I’ve always loved the art of Tasha Tudor. Before I was born, my mom bought me A Time to Keep, and many of Tasha’s books were among our favorite childhood read-alouds. Her illustrations draw you into another world.
That’s not to romanticize Tasha or her way of life. She herself said, “The past wasn’t as romantic as people seem to think. There were many hardships, especially for women.” She also said, “People have a rose-colored lens when they look at me. They don’t realize I’m human. They don’t see the real me. As Mark Twain said, we are like the moon, we all have our dark side that we never show to anybody.”
I grew up on a farm—not quite as primitive as Tasha’s, but moving in that direction—and there was bad along with the good. I experienced 5AM births of wide-eyed fuzzy calves, drank milk fresh from the cow, gathered warm brown eggs from beneath hens, and picked produce from our huge garden. Many nights we sat down for our family supper and everything on the table came from our farm. But…Animals die. Drought kills crops, gardens, and flowers. Accidents happen with equipment. And probably the biggest negative, animals can come between the farmer and human relationships, for if there’s no responsible stand-in, their daily care keeps him from travel or spending much time away, even evening engagements. They always come first.
So that’s a consideration for those longing for this kind of life. It’s the main reason I haven’t pursued it for myself. For me, people need to come first. Unless it’s an issue of life and death, I never want to have to choose between spending time with the people I love and caring for an animal. Maybe one day I will find a way to strike some sort of balance, but for now a lifestyle is not worth the sacrifices I’d have to make in my relationships.
Still, Tasha’s life and her work are a sort of rustic fairy tale, an escape from the rigors of daily life to a state of charming pastoral perfection. I adore her books. They inspire me to pursue my passions, embrace femininity, spend time doing things with my children.
I didn’t have time to post on Tasha Tudor Day, but I did steal a few moments in the midst of a busy weekend to page through The PrivateWorld of Tasha Tudor. Over the next day or so I hope to read some of Tasha’s books with my children.