Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

I was over at Tasha's house the other day with Winslow, who said, "I think the new roof looks rather cheerful." Winslow spent the end of summer and the beginning of fall adding new cedar shingles to his grandmother's house, a job that has taken him through summer's high ferns to autumn's bright foliage...and will continue for much longer as he makes his way around the whole house. He posted a stunning photo of the finished portion of the roof in his latest tea story on the website, too!

Beginning the project in August...still lots of green!

The new, finished portion of the roof is indeed looking rather cheerful against a blue November sky. You can clearly see the difference between the new shingles in the foreground and the old in the background.

There are many other cheerful things to be found in the late-November sunshine...

There is a threshold in Tasha's barn where the darkness meets the whiteness in a moment of intense sunlight. The light was so strong my camera couldn't quite handle the contrast! What an uplifting experience to walk from the dark, chilly side of the barn into the warm, bright side.

On the porch, I found the remnants of candle-dipping...a copper pot full of wax candle ends, to be melted and reused next year, and a box (made by Seth Tudor) filled with wax-tipped dipping sticks. 

In the Pantry, beeswax candles lie in a shaker box lid, ready to be our companions for the quiet, cold nights of writing and reading. 

There are a few beautiful yellow ware molds used for Thanksgiving cranberry sauce in the kitchen.The original recipe for the sauce is in Tasha Tudor's Cookbook. Jen Tudor shared some tips on making your cranberry sauce a special success this year. Here's what she had to say: 

"The Tudor family makes Tasha's cranberry sauce each and every year, sometimes not just for holidays! It's tried and true and tradition. However, I couldn't resist sharing some of these flavorful "additions" that you might add to the basic recipe.
- Use half chopped rhubarb and half cranberries.
- Add 3/4 cup honey instead of 1 cup sugar, 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger and a cinnamon stick
- Add 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary while simmering and 1 tblsp. balsamic vinegar at the end.
- Use orange juice instead of water and add the grated zest of one orange.
Enjoy and from my family to yours, have a peaceful and thankful holiday."
(more of Jennifer's Recipes here on our website)

Thanks for sharing, Jen!

As you head into the holiday (I'm sure many of you are busy in the kitchen already!), remember to take a moment and truly be thankful. What gifts of blessed beauty are within reach of grateful hearts...take hold of them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Weekly Planner New from Japan

These weekly and daily planners for 2012 are chock-full of wonderful Tasha charm! I can't wait to start using mine next year! A new calender and day planner are some of my favorite things about a new year, don't you agree?

Published in Japan, with some Japanese text, but mostly just plenty of room to write your appointments. Several full-page photos of Tasha (some you may not have seen before), and adorable illustrations on most pages reflect the seasons. In January, a kitten chases a ball of yarn! Two colored ribbon bookmarks will keep your place. You may wish to write in the days (Monday, Tuesday, etc.), though the weeks all start on Monday and the dates (1, 2, etc.) are printed for you. Sized 6.5 x 4.75 x .5 for the perfect purse or desk companion size.

We have a very limited number of these, so get yours before they sell out {and before it's 2012}!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Goat Milk Soaps

Our brand-new, handmade in Vermont goat milk soaps are in stock and ready to ship! The goats were the runaway best seller and sold out right away (two batches already!) so those won't ship for another 4 weeks.  And your rooster will be cream, instead of green (but coming soon in Peppermint scent!)

Have you seen the darling packaging? I think I'll need one of each (make that two of each--one of each to display and one to use. Actually, come to think of it, they'd make great gifts...)

{Daffodil in Lemongrass or Unscented}

 {Goat in Lavender So popular they sold out- our third batch won't ship for 4 more weeks}

{Hummingbird in Lavender}

{Rooster in Unscented & Coming Soon in Peppermint...but your soap will be cream-colored instead of green}

We love supporting small Vermont businesses like our soap producers. They are so wonderful! The box wraps were printed in North Adams, MA, and the boxes were made in Greenfield, MA. Packed right here in Vermont! A product you can be pleased to support. And they're so pretty, too! At the Rookery we have one displayed in a beautiful blue willow soap dish. If you don't have an antique soap dish, or a pretty blue willow or lusterware saucer to use, perhaps pick one up from a local potter. Or try a reproduction yellow-ware soap dish, like this one from East Knoll Pottery:

No matter how you display them, they are beautiful, moisturizing, local, and so reminiscent of the wonderful things we love about Tasha: nature, animals, goats, sweet scents, and handmade gifts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Frost is on the Punkin'

Newfane Heritage Festival 2011

A classic poem for this beautiful time of year....

