Monday, May 28, 2012

Porushka - A Russian Folk Song

Porushka performed by Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble

From Wikipedia:

"Kupala and Kostroma" (ru: Купала и Кострома) is a Slavic folk song about Kupala and Kostroma, the mythical twin siblings of Simargl and Kupalnitsa, subsequently renamed to "Porushka Poranya". According to myth, mentioned in the 10th century Book of Koledas, Kupala and Kostroma were born during summer solstice. Having ignored their mother's warning, they ran to the field to listen to the mythological creature, the Sirin. By singing the Sirin distracted the duo and the swan geese abducted the infant Kupala.

Many years later his sister Kostroma was walking along the river shore and wove a wreath for her head. She was very proud of the wreath and boasted that the wind would not take it off her head which (Russian custom was that if it fell off she would stay unmarried). The gods, angered by her boasting punished her by blowing the wreath off her head. The wind took the wreath to the water where it was picked by Kupala, her long lost brother, who sailed by in a boat. Kostroma didn't recognize her brother, and the Russian custom was whoever recovered the wreath would be your husband.

A wedding was arranged, after which Kupala and Kostroma learnt that they are siblings. Kostroma decided to commit a suicide by drowning in the river but the Gods took pity and turned her into a mermaid, while Kupala threw himself into fire. The gods pitied him too and turned him into cow wheat (Melampyrum pratense).


Kostroma, fair and rosy,
Why do you love Kupala?
I love Kupala for his curly little head
And frizzy beard

"Porushka Poranya" has another rendition:

Hey, Porushka Poranya,
Why do you love Ivan?
I love Ivan for curly head
The curls wave to the face
I love fellow Vanya

During the Ivan Kupala Day people used to sing:

Behold a grass flower, the brother and sister
This is Kupala with Kostroma
The little brother is yellow
And the little sister is blue

Also see:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The First Maple Syrup

The Native American legend about how the first maple syrup was made:

One day in early spring, an Indian chief came home from a long day of hunting and stuck his tomahawk in one of the trees outside his longhouse, as he did every night. Now being that maple trees are very abundant in his area, this happened to be a maple.

The next morning the chief woke and left for another hunt, taking his tomahawk from the tree. It just happened that there was a bowl sitting at the base of this tree, directly under the gash made by the chief's tomahawk. As the warm spring sun shone on the maple tree, the sap began to run out of the gash, down the trunk, and dripped into the bowl. As evening approached, the chief's daughter began to prepare dinner. She needed a pail of water to boil dinner in though. As she walked past the tree on her way down to the creek, she noticed the bowl full of "water" sitting by the tree. Rather than walk all the way to the creek, the chief's daughter decided to use this "water." As the dinner boiled, the "water" boiled away, and by the time dinner was done, the "water", which was actually maple sap, had boiled down to the first maple syrup. With a little experimenting, the chief and his daughter discovered how and when to make this new all natural sweetener. From that point on, maple syrup became an important part of the Native American's diet.

From The Sugarmaker's Times

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Experts Speak...

For the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.
-- Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1938

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.
- Kenneth Olsen, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

You'd better learn secretarial work or else get married.
-- Emmeline Snively, to Marilyn Monroe, 1944

There is growing evidence that smoking has pharmacological effects that are of real value to smokers.
-- President of Philip Morris, Inc., 1962

What use could this company make of an electrical toy?
- Western Union president William Orton, responding to an offer from Alexander Graham Bell to sell his telephone company to Western Union for $100,000.

That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.
- Admiral William Leahy. [Advice to President Truman, when asked his opinion of the atomic bomb project.]

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
- Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist

Computers in the future may...perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons.
- Popular Mechanics, 1949.

"If the motion of the earth were circular, it would be violent and contrary to nature, and could not be eternal, since nothing violent is eternal. It follows, therefore, that the earth is not moved with a circular motion."
-- St. Thomas Aquinas, 1270

Automobiles will start to decline almost as soon as the last shot is fired in World War II. The name of Igor Sikorsky will be as well known as Henry Ford's, for his helicopter will all but replace the horseless carriage as the new means of popular transportation. Instead of a car in every garage, there will be a helicopter.... These 'copters' will be so safe and will cost so little to produce that small models will be made for teenage youngsters. These tiny 'copters, when school lets out, will fill the sky as the bicycles of our youth filled the prewar roads.
- Harry Bruno, aviation publicist, 1943.

