The Tasha Tudor tradition of pampering beloved pets continues. A stone’s throw from Tasha’s house, her grandson Winslow lives with his wife Amy, two children Ellie and Katie, three dogs, three fish, and fifty-two chickens. Being much too delicate to live outside, two special chickens have taken up residence in a room just off the kitchen: Dove, a Japanese bantam, and Cami, a Porcelain d’Uccle.
House Bantams - Dove and Cami
Cami (short for Chamomile) can be very picky and will eat only freshly poured cracked corn. If it's from yesterday or otherwise not to her liking, she will jump in her water dish and get the floor wet until the situation is remedied. Dove will sit on her custom-made black birch perch all day if not interrupted, so she, like Cami, must be encouraged to take her daily exercise.
Cami, a Porcelain d’Uccle bantam considers her flight path.
Cami lives in the previous home of Tasha Tudor’s special house rooster Chickahominy. This cage was handmade by Tasha's son, Seth Tudor. Once Cami's door is opened she will stretch her neck out and goggle her eyes, not making any attempt to get out. The children walk into the kitchen to wait. And wait. And wait.
Once Dove’s cage door is opened, she will spend some time considering how to jump out. She is afraid of heights and will pace nervously behind the wire threshold of her dog-kennel cage, still unsure. Cami, well, Cami is still sitting on her perch goggling her eyes at the cage door. One of the children will set Cami on the threshold of her door and wait some more.
After some time of stretching her head around and considering flight patterns, Cami launches into the air, turns surprisingly well in the tight space just next to her cage, flies into the kitchen, almost crashes into the stove, circles the room flapping frantically, and lands fifteen feet away by the pantry. She then looks around quite shocked at what she has just done. Dove, not wanting to be outdone, flies out of her cage and lands triumphantly on the floor two feet below.
“Sorry Dove, you just can’t outdo Cami,” the children tell her apologetically.
Dove looks around the kitchen and spots the house plants. She makes a beeline for the pot of geraniums. Cami is still standing where she landed, still quite shocked.
Cami and Dove enjoy end-of-the-season mizuna from the garden.
Paddy, the 10-month-old corgi puppy finds the bantams frightening and takes refuge under Molly.
Once out, ‘the banties’ as they are often called, will enjoy greens from the refrigerator, rushing to the door whenever it is opened. They will sample leftovers, perhaps waffles from breakfast or pasta from lunch. On a sunny day, they luxuriate on towel-draped pillows placed in the sunlight especially for them.
Cami thinks about things while standing on her pillow in the sun
Dove reclines in the sunshine.
Taking special care of pampered pets isn’t the only tradition handed down from Tasha. In books like Edgar Allen Crow and Thistly B, Tasha immortalized family pets in her stories. Great-granddaughter Ellie Tudor has just released her fifth story, The Turquoise Twins which features Dove, Dove's chick Shadow, and Goat, Dove’s sister who in real life has since passed away. Cami has yet to join the story flock, but she undoubtedly will soon enough.
The Turquoise Twins
In Ellie's new story, the fairy twins, Turquoise and Pink, are left with a babysitter and things go awry. Because when Turquoise is around, there is bound to be trouble. This delightful sequel to Fairy and the Three Colored House features Fairy’s twin daughters, now toddlers, who make a lot of trouble. To find out more about Dove’s chick Shadow (she is actually quite interesting) look at the back of the book where a short account of her life is written.
Above: Shadow, Goat, and Dove in one of the fifteen drawings in Ellie's newest book, The Turquoise Twins.
Dove sits on Katie's lap.
Paddy finds safety, first on, and then near, Ellie's lap before taking a restorative nap.