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 

31 comments:

  1. This reminds me of how Tasha would keep dead animals in her freezer and take them out to draw....so I decided to keep a dead bird in our freezer one year in case I was inspired to draw a bird. Well, my college-age son brought home a friend one day and guess what they came across! To be sure, the guest's reaction was pretty funny. I think my son just thought, "That's Mom."

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  2. Absolutely LOVE these pictures and the stories that go with them. Thank you, Winslow!!! Joyce

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  3. Lovely pix! So fun to see Tasha's world wrapped in white. It's warm and just wet here in Oregon...no snow for us.

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  4. Wonderful post! Absolutely wonderful Winslow.

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  5. Nice photos. Lots of snow there.

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  6. Thank you so much for this wonderful reminder of why I should look forward to snow and not ever dread it. To read of Tasha's life, a woman I have long admired, makes me try to be more greatful for the little moments and peace and solitude of life to be greatful for.

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  7. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this ~ warmed my heart in WI :0)

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  8. Ra


    Tasha seems to have had a very long enjoyable life. Living the way she wanted an even thought
    it was a lot of work, it didn't make a difference she was very happy with her life and, doing all the things she loved to do. She was a very special women that loved life.


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  9. Thanks so much for this sharing you must miss her so.Hope you enjoy firers with your family during our deep wintertime

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  10. Oh, to be as contented as Tasha....thank you for sharing this cosy story with us Winslow!

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  11. Thank you Winslow for the beautiful pictures and words. I have always been one who loves getting snowed in. There is something comforting about being in ones warm home with good food to eat, tea to drink, pets to love and family to enjoy while outside nature blankets us in snow.
    I love your stories and always look forward to reading them. Stay warm!!!!!!! Pam Lakits

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  12. Thankyou for these warm memorys about Tasha Tudor. It gave me hope and peace an evening in Stockholm, Sweden.

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  13. I absolutely LOVE these stories..... I wish you would publish them in paperback (more affordable) and use some of Tashas paintings or photos, like in this story...Tasha was soooooo inspiring....Thanks for sharing..... Candy

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  14. I really enjoy these tea stories by Winslow. And it seems it's been a while since he's written one. This one is nice. I like the mood and the tone of the picture it brings to my mind. Thank you, Winslow.

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  15. Wonderful story.

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  16. Dear Winslow,
    This was a lovely comforting story, how I Love the winter and snow here in Western NY. (I live on an old farm with Nubian goats an old sheep and Llama next to nothing but apple orchards around me) Tasha's lifestyle is a wonderful example of how to slow down the pace and enjoy...."Take Joy" I should say!
    Many warm Blessings to you and your Dear Family, Linnie

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  17. Thanks Winslow, such lovely memories of your Granny, Tasha, in words and pictures. I enjoyed it immensely and her life is always an inspiration.
    In Joy

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  18. So wonderful to read your stories of Tasha's love of winter! I to love all that winter brings. I so appreciate your stories Winslow and fondly remember the day I met you at the St.Nicholas Tea Gathering several years ago. It's on a winters day just like today I turn to your story to read it over and over, it brings comfort and joy. Thank you so much, I continue to look forward to each story and all the photos you share!
    Joanna

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  19. Thank you, thank you for the news letter. I feel like I am there with you all. I am there with you in spirit for sure. The pictures are precious to my eyes and I drink in the stories that go with the pictures. Shirley Dallas,Texas January 19, 2014 The Lord's Day Isaiah 40:31

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  20. What a warm winter welcome your tea story brings! The photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing about Tasha's life. We love to learn of the everyday life that Tasha led as it touches our lives in many ways!

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  21. Just beautiful! How I miss these regular stories and photos! Thank you for posting!

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  22. Thank you, Winslow. Your stories and pictures would make a wonderful book.

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  23. Lovely Winslow! Enjoyed both the stories of Tasha ' life and all of the beautiful pictures of her home and animals in the snow. We don't see much of that living in Florida! Any chance that you have a book of these articles and pictures (those written in the past) Would lovea collection of them. One day I dream of visiting her garden. Thank you!

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  24. How I would like to have met Tasha! She is a great example to me.Thank you very much for sharing these beautiful photos and this little story. Please go ahead with their publications. I hope them always.A hug.Mª Carmen Duque.

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  25. How I would like to have met Tasha! She is a great example to me.Thank you very much for sharing these beautiful photos and this little story. Please go ahead with their publications. I hope them always.A hug.Mª Carmen Duque.

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  26. Questo blog è una favola!Mi fa vivere in un mondo che vorrei!Rosetta

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  27. Catherine Brasset LaurentJanuary 15, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    From the day i heard of Tasha Tudor in a Victoria magazine in the 90's she became my Hero , she still is !
    I just realized that she was born on the date i came to the USA from France (in 68 ) !
    Thank you for sharing her Life and Memory . Catherine .

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