You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck.
-- Jim Denny, Manager of "Grand Ole Opry", to Elvis Presley, 1954

If the Apostle Paul had been here Saturday...he would have enjoyed seeing the Wisconsin-Iowa football game.
-- Rev. A. J. Soldan, 1926

Defeat of Germany means defeat of Japan, probably without firing a shot or losing a life.
-- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1942

There is little doubt that the most significant event affecting energy is the advent of nuclear power...a few decades hence, energy may be free—just like the unmetered air....
- John von Neumann, scientist and member of the Atomic Energy Commission, 1955.

Knowing of your congregation's deep involvement in the major social and constitutional issues of our country is a great inspiration to me.
-- Walter Mondale, to Rev. Jim Jones

The abolishment of pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it... Knife and pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the consciousness of the patient.
- Dr. Alfred Velpeau (1839), French surgeon

I do not consider Hitler to be as bad as he is depicted. He is showing an ability that is amazing and he seems to be gaining his victories without much bloodshed.
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi, 1940

[Television] won't be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
- Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century-Fox, 1946.

A nuclear power plant is infinitely safer than eating, because 300 people choke to death on food every year.
-- Dixy Lee Ray, Governor of Washington, 1977

Gliders... [will be] the freight trains of the air.... We can visualize a locomotive plane leaving LaGuardia Field towing a train of six gliders in the very near future. By having the load thus divided it would be practical to unhitch the glider that must come down in Philadelphia as the train flies over that place--similarly unhitching the loaded gliders for Washington, for Richmond, for Charleston, for Jacksonville, as each city is passed--and finally the air locomotive itself lands in Miami. During that process it has not had to make any intermediate landings, so that it has not had to slow down.
-- Grover Loening, 1944

We rule by love and not by the bayonet.
-- Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Enlightenment for the German National Socialist Party, 1936

The deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914.
-- Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses,
"Studies in the Scripture", 1910 edition

The deliverance of the saints must take place some time after 1914.
-- Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses,
"Studies in the Scripture", 1923 edition

Just as in the microcosm there are seven `windows' in the head (two nostrils, two eyes, two ears, and a mouth), so in the macrocosm God has placed two beneficent stars (Jupiter, Venus), two maleficent stars (Mars, Saturn), two luminaries (sun and moon), and one indifferent star (Mercury). The seven days of the week follow from these. Finally, since ancient times the alchemists had made each of the seven metals correspond to one of the planets; gold to the sun, silver to the moon, copper to Venus, quicksilver to Mercury, iron to Mars, tin to Jupiter, lead to Saturn.

From these and many other similar phenomena of nature such as the seven metals, etc., which it were tedious to enumerate, we gather that the number of planets is necessarily seven... Besides, the Jews and other ancient nations as well as modern Europeans, have adopted the division of the week into seven days, and have named them from the seven planets; now if we increase the number of planets, this whole system falls to the ground... Moreover, the satellites are invisible to the naked eye and therefore can have no influence on the earth, and therefore would be useless, and therefore do not exist.
- Francesco Sizzi, astronomer at Florence. [Arguing against Galileo's 1610 announcement of his discovery of four moons of Jupiter.]

Radio has no future.
- Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), British mathematician and physicist, ca. 1897.

[Before man reaches the moon] your mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to England, to India or to Australia by guided missiles.... We stand on the threshold of rocket mail.
-- Arthur E. Summerfield, U.S. Postmaster General, 1959

Australia will be abandoned to the Japanese by its white inhabitants, who will return to an England capable of supporting by agriculture almost double its present population.
-- Lewis Mumford, "The World Fifty Years From Now", 1932

The French people are incapable of regicide.
-- King Louis XVI of France, c. 1789

The so-called theories of Einstein are merely the ravings of a mind polluted with liberal, democratic nonsense which is utterly unacceptable to German men of science.
-- Dr. Walter Gross, 1940

There is a young madman proposing to light the streets of London—with what do you suppose—with smoke!
- Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) [On a proposal to light cities with gaslight.]

I am tired of all this thing called science.... We have spent millions in that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped.
-- Simon Cameron, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, demanding that the funding of the Smithsonian Institution be cut off, 1861

The Kölonische Zeitung [Köln, Germany, 28 March 1819] listed six grave reasons against street lighting, including these:
Theological: It is an intervention in God's order, which makes nights dark...
Medical: It will be easier for people to be in the streets at night, afflicting them with colds...
Philosophical-moral: Morality deteriorates through street lighting. Artificial lighting drives out fear of the dark, which keeps the weak from sinning...

