Tea Time Stories
We've had a lot of cold, rainy days this summer. It's been quite astonishing, really, in stark contrast to the heat of last summer. Then again we have had many beautiful days, sunny, 75 and perfectly pleasant. On days like this it's a shame to be inside, so we take reading outside, work outside, the children and animals outside. We take lemonade and watermelon and iced tea out on the porch. We tell stories outside, laugh, run, swim, pick berries.
A hot, humid, sunny, windless July day invariably brought an extra degree of happiness to Tasha, especially if she was gardening. By July the perfection of a June garden has mellowed into a green and pastel sprawl of perennials and annuals, some still in bloom but also preparing fruits and seeds.
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.
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.
Happy Birthday, Tasha Tudor!
By this time of year the garden has been weeded for the last time, cleared of dried stems and brown leaves, and compost spread upon the beds. The ground will soon be frozen, and the long shadows that shield the frost on the grass for much of the day, arrive late and depart early. In between it is dark, for winter is here.