WHEN the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossoms on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover overhead!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.
Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the cellar-floor in red and yaller heaps;
And your cider-makin's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With theyr mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and sausage too!...
I don't know how to tell it—but ef such a thing could be
As the angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me—
I'd want to 'commodate 'em—all the whole-indurin' flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock
~James Whitcomb Riley, American Poet, 1849-1916

Things are coming to a close for our busy foliage season and heading into the (dare I say it?) holiday season. Foliage did manage to be beautiful this year, despite its late appearance due to the wet weather. Coumbus Day weekend brought picture-perfect days of sunshine and warmth (80 degress in October in Vermont!) for the Newfane Heritage Festival. We loved seeing all of the wonderful folks who came out to support the talented handmade vendors and to stop by our booth. Even the Boston Children's Theatre Showchoir joined us again...

We love to see these talented young singers perform (and the large crowd does, too!). Thank you to Toby, Burgess, David, Austin, and all of the BCT Show Choir team & performers. Wonderful job!
Until next year, dear Newfane!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fans & Friends

It is such a pleasure for us to share Tasha Tudor with all of you. We love hearing from you, and we especially love it when you send us pictures! These are some of YOUR wonderful photos and moments inspired by Tasha!

Two dear fans were inspired by the Mary Jane's Farm magazine article, and the recent post on our well-loved wellies. Oh how I just love that they went right out and purchased their very own! 

 Christie, who blogs at Grammy's House blog, and lives a beautiful life in her Storybook Cottage, had to have the wellies in her trademark purple! She sent me photographs of her wellies matching her irises, hydrangeas, and violets. It was hard to choose just one!

Patti chose brown, like mine. I love the outline of red around the logo, and how she matched it with the red in this photograph. So pretty! And do I spy a chicken in the corner? Patti brought these wellies with her on one of our Secret Garden Tours this summer.

Floating Birthday Cakes! We just LOVE floating birthday cakes! Look at this special celebration that Nancy sent over:

Linnie at the Butt'ry and Book'ry blog completely refashioned an old laundry room in her home back into the Butt'ry (she even found an old potato bin built in!). Her restoration looks great, don't you think? There are so many wonderful pictures to peruse on her blog, here

{That green is so "Tudor", Linnie!}

Michelle from England sent me this picture of adorable bags she made for her twin daughters for Easter. They are just darling!

Reading Material:
"An Historical Lady" and her dear husband popped by the opening weekend of the brand new exhibit "Tea with Tasha" at the Tasha Tudor Museum. She shares the story on her blog! Click here to read and view the pictures on her wonderful, wonderful blog.  {they were even featured in our local newspaper!}

Fan Elizabeth sent in this article she wrote about Tasha for the Rare Books Digest:  

Treasures illustrated by Tasha Tudor

We were  also mentioned on the pocket.change website's "Best of the Web" roundup. View it here.

Please continue to share pictures with us at fromtherookery (at) gmail (dot) com. I would love to make this a regular feature. It is so wonderful to be sharing inspiration!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Checking In After Irene

Hello everyone! So many of you have been so kind, wondering how all of us are doing after Irene devastated Vermont. From what I know, We are all safe & sound though many of our "crew" are stranded in towns cut off from roads. I am thankful and blessed to be safe. Everyone is checking in, and seems to be fine (though stranded). There has been much damage to our entire state infrastructure, and it will take quite some time before things are back to normal. It is so, so incredibly sad to be seeing the news of our beloved state completely ravaged. It has been breaking my heart, especially of our covered bridges being swallowed by the swollen rives. I don't think I've ever seen so many roads just disappear. It is overwhelming. 

 We would appreciate your prayers and thoughts for the coming weeks. 

There is no power at the Rookery (and I can't get there anyhow), so our offices are closed until further notice. We WILL be checking emails. 

Thank you all so much. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why Twitter?

Photo copyright Richard Brown, page 103 The Private World of Tasha Tudor

Tasha kept record of inspiring quotations, thoughts, occasions, and quick sketches to save for later. She marked the arrivals of spring, corgis, goat kids, grandchildren, and record temperatures. The wall is marked with favorite greenhouses, phone numbers, and birthdays. Firsts of every kind, from the first iced tea on the porch to the first snow of winter. Sounds rather like our Twitter posts!

