Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good News, Bad News . . . .

The bad news is that about 2 weeks ago, we had a severe storm with high winds and heavy rain, that brought down half of our biggest tree, a 150-year-old Linden or Basswood tree.

The good news is that half of the tree is still standing, and according to the good folks at Bartlett Trees, the remaining section is likely to survive.  It’s about 80’ tall and may require some pruning to balance it and take some weight off the trunk, but otherwise it should be OK.

More good news: we contacted a local woodworking company, Logs to Lumber.  The owner, Rick Miller, looked at the part of the tree that fell and said it can be dried, sawn into boards and sections, and then used to make furniture and turned objects.  This type of tree has a beautiful grain and is easy to work with.  So about a year from now, The Inn at Monticello may display some new chairs, tables and bowls, made from the fallen tree.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Carolyn Completes Monticello's Montalto Challenge!

Bright and early on Saturday morning, Carolyn with our friends Joyce and Ken and more than 100 other athletes ran/walked the 3.1 miles and 1,000 vertical feet from the beginning of the Saunders-Monticello trail to the top of Montalto.  Finishing in record time, they were greeted at the summit by Scottish bagpipers, playing “Oh Danny Boy” and “Auld Lang Syne” for the out-of-breath and cardio-challenged (Naturally Carolyn hardly broke a sweat).   

It’s always invigorating to visit Montalto: the views of Monticello, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the University of Virginia and Charlottesville are spectacular.

We hope you'll join us for next year's race!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Piso's Cure for Consumption"

Last week we were planting some shrubs and ornamental grasses on our back hill.  A turn of a shovel unearthed an intact brown bottle about 5 ½” tall and 2” wide.  On the sides of the bottle were the words “The Piso Company” and “Hazeltine & Co.”

We’ve found lots of blue and white pottery shards while digging in our yard, but nothing large enough to identify or to trace to any particular time period.  This bottle was different.

A search on the Internet revealed some interesting history.  According to the January 2007 edition of “The Potomac Pontil,” a newsletter published by the Potomac Bottle Collectors, Ezra T. Hazeltine arrived in the northwest Pennsylvania town of Warren, on the Allegheny River, in 1860.  He began selling homemade medications and in 1864, with the help of a local doctor, created “Piso’s Cure for Consumption” (tuberculosis).  In 1869, he founded the Piso Company to market his concoction on a national level.

Piso’s Cure contained at various times opium, morphine, hashish, marijuana, chloroform and alcohol.   The medical profession considered its claim as a “cure” to be fraudulent, but not surprisingly, it became one of America’s best-selling patent drugs. 

When the Pure Food and Drug Act became law in 1906, the company changed its label to claim that it was “A Medicine for Coughs and Colds.”  By this time, the Piso Company had removed some of the more popular ingredients in its medication. 

In the early 1900's, the Piso Company advertised its product on postcards showing George Washington's Mount Vernon.  Were they trying to suggest that our nation's first president used an earlier version of "Piso's Cure?"  Who knows.

So it turns out the bottle we found in our back yard has an interesting story behind it.  By the way, we’re still looking for an artifact that confirms that Thomas Jefferson slept here.