Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Limited Edition Easter Eggs 2014


Our Limited Edition Easter Eggs are here! Marjorie Tudor has been lovingly crafted these Easter charms this winter, using out-of-print, specially imported trims to make each one a true treasure.


The eggs start out as a blank canvas for the artist, and Marjorie uses her artistic eye and the lovely, old-fashioned trims to create one-of-a-kind blown duck and goose eggs.


How darling are these eggs tucked into a little box, or hung on an Easter Tree?


Though each egg is different, they are all lovingly crafted and sure to delight the recipient.



Colonel Bunn agrees these eggs are special!



Happy Spring!
Natalie and Tasha Tudor and Family

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spring is on its Way


We hope you had a great Valentine's Day and George Washington's Birthday! 


Now that we've enjoyed the February holidays, our attention tends to turn towards spring and Easter. 


The snow at the door of the greenhouse is dwindling. The sun his shining more often, the skies bluer.


Snowshoe and dog paths in the snow in Tasha Tudor's garden.


I love how, even in deep winter, you can still see the depression in the center of the herb circle where the Bay Tree normally sits. He keeps cozy in the greenhouse all winter, but you can see his presence is still missed and the circle waits for him, as we all wait for Spring. 


Keep your eyes peeled on our website for some spring cheer in the form of our collectible Easter Eggs for 2014. Coming soon!

Story and photographs by Natalie Wise

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 2014 Tea Story by Winslow Tudor



Winter evenings brought to Tasha a quiet expanse of hours between the end of evening chores and bedtime. After the dishes were washed, dried and put away, the goats and chickens fed and watered, corgis walked and the canaries' cage covered with an old grey apron to diminish drafts, Tasha sat in her wooden rocker with the blue wool checked blanket over the back, put her feet up on a chair near the cook stove fender, and wrote letters. She wrote to family, friends, publishers and people she had not met but whose lives and endeavors were of interest to her. 


The corgis slept on the floor in the spacer between the back of the stove and the wall, nose pointed to the door that opened into the exterior hall. Even with the blue sand filled draft dodger against the bottom of the door some fresh air came through, bringing news of the night to the ever vigilant dogs. The cat was not as concerned, and spent her evenings on the black wool shawl on Tasha’s lap. She had “a good motor,” Tasha said, hand on the purring cat.  


 Tasha wrote with a black, fine tipped felt pen, and occasionally the same brand pen in blue. But, she said, she never did like to write or draw with the cap on the pen's end. She put the cap on the small red-brown square side table tucked between her rocking chair and chimney. On occasion the cap wound up on the floor and was subsequently discovered by a corgi, who quietly retired behind the stove again and just as quietly chewed it up. When that happened and it came time to end letter writing for the night, Tasha opened the side table's one small drawer, reached in among her eye glass case, extra pens, address book, art pencils, rolls of stamps and other inevitable inhabitants of such drawers, and located an extra cap from a defunct pen. She stacked completed letters in their grey envelopes against the glass base of the end table lamp.


 How many letters Tasha wrote during her life is speculation, though certainly it was in the many thousands. Tasha was unfailingly grateful for her fans and combined with an upbringing and background where she never thought of not replying or thanking someone, answered as many letters sent to her as she could. Of the letters she did write, a percentage no longer exist. But letters that were saved present with unique clarity Tasha’s life at that moment. Little sketches of projects she was contemplating, the weather, what was happening in her garden, or how her illustrations for a book were progressing? These letters bring the unique phrases and enthusiasm that defined Tasha. These letters let us visit with her again. The Tasha Tudor Museum is always extremely grateful to those people that donate letters from Tasha. It allows the increasing number of fans to understand and appreciate her to a greater degree. Thank you for the letters you’ve sent, and please send more.


Story and Photos by Winslow Tudor

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 2014 Tea Story by Winslow Tudor


By January the snow on the ground at Tasha’s home in Vermont is here to stay until spring. Tasha was always grateful for the snow and the cold. Her perennials were far more likely to come back in the spring if able to sleep beneath the snow, and the cold killed some of the diseases and troublesome insects that haunt all gardens. Her barn, house and animals were warmer when a nor’easter banked two feet of snow around the foundations and on the roof. She always commented on the beauty of blue shadowed snow immediately after a storm. 


