The Book of Stillmeadow


After supper last night I went out under the apple trees to look at the moon. It was one of those hours I have when the world is so lovely I can hardly bear it. All the rich and beautiful things there are come home to my heart at once.” – Gladys Taber

Fall is really showing up now. Every day I look out the window and see another branch that has been partially dipped in gold paint. This year, I notice that the changes in color do not happen all at once, but in patches. I see leaves that are half-orange and half-green as if they can’t quite make up their mind. Entire trees are fractured right down the center – one side butter yellow, the other summer’s green.

It is still so hot out, but somehow autumn knows to change the color of the leaves anyway.

I’ve been going to the library and grabbing great arm fulls of books. I grew stagnant this summer, and realized I was not taking in nearly enough inspiration to keep the well primed. Now, I’m making it a regular habit to have a big stack to choose from. When my hand is cramping from drawing, I take a break and read a page or five, and then find I can go on with my day. It feels healthier than taking an internet break, even though both can sneak minutes out of my pocket – more than I care to count.


In the library, in addition to some books on not procrastinating, I checked out The Book Of Stillmeadow by Gladys Taber. Do you know her? Susan Branch has a great write-up about Gladys Taber here which is where I learned about her, too.

I spent the better part of the weekend completely immersed in her life on a Connecticut farm in the 1930′s and 40′s. In some ways, I think she is the godmother of all bloggers – writing about cooking and gardening and puppies and the weather in a way which I cannot describe. All I know is that I find myself alternately tearing up and laughing and trying to read sections aloud to my husband.

“She’s writing about painting Adirondack chairs, now. You really should hear this part!”

He is about as thrilled with this as you would expect.


I think, in the end, it is the quality of her writing that catches me by surprise and wakes me up. She writes with such precision and beauty about canning green beans or hanging the laundry out to dry. Not that these chores go smoothly all the time. She has a dry wit and tells the truth.

But even when she is being funny or facetious, she seems to be saying that these things are very important. Taking care of our homes and the creatures in them – these things are worth our very best thoughts, our very best words.

I know many of us struggle with significance and comparisons.  It is good to be reminded that our every day routines are important and can be done with great love. Not just in a sacrificial, begrudging sort of way, but keenly aware that there are hidden happinesses there for us, too.

As Gladys says, “The real things go on.”


Anyway, I’ll stop here now. I could go on like this all day.

I know some of you may be giving me the same look my husband did. That’s ok. Sometimes, chores are just plain hard – especially when the days are so full. I think most of us are behind on something. And I’ve never canned a green bean in my life, so what do I know anyway?

But if you’ve read the Stillmeadow books and loved them, tell me! Do you have a favorite? Does this sound like something you might fall for, too?

Filed under House & Home, Inspiration. Tagged with , , , .

4 Responses

Comments are now closed.

  1. Thank you for this good inspiration for home care. I just determined tonight that I am going to straighten up my bedroom from top to bottom tomorrow & over the weekend. I’m going to weed out, deep clean and change up all the art and decor. Now I have a little extra encouragement and I hope it will be enjoyable and feel good.

  2. Susan said

    I am so happy you have discovered Gladys Taber and enjoy her writing! You may want to join our Friends group of almost 600 members — Susan Branch is a member and directions for joining us are on her website.

  3. Susan Jonsson said

    I may have found a kindred spirit…..I just reserved 3 of her books at my library…..Something tells me I am going to love them….and need my own copies. Thanks so much for sharing…..


  4. Love these lines, Kelly: “It is good to be reminded that our every day routines are important and can be done with great love. Not just in a sacrificial, begrudging sort of way, but keenly aware that there are hidden happinesses there for us, too.” I am off to check out The Book of Stillmeadow. The title alone has me!