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February

2013.No. 12..Vol. 2

SOME AMAZING NEWS IN SHARON Since our last issue in December, the Village has enjoyed some AMAZING events! Congratulations are definitely in order to our good friends, those Fabulous Beekman Boys, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, winners of the Amazing Race. If youre curious about their adventures [arent we all!] try to come to the Sharon Historical Societys meeting on April 15th!

The First Ever Kept Secret in the History of Sharon Springs


The number one question we've been asked since winning The Amazing Race is "How did you keep it a secret from everyone?" As many folks now realize, we ran the Race from mid-May to mid-June. (The entire course takes only three and a

half weeks.) As hard as it is for us to fib, we were contractually obligated not to reveal that we were even on the Race until the cast announcements were made. So we asked Josh's parents to come and help John take care of the farm for a month, and told everyone that we were going on a "International Cook Book Tour." Naturally, no one believed us, and the typical Sharon Springs "chatter" came up with more plausible alibis. We were amused to hear upon our return that we had either disappeared to elope, get plastic surgery, adopt children or be rehabilitated for one or another controlled substance. (Most of these rumors were, of course, started by Doug just for fun.) When the cast was finally announced in late August, we were relieved not to have to lie about our absence any longer. Our friend and colleague Megan offered to host a small pot-luck party at her house each Sunday night, for "as long as we were still in the Race." At that point, since the competition was long over, we knew we'd still be in the Race for a long time...right up until the end. But we didn't want to tell a single person...not Megan, John, Maria, our parents...no one. Part of our reasoning was that we had a multi-million dollar "damages clause" in our contract. We would've had to pay CBS far more than we'd won if any potential leak could be traced back to us. But more influential than any contract was the fun we knew everyone in Sharon Springs would have watching the race unfold just like we experienced it. Namely, thinking that we were going to be eliminated at any minute. In fact, even before the show started airing folks didn't have much confidence in our ability to compete against so many younger, more physically fit racers. Whenever someone came out and asked us if we'd won, we turned the question around and asked them how they thought we did. The answer was invariably a variation of: "Well...it's a very tough race. I'm sure you did your best." The truth is...we never did think we would win the Race while we were running it. We applied because we thought we might be able to get a little more spotlight for our business and Sharon Springs. We've all seen the power of what a TV show can do for tourism around here. And since The Amazing Race has 12 million viewers each week, we just hoped we would stay in long enough to get some new attention to the area. As most folks now know, as we were running the Race, leg after leg, we were barely hanging on. We were simply grateful to be taking part in such a...well...amazing experience. Even on the last leg of the Race, when it was down to the final three, I still didn't entertain the thought of winning. The other two teams had won different legs so many times. And we hadn't won once. I distinctly remember saying to the other two teams on the flight from France to New York (where the final leg would be run): "Isn't this great? One of you teams will be going home a millionaire tonight." I never thought it would be us. And when it did turn out to be us who won, it was simply the most incredibly exciting moment we'd ever felt. So that's why we didn't let the secret slip. Because we hoped that our friends, family, and neighbors could feel even a fraction of that moment by watching "in real time." That after weeks of thinking that we were certain to be eliminated, we hoped people would feel that same joyous relief and celebration we did. And we were so flattered that everyone gathered together and watched each week. But we weren't surprised that folks did. And maybe we shouldn't have been so surprised that we won either. Because if we've learned anything from our relatively few years in Sharon Springs, it's that by working together, trying our best, and not giving up...amazing things can happen. And they just keep happening here, don't they? Thanks for letting us be a part of it.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. OTHER NEWS-Y BITS AND BITES Ive heard from Matthew Zwissler and Mitchell Owens that our own Adelphi Paper Hangings have 2 wallpapers featured in the January 2013 World of Interiors. Thistle Hill Weavers is currently making Chanel inspired fabrics for Boutiques in Hong Kong, Dubai, Brazil, Turkey and England. This on top of their shawl featured in the movie Lincoln! A new website Enjoy Sharon Springs thanks to Roger and Chris Stout-Hazard. Do check it out! After yet another successful Victorian Day on December 1st, we were chosen as one of the 5 best festivals in the first ever annual Festie Awards at newyorkstatefestivals.com! The Farmers Market held our first winter pop-up market on Sat Jan 12th, and it was a great day for all! We were happy to see friends that we missed and get the chance to snap out of those winter doldrums! Next pop-up market is Feb 2, from 10-12 in the community room at the library/village offices. Carrie will be there with eggs, rabbits and chickens, Colleen with her baked goods, Barb with garlic and shallots, and Kate will have salad greens and baby spinach. If you miss us in Feb, make sure you mark your calendar for March 2nd for the next one! Dance News: Studio North's Sr. Dance Company will perform at area schools in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. They will present "Dear Rosa" a dance which celebrates the life of both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. The program will conclude with a celebratory African Dance. The performances will be held at Sharon Springs Central School on Mon. Feb. 4th and at Canajoharie Elementary School on Wed. Feb. 6th. Think Spring! Even on the coldest days of winter Garden Creations, now located at the American Emporium bldg behind Joe Todd's Finishing Touch, has plenty to look forward to. New spring lines of home & garden decor and a number of educational workshops are a big part of it. Owner & Master Gardener Beth Gray will be sharing her knowledge and creativity with the community on the subjects of growing & using herbs at home, shade gardening, (focused on her extensive collection of hostas) and miniature garden design, to name a few. The workshops will begin in mid-April, and last approx 60 minutes each, for the cost of $12.00 per person. Schedule to be announced soon. Any questions can be emailed to bcg367@yahoo.com

