Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Birth-Date August 28th Tasha Tudor

Remembering the life of Tasha Tudor with Tea Time

I have been fortunate enough to have visited the Tasha Tudor home two times.  Each visit was a wish come true. 

The first time, we made the trip, we didn't get to go inside her home, but no matter, just being there was a wish come true. Sadly, though, I didn't get to see Tasha  Tudor on my first tour, nor my second. She had passed away before  I could make arrangements to schedule a garden tour. 

On our second tour, we were blessed to be able  to go inside  her home.  Inside, it is  just as you see  in her  paintings. Seeing her small painting table (left just as if she had walked away for a cup of tea) was worth the price of admission. The family, you know,  does us a wonderful favor in keeping her place "alive" and open for all of us fans to visit. The money for admission helps with the upkeep of her home.  

Because I love her work and the Corgi dogs, my husband saw my love for them and blessed me with my first Corgi on  a surprise road trip with grandchildren in tow eight years ago.  We named our first   Howard Lee Blue. We went on to raise many litters of Corgis since then, giving many families the "gift of Corgi."  Howard  and his mate are now enjoying their retirement   on the  farm, enjoying our front porch ramblings here at Cherry Ridge.

Just the other day, my seven year old granddaughter  gave our two Corgis a much needed  bath. It delighted me  to no end when she said, "I used the tub in the Tasha Tudor bathroom."  For those who follow me, you know I did a total bathroom makeover using fabric, prints  and photos from Tasha's world. It's my daily dose of inspiration! 

A Corgi Puppy 

So Here's the Thing...If you love Tasha, her life  and her picture books, give yourself the best gift of all––visit Boston, go to the ocean and drive to Marlboro, Vermont  to take a tour. (Tickets usually go on sale in February and sell out quickly.) You will thoroughly enjoy it, but should  you want to go and not find a way to make it happen, then you  will regret living your whole life, never fulfill your dream of doing so. 

Thank you for the gift of Tasha Tudor.  May we all aspire to follow our dreams like Tasha did. 

Visit their newly renovated website for Tasha Tudor

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Living in the Moment

Have you ever ridden a cow?  I thought I might have been the only kid to give it a try until I saw a video of a girl riding a cow like I used to do when I was a kid. I watched the short Facebook video a time or two. This girl had perfected a childhood game of ours and it stirred up many memories of days gone by.

 I loved our new home on the farm and especially the animals and nature. I still do.     I remember I much more preferred the white-faced Hereford cows to the Holstein.  There’s something about those all white faces with big blue eyes and their remarkably, long eyelashes that I adore. Still do.  We visited our small herd daily. Often times we would greet each other by   touching noses and inhaling and exhaling, as they paused a moment from grazing or chewing their cud.  

 One day, seeking entertainment we found it in the cow pasture.   My older sister Debbie and I decided to try and ride a cow. We didn’t have a pony any more; she was too ornery, so why not ride a cow.    "You go first," I told her. "No you first," she insisted.   She was a bit scared to go first not knowing what might happen.  I could tell, so me being a tad more daring than her, decided to give it a go, after all, I fell off that trickster, Shetland pony of ours many times when she would run off with me then throw her head down and put on her brakes at Mom’s garbage burn pile (no Rumpke back then) and over the top I flew. So I said I’d do it.  

 Debbie helped me up by creating a stirrup with her hands. I don’t know how she knew all these cool tricks.  It was a whole lot higher up than on our pony. But the cows didn’t mind much at all once they knew what we were trying to do and that we weren’t giving up getting on top. They didn’t mind me kicking to go either, because they wouldn’t go.  We tried several others but they, like the first one, all just contentedly continued grazing.  A step here or there which was a little scary sine there wasn’t anything to hold on to like our pony’s mane. “Well, this is boring,” I told sister. We had one left to try, but she was huge with calf and being kids we felt that we shouldn’t try her.   

Then we talked it over and decided to try Big Red anyway since we were small little girls.   She moved more than the other as I struggled to get up that high.  Then she walked off without a nudge. Stopped to graze.   Then her steps became fast, and when she looked back at me, seeming a bit agitated with me for still being on her, she began trotting a little, I was all smiles, until her trot got faster and her head swung around in a mad circle.    I decided right then and there that I’d had enough fun for the afternoon and I slid off before I got bucked off like in the rodeo. “Wow, did you see that? She was about to buck me off,” I shared my wisdom of getting off before that happened. What would we tell Mom if I came in with a broken arm?   

