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May Day was first celebrated as a pagan festival honoring Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers. It marked the change between winter and summer, falling exactly a half year from November 1st. When I was a young girl I would make a paper basket, fill it with flowers and leave it on my neighbor's door. After ringing the bell I would run home to wait for the call telling me how surprised and delighted they were to find the gift. On May 13th we take time to honor Mothers. The origins of Mother's Day go back to the goddess Isis who was celebrated as the mother of the pharaohs. Fast forward to 1870's when Julia Ward Howe proclaimed the day in response to having seen the devastation of the Civil War. She saw it as the futility of sons killing other mother's sons. The day is intended to celebrate peace and motherhood. Memorial closes the month as we take time to remember the people who have died serving in the military. Several towns have claimed ownership for the holiday, in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson named Waterloo, NY as the birthplace of Memorial Day. The annual Sharon Springs Garden Party is held on Memorial Day weekend, Sat. and Sunday from 9-5. - a preview of events is on page 7 THE BACK STORY, AS THEY SAY I was asked to write a short “mission statement” about The Chatter for Tony's (Black Cat Cafe) soon to be released, updated book about Sharon Springs. I thought I would share it with you. The premiere edition of The Sharon Springs Chatter rolled off the presses, so to speak, in July of 2011. If you had asked me 2 weeks before if I had planned to publish a local paper I would have thought you were being outrageous. But kismet, being the prime director of my life, took charge again.
a chipmunk in a freezer.” Literally, a half hour after reading this I thought, “Hmmm, I think I will start a local paper” - and did. The premise is to share news, stories, recipes, gardening tips, events - really anything goes as long as it isn’t negative or hurtful - there is room for everyone to participate and, thankfully, many have and do contribute each month. It is not, nor meant to be, a profound literary journal - although surely touches on that . . . maybe, a little, sometimes? It is meant to chatty and that it is! It all began with an email from Josh. He is the originator of the great by-line, “Sharon Springs chatters like
Vol. 2 . . . . . . May 2012 . . . . . No. 5
It is available in hard copy (free - but donations are appreciated) at locations throughout the village as well as online at www.beekman1802.com and at http://thesharonspringschatter.files.wordpress.com.
HER-STORIAN’S CORNER ~ by Town Historian, Nancy Pfau
Let’s think about Hops and the influence this crop had on Sharon! As I gaze out my window at fallow fields, I dream of a time they were planted with hops – in fact in the 19 and early 20 centuries, hops was the most important cash crop in this area. One good hops crop could set a farmer up for life! James Fenimore Cooper in his reminiscences writes: “When hop was king, the whole countryside was one great hop yard, for harvesting the crop, the air of the town became tense; the housewives became worried as all the help eighty cents a box for pickin’, and to enjoy the nightly barn dances given for their amusement.” Although he was describing Cooperstown, his words could just as well be applied to Sharon. My mother fondly recalled the fun she had in the hop fields with the exotic young pickers from Albany, Boston and New York City. She told me one custom was to steal a kiss under the hop vines! Of course, the most fun were the dances, called “hops” that were held in the local barns. Today we are bringing that custom back with a Harvest Hop on the Saturday night of September’s Harvest Festival. So keep checking the events listed in The Chatter and buy your tickets early for this year’s HOP. Many local farms still have extra outbuildings where the hired hands were housed and one can still find Hop barns scattered throughout the farmlands here. The Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown continues to grow hops each summer and this year has installed a traditional hop-stove in their barn to roast the hops after the harvest. Mostly the hops were/are used in the brewing of beer – so the success of hops growing in the region brought many brewers to the area in search of “Country Estates” – the Clausen family and the Schaeffers purchased properties in Sharon Springs in the late 1890’s. Hops have also been used medicinally, paired with Valerian, to help insomniacs which is where the term “hop-head” comes from [stuffing a pillow with hops to help you sleep]. Fred Vom Saal, heir to the Schaeffer estate, recalled his memories of the Hop Pickers who came from New York City and shared a train ride back with him. Once, he remembered, a fight broke out among the pickers. When one of them saw his suitcase fly out the window, he pulled the emergency cord to stop the they all joined in collecting up the scattered contents of the suitcase – as Mr. Vom Saal described it, the and beautiful. It was the hop that built many of the big farmhouses, now abandoned. When the time came insisted on a week off to go hop-pickin’. Thousands of tough pickers came from the cities to earn the
train. The train screeched to a halt, the fight ended, the hop pickers persuaded the crew to back up, and group transformed itself instantaneously from a fighting mob a good-natured helping community. This interview can be found in The Short Season of Sharon Springs – an excellent source of historical information on our quirky little village. Sadly, the Hops era ended in the 1920’s when a blue mold blight destroyed the crops. For a time Prohibition criminalized the manufacture of beer, and when it ended new sources in Oregon provided the nation’s hops. There are a few growers in New York today – hopefully we’ll see a recovery!
