July 28, 2016

Beatrix Potter's 150th Birthday Year Celebration!

Corgyncombe's High Dumpsie Dearie Roly Poly Pudding!
Corgyncombe's Tillie Tinkham.

It is Beatrix Potter's 150th Birthday Year!
Beatrix Potter was born July 28, 1866.
What joy she has brought into our lives through her stories and illustrations!

Using my High Dumpsie Dearie jam, an old English jam, in a Roly Poly Pudding produced my creation of Corgyncombe High Dumpsie Dearie Roly Poly Pudding!
On the cup is Beatrix Potter's Flopsy Bunny standing by potted geraniums.

My daughter Sarah and I are admirers of Beatrix Potter and feel a kinship with her. We enjoyed teas, elevenishes and delightful conversations with Tasha Tudor. What fun it would have been to have had Beatrix Potter with us also... what we all together could have talked about... bunnies, gardens, ducks, old houses, old barns, and other aspects of country life and landscapes!

Tom Kitten looks longingly out the window alongside a bouquet of cosmos.

In Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Samuel Whiskers or The Roly-Poly Pudding", published in 1908, Anna Maria the Rat steals some dough for a planned Roly-Poly Pudding. Samuel Whiskers the Rat steals the butter and the rolling pin from the dairy... a rolling pin being necessary to make a Roly-Poly pudding.

Tom Kitten attempted to hide from his Mum by going up the chimney. He was in hopes of getting to the roof where he could catch sparrows. Whilst working his way to the roof he accidentally fell into the Rat's room and was tied up by Anna Maria the Rat. Anna Maria's husband Samuel Whiskers requested that she make for him a "kitten dumpling roly-poly pudding". A butter covered Tom Kitten was then placed and wrapped in the dough, and then dough and Kitten were rolled with the "Roly-Poly" pin. Tom Kitten was to be a Roly-Poly Pudding!

High Dumpsie Dearie is an old English receipt for jam made with apples, pears, and plums with some bruised ginger.

Samuel Whiskers the Rat sitting by the "Roly-Poly" Pin with gathered vegetables, tomatoes and bread for his wife Anna Maria to steal away with.
Samuel Whiskers is a Beatrix Potter figurine based on her book.

Tom Kitten's sister Mittens, who had hidden away in the dairy, exclaimed to her mother that she had seen "a dreadful 'normous big rat" who swiped away a rolling pin and a pat of butter.

High Dumpsie Dearie makes your kitchen smell delightful!

I peeled, cut up, and weighed out two pounds of each of the fruit. I weighed the plate first and set the scale accordingly.

An old English Roly Poly Pudding tin.

The dough is rolled out and High Dumpsie Dearie jam is applied to the dough leaving the edges free.

A Corgyncombe High Dumpsie Dearie Roly Poly Pudding.
The dough is rolled up and the edges tucked in and then placed in the Roly Poly Pudding tin with a paper liner. The Roly Poly Pudding is steamed.

Corgyncombe High Dumpsie Dearie Roly Poly Pudding and chamomile tea in a Peter Rabbit cup at tea.

Nanny Nettie-Kin feeding her fowl cracked corn.
Nanny is wearing a Sontag that she spun and knit.
We love the book "Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life" by Marta McDowell.  Marta McDowell writes of Beatrix Potter's gardens through the seasons. Included are many drawings by Beatrix, photographs of flowers, and old photographs of Beatrix Potter.

Nanny Nettie-Kin's wheel is whirling as she is spinning yarn for her Sontag.

Beatrix Potter and I both have collected old spinning wheels!

Beatrix Potter, like Benjamin Bunny, wore clogs.

"The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" by Beatrix Potter.
See his little clogs!

Beatrix Bunny

Iron on the underside of the clogs.

From the Corgyncombe Vegetable Garden, radishes gathered in a trug with some fresh cut spearmint on the red and white spotted handkerchief. In Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", after eating lettuce and french beans, Peter Rabbit found some radishes and ate til he felt quite ill!

The red and white spotted handkerchief reminds me of Peter Rabbit's mum's red and white spotted handkerchief that was used by the little naughty bunnies, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny, to gather onions in Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny". The handkerchief is also seen in "The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle" as it has been laundered and folded by Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, who, alas, could not get the smell of onions out. Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle then delivered the handkerchief to the bunnies who were hiding amongst the ferns along the way and gladly received the laundered handkerchief.

My garden and sheep at pasture.

2013 was the 100th Anniversary of the publishing of Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Pigling Bland".
In the photograph of the figurines above, Pigling Bland's Mum is sending him off to market.

As a little girl, I always felt a strange mix of excitement and fear around my grandpa's pig pen. Perhaps it was the gap in the fence that had me worried!

Sarah feeding her ducks near my garden of herbs.

In Jemima Puddle-Duck, Jemima is sent by the fox Mr. Tod, to look for the herbs for stuffing..
The old apothecary jar holds sage from my garden of herbs.

At Christmastime I took some photographs of some of the old things and Beatrix Potter figurines on my cupboard. You can see the reflection of the sparkly Christmas tree lights in the glass and china. On the old apothecary jar filled with bay leaf, it looks like a twinkly waterfall coming down the jar between Rebeccah and Drake Puddle-Duck.