Over the past several months, some of you may have noticed the Twitter sidebar with short little comments over on the right-hand side of the blog. Twitter is one of those new-fangled "social media" websites that allows you 140 characters to type a "status" of sorts....a miniature blog post, a quotation, a link to a website, a link to a photo, or to leave a comment for someone else by using the @ sign. The message is then called a tweet.You can read more about what Twitter is and how it works here. It all seems rather computer-y and modern, and you may be thinking, "Tasha Tudor? Twitter? Wait a minute!"

Aside from being a great way to keep in touch with you for the smaller happenings at the Rookery (such as quotations from Winslow or comments from customers) that don't necessarily need a whole blog post, it's actually a rather Tasha Tudor-ish way to communicate. Remember all of those notes Tasha kept on the door frames and walls? I think she actually invented Twitter!

Twitter means the "chatter of birds" and I think Tasha would actually quite like that thought. The chatter of her friends, tweeting about the pretty little happenings in life....marking firsts, sharing quotations, noting arrivals. It rather sounds like fun, don't you think?

We like to think of the Rookery Ramblings twitter (@TashaTudor) as the door frame notes that we can share with all of you. You don't need to be a member of Twitter to read our posts; you can see them on the right-hand side, or click through here to the full Twitter page to read the archives. But we'd love to have a bit more "chatter of the birds" to start a conversation on Twitter!  If you are interested in following us on Twitter, here's a great resource to get you started. Then, you can interact with our posts, and post your own tidbits. We can't wait to see what you have to say in 140 characters!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sweet Peas

Ahhh, sweet peas. My favorite fragrant fairies of summer! Tasha loved sweet peas, of course. She is shown collecting a bouquet of them on the cover of Tasha Tudor's Garden, and she spills her sweet pea secrets on pages 123-124. Click here to order Tasha Tudor's Garden.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Keeping Woodenware in Prime Condition

So many of the good things in life take some extra care. A garden, a special meal, tea time...they all take a bit of extra time and attention out of your day. But if you do them, and do them with a bit of extra love as well, you will be greatly rewarded. The same goes for woodenware--it is a workhorse in the kitchen, constantly at the ready to do battle with thick stews, or to carefully coax beaten egg whites into a batter. But if we take a bit of extra time to take extra care with the woodenware, it shines so beautifully! A well-oiled, well-seasoned wooden spoon feels so nice in the hand, and keeping your woodenware in prime condition will help it last for decades.

Tools for the job: A food-safe wood oil, a Scotch Brite heavy duty scour pad {or wet/dry sandpaper}, two soft rags, a shady spot outside under the tree, and some time.

Step One: Wash the woodenware thoroughly, scrubbing with a heavy-duty Scotch Brite pad, or a piece of wet/dry sandpaper. But do not let it soak, and do not use bleach. Be kind!

Step Two: Let the woodenware dry thoroughly.

Step Three: Pour a small amount of oil onto the soft cloth, and buff the oil into the woodenware. Use a bit of elbow grease! Let it sit for approximately 10 minutes. Then, using another clean rag, wipe off any excess oil. Your woodenware should gleam now!

Most of my woodenware collection is what we sell on the website. I just love it! Have you tried our woodenware? It's made by a small family producer, Whetstone Woodenware, and they do such a beautiful job. All of their tools are really useful, feel well in the hand, and are made of sturdy maple grown within miles of their workshop.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Secret Garden Tours

We had lovely weather this year for our June Secret Gardens of Tasha Tudor and Family Tours. We welcome this weekend each year with great anticipation, looking forward to new friends, old friends, invigorating conversation, and delicious Stillwater Punch from Tasha's cookbook. Everyone gathers from afar, bringing with them the stories that drew them to Tasha. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the weekend...

Ellie Tudor lead the way in Amy & Winslow's garden, showing her name tag (she begged for one when everyone else was wearing one!) and demonstrating watering with Great Granny Tasha's favorite style watering can.

Ellie also wanted to help her "Nana", Marjorie, on the Marjorie's marionette stage!

A stop at Seth Tudor's outdoor woodworking area provided little guest Konatsu the perfect opportunity to pick a dandelion for her mom!

Seth Tudor showed the candle-making display in Tasha Tudor's barn. Everyone enjoyed the brand-new tour of a portion of Tasha's home and barn this year. It was truly a special treat--the first time we've ever opened Tasha's home!