[W]hen the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.
- Erasmus Wilson (1878) Professor at Oxford University

They will never try to steal the phonograph because it has no `commercial value.'
- Thomas Edison (1847-1931). (He later revised that opinion.)

What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?
- The Quarterly Review, England (March 1825)

...transport by railroad car would result in the emasculation of our troops and would deprive them of the option of the great marches which have played such an important role in the triumph of our armies.
- Dominique Francois Arago (1786-1853)

Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.
- Marshal Ferdinand Foch, French military strategist, 1911. He was later a World War I commander.

All the ills from which America suffers can be traced back to the teaching of evolution. It would be better to destroy every other book ever written, and save just the first three verses of Genesis.
-- William Jennings Bryan

Sex without class consciousness cannot give satisfaction, even if it is repeated until infinity.
-- Aldo Brandirali, Secretary of the Italian Marxist-Leninist Party, 1973

Nature intended women to be our slaves. They are our property. They belong to us, just as a tree that bears fruit belongs to a gardener. What a mad idea to demand equality for women! Women are nothing but machines for producing children.
-- Napoleon Bonaparte

Has there ever been danger of war between Germany and ourselves, members of the same Teutonic race? Never has it even been imagined.
-- Andrew Carnegie, 1913

Experimental evidence is strongly in favor of my argument that the chemical purity of the air is of no importance.
-- L. Erskine Hill, quoted in the New York Times, 1912

All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.
-- Ronald Reagan, 1980

A nuclear war could alleviate some of the factors leading to today's ecological disturbances that are due to current high-population concentrations and heavy industrial production.
-- Official in the U.S. Office of Civil Defense, 1982

If we are to begin to try and understand life as it will be in 1960, we must begin by realizing that food, clothing and shelter will cost as little as air.
-- John Langdon-Davies, 1936

When the president does it, that means it is not illegal.
-- Richard Nixon, 1977

Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote. The relative positions to be assumed by man and woman in the working out of our civilization were assigned long ago by a higher intelligence than ours.
-- Grover Cleveland, 1905

I think the world is going to blow up in seven years. The public is entitled to a good time during those seven years.
-- Henry Luce, publisher of Time, Life, and Fortune, explaining why he would publish "Sports Illustrated"

Just a fad, a passing fancy.
—Phil Wrigley, Chicago Cubs owner,
commenting on the advent of night baseball, C. 1935

An orgy of vulgar noise.
-- Louis Spohr, on Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, 1808

Far too noisy, my dear Mozart. Far too many notes.
-- Emperor Ferdinand of Austria, on "The Marriage of Figaro", 1786

Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little.
—M-G-M executive, reacting to Fred Astaire's screen test, 1928

God himself could not sink this ship.
-- a deckhand on the Titanic, 1912

The dangers of atomic war are overrated. It would be hard on little, concentrated countries like England. In the United States we have lots of space.
-- Colonel Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, 1950

The Army is the Indian's best friend.
-- General Custer, 1870

More at:
The Experts Speak
The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation", by Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Words of Chief Dan George

Chief Dan George
Native Canadian Indian

- We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.

- When Christ said that man does not live by bread alone, he spoke of a hunger. This hunger was not the hunger of the body. It was not the hunger for bread. He spoke of a hunger that begins deep down in the very depths of our being. He spoke of a need as vital as breath. He spoke of our hunger for love.

Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. We must have it because without it we become weak and faint. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it our courage fails. Without love we can no longer look out confidently at the world...But with love, we are creative. With it, we march tirelessly. With it, and with it alone, we are able to sacrifice for others.

- O Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds, 
 I come to you as one of your many children. 
 I need your strength and your wisdom. 
 Make me strong not to be superior to my brother, 
 but to be able to fight my greatest enemy:  

- When the white man came, we had the land and they had the bibles. Now they have the land and we have the bibles.

- One thing to remember is to talk to the animals. If you do, they will talk back to you. But if you don't talk to the animals, they won't talk back to you, then you won't understand, and when you don't understand you will fear and when you fear you will destroy the animals, and if you destroy the animals, you will destroy yourself.

- The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.

The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
the rhythm of the sea,
speaks to me.

