October 13, 2011

Winner of Corgyncombe's Tasha Tudor Book Giveaway!

Lily Dibble Dabble Draws a Winner!
Gathered at the marble water pool, the Dibble Dabbles have placed leaves with numbers written on the back, representing each entry in the Corgyncombe Courant Tasha Tudor Birthday Celebration Giveaway of the book "Drawn From New England, Tasha Tudor; A Portrait in Words and Pictures by Bethany Tudor". Mama Duck has given strict orders to her little ducklings to stay out of the water and to keep from dibble dabbling in the pool of leaves! Knowing how ducks love water, this is extremely difficult!

There is a bit of a squabble as Lily and Debbie Dibble Dabble both want to pick the winner of the Giveaway! Lily is the first one to grab a leaf and so the winning number is 22 which is:
Julie at Life in Skunk Hollow!

Congratulations, Julie! We know you will enjoy this book!

Mama Dibble Dabble is wearing a handknit shawl that was made as a gift for Corgyncombe's doll Amelia by a friend of hers. Tillie Tinkham's Frocks & Fashions shoppe can be seen in the background. On August 28th, Tasha Tudor's birthday, on the very spot where Tillie Tinkham's shoppe stands in the photograph above, the floods from Irene raged through!

Bubbles Dibble Dabble is standing upon a pumpkin for a better view and Dilley Dibble Dabble is down by her Mama's side in a pink frock and bonnet, making her look like a little "Sunbonnet Baby" Duckling with only her orange bill peeking out!

Thank you to all of our dear readers who entered the Giveaway!


October 12, 2011

Cider and Doughnuts!

"Treasures of Jolly Autumn" Washington Irving
Cider and doughnuts, a refreshing and delicious autumnal treat!
When I was growing up, my family usually enjoyed cider and popcorn on Saturday night. We liked the cider the best when it wasn't as sweet and it had, as we called it, "bees in it". Now I prefer my cider on the sweet side. At our wedding my husband and I served sweet cider.

At Tasha Tudor's wedding she served her guests 16 dozen doughnuts.

In 2005 I wrote a comparison between Meg's wedding and my wedding as we both had simple, country weddings.
In Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" Meg is the first of the sisters to get married. Reading about Meg's simple wedding reminded Diane a great deal of her own. Diane's 5th great grandfather Eliakim May was 1st cousin to Louisa's great grandfather Samuel May. In "Little Women
" Meg said "I don't want a fashionable wedding, but only those about me whom I love, and to them I wish to look and be my familiar self." When Meg's proper Aunt March arrived at the wedding Meg ran out to greet her and the aunt saw that the groom was fixing a fallen garland, she told Meg "Upon my word, here's a state of things! You oughtn't be seen till the last minute, child." Meg replied "I'm not a show, aunty, and no one is coming to stare at me, to criticise my dress, or count the cost of my luncheon. I'm too happy to care what any one says or thinks, and I'm going to have my little wedding just as I like it." At the end of the chapter, after all of the festivities, one of the guests, who was quite fashionable, said to her husband, "That is the prettiest wedding I've been to for an age, Ned, and I don't see why, for there wasn't a bit of style about it."

The reception was held in an old 1796 building that was originally in the Kaatskills.
It was decorated for the reception in elegant, dignified simplicity.
An artist friend of Diane's brought in several portraits that she had painted.

Always favorites to read as the leaves are turning and the days are shortening are Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle". The Kaatskill mountain area and the Hudson River valley has been home to my ancestors since the 1600s and has always felt like home to me.

Diane's great great grandfather, who was born near the Kaatskills.
Diane always thought of him as the family's own Rip Van Winkle.
On the 1865 Agricultural Census he is listed as having 30 apple trees, 20 bushels of apples, and 1 barrel of cider on his farm. In 1864 he had 10 acres in meadows for hay and 10
tons of cut hay. In 1864 he had 2 acres of Indian corn and harvested 20 bushels.

Hay stored for winter in the high big old barn at Corgyncombe, that we call "The Ark".

As Ichabod, the "itinerant pedagogue", is journeying on his horse to attend the party at the Van Tassel house, Washington Irving wrote the following in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow":

"It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day, the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet. Streaming files of wild ducks began to make their appearance high in the air; the bark of the squirrel might be head from the groves of beech and hickory nuts, and the pensive whistle of the quail at intervals from the neighboring stubble-field."

"The small birds were taking their farewell banquets. In the fullness of their revelry, they fluttered, chirping and frolicking, from bush to bush, and tree to tree, capricious from the very profusion and variety around them. There was the honest cock-robin, the favorite game of stripling sportsmen, with its loud querulous note; and the twittering blackbirds flying in sable clouds; and the golden-winged woodpecker, with his crimson crest, his broad black gorget, and splendid plumage; and the cedar bird, with its red-tipt wings and yellow-tipt tail, and its little monteiro cap of feathers; and the blue jay, that noisy coxcomb, in his gay light-blue coat and white under clothes; screaming and chattering, nodding and bobbing and bowing, and pretending to be on good terms with every songster of the grove."

The apple stem is caught in the V of the old apple picker and a gentle tug will bring the apple from the tree. It is then brought down in its cage and deposited carefully in a basket.

"As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye, ever open to every symptom of culinary abundance ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. On all sides he beheld vast store of apples; some hanging in oppressive opulence on the trees; some gathered into baskets and barrels for the market; others heaped up in rich piles for the cider-press."

Corn harvested from the fields at Corgyncombe.

"Farther on he beheld great fields of Indian corn, with its golden ears peeping from their leafy coverts, and holding out the promise of cakes and hasty pudding; and the yellow pumpkins lying beneath them, turning up their fair round bellies to the sun, and giving ample prospects of the most luxurious of pies; and anon he passed the fragrant buckwheat fields, breathing the odor of the bee-hive, and as he beheld them, soft anticipations stole over his mind of dainty slapjacks, well buttered, and garnished with honey or treacle, by the delicate little dimpled hand of Katrina Van Tassel."

"Thus feeding his mind with many sweet thoughts and "sugared suppositions," he journeyed along the sides of range of hills which look out upon some of the goodliest scenes of the mighty Hudson."

Corgyncombe corn shock with pumpkins round and pumpkins in the wheelbarrow.

My daughter Sarah and I are researching ancestors who were married in the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow.

Amongst some of our early Dutch families are the Van Alens. There have been reports that Washington Irving was inspired by a Van Alen girl when he created the character Katrina Van Tassel.

Our direct ancestor Jacob Van Alen married Rachel Quackenbush. Corgyncombe's Quackenbush the Duck's name was inspired by our old Quackenbush families. Our early Quackenbush family had kilns and were famous for making bricks.

Dilley Dibble Dabble and Quackenbush at a Valentine tea party!
Quackenbush had a special red paper hat made for the Valentine's Day occasion, which sports one of Post Mistress Phidelia Finch's feathers tucked in the side. The instructions for making the paper hat is in the book, "Tasha Tudor's Old-Fashioned Gifts". The Corgyncombe Courant reporters Diane and her daughter Sarah have had a personal lesson in paper hat making from Tasha Tudor herself.

Picking apples with an old fashioned apple picker on a pole to reach the high ones. Diane takes great joy in using antique tools for their original purpose.

"A mellow October day, when the air was full of an exhilarating freshness which made the spirits rise, and the blood dance healthily in the veins. The old orchard wore its holiday attire; golden-rod and asters fringed the mossy walls; grasshoppers skipped briskly in the sere grass, and crickets chirped like fairy pipers at a feast. Squirrels were busy with their small harvesting, birds twittered their adieux from the alders in the lane, and every tree stood ready to send down its shower of red or yellow apples at the first shake. Everybody was there, - everybody laughed and sang, climbed up and tumbled down; everybody declared that there never had been such a perfect day or such a jolly set to enjoy it, - and every one gave themselves up to the simple pleasures of the hour as freely as if there were no such things as care or sorrow in the world." - from "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott

Diane's 5th great grandfather was 1st cousin to Louisa May Alcott's great grandfather Samuel May.

Corgyncombe's favorite apples in Diane's old crock.

Peeling apples for a pie.

A Corgyncombe homemade apple pie.

Daisy made her own little apple pie, completely homemade by her "delicate little dimpled hand", to serve her friends and their Baby Dolls.

The little Dibble Dabble Duckies have their bills together quacking and discussing how to pick the winner of the Corgyncombe Courant Tasha Tudor Birthday Celebration Giveaway of the book "Drawn From New England, Tasha Tudor; A Portrait in Words and Pictures by Bethany Tudor". They have settled on a plan to pick the winner of this delightful book. Tomorrow's post will divulge the winner!!!


October 6, 2011

Izannah Walker Doll at Corgyncombe Tea!

Izannah Walker (1817-1888) made dolls using a special technique.
Izannah Walker lived in New England and her Walker ancestors lived very near where Diane and Sarah's Walkers came from.
You can find more information about Izannah Walker dolls and the technique used in making them in the Christmas 2011 issue of "Early American Life" magazine and in the August 2011 issue of "Antique Doll Collector" magazine.

On the art stand is a hand painted Poppy and butterfly print and some late blooming lavender from the Corgyncombe Garden of Herbs. The art stand made by Seth Tudor is a replica of the art stand that Tasha Tudor had. In the little cup alongside are dried and saved Calendula petals.

A framed specimen on the Seth Tudor doll-sized art stand.

This Izannah Walker reproduction doll, made by Margie Herrera, is so delightful and sweet and everyone at Corgyncombe loves her!

She is enjoying a cup of Tasha Tudor Welsh Breakfast Tea.

Izannah and Kitty in front of a wonderful old quilt top.

A stunning view of rolling hills, meadows and cornfield in Corgyncombe Country!


"With what a glory comes and goes the year;

The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy
Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with
A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene."

~ Longfellow

The Corgyncombe Courant soon hopes to be announcing the winner of "Drawn From New England, Tasha Tudor; A Portrait in Words and Pictures by Bethany Tudor". Readers have written us saying that they have had trouble leaving comments to enter the giveaway. There is still some time left to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment.

In honor of Tasha Tudor's Birthday, the Corgyncombe Courant is having a Giveaway of the book
"Drawn From New England, Tasha Tudor; A Portrait in Words and Pictures by Bethany Tudor".
Bethany Tudor is Tasha's older daughter.
This is a beautiful copy of "Drawn From New England", the inside pages look like new!