Return to the Spinning Wheel After Christmas Festivities!
On a delightful Autumnal trip, Diane acquired this beautiful antique Shaker spinning wheel! She retained the name that she was found with... Ann Lee. As with the Autumnal day on which she was discovered, doesn't she have a nice mellow glow?

Diane and her Father made a special trip after he came home from work to the bookshop to buy "A Practical Guide to American Spinning Wheels" by D. Pennington and M. Taylor. Diane has always been interested in old spinning wheels. Diane has referenced the book many times and it has seen much use through the years as the covers have come off and the book is in several pieces. When Diane first laid eyes on "Ann Lee", she said "That spinning wheel is almost identical to the one on the cover of 'A Practical Guide to American Spinning Wheels'". Of course "Ann Lee" had to come home as it was one of Diane's favorite spinning wheels in the book!

Saint Distaff's Day; or, The Morrow After Twelfth Day 
Partly work and partly play
Ye must on St. Distaff's day;
From the plough soon free your team,
Then come home and fother them.

If the maids a spinning go,
Burn the flax, and fire the tow;
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That ye singe no maiden-hair.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men:
Give St. Distaff all the right,
Then bid Christmas sport good night;
And next morrow, every one
To his own vocation.
- Robert Herrick

Prepared stricks of flax as purchased.
Diane puts the flax stricks through different size hatchels a few more times to ensure the best line fiber.
The distaff before it's dressed.
 To dress the distaff Diane wets the distaff a little and holds the distaff over the flax that has been layed out on a table and as she turns the distaff the flax fibers start to cling to it. She just keeps winding on the flax until the distaff is full. A little cup of water is hung on the spinning wheel and Diane keeps moistening the flax by dipping her fingers in the water as she draws the fibers down. To Diane it seems so graceful to spin flax.
Diane has also made a distaff out of a branch of a tree.

The U-shaped device is the flyer that has hooks on it to guide the thread. The flyer is mounted to the maidens (the two posts holding the flyer) with leathers, and the maidens make their home on what is called the mother-of-all. The mother-of-all is attached to the tensioning knob.

The horseshoe made by the blacksmith and the shiny tin box made by the tinsmith on the handspun, handwoven linen runner, all given to Diane at her bridal shower.
Diane's memories of her bridal shower at the museum where she worked:
"One evening I sensed something different was going on as my co-workers started gathering at the museum tavern after work. I was asked to go to the historic tavern on an errand. When I opened the door I was greeted by a surprise bridal shower! All my old friends were there showering upon me the wares of their trade. From the carpenters I received a cutting board with a personal engraving on one side and wooden knitting needles with the little verse: "In the pattern of your Married Life May your stitches All be perfect!". The broom-maker made me a new broom to keep my floors swept clean and from the store clerk I got a bag of root beer barrels and a note saying "May your marriage be a barrel of fun!". The pharmacist presented me with a bouquet of herbs and from the doctor's office I received a jar of honey. The tinsmith made me a tin box and the note within said "May your marriage be as bright and shiny as this tin container". From the old schoolhouse I received a slate and slate pencil. A horse shoe and hand wrought nails were the gift of the blacksmith and the lawyer's office gave me a document that offered me any legal help I needed. The printer's gift was a print of "Domestic Economy". The lady at the tavern embroidered some beautiful linen pillow covers and the ladies at the farmhouse gave me gingerbread cookies, the receipt to make them, and tin gingerbread cookie cutters. The spinners and weavers from the loft made me a handspun, handwoven linen m's and o's runner. What a fun shower with such wonderful gifts from my dear old friends!"
 Gingerbread folk and a gingerbread receipt given to Diane by the ladies who worked with her at the farmhouse.
 Some of Diane's handspun linen thread which has multiple uses at Corgyncombe Cottage.
 Tasha Tudor spinning on Diane's wheel.
After seeing my yarn, Tasha Tudor declared me "The Queen of Spinners". She always loved my spinning and evenness of spin and ply and frequently said to me that she was "shockingly envious" of my "spinning skill". Tasha Tudor was inspired by my spinning to again take out her spinning wheel after several years of not using it.
Diane and Sarah descend from generations of spinners and shepherds. Diane's 5th great grandmother was Martha Lyon May, wife of Eliakim May. Diane and Sarah have inherited a natural ability for turning fiber into thread. We think that Martha Lyon May was "The Queen of Spinners"! "The Lyon Memorial, Massachusetts Families" says: "The Hartford Courant, Jan. 6, 1766, had this item: Miss Levina Lyon, daughter of Capt. Nehemiah Lyon of Woodstock, and Miss Molly Ledoit carded and spun in one day 22 skeins of good tow yarn and a few days after, Martha Lyon, sister of Levina, spun 194 knots of good linen yarn in one day."

For St. Distaff's Day I posted back in 2005 on an online group the following post:

January 2005
Subject: St. Distaff's Day
Greetings All,

Yesterday was St. Distaff's Day. I spun into the late hours. Traditionally St. Distaff's Day was the day when spinners returned to their work at the wheel after the Christmas festivities. I just love to spin, knit, and weave. I spin wool, flax, angora rabbit, mohair, llama, alpaca, silk, cat, corgi, and anything else I can get my hands on. I'm learning to spin a very fine thread of cotton. It's so different from spinning the rest of the fibers.

We hope all the spinners on the list have also returned to their wheels. We strongly encourage those who have not learned to spin to give it a try as it is one of the most pleasurable and satisfying of activities!

Take care,
Diane and daughter Sarah

I was dismayed and disgusted to find that the leader of an online group had taken my post almost word for word, put it on her blog, and claimed it as her own. It was like she was making believe she was me, in a strange and creepy way.

 Click Here to read about Blog Thieving...