The strength of the fire,
the taste of salmon,
the trail of the sun,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.

- May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Fred Heutte & The Norfolk Crepe Myrtle

Fred Heutte

The story is told that as a child in Paris, Frederick Heutte knocked a pot of geraniums off the balcony of his parent's apartment. Replanting them, he discovered gardening.

Lagerstroemia - Crape Myrtle or Crepe Myrtle

The Fred Heutte Center
1000 Botetaurt Gardens, Norfolk, Virginia
(Built from the salvaged old Norfolk Ferry Terminal)

The Norfolk Ferry Terminal 1910

Old Norfolk Ferry Terminal

From the Fred Heutte Center website

-an excerpt from Betty Trout's 
Walking Tour 

Today, I 'd like to tell you what I know about Frederic Heutte and the center that was built to commemorate his works in beautifying the City of Norfolk. The story is told that as a child in Paris, he knocked a pot of geraniums off the balcony of his parent's apartment. Replanting them, he discovered gardening.

Mr. Heutte was born in Paris in 1899, and his family moved to the United States when he was 12. They settled in Summit, New Jersey. He began working for a florist who had advertised for a boy who spoke French. He branched out from florist job and began gardening on private estates in the area.

In 1917, Mr. Heutte joined the army and was stationed in the Canal Zone, protecting the Panama Canal. He planted hibiscus throughout the zone. Seeing what he had done, his company commander, who was an avid gardener, assigned him duties as "company gardener".

After World War I, Mr. Heutte met and married Florence Alford while working as head gardener at President Calvin Coolidge's summer home in the Adirondacks. With a reference from Coolidge, he obtained a job in Charlottesville, working for the wife of a University of Virginia professor, William White. Mrs. White was a member of the Royster family in Norfolk. She introduced him to Norfolk City Manager T. L. Thompson. Mr. Heutte and Mr. Thompson spent many mornings driving all over Norfolk, discussing the beautification of the city.

In 1936, Mr. Thompson found a way to get funds from the WPA, one of President Roosevelt's New Deal Projects, and gave Fred Heutte the job of shaping what is now the Norfolk Botanical Garden. Back then, it was called the Azalea Garden. Mr. Heutte hired 200 out of work farm hands and women, and put them to work, clearing the area, and readying it for planting. Then he found there was no money for seeds or plants, only salaries for the workers. So, he went to Wirt Winn of Winn's Nursery, told Mr. Winn of the situation, whereupon Mr. Winn gave him 4,000 azalea plants. The Azalea Garden was on its way and today there are over 100,000 azaleas, 3,000 rose bushes, and 700 camellias planted there!

Mr. Heutte was appointed superintendent of Norfolk Parks. He took his job very seriously. He reached out to every neighborhood, and the surrounding communities. He knocked on doors and invited homeowners to join in the planting of the crape myrtle trees which line countless Norfolk streets, a lasting memorial to his memory. Thirty years later, Mr. Heutte retired, but Norfolk would never look the same.

Besides numerous articles on gardening, he wrote a book entitled Gardening in the Temperate Zone. He was known far and wide for his contributions to horticulture. Among his many tributes was the "Merite Agricole" from France, earning the Gold Medal Award from the Garden Clubs of America, and perhaps the most treasured of all, The Robert Hoyt Scott Medal, from Swarthmore College. In 1966, he was given the Citizenship Award by the Kiwanis Club of Norfolk recognizing his invaluable support of the natural resources of this area.

For three decades, Mr. Heutte was known as "King Gardener", a title given him by the area's 48 garden clubs. Once he said, and I quote, "Were it not for the Garden Clubs in Norfolk, the beauty of Norfolk would not be here today. They were the sponsors, they were the needlers." He appreciated what you ladies had done and are still doing. I must tell you though, Mrs. Heutte once told me that they had the worst looking yard in the neighborhood. A typical case of the shoemaker's children, all of them barefoot.

Mr. Heutte died in his 80th year, but the beauty he left us lives on.

In Case You Didn't Know - Who was Fred Heutte?
Why the Fred Heutte Center?

The Friends of the Fred Heutte Foundation is an all-volunteer, not for profit organization, dedicated to urban beautification and horticultural education for the urban communities. The Foundation was formed to honor the memory and to pursue the dreams of Frederick Heutte, Superintendent of Parks for the City of Norfolk for 29 years. He was a catalyst for the beautification of Norfolk and all of southeastern Virginia. Emigrating from Belgium as a young man in the early 1900's, he believed that city parks were an important part of life for the urban dweller.