Tasha did not shovel snow. Her corgi dogs made a narrow track in which she followed. After a few passes a sturdy path resulted and she said she found a small, narrow and not perfectly straight path with undisturbed snow on either side more aesthetic than the wide swath friends and family made for her with shovels. She had two paths during winter. One went out to the driveway where her old green car sat, the other to her chicken house just opposite the back door. She cleaned the ashes from the cook stove and spread them on these paths when they became icy.


      She spent the brightest hours of her winter days opposite the fireplace in her art chair with the light from the North window over her left shoulder, pallete of watercolors to the right, paintbrushes, pencils, inks, erasers, paper, art stand and a cup of tea and speckled sugar cookies before her. If a corgi was not by her feet, it was keeping a lookout on the path by the backdoor.


      Each morning, noon and night Tasha opened the yellow panel door adjacent to the cook stove and the grandfather clock and walked down the hall leading to the barn. That large, solid structure was the winter abode of Tasha’s goats and chickens. The loft held hundreds of light green hay bales. There was stack of four or five down below in front of the milking stand. Tasha climbed the ladder into the loft, threw them down and cut the baling twine that held them together with a long pair of scissors she kept hung on a nail in the wall. The grain room contained barrels of cracked corn, layer pellets, sunflower seeds and a large blue- green chest with molasses-infused goat food. 


The goats lived in a large stall accessed by a Dutch door. They also had an attached shed to the outdoors with a large south window so they could bask in the sun. Tasha opened the top door, threw in a few flakes of hay, filled the manger on the west wall, filled the pail with fresh water, and brought out one of the milk goats to the milking stand. Tasha attributed her lack of arthritis to the fact she had milked cows and goats all her life. She loved her goats, as she did all her animals, and took the most remarkably good care of them.


      Occasionally a white footed mouse fell into a barrel when on occasion the lid was left off. Sometimes Tasha put the mouse in wooden box with a glass front and set it on her art table. She furnished the box with bark, branches, dry leaves that had blown into the corner of the woodshed earlier that autumn, sunflower seeds, a slice of apple and a bit of wool for the mouse to make a nest. During the day she sketched the occupant, then a few hours later, let it go.  


     Tasha was prepared for the long nights and prolonged cold, wind, snow and ice that are the companions of January. With a large woodshed, midsize chest freezer containing vegetables, chicken, tea, broth, ice cream, blueberries, soups and her many interests to keep her occupied, she welcomed approaching snow storms and the peace, solitude and comfort that accompanied them.



 Story and Photos by Winslow Tudor 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Homemade Bread

On a quiet, rainy day, the allure of homemade bread cannot be overstated. The process is calming, lulling, almost, and the scent of yeasty dough rising and freshly-baked bread topped with butter and honey intoxicating. 


Homemade bread is a family tradition for the Tudors, and this industrial-sized mixer has baked hundred and hundreds of loaves for the family over decades. It was originally used by Seth Tudor, who would turn out family-sized batches of bread weekly for only 45 cents a loaf. 


Now, Winslow Tudor carries on the family bread-baking tradition, using the same mixer, the same Vermont King Arthur flour, the same wheat berry grinder, and the same dedication to making wholesome, tasty, beautiful bread.


Ellie loves to help with the weekly bread baking, carefully holding the spoon for the salt. 


And happily pouring in the oil. 


Ellie instructing me (Natalie) how to properly give the dough a good squish into the pans. 


Beautiful bread rising in cast-iron bread pans. 


And eventually there are four beautiful loaves, fresh out of the oven, cut into thick slices and slathered with fresh butter and local honey, a treat to be savored by the senses, for it smells and tastes every bit as good as it looks, and the process is just as nourishing as the finished product. 
The bread goes great alongside Tasha Tudor's Potato and Onion Soup, both recipes found in The Tasha Tudor Cookbook. This cookbook, perhaps along with one of our beautiful wooden ladles, will quickly become treasured favorites and make a great gift!