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8. Black Cat news: Dinner Club starting February 16th 5:30 8:00 PM Local Lamb Three Ways bcbc@blackcat.ny.com Cooperstown Farmer's Market -- we are there every Saturday 9-2 thru April at least. Still open 7 days a week!

A COMMUNITY ANGERED AND SADDENED BY ROBBERY Last week the local bank was robbed. The thief took more than money. He, also, robbed us of our sense of security. If it can happen here, it can (and does and will) happen anywhere. Thankfully, although he did show a gun - it was not used. But, in its own way this was an act of violence. The terror and stress that the bank personnel experienced will echo in their lives for long while. They are more than bank personnel, they are vital parts of our community and they are our friends. We know their names, they know ours. They greet us on each visit to the bank; we exchange pleasantries and leave with a quiet sense of security. The bank is a symbol for solidity and stability in our neighborhood. We rely on them to be available, knowledgeable and trustworthy . . . and they are. It was small town connectedness, at its best, I experienced that day as I talked to friends about what happened. In every discussion the primary concern was about the wellbeing of the woman at the bank. Unsolicited by me, each person expressed gratitude and had a story to share about an act of helpfulness they had experience over the years of banking there. My own story was from years ago (before we had cell phones.) My husband had set out to do errands, first the bank then on to Cobleskill for probably hours. Shortly after he left the house our cat, Missy, began to convulse. Panic stricken I knew she had to get to the Vets. Because of our small town nature, the most obvious thing to do was to call the bank and ask them to tell my husband to come home. He arrived within minutes; we were able to get Missy to the Dr.s in time. A small story, a small incident - but one that mattered a lot to us. Editors note: Thanks, Leila Durkin, for this piece. We should all remember as well the SSCS students who were put on lock-down for 20 frightening minutes. We all hope this crook is caught and put away!

HER-STORIAN S CORNER ** WINTER 2013 Snow!

Historically speaking, Sharon has a snowy reputation and during January 2013 the weather has evoked images of past winter storms teeth chatter-ing cold as well. Ask anyone over the age of 60 to tell you about a real whopper of a storm, and he will probably remember the blizzard that hit in January of 1958 with snow drifts topping the telephone lines in some places. The storm hit with such intensity that over 400 travelers were stranded in the village, most were housed in the school but many village residents opened their homes as well. Dorcas Comrie told me that food supplies ran low and Avery DeLuca, principal of SSCS at the time, borrowed food from the schools supply to feed the storm refugees. He later was chastised by the government agency that supplied food to the school but asked what he should have done in the circumstance! Keith Mallory has vivid memories of the plows working to cut a path through once the storm had passed through.

I recall another storm that blanketed our town in January 1964 just when many college students were returning to school including my soon-to-be husband, Rick, who was stranded at my house with two of his classmates while the storm raged. My Uncle Jim Bowmaker often spoke of the many students camped out on the floor of the Hollywood Hotel during that storm.