In the early 1930's he visited Norfolk at the request of the City Manager, Mr. Thompson who had heard about his abilities as an estate gardener. He liked the area and became supervisor of the Norfolk City Parks in 1937, and began planning and planting the azalea and camellia gardens with the help of women WPA workers. Now the Norfolk Botanical Garden and the hundreds of crepe myrtle trees he planted throughout Norfolk are a lasting and beautiful memorial to a "gardener's gardener". He was active in every aspect of gardening and received numerous awards and citations, which are displayed at the Fred Heutte Center in Ghent Square, Norfolk.

The Foundation is housed in the restored historic Norfolk-Portsmouth Ferry Terminal, built in 1887 on the Norfolk waterfront as the concession building for the ferry to Portsmouth. In 1952 the Ferry Terminal Building was dismantled and put in storage. Once brought out of storage in 1969, it was reassembled in Ghent Square to become the centerpiece of one of Norfolk's first large-scale residential redevelopment projects. The Ferry Terminal was used as a sales and information office for the new homeowners until 1977. In partnership with the Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority and the Federation of Garden Clubs of Norfolk and Vicinity, the Friends of Fred Heutte Foundation applied to the City of Norfolk in 1980 to allow them to rent the building and land to create the Fred Heutte Center.

In September of 1959, Mr. Heutte, as director of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, developed a "mist system" of irrigation expected to boost plant size at less cost than traditional irrigation systems.

This park is a living memorial to his love of plants and the belief that man needs the beauty of nature in the midst of a hectic urban life. The Center's landscape design by Siska & Aurand aims to achieve the effect of an urban park in the manner of European parks with structured gardens and an arboretum. This design is in concert with Fred Heutte's philosophy that life in the city can be greatly enhanced by such urban landscapes. Strollers, picnickers, students from local schools, people walking to and from places of work, worship and school, as well as others seeking a quiet, restful and aesthetically pleasing spot, visit the grounds daily. Because of the beauty and tranquility of the grounds, groups and individuals rent the site for meetings, classes, weddings, and other social events.

Located on 0.7 acres of city park in the center of Norfolk's Ghent Square Community, the Fred Heutte Center and gardens incorporate four different and distinct gardens (Perennial Garden, English Knot Herb Garden, Heirloom Vegetable Garden, Water Garden) and an Arboretum that includes a Camellia Lath House. The gardens are planted for year round interest using evergreens, bulbs, perennials as well as cool and warm weather annuals. Change and experimentation with various plant materials creates an ever-evolving landscape. The gardens are entirely maintained by volunteers many of whom are Norfolk Master Gardeners who supervise and help educate novice volunteers. Visitors see trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that are particularly suited to the Tidewater urban environment. The use of composting, clean garden practices and organic gardening techniques demonstrates that urban gardeners can achieve interesting and attractive gardens in an environmentally sound manner. The Fred Heutte Center's gardens are an excellent example of a public landscape maintained by volunteers for the benefit of the entire community, an Old World touch to a modern setting.

Heutte's house in the Adirondacks
Heutte's gardener's shed
In 1926, Fred Heutte worked for President Calvin Coolidge at what is now White Pines Camp in the Adirondacks area of New York State. Above, pictures include the gardener house where Mr. Heutte lived and the gardener's shed where he spent a great deal of time.

In the early days in which our foundation operated, Artist Maryetta Dobias of Norfolk was commissioned to produce the center's official portrait of Frederick Heutte. The oil painting still hangs as the center piece of our gallery at the main entrance. On February 13th, 2006, Ms. Dobias returned to the center for a meeting of the Ghent Garden Club. At the event, we were fortunate to capture this picture of the artist with her work, adding to our pictorial records of the foundation's history.

Artist Maryetta Dobias with her portrait of Frederick Heutte

A June 1979 interview with Fred Heutte (text & audio):
Complete Interview:
"I was more interested in making Norfolk the Crepe Myrtle city, the International Crepe Myrtle city. Because when I first came to Norfolk, where I'd come from up north they didn't grow crepe myrtles, and I thought that a plant that grew so well and so prolifically should be emphasized and I was more in for making this city the Crepe Myrtle city and the Crepe Myrtle Festival."

More at: