Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Linderhof and Stillmeadow

On a shelf in the sunroom is a collection of special books.    Ones that I've read hundreds of time and lovingly collected over the last 50 years.  

A very special shelf of books in the sunroom.

The Stillmeadow Books written by Gladys Taber.    I first "met" Mrs. Taber at my grandmother's.    For grandmother bought Family Circle magazine and inside was a column entitled, Butternut Wisdom.

I was in Junior High School and the magic of childhood Sundays at grandmother's palled when you reached 13.   But grandmother's Family Circle's helped relieve the boredom of Sunday afternoons.

I soon found that she had also written books and I checked those out of the library and eagerly read all of them.    Then slowly, one by one, I acquired a fair collection of Gladys Taber books.

I must admit that as a teen reading Butternut Wisdom, I yearned to grow up and live like Mrs. Taber -- on a farm in Connecticut with a bevy of dogs in an old house among antiques and earn my living by writing a monthly column for a magazine about my life on the farm with the dogs.

I also hoped that someday I could visit Mrs. Taber at Stillmeadow -- I dreamed of that day.    To actually visit Stillmeadow.

In October, my husband made that dream come true. . . 

Stillmeadow -- I gasped when I got my first glimpse.

For we ventured to Southbury, Connecticut and armed with Garmin and "hints" from her books, we were able to locate Jeremy

Swamp Road and we turned the corner . . . and there stood Stillmeadow.    Just like it was pictured in her books.

With autumn decor on the door indicating that someone still loves Stillmeadow.

The "front door" which really isn't but it does lead into the living room.    The picket fence kept the cockers (and Irish) in tow.

It was great to see the line drawings in the books transformed into reality.

The well house with the wisteria and a view of the kitchens.

I can imagine a picnic with the Irish and cockers underfoot.

The pond and summerhouse where Jill and Gladys would picnic in the summer!

Mrs. Taber's granddaughter uses the house on weekends (or so I was told)

Can't you just imagine that Gladys is at the door to welcome us to her beloved Stillmeadow?

A great meal for a cool fall or winter night -- and it smells heavenly while it bakes.

When we came home, I had to get out one of the Stillmeadow cookbooks and make a favorite recipe of both Mrs. Taber and myself.      Her pork chop and cabbage.    Sooo good when served with a baked potato to spoon the sauce over.

Stillmeadow Pork Chops and Cabbage

6 pork chops
1 large onion
1 head fresh cabbage
Seasoned salt, pepper and paprika

Brown the pork chops, using a little butter if necessary.    Slice the onion and add to the chops after you have turned them.   Now arrange them in a greased casserole with the onion slices around them.    Season well.    Slice the cabbage thinly with a sharp knife and pack it tightly over the chops, filling the casserole almost to the top (it will shrink).    Pour over enough milk to barely cover, add more seasoning.    Bake, covered, in a moderate (350) oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the chops are fork tender.     Serves 4 to 6.

Note:   Mrs. Taber always served this dish with baked potatoes so that you could spoon the sauce over them!

I can't tell you how much I appreciate Husband Jim.     Mrs. Taber isn't at Stillmeadow any more but it was a lifelong dream to go there and how sweet of a husband to make a childhood dream come true.

It's Wednesday and I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.


Many of my dreams have come true.   I do live in an old house, among antiques.    Although I don't live in the country, I do live in a small community.    I don't have a bevy of cockers but I do have a spoiled corgi and a dog has always been a part of my adult life.     I do write about life at Linderhof -- not only on a blog but in a weekly newspaper column (which may be better than a monthly magazine column).   
It is nice when childhood fantasy becomes reality.    I think that I am living the life of my childhood dreams.


Bookie said...

How delightful to read this post tonight! It has been a while since I have had a good re-read of Tabor, but I too have a big shelf of her books. Like you, I became acquainted with her through my grandmother and the Family Circle magazine. My mother in law also loved her works and I stocked her up with her own collection of used Tabors I found. Aren't they the most peaceful reading material?

Thank you for sharing your pictures. I am glad you found her place and could visit there for all of us!

Priscilla said...

Oh, I do remember Gladys Taber. My mother always bought Family Circle, and after I was married, I bought it, too. I began reading her columns early on and still love to read and re-read her books.
I've never had the pleasure of visiting Stillmeadow, but I'm glad to see it on your blog. How fortunate you are for having found it.
What a treasure she is.

Rebecca said...

I just got out Stillmeadow Daybook the other day to read the month of December chapter! How surprising and WONDERFUL to read this post.

I can only imagine how wonderful this trip must have been!

Pondside said...

Martha, even if you hadn't told us so beautifully, I'd have known, long ago, that you are living your dream. It comes out in every line your write, every photo you so lovingly compose and every description of the wonderful meals you prepare and enjoy.
I can imagine that your trip to Stillmeadow was the fulfillment of a long-time dream. What a sweet thing for your Jim to arrange.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I think you are living your dreams too! How wonderful, and I love this post and the way you share your love of her books and joy of seeing her home at last. I have heard so much about Gladys Tabor and Stillmeadow that I think I must give her books a try, if I can still find them anywhere.

Carol at Serendipity said...


I love those books and I love Tasha Tudor as well. Lovely reading and dreaming in this world we live in. I have lived some of this dream. I wrote a little cooking column for my local paper and edited a cookbook for a non-profit.

The pork chop recipe sounds wonderful. I shall file that away as I have with many that you share.


Mitzi said...

Just like you, I have collected and enjoyed Gladys Tabor books over the years. I too have a special shelf of her books. Have you read the Miss Read books? She is also a favorite of mine.Another shelf is dedicated to all of her books.
I really enjoy reading your blog and look forward to each new entry.
Merry Christmas from Hamilton, Michigan.

Martha said...

Mitzi -- I LOVE Miss Read books and have a whole shelf of them as well -- the first being brought home from England.

KB said...

I have some books I cannot part with too. Thanks for sharing. My OW is up too.

cj said...

Loved this post! When I had small children I would lose myself in my rare quiet time in Glady's books. I so wanted a cocker after this book that I brought one and our family loved her for 15 years. I now have a corgi named zoe and she is wonderful. Did you know that the governor of California has a corgi? Sutter Brown is his name (he is on facebook) and he is the first dog of California.

Canadian Chickadee said...

A wonderful post. Gladys Taber is a favourite of mine too. She's the writer I turn to in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. And the photos of her house are terrific. I'm just sorry it took me so long to find this post! :) xoxox