After quite a bit of walking through the family paths through the woods, our guests were treated to a lovely spread from Tasha's cookbook! I look forward to this spread all year! Notice the cookbook in the Seth Tudor art stand in the middle of the table? A bit of Stillwater Punch happened to find its way across the page! Of course we only send out the most beautiful copies for orders, so we'll be giving this otherwise perfect copy away in a future giveaway. Stay tuned for more details!

We hope you'll join us in 2012~ !

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rhubarb Pie

I noticed the farmer's market this weekend still had rhubarb available, and an overabundance of beautiful strawberries. They were just calling to me! 
Tasha Tudor was quite fond of her rhubarb plants, being sure to scoop them up and transport them from garden to garden. There are several plants in the gardens today. According to Winslow, she preferred the tender, young stalks for pies, and made hers open-crusted and quite unlike anything Winslow has tasted since. In fact, he stated with much conviction that it was the only rhubarb pie he ever liked. Unfortunately, he told me this after my pie was already made. Not to mention, that's quite a standard to live up to! I decided I'd better eat my entire pie myself and not let him judge it against Tasha's! Most especially since it was double-crusted, included strawberries, and {horror of horrors} was in a foil pie plate. Both of my beloved pie plates were left at friends' homes, so a dig to the very back of the cupboards revealed a foil tin that would simply have to do.

{this is our Early American Sauce Spoon. I love mine!}

And after an egg wash, a sprinkle of sugar, and a good bake in the oven...

And then it was gone in a day and a breakfast. 
{because everyone knows cold rhubarb pie is the best for breakfast}

Receipt from Organic and Chic, with King Arthur Flour's Gluten-Free flour crust receipt. If you are looking for a gluten-free pie crust recipe, I highly recommend this one. It rolled beautifully, and was even flaky after baking!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Things We Like: Hunter Wellies

 {Tasha Tudor's Wellies}

We have finally encountered a day of sunshine here in Vermont! Like many of you, we've been swinging from 90-degree weather to 50-degree weather, complete with April or October-like deluges. Our trusty wellies have been given an unseasonable workout!

 {Welly owners left to right: Josie, Ellie, Sophie, Jenna, Amy, Natalie, Christina, Tasha}

We all love our wellies here, from tiny baby Josie's first pair, to Tasha Tudor's cracked and worn pair. The majority of ours are Hunter Wellies. The company has been making fine wellies since 1856, and even the Queen approves. We bet her corgis love running alongside hers as well!

We're hoping they'll get to dry out a little bit soon. If you're inside from the rain, you can shop Hunter wellies here. They come in so many colors...Christie over at Grammy's House blog got a pair in Orchid after asking me what kind mine were. You can see hers here, in her sweet post.

In the meantime, things are drying out for a bit today between rainstorms, and we've got gardening to do!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First Tea on the Porch

 {Seth Tudor carries the picnic basket to the tea table on the back porch for the first tea of the year on June 7, 2011. Update 6/15: This basket belongs to Marjorie Tudor and is one of her favorites due to the beautifully carved handle.)

Tuesday brought our first official afternoon tea (lemonade) on Granny's porch! We were all so excited! This tradition is full of happy memories, and this occasion was no exception. Marjorie brought out our favorite picnic basket and juiced all of the lemons, Amy and Ellie picked some mint, and Seth carried the basket of goodies through the garden to the porch.

{a jar of simple syrup waits to be stirred into the lemonade}

 {Ellie plays in Tasha's garden while we set up tea}

The spread looked so delicious that little Ellie could hardly wait...

{so adorable!}

We made Tasha's receipts for blueberry muffins (adapted to be gluten-free) and homemade lemonade. Both recipes are in Tasha Tudor's Cookbook, available here. The tempting combination of cinnamon, sugar, and blueberries made Seth proclaim, "These are very good!" Of course, I told him it was his mother's receipt :-)

As usual, tea time is a time to share the stories of the day....the triumphs and foibles. Conversation centered on the new trellis Seth built to replace the old one on the middle terrace, and how poor Marjorie had stubbed her toe in the garden.

Winslow took in the conversation while eating two (three?) muffins. "If they're there for the eating..." he said when I handed him the second or third. Indeed, they were. And we all looked out over the garden, content and reluctant to leave, as the 4 o'clock sun decided it might offer us a bit of shade for the rest of the afternoon.