As we tried to head for the house, more fun was created when the cows kept following us around like we were their leader.  When we would run ahead, they would run too. When we stopped, they would stop and graze some more. Our herd was very friendly and curious. It really was quite fun.  Who needed toys? In fact we had few toys. A bike and a baby doll. We didn’t need toys to entertain us.   We had the best fun that warm afternoon in the pasture field of our youth with a herd of cows. Only a few weeks later, sure enough, Big Red gave birth to a darling baby calf with a snow-white face and big blue eyes and long curly eyelashes.

In the girl’s video clip I mentioned, she actually used a saddle, a halter bridle and has a jump set up. Sure enough, she trotted that cow toward the jump and would you believe, it jumped it. Wow! Why didn’t we think of that?  Probably, because we didn’t have a saddle or a girth large enough to fasten to one of them, other wise, we probably would have.
Living in the moment, like a curious kid, and sucking up all the details with no distractions, are the best moments, equaling the best days of our lives.  Pause soon and suck up one of those "living in the moment, moments." If you decide your moment is to try and ride a cow, do share the moment with me.  Lol.

Thanks Lisa Estep for the lovely photos of your grandparents cattle.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Dance With Nature on the Farm

What a wonderful week we’ve had at the farm. We invite  school kids  for field trips to the farm to experience nature. Yep, you heard me right “experience nature.” It never ceases to amaze me the excitement I witness through kids’ eyes that I hope as adults you have not lost your luster for.  And I revisit my youth in doing so.

For example, in the garden station that I teach, kids would most likely be content to stand at the chicken pen and watch them most all day. Even if they have chickens of their own, they love it.  They ask all kinds of questions and marvel at my birds and tell me about their birds at home or at Grandma’s house. “What color eggs do they lay,” one student asked. “Brown ones. The best kind.” He nodded.

Planting a flower seed. 

Nice Boots Teacher

A little drink for the seed. 

At my station, they like to march right up close and personal to the raspberry bushes I describe in detail and look deep into the small white flower that will become the red, plump raspberry we’ll plop in our mouth in July and they are excited and wish for some now.  Then when they detect the bloom has already turned into a green berry, they are even more excited to point it out to me.  And of recent, the bees are appearing doing the work of the bee on the raspberry plant and they see first hand what they do. “Look, lady, there’s a bee.”  They have read about it, seen a picture, but now they see.  I marvel at the parent or chaperone that walk up closely and see through their child’s eyes and be a  kid again and marvel at the well-orchestrated plan in place in the garden. 

We make our way around the garden, letting nature be our guide. No one knows who ate my cabbage plants or who Beatrix Potter or Mr. McGregor is until I mention Peter Rabbit. Then they remember and see first hand why Mr. McGregor was miffed of Peter’s visit to the garden.

Boots of all colors.

We move on to do a math problem using tomato plants. “ We have three rows with four tomato plants in each row, how many tomato plants in all?” Quickly my little mathematician shouts out before all others, “Twelve.”  And the smile on his face reaches from ear to ear.

 Next we feed from the marshmallow plant.  They are totally excited to see marshmallows hanging from the plants velvety branches.  “ Hey, I see your bag of marshmallows,” a student is quick to point out the bag I have stashed amongst the plants.  I’ve stuck marshmallows on with clothespins. They learn marshmallows are not picked but made from the plant’s pulverized root and added sugar then formed.   Of course we now provide marshmallow samples for the kids to eat and they like it better than the asparagus they’ve tried in the past.

A wonderful surprise to find. Kids loved it. 
And best of all, like I remember as a kid on the farm, we love it when Nature plants its wonderment in the garden unexpectedly.   A Robin flies from her nest amongst the blackberry bushes. A parent notices.  A child is held up high to peer inside to marvel at the find. It’s just a bird's nest you might be thinking. Yes, indeed it is, but not just any nest. Who taught her how and when?   Inside are four baby-blue eggs in the most perfectly formed comfy nest attached to the vine you could imagine. Of course I veer off course of my standard garden tour to incorporate our find in their learning and wonderment. The kids are so excited over bird eggs because they know  tucked inside is a life.    Aren’t we all fascinated with Nature as kids?  Do we get old because we stop playing or do we stop playing and get old?  
Oh, no. His mom's battery died. No worries. We got a good shot for her. 

 We’ve had some great finds this week.  You can bet, we’ll be keeping an eye on the Robin’s nest and share on Cherry Ridge Farm’s Facebook page when they hatch out. We’ve been posting pictures all week that you probably can relate the days of your youth to.    But for now, like Mr. McGregor I’ve got to find a way to put a stop to that darn Peter Rabbit  before he eats all my vegetable plants. By day’s end we have all done a dance with Nature amongst the great outdoors.  
The baby Robins hatched out the next week. 

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Cherry Ridge Farms 
Take Joy! A Farmhouse Journal

Sherry Phillips Mitchell


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