On these quiet early-winter days, enjoy the time spent in the process...the process of baking bread, making holiday presents, and being present in the moment. The days are fleeting but the memories last a lifetime. 

Take Joy, 
Natalie

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Celebrating 75 Years of Pumpkin Moonshine with Pumpkin Pie


This year marks the 75th anniversary of Tasha Tudor's first published book, Pumpkin Moonshine, published in 1938, and still in print and available to this day. The book, which started out as a story for Tasha's niece, Sylvie Ann, was written by a 23-year-old Tasha Tudor. The charming and classic tale follows a young girl choosing the best pumpkin to create her "pumpkin moonshine" or, in today's vernacular, a "Jack O'Lantern."

Three generations of the Tudor family read Pumpkin Moonshine in Tasha Tudor's kitchen (Seth, Ellie, and Winslow). 

We gathered in a kitchen warmed with good cheer and the heat of a cook stove to bake pumpkin pies and to celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of Tasha's career. A Japanese film crew from NHK and a program entitled, "Gretl's Kitchen", was there to capture the event on film. We have yet to see the final video ourselves, though it has already aired several times in Japan.

Winslow and Ellie choosing pumpkins in the pumpkin field, following in Sylvie Ann’s footsteps. Only these small pumpkins are pie pumpkins, destined for the tea table rather than pumpkin moonshines.

Ellie's darling dress and apron were handmade by Nana Marjorie Tudor to recreate Sylvie Ann's dress in Pumpkin Moonshine. Of course, braids are topped  by blue satin ribbons as Ellie surveys the progress of the baking pumpkins.


Seth Tudor holds Tasha Tudor's Pumpkin Pie recipe. This is a real, old-fashioned style pie, made with real pumpkin grown in the garden, baked in the cast iron skillet, and mashed by hand. The eggs are from the family chickens, the pie crust rolled out on Tasha's well-used and well-loved marble-top baking cabinet.

A slice of the finished pie on Tasha's antique blue canton china.

What a sweet reward for an afternoon's work, a treasured tradition that combines the best of family farm life in Vermont: three generations meeting in a garden, then a kitchen, and finally, around a tea table as the sun begins to hide low in the mountains.

Reading Tasha Tudor's Pumpkin Moonshine is an equally treasured tradition beloved by generations.
Over Tasha's 70-year career, she wrote and illustrated nearly 100 books, all because of a small gift for her young niece. Sylvie Ann, we thank you for sharing your story with us. 

Natalie 
and 
Tasha Tudor and Family

Monday, September 30, 2013

Heirloom Apples for You at Scott Farm

{Naulahka, home of author Rudyard Kipling}

On a beautiful late September, blue-sky day, I wind my way up a road at the edge of town, beyond the pavement, to the dirt road lined with stone walls. Past abodes of famous writers, and retreats of those who find the Green Mountains the most inspiring place in all of the world. With views like this, how could we not agree with them? 

{Scott Farm}

My destination is Scott Farm, an heirloom apple orchard tucked behind Brattleboro in Dummerston, Vermont. The orchard, which was previously a dairy farm dating back to the 1700s, now offers its fertile lands to the antique apple varieties dating from the 1600s. Preserving these unique and rare varieities, rich in flavor, color, texture, and lore, is the life's work of the orchard keeper Zeke Goodband. 

{Zeke and Natalie}

With over 90 varieties nurtured by Zeke and his team, the Scott Farm is the largest heirloom apple producer in New England. When we press apple cider, Zeke is able to help us get exactly the right apples for our preferred taste combination of astringent, sour, and sweet to make a balanced cider. 
(If you are interested in making your own cider, we recommend this informational booklet to get started)


Zeke himself put together a half bushel box for us of mixed heirloom varieties, truly a tasty treat. We are excited to share these edible pieces of history with you during our fall tours. 


You can see the color just beginning to deepen on the trees. I felt like Tasha should be sitting in this rocker at the orchard, surveying the beauty and reflecting on the history. It feels like big shoes to fill, to see the world with as much beauty as she did. But every moment I practice, the better I get at seeing it.
Let's practice as much as we can during this beautiful Autumn season. 


Enjoy, 
Natalie