Thanks to Sandy Manko for the images from past winters.


For centuries, in autumn, gardeners have dug up flower bulbs from their gardens and carefully stored these bulbs in their root cellars, their basements or their barns. In December or January, they have taken these bulbs and planted them in pots or placed them in bulb vases and in about 6 weeks, their homes have been filled with the fragrances and stunning colors of spring. The process by which you encourage a flower bulb to produce its blossom in the middle of winter is known as forcing, and in the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s and 1800s, it served a very healthful purpose. During those centuries, people did not bathe in the winter months. Some, in fact, would go for as long as 6 months without a bath. The stench of human body odors would accumulate in homes during the winter months and literally pollute the air in the household. The fragrance of spring bulbs masked the unpleasant odors and freshened the household air. Tulips, narcissus, hyacinths and crocus were the most popular bulbs to force, but adventuresome gardeners also found that rock garden irises, chionodoxa, hyacinthoides, muscari, anemones, scilla, ornithogalums, eranthis and puschkinias could also be forced. Bulbs can be forced by planting in pots. Narcissus, hyacinths and crocus can also be forced in water. Most bulbs must be given a cold treatment of 35-48 degrees F for a period of 8-12 weeks before they can be forced. Your refrigerators vegetable drawer or an unheated attic, garage or basement are ideal places. If forcing bulbs in pots, you will get better results if you plant the bulbs first and then cold treat them. Begin by potting the bulbs using a light loam soil with the heads of the bulbs exposed. Plant the bulbs very close together, for example, in a 6 inch pot - 6 tulips or 4 hyacinths or 6 daffodils or 15 crocus. At the time of planting, water thoroughly. If placed in a refrigerator, put the potted bulbs in a plastic bag with breathing holes punched in the side. When the bulbs have completed their cold treatment, place the bulbs in a cool, sunny location until the shoots and leaves begin to expand. Then move them to a warm location out of the direct sunlight. As the bulbs begin to bloom, keep them in a cool spot to prolong the bloom time. Hyacinths, crocus and narcissus can also be forced in water. Place the bulbs snugly on top of pebbles in a bowl or in a bulb vase. Place the vase/bowl in a bright window which receives no direct sunlight. Once the root system has emerged, only the base of the bulb should touch the water. As the blossoms begin to open, move the vase/bowl to a cool area to prolong the bloom. Forced bulbs do not require sunshine or natural light in order to complete their bloom cycle. The problem with forcing is that most bulbs grow too tall and as their blossoms emerge, they become top heavy and fall out of their vases/bowls. They require staking which compromises the visual effect of the plants. This problem

The Drunken Bulb How to Achieve Floral Elegance Through Inebriation

discouraged many people from trying to force bulbs and seemed unsolvable until some Cornell horticultural students accidentally found a solution. Anna Pavord who is a famous British gardener and an expert when it comes to growing bulbs wrote a classic book on bulbs, aptly entitled, BULB, in 2009. In that book, in her charming British style, Ms. Pavord related the story of the drunken bulbs. A horticultural student at New Yorks Cornell University accidentally spilled some of his alcoholic beverage into a pot of paper-whites that had just sprouted. A few weeks later, his fellow students noticed that the plants that had imbibed were shorter than the others, even though the blooms were the same size. Four months and three trials later, their findings were announced: a few drops of alcohol result in stalks that are 40 percent shorter, which means that they do not flop over. To achieve this result, it is important to allow the bulb to sprout to a height of 2 inches in pure water before adding any alcohol. When the bulbs have reached a height of 2 inches, carefully pour out the water and replace with a mixture which is 9 parts water to 1 part alcohol. Keep in mind, Ms. Pavord writes, that narcissus prefer hard liquor: rum, gin, tequila, and vodka have all proved effective. Wine or beer can damage the plants, so choose your potent potable responsibly! Spring bulbs forced to share their blooms in mid-winter are a joyous spectacle and a tradition that has been practiced by gardeners for many centuries. Forcing inebriation on your bulbs to keep them tidy and elegant is a brand new practice, but one that is sure to be quickly adopted and one that will generate lasting amusement. Barb Melera The D. Landreth Seed Company Americas Oldest Seedhouse