GREAT NEWS ABOUT CHOCOLATE !
As promised, more good news about the health benefits of chocolate from a study that exclaims: “Eating chocolate frequently is linked to lower weight” 1. Dr. Beatrice Golomb, M.D., Ph.D. and her colleagues found that “chocolate – despite its sugar and fat – appears to have favorable metabolic effects. Fewer calories end up as fat deposited in the body”2. Other findings showed that those who regularly ate chocolate were thinner, which is to say that they had a lower body-mass index (BMI) than those who ate chocolate less often. This news, appearing in the scientific literature in March 2012, was frequently accompanied by a famously reported quip from Katherine Hepburn, “What you see before you is the result of a lifetime of chocolate”. Numerous health benefits identified through research studies have been attributed to consumption of the products from cacao beans. The beans are actually seeds that grow on a small tree, the Theobroma cacao. Theobroma is Greek for “food of the gods”. The trees are native to South and Central America, although approximately 70% of cacao is now produced in Africa. While the significance of some research findings are still in doubt, studies on the health benefits of consuming dark chocolate show positive results that include lowering risk factors for heart disease through lowering blood pressure, increasing blood flow, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and slowing oxidation of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and by facilitating an improvement of insulin resistance related to Type-2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Chocolate, tea and coffee share over 300 powerful chemicals and antioxidants that have been found to deliver numerous health benefits. Flavonoids and phenols, among others, have recently have been shown to enhance performance of memory tasks for older adults, who consumed extra-dark chocolate3,4,5. These powerful antioxidants seem to be responsible for many of the heart benefits reported. In addition, cocoa butter, which contains beneficial plant saturated fats, is associated with the effects seen on cholesterol levels. leading to the “addictive” reputation of chocolate. Indeed, the “food of the gods” can have a dark side, as evidenced by the growing epidemic of obesity and early Type2 diabetes in the world, which is highly associated with the great amounts of added sugars that are consumed by Americans in particular. Unprocessed cocoa seeds are very bitter and only become palatable after a natural, complex fermentation process, followed by the more modern addition of fat, milk and sugar to the resulting product. The health benefits from chocolate recently reported are for the most part associated with consumption of dark chocolate containing 70% or more of cocoa solids, with significantly reduced amounts of added fat, milk and sugar in the final product compared to milk chocolates. Clearly there are health benefits to be found from consumption of dark chocolate but finding the appropriate balance between “food of the”Gods” vs “food of the devil”, as some refer to chocolate, will take some time to explore. several times a week, and you will discover how best to use it to be the best that you can be. Be mindful of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual responses as you enjoy an ounce of dark chocolate Various chemically active compounds in dark chocolate are known to affect mood and increase pleasure by stimulating serotonin and boosting levels of endorphins in the brain,
Linda H. Keller, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Nutrition Educator and Counselor
1.Golomb B et al. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Mar 26;172(6):519-21. 2. Rowe P. Mar 26, 2012. Accessed at http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/mar/27/tp-dr-beatrice-golomb/ 3.Shrime MG et al. J Nutr, 2011. 141:1982-8. Epub 2011 Sep 28 4. Tokede OA et al. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011. 65(8):879-86. Epub 2011 May 11. Review. 5. Hooper L et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 95(3):740-51. Epub 2012 Feb1. Review.
MARRAKECH – The Fabled Red City
Easter Week 2012 saw friends in Sharon Springs and Cooperstown heading off to the South of France, Walt Disney World, the Dominican Republic, New Orleans, and points near and far. My husband, Matthew Zwissler; our daughter, Catherine, age 10; and I, however, chose to spend one of Christendom’s holiest times in North Africa—specifically Morocco, even more specifically Marrakech, the fabled Red City, where the Islamic call to prayer pierces the sky five times each day and there is not an Easter egg in sight.
Once upon a time we three called the city’s ancient walled medina our home—renting a broken-down daughter dubbed Eeow and Tiny Eeow); a pair of falcons (Mama Bird and Baby Boy, who never learned to
courtyard house for $300 a month and living with an ebb and flow of stray cats (two of whom our fly); parakeets (Fred and Ginger), and a startlingly ferocious chow chow (Assad, Arabic for lion). Thanks to the attentions of our housekeeper, Maria Ounzal; our houseman, Hamoud El Foukahi, and the teachers at French, both of which she lost completely upon our return to America when she was five. Now she wants to pick up at least one of those languages up again, since our recent walks through the medina brought her face to face with children who called out to her in words she could no longer understand. This recent trip to Morocco gave us the chance to reintroduce Catherine to some of the childhood experiences and people she barely remembers. Waiters, hotel doormen, even the aged and startlingly beautiful beggar woman we always respectfully called Madame—she still spends mornings crouched in a well-trafficked corner near our old house asking passersby for spare change—could not believe the tiny American girl they called la petite gazelle had turned into une jeune femme. Catherine’s taste buds welcomed the sumptuous stews known as tagines—one with chicken, green olives, and preserved lemon was “a flavor explosion,” she exulted—to pistachio yogurt, an incredible flavor that I can never seem to find on this side of the Atlantic. Each day, our daughter insisted we purchase a plump disc of home-baked bread from the nearest vendor (cost: one dirham, or about nine cents), which we then proceeded to slowly devour while strolling to a public garden or a favorite restaurant. (One afternoon we lunched on a hotel terrace, a couple of tables away from the king of Morocco’s wife.) On grocery runs we mostly spurned the modernity of the smart Acima supermarket in favor of the grimy, École Hilali, Catherine, then two years of age, ended up speaking fluent baby Arabic and pretty good bébé
noisy, smelly, and altogether thrilling covered marketplace in the old Jewish quarter. There one can purchase live chickens or rabbits and then wait while they are butchered and dropped into thin plastic bags to carry home for cooking. (Catherine—who rarely flinches when watching Emily Deschanel probe a central square, the Djemaa el Fna, where we sat on stools in front of two veiled ladies, who decorated our stylized vines and flowers. cadaver on “Bones”—was disgusted.) Late one afternoon my daughter and I stopped in the medina’s vast hands with arabesques of henna that temporarily stain the skin with delicate inky patterns resembling
Most curious of all for Catherine, however, was Dar Nouri, the magical house we borrowed from an American couple that moved to Marrakech shortly after we left. Known as a riad, with long narrow rooms built around a spacious tiled courtyard open to the sky, it is part of a centuries-old mosque complex and flew through the day, was a bowl of light, waxing and waning as the sun moved from east to west.
resembles no house in upstate New York. During the day the white-painted courtyard, into which birds Punctuating our days and nights was the muezzin’s call to prayer—Allāhu Akbar, or God is the Greatest— here amplified by speakers mounted on the lacy minaret next door. Being so long away from Morocco, nearly five years now, the hypnotic chant startled us at first, as it is exceptionally loud and, to some curmudgeons, ill timed (the first call starts before dawn). But within hours, we were used to the melodic wail again, even anticipating it, as it marked the passage of time, like church bells, only different. Aesthete" at www.architecturaldigest.com Thank you, Mitchell Owens, Special Projects Editor at Architectural Digest. You can read his blog "The
WE LOVE PARIS IN THE . . . WELL – JUST ABOUT ANY TIME OF YEAR
I was never interested in going to Paris, preferring Italy, Mexico and Southwestern U.S. For the last 2 years we have made Paris our spring vacation destination. Much to my surprise being there feels as natural and comfortable as, well . . . as familiar as old worn shoes. I don’t speak the language; my husband does. He becomes immersed in interesting conversations that are explained to me later. We travel well together having just about the same amount of endurance, need for café and level of curiosity as well as a similar quirky humor that continues to bond us. We celebrated Easter at the historic literary café, Les Deux Magots. We tried to soak in the essence of the personalities that once frequented there: Hemingway, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Janet Flanner, Picasso and others - the list is impressive. The next day was set aside for Louvre. It felt like I was walking through one of my old Art History books as I sought out familiar works such as the Venus de Milo and, of course, Mona Lisa - which was surrounded by a constant group of 30-50 people treating her as a celebrity. Off the beaten art path is the Musee de Cluny - The National Museum of the Middle Ages. It is a gem for anyone with the slightest interest in history. Long story short, we immersed ourselves in the art, museums and monuments, Paris is seductive, it’s something in the air, the water or a certain je ne sais quoi. What I do know is that we are already planning our trip for next year.
architecture and culture of Paris. It came to me, as we were flying home, beyond the obvious allure of the
MEANWHILE BACK IN SHARON SPRINGS, USA . . . A CELEBRITY SPOTTING
Well, readers – I have it from a very reliable source that Peter Gallagher was spotted eating dinner at the American Hotel. He has been in many films, one of my favorites, American Beauty as well as playing Sandy Cohen in the much acclaimed show, The OC, that ran from 2003-2007. Inside sources tell me that not only is he stunningly handsome but amazingly nice. Let's hope he stops by more often!
~~ THE CALENDAR FOR MAY ~~
In The Real Estate Corner: Realty USA ,is having an open house at 115 Washington Street on May 26th from 11am-3PM. Michelle Curran 518-296-8300 ext. 206 email@example.com
GET YOUR DANCIN' SHOES ON . . .
This annual experience for the students of Studio North will culminate in a performance at Sharon Springs Central School on Friday, May 4th at 7pm. In March, Studio North Sr. Company members auditioned and selected younger students to participate in choreography involving tap, jazz, ballet, modern and acrobatics. The choreographers, ranging in ages 12-17, were responsible for scheduling and conducting rehearsals, selecting costumes and creating stimulating choreography. This annual event is a Company fundraiser. places and experience a variety of music and dance choreographed by faculty members. Admission is free; firstname.lastname@example.org. On May 25, at 7:00 ~ "Around the World" at Sharon Springs Central School. Travel with us to exotic
all are welcome! Our summer schedule will be out soon. If you would like to receive a copy email us at
NEWS FROM THE SHARON SPRINGS FARMERS MARKET Did you know the Sharon Springs Farmers Market is still accepting applications for vendors? We are particularly looking for a baker and a cheese/dairy vendor, though meat vendors are also welcome to apply. Do you create art or make a special food product? Give Kate a call at 518 935 0940 or email us at email@example.com. The season will be starting soon! Join us June through October from 9-2 at our new location on the porch of the Roseboro Hotel, Main Street. BLACK CAT CAFE NEWS
Blaak & Mac, mac 'n cheese using the Fabulous Beekman Blaak cheese and goat milk is new on the menu. Also, for the 6th consecutive season we will be offering picnics to Glimmerglass Festival Patrons.
THE ANNUAL CHERRY VALLEY ARTWORKS GALA
To all our friends in Sharon Springs and beyond, we hope you will mark your calendar to attend Cherry Valley Artworks’ Spring Gala on May 19th, celebrating “The Farm in Art –The Art of Farming. This of local products and the people who are carrying on the agricultural tradition. Art and locally produced fundraiser will highlight the area's agricultural heritage through artistic interpretation and the celebration goods and services will be auctioned, local produce served and the farming tradition honored. As you might know we are well on our way with the renovation of the Star Theater, thanks to our patrons. We are excited to demonstrate the progress we have made. On display will be the works of Laverne Kelley, who had a dairy farmer just a few miles south of Cooperstown. He had taken up whittling as a young boy, and
continued to carve his whole life. His subject matter included not only farm vehicles but also people, which he began to carve in response to the requests of his patrons.. We invite you to come see his works, support our event and hear The Rusty Doves perform a wide variety of American music, for more information www.cvartworks.org
GARDEN PARTY 2012
The annual Garden Party will be held on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday May 26 & Sunday, May 27 th from 9-5. Vendors will be set-up on Main Street as well as the lawn of the American Hotel. ON TOUR: Mitchell Owens, Special Projects Editor, at Architectural Digest, and Nancy Pfau, Town Historian, will be offering guided walking tours of the village on Saturday, May 26 , at 10 AM and 2 PM – tickets are $15 and available through Beekman 1802. www.beekman1802.com [then click on “events”]. Space is limited to 25 per tour. Proceeds will benefit the restoration of Chalybeate Park.
AFTER THE PARTY . . . THERE IS MORE . . .
If you find yourself in Sharon Springs during the weekend of the Garden Party and you are looking for something fun to do...by all means please keep reading! The owners of Dairyland, Ron and Denise Perotti has bravely volunteered to come and entertain us. Many will sing and some may just play music. I had the pleasure of talking with one of the sweetest couples this past week. She used to sing for the USO for the soldiers who served during WWII. With a little coaxing she has volunteered to sing a little for everyone that night. I will provide costumes for volunteers who would like to join in the fun. The night will be to sing. --- Thank you, Maria, for letting us know about this fun event ! Saturday night and the time is still yet to be determined. They have over 300,000 songs available for people will be hosting a fun night called "The hidden talents of Schoharie County." We have some local talent that
HISTORICAL CONCERTS IN THE PARLOR SERIES BEGINS MAY 27TH
The Schoharie County Historical Society has teamed up with 6 Town Historical Societies and The Schoharie County Arts Council to present 2 not-to-be missed concerts. Sunday, May 27th at 3:00 p.m. 123 Pavilion Avenue (The Gardner Stone House owned by Michelle Curran)
Non piu mesta from the famous final aria of Rossini's La Cenerentola (Cinderella). It features works for violin and guitar by Chopin, Molino, Hubay, Anderson, Bull and other ocmposers. Performers are from Musicians of Ma'alwych, a chamber music ensemble in residence at the Schuyler Mansion NYS Historic Site and Schenectady Community College. Ann-Marie Barker Schwarts, violinist and guitarist, Sten Yngvar Isachsen will perform. Seating for 50, reservations are 10.00 per person. There will be refreshments by A Taste of Europe as well as a house tour and an opportunity to meet the performers. The concert is supported by the Arkell Foundation, AMT/Lanning and Beth Brandell of Sharon Springs, The Sterling Insurance Company, The American Hotel and Beekman 1802.
For reservations call Robert Gosselink 518 284-2259 or email - firstname.lastname@example.org. This concert will close-out the Garden Party. Stay tuned for details about the September concert that will pianist, Michael Clements. be held in conjunction with The Harvest Festival. Performers will be Leo Milman, cellist Linda Magill and
A CALL FOR ARTISTS – AN ART COLLECTIVE The American Hotel and the Village Hall Gallery are collaborating to host an Art Collective. There is no entry fee or jury process. Your obligation, as an artist, is to let us know you will be there and show up in time to have your work on display by 10 AM – stay until the end of the event at 6:00 PM. You are responsible for all sales, collecting tax, setting up and cleaning your area before you leave. We have a number of artists signed up – but the more the merrier. It is the day before Father's Day – June – Sharon Springs – what's not to like? It will be a fun, easy day to mingle, to sell and have a good time. AND the American Hotel will be serving lunch – not to be missed! contact us with questions and/or to reserve a space -
Heidi at the American Hotel 518.284.2105 or Leila at Village Hall Gallery 518.284.2402.
Po r t r ai ts
AT A N
Ex h i b i t i o n
3 P h o t o i n s t a l l a t i o n s c e l eb ra t i n g c o m m u n i t y ~ f r o m t h e c a m e r a o f Lei l a D u r k i n ~ 1998 ~ M a y T h e C i r c l e Be U n b r o k e n 2000 ~ S a c r e d Spa c e s i n Eve r y d a y Li f e 2002 ~ T h e H e a r t o f t h e c o u n t r y
Vi l l a g e H a l l G a l l e r y 187 M a i n S t, S h a r o n Sp r i n g s
MAY 1 s t ~ JU NE 30 t h T h u r s d a y – M o n d a y 10-4
~ T h e e x h i b i t i o n s w e r e m a d e p o s s ib l e w i t h t h e p u b l i c f u n d s f r o m t h e NY S t a t e C o u n c i l o n t h e A r t s ~
Send your stories, curiosities and musings to email@example.com. Or call 518 284-2402
contemporary art in a historic setting
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