High Dumpsie Dearie is also delicious on biscuits at tea served on a Beatrix Potter plate. A Mrs. Rabbit figurine stands nearby with basket and umbrella. The teapot is one of Diane's favorite and has Jemima Puddle-duck and, as Beatrix Potter said, the "foxy-whiskered gentleman" walking about discussing things of importance, such as nesting. The "foxy-whiskered gentleman" was all too interested! There are foxgloves on either side of the Jemima Puddle-duck and the "foxy-whiskered gentleman".

My great wheel in the garret.

Plums in a favorite yellowware bowl with High Dumpsie Dearie jam alongside.

A Tussie Mussie of scented geranium flowers and leaves, camomile and lavender.

At Corgyncombe's Beatrix Potter Birthday Tea 2012, a tussie mussie was made using larkspur, lavender, thyme, winter savory, rosemary, wild marjoram, rose geranium leaves, and baby's breath all gathered from the Corgyncombe Garden of Herbs. The little mouse knitting is based upon Beatrix Potter's illustration of the "Old woman who lived in a shoe" in "Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes". It is one of our favorite Beatrix Potter illustrations! The little knitting mouse's cap reminds us of the white cap that our doll Bridget likes to wear. "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" book on the table is a limited edition reproduction of Beatrix Potter's first privately printed Peter Rabbit book and has the original illustrations with Beatrix's own handwriting. The dust jacket is a reproduction of calico printed by Beatrix's grandfather's calico printworks. It is such a sweet book!

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.

Here are links to two previous
Beatrix Potter Birthday Celebrations
at the Corgyncombe Courant:


Our email:

copyright © 2016 Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson

July 20, 2016

Wild Strawberries About Meadow and Lawn!

Susan Fenimore Cooper's "Rural Hours"
Lydia went out and about Corgyncombe picking wild strawberries.

Corgyncombe Wild Strawberries

"Thursday, 21st June - Both raspberries and strawberries grow wild here in such profusion that few persons cultivate them." 
~ "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.

Susan Fenimore Cooper was the daughter of James Fenimore Cooper, author of the "Leatherstocking Tales".

"Tuesday, 9th June - Fine strawberries from the fields this evening for tea. Warm, bright weather; thermometer 85 - lovely evening, but too warm for much exercise. Strolled in the lane, enjoying the fragrant meadows, and the waving corn-fields on the skirts of the village."
~ Rural Hours" by Susan Fenimore Cooper

The Turret at Castle Corgyncombe with heirloom sweet peas.

"Tuesday, 26th June - It was a pretty sight, coming home, to see the women and children scattered about the meadows, gathering wild strawberries. This delightful fruit is very abundant here, growing everywhere, in the woods, along the road-sides, and in every meadow. Happily for us, the wild strawberries rather increase than diminish in cultivated lands; they are even more common among the foreign grasses of the meadows than within the woods. The two varieties marked by our botanists are both found about our lake."
~ Rural Hours" by Susan Fenimore Cooper

Ah yes, what a beautiful sight this must have been indeed, with the ladies and children dressed in the good taste of the day, but alas and alack one cannot say the same thing today!

Lydia's chair was made by talented Seth Tudor, son of Tasha Tudor.
It was so nice talking to him again!

Lydia, a Queen Anne English wooden doll, and her wonderful clothing, sewn with tiny stitches, were made by talented dollmaker Kathy Patterson.

I remember picking small wild strawberries with a friend in the pasture behind my house. We made a delicious strawberry shortcake. That evening we spent the night in a small army tent in the pasture, studying for a history final with a flashlight. We woke up to see the lovely dew on the grass and cows and horse grazing around our tent. We had a great time that morning jumping on the horse riding bareback!

Wildflowers found around Corgyncombe and David Austin Roses in an old vasculum.

Pretty flowers decorating the outside of the vasculum.

In the book "1 is One" written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, the pages illustrating three swallows are bordered by wildflowers including strawberries and clover.

"A Basket of Herbs" illustrated by Tasha Tudor shows two children picking wild strawberries along with two corgis who look very interested in the strawberries. She also included a pencil drawing of a wild strawberry plant showing the strawberries and the blossom.

In "A Time to Keep" written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor, the endpaper devoted to Summer features strawberries, clovers, roses, daisies and buttercups along with a frog. Tasha Tudor inscribed on this page "With love to Diane! Tasha Tudor"

Lovely landscapes and countryside.

Lydia found some clover at meadow's edge.

"Tuesday, 9th June - A meadow near at hand would seem to give more pleasure than a corn-field. Grain, to appear to full advantage, should be seen at a little distance, where one may note the changes in its coloring with the advancing season, where one may enjoy the play of light when the summer clouds throw their shadows there, or the breezes chase one another over the waving lawn. It is like a piece of shaded silk which the salesman throws off a little, that you may better appreciate the effect. But a meadow is a delicate embroidery in colors, which you must examine closely to understand all its merits; the nearer you are, the better. One must bend over the grass to find the blue violet in May, the red strawberry in June; one should be close at hand to mark the first appearance of the simple field-blossoms, clover, red and white, buttercup and daisy, with the later lily, and primrose, and meadow-tuft; one should be nigh to breathe the sweet and fresh perfume, which increases daily until the mowers come with their scythes."
~ "Rural Hours" by Susan Fenimore Cooper

"Rural Hours" by Susan Fenimore Cooper alongside Lydia and a strawberry and clover teacup.

 The countryside that Susan Fenimore Cooper roamed in "Rural Hours" is the same countryside that my ancestors came to during and after the Revolution, country life and landscapes that they were most fond of for generations.

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

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