Smelling Wyck's potent heritage roses

Potent Heritage Roses

A mother and daughter, Bea Weidner and Emily Linso (not shown in this photo) took time to smell the roses in the bright and fragrant heritage rose garden at  Wyck. A national landmark, Wyck, is the ancestral estate of the Wistar-Haines family located in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Development Director Kristin Hagar (above at table) welcomed people to a "Celebration of the Roses" open house and explained that heritage roses are generally brighter and have a more potent fragrance than modern roses, but last a shorter time. She welcomes the public to nominate locations where a Wyck heritage rose might be planted for the public to enjoy. Video here.

Coffee Roasters ReAnimate the dead (or sleepy)

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 4.58.25 PMThe images on "ReAnimator Coffee Roasters" bags of a skeleton reaching up with a bony hand to perhaps clasp a flask containing some potion held high up by a priestlike figure come from old wood etchings. The name "ReAnimator" is taken from the HP Lovecraft story, "Herbert West - Reanimator," about a doctor who experiments with bringing the dead back to life through ingestion of reagents. Sleep, a state akin to unconsciousness may be an analog for death, a barista at the outdoor Clover Market in Chestnut Hill philosophizes and a workmate adds that coffee drinkers love the revitalizing effect of caffeine. Coffee "reanimates" them.

HIs work: sucking up shit

Sucks up shit, his work


Darryl Leonard services portable toilets for Royal Flush Portable Restrooms, a company owned by his uncle. The company does work for special events like regattas on Kelly Drive and for the Phillies and Eagles. Royal Flush provides a  variety of toilet options - stand-alones like this wheelchair accessible one shown on Northwestern Avenue near Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon, flushable ones and trailerfulls. Leonard may vacuum out one to two hundred toilets a day into his truck which holds 1500 gallons and work from 5:30 in the morning to 9 at night. A downside is when he has to come out and clean up after someone has tipped a booth over. Leonard wasn't complaining about the job, however. "It is what it is." Watch video here.

Losing the sense of smell

A young woman who realized in college that, without a doubt she wanted to become a chef, grabbed the offer to start as the dishwasher in a famous Boston restaurant and she loved it, covered in butter, chicken fat, sweat. One morning, on a morning jog before work, she was hit by a car and among other bad injuries, had shattered her skull. Two weeks later, making a recovery at her father's house, she made a bad discovery - her sense of smell was gone. Heat was all she sensed of the cinammon-laced apple crisp, a favorite dish, when it was just drawn from the oven and held under her nose.

Birnbaum went on to study the sense of smell and her experiences with its loss(a condition called "anosmia") and wrote about in her 2011 book,"Season to Taste." Along her journey she spent much time with the olfactory scientists the Monell Chemical Senses Center with whom she presented "Forgotten Sense: Exploring a World Without Smell" as part of the Philadlephia Science Festival.

Also attending the event is a doctoral student in information sciences at Drexel University, (shown below) who speaks about her own experience with anosmia.

Can't Smell

At the National Mechanics Bar and Restaurant in Old City, Philadelphia.

Watch video here.

Philly Compost Trusts in Soil

In Soil They Trust

It’s a company called Philly Compost. What they do is organic trash. So anything you can put in your mouth or anything that can compost, they take, they’ll put into a field, mix it with dirt and leaves and then resell it as compost. WHAT ARE YOU PICKING UP TODAY IN CHESTNUT HILL HERE? Today, Tavern on the Hill is a local restaurant. I’ll get two cans off of them, all their restaurant waste, lettuce heads, anything gone sour or leftover from a plate after a customer ate it … So this is the back of Tavern on the Hill. This is our logo, ‘In Soil We Trust’ WHAT DO THEY GOT IN THERE? Hopefully green bags. These green bags are compostable. There’s napkins, banana peels are great, carrots, paper. IT LOOKS LIKE THERE’S SOME CHICKEN BONES TOO. CAN YOU COMPOST THAT? Anything organic, anything that will break down is fine. We can’t take plastic, metal, Styrofoam.  WHO’S PAYING WHO TO TAKE THIS AWAY? There’s two advantages. One if I’m a restaurant and I say to my patrons “Hey, I’m reducing trash that’s going into a landfill by separating it out and composting it, that’s a benefit to the environment. The second thing is, now I’m reducing what I pay in my dumpster so my trash costs go down. DO THEY PAY YOU A FEE TO TAKE IT? They pay us, they do a monthly thing and then per can. AND IT’S LESS THAN PUTTING IN A DUMPSTER? Ideally, yes. And we pay to dump it and that guy’s making money when it’s dumped and when he sells the compost. Jason Hopler, Philly Compost.

Watch video here.

In Soil They Trust



Tasting like a lion

in lions mouth.jpg

Guests sample six different concoctions to understand how animals taste. Cats don't taste sweet so a sweet substance was tasted followed by a sweet blocker followed by another draft of the same sweet substance- which tasted like not worth eating or drinking! At the Philadelphia Science Festival event at Rembrandt's Restaurant produced by the Philadelphia Zoo and Monell Center where they study the sense of taste. Watch video here.

Friends, one blind, walk Chestnut Hill



JM: My name is John Manola.

WT: And I am William Talero. I met John forty years ago when I was teaching at the School for the Blind in Jersey City. He was a chaplain of a group of blind people who used to be foster grandparents to some of the blind youngsters. And then I met him again nine years ago when I went to a concert in Philadelphia. And we joined forces and we moved here to Chestnut Hill. And we try to walk as much as we can and live a healthy life.


WT: I am totally blind. I lost my vision. I used to have partial vision but eight years ago I became totally blind because glaucoma took the last bit of sight that I had. So living with John has been very beneficial to me because he's and honest person and he happens to like to walk and I always enjoy walking. Before I was totally blind I used to walk all over- the Wissahickon and I did a little bit of the Appalachian Trail...You don't believe it but this gentleman next month is going to be ninety-three.

JM: I'm 92 now; I'll be 93 in December, yes.


JM: Yes, my eyes are sensitive to light, there's nothing wrong with my eyesight.

WT: He has very good sight


WT: Well you know there is a great opportunity to use your other senses when you walk down on the avenue because the bakeries, the dry cleaning, the flower shop, and of course the sounds are certainly very much in evidence. I remember many years ago when they used to have the trolley. And it was always a kind of nice, quaint sound that you always related to Philadelphia. I kind of miss that 23 trolley, you know?

WHAT ABOUT THE COFFEE AND THE GARLIC?Yes, the coffee and all the garlic and all the wonderful smells of the various restaurants, not as many as there used to be.

I definitely know when I’m getting close to the Japanese restaurant and the Chinese-French place, Cin-Cin, and on this side, of course, the Hotel. We like to go to Rollers. It’s very friendly and we always have a good meal there.

John Manola (left) and William Talero, along Germantown Avenue, Chestnut Hill.

Watch video here.