May 22, 2013

Lilacs, Apple Blossoms, and Little Birds!

The Delights of Spring!

Old ancestral lilacs and apple blossoms from our old Astrachan apple tree. The delightful scent of the lilacs and apple blossoms fill my old fashioned kitchen!
In "The Springs of Joy", Tasha Tudor illustrated lilacs.

The chosen music to accompany this post is
"Simple Gifts":
Click Here for Specially Chosen Delightful Music.
Return Here to Read the Corgyncombe Courant.

The old Astrachan apple tree at the end of our woodshed was so lovely this year, full of fragrant blossoms! Day and night one could smell the beautiful scent. The above photograph was taken at night last week. It remained so full and lovely until last night's thundershowers brought most of the blossoms down.

A robin built a nest on the rake on our porch.

A close up of the nest revealed a small beak was moving, pecking its way out!
copyright © 2013 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

May 14, 2013

Best Not Put Away Shawls and Mitts Yet!

Keep the Cosies at the Ready!
Hung up behind the plants is a flannel bonnet and a plaid wool shawl. On the shelf are handspun, handknit wool mitts.

"Ne'er cast a clout 'til May be out" is an old saying that I found on
"Hill Top, the Beatrix Potter Gallery & Wray Castle National Trust Team" blog.

The old saying means don't cast off your winter cosies, (at Corgyncombe that means your shawls, mitts, and flannel bonnet) until the end of May or until the May flowers (Hawthorn) are in bloom.

Last week was warm and nice, plants have flourished outside. Alas, yesterday there were snow showers and this morning a heavy frost. Plants had to be brought in and set all about the house. Outside, the bleeding heart in the garden wears a shawl of its own 'til the chill is past.

The old adjustable shelves are just the thing to hold some of the plants. The shelves can be tilted and even be made into a table!

Unfortunately, at Corgyncombe one dares not put their cosies too far away as I have even seen it snow in July!

Here is a link to:
copyright © 2013 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

May 12, 2013

Mother's Day!

Rolling Along with the Baby Carriage!
In the center, my Mum playing baby dolls with her friends.

r her third birthday my Mum, Sally Ann, received the most glorious present in the neighborhood!  A wicker doll carriage. She says: "It was the envy of all the little girl neighbors."

That was the last really nice, extravaga
nt present that she received for most of her childhood, as the crash hit and times were hard during the Depression. She didn't have many dolls of her own to play with. Sometimes she would put kitties in the carriage and pretend they were babies. In summer and in the winter snow she would take her carriage outside to play.
There weren't many dolls of her own to fill the carriage, so Sally Ann had fun playing with the kitties in the carriage!

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.

Her eldest brother cleared out a shed for an area where she could have a play house. She didn't have much in it to set up play housekeeping but she could take her carriage in and out. Here she is, barefooted, holding her Aunt's doll.

Sally Ann married her Sweetheart.

My Mum and Dad.
They have always reminded me of Lucy and Ricky from "I Love Lucy". Mum, in particular, has the same eyes as Lucy, and later I found out that they were cousins on the Cummings side through an old New England family.

Mum set up housekeeping for real in a sweet little cottage. I loved this old kitchen with its iron sink and old fashioned stove. For many years it remained the same, except for wallpaper and curtains. I would get a chair and look out the window to see the chickens in the backyard. I remember once seeing a hen with her chicks running around outside their fenced area and Mum running down and shooing them back in.

Mum holding me.

Mum folding diapers atop the bathinette. She always washed the diapers with an old ringer washing machine and hung them outside. In the winter time she would hang them outside and bring them inside to finish drying, hanging them up on the clothes bars over the register to dry.

Me taking a bath in the bathinette.

My birthday party with a cake Mum made.
Mum got a carriage to put her real baby in!
We went for long walks in the country.

Happy Mother's Day to our Dear Readers!
copyright © 2013 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

May 10, 2013

Old Fashioned Scented Geraniums

Delicately Flowered, Fragrant Pelargoniums

My Rose Geranium is in bloom.
Lovely, delicate pink flowers!

Several varieties of scented geraniums, lemon verbena, and tarragon.

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.

A tussie mussie I made using herbs from the
Corgyncombe Garden of Herbs.

In the book "
A Basket of Herbs", illustrated by Tasha Tudor, it is mentioned that Rose Geranium leaves are used for potpourri, tussie mussies, teas, cakes, cookies, and jellies.

A bee skep in the Corgyncombe Garden of Herbs with scented geraniums round, at twilight when the lightning bugs started to appear.

Bee skeps and herbs have been subjects of Tasha Tudor's illustrations.

In "Around the Year", written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, bee skeps can be found on the "In June Comes" page.

In "Betty Crocker's Kitchen Gardens" written by Mary Mason Campbell and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, as a lady tends her garden, bee skeps can be seen in the background.
copyright © 2013 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

May 1, 2013

A Carriage Ride Along Corgi Creek!

May Day Delights!
Emma was overjoyed to have her Cousin Lucy come join her to live at Corgyncombe! The girls get along splendidly and share many of the same interests!
Lucy and Emma are Izannah Walker inspired dolls and were made by talented dollmaker Margaret Flavin, who also made their charming clothes and bonnets!

The chosen music to accompany this post is from
"Friendly Persuasion":
Click Here for Specially Chosen Delightful Music
Return Here to Read the Corgyncombe Courant.

As they take a leisurely carriage ride amongst the daffodils on the banks of Corgi Creek, Emma tells Lucy the story of Diane's grandparents courtship, that Diane had shared with the Izannah Girls.

Charming, Quaint, and Romantic!
Grandfather Goes Courtin'!

Diane's Grandfather Goin' Courtin' with horse and buggy.
Grandfather had brown eyes and red hair, which Grandmum loved!

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.

Diane's Grandmum in her wedding frock.
Grandmum had lovely light blue eyes and long dark brown hair which she put up, which Grandfather loved!

An old photograph of Diane's Grandmum in her wedding frock along with an antique camera. Diane aspires to do portrait photography with old cameras such as this using the Corgyncombe Antique Clothing Collection.

Diane's Grandmum and Grandfather were both of early Quaker descent. Both of their families started out in Massachusetts, north of Boston in the Newbury area and south of Boston in the Dartmouth area. Their Quaker families, known as the Society of Friends, then settled in an area known as the Oblong.

The Oblong was a long, narrow strip of land whose ownership was disputed between Connecticut and New York. In this long, narrow strip, Diane's Quaker families settled and lived.

"The History of Dutchess County, New York" edited by Frank Hasbrouck, published 1909, says the following: "The Oblong Patent, covering a narrow strip along the east borders of Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties, was ceded to the State of New York by Connecticut, May 14, 1731."

The Valley in Spring.
Imagine riding in a horse and buggy along the lovely rolling hills, with the only sounds being the horses hooves and the lovely sound of the Baltimore Oriole flying from apple tree to apple tree, along with the other songbirds, and livestock to pasture, the sound of the creek, and ahhhh, the fragrance of the May apple tree...

May apple blossoms at sunrise down near Corgi Creek.
Later in May the apples trees will burst forth with lovely, fragrant blooms.

In "Tasha Tudor, The Direction of Her Dreams" by Wm John Hare and Priscilla T. Hare, Tasha Tudor's daughter Bethany Tudor speaks of how Tasha Tudor was inspired by the movie "Friendly Persuasion" to illustrate the endpapers of "Around the Year". The endpapers of "Around the Year" show a couple riding in a horse and buggy, crossing a creek, with lovely countryside round with sheep and cows to pasture.

The movie "Friendly Persuasion" was about a Quaker family amidst the Civil War. The movie's introduction song is so lovely accompanying this post.

As they continue their journey along Corgi Creek,
Emma and Lucy discuss all the fun things to do at Corgyncombe. Emma says "There will be tea parties, lots of fun playing with dollies, watching the birds and little critters, working in the herb, flower and vegetable gardens, making candles, making sweet soothing goat's milk soap and writing stories!"

"We also like reading and have a fine library with many little books! We all enjoy making tussie mussies and pressing flowers, carriage rides about the acreage, and perhaps there will be another sighting of 'Corie Combie, The Curious Carnivorous Creature of Corgyncombe's Corgi Creek'. There are other surprises that you will love, Lucy! I have seen them and I am so excited!"
Lucy says she is excited, too!

When Lucy came to Corgyncombe she brought little Pansy with her in a charming little box! Upon arrival Pansy flitted off to explore the wilderness of Corgyncombe.
Pansy nestles amongst the violas and has found her favorite flower that has pretty colours just like her!

You can see the hollow mossy log behind the carriage.

Whilst riding Lucy and Emma spied Pansy by the mossy hollow log where Miss Elsie Pricklish the Hedgehog makes her summer home.

I (Diane) learned to make May baskets like the May basket above in kindergarten from my teacher. My dear kindergarten teacher Mrs. Platt had also been my Mum's grade school teacher. We make our May baskets out of wallpaper from wallpaper sample books, lined with stiffer paper, in the shape of a cone with a handle. The wallpaper for our baskets is so much fun to pick out from all the samples! Sometimes we also make paper flowers to add to the May baskets, too! Making May baskets is a May Day family tradition at Corgyncombe!

Our dolls and animal friends also make small May baskets of their own!

The May basket above is hung on "A Time to Keep" illustrated by Tasha Tudor! Tasha Tudor has done delightful illustrations of children leaving their May baskets at the door and children dancing around the Maypole with a joyful Corgi herding the children in a circle. In the borders round, there are beautiful spring flowers, robins, barns swallows, and a bluebird.

Twinkle Toes and Pansy on an antique vasculum.
Twinkle Toes and Pansy were made by Margaret Flavin.
In the old days children would go out and about in the woods, fields, hills, and dales and gather plant specimens for studying botany and pressing. A tin vessel with a tight fitting lid would keep the flower specimens fresh. This tin vessel is called a vasculum and has a strap for carrying over your shoulder.

"Song on May Morning"
"Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long."

- John Milton

We hope all our dear readers have a lovely May Day!

Here is a link to:
Tasha Tudor and Family
There you can find "Around the Year" and "A Time to Keep", two of the Corgyncombe Library's favorite Tasha Tudor books!
copyright © 2013 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson