gardening with kids

Me, circa 1968.

I was a kid who gardened starting quite early. One of the first things I ever planted was corn. Yes corn. I was somewhere around the age of 3, we did it in school and yes I transplanted my corn plants into our walled garden in Philadelphia (lived in Society Hill until I was like 11).

Some of my earliest memories involved gardening with my father and his father, my Pop Pop. Pop Pop showed me how to plant tomatoes – Plum Tomatoes to be specific (he was Italian!) We also planted herbs. That first tomato plant yielded a tomato that looked like a little baseball mitt!

Gardening as a happy place started early for me. I also understood I had my plants I tended to, but left others alone. I learned early to stay away from the leaves of three (poison ivy, sumac,etc.)

The garden was not a place child-proofed other than a locked side gate in the garden wall that was locked to keep us in and strangers out – it was a walled garden with old brick walls almost 8 feet tall. I will admit I had a friend named Ali who was as agile as a cat who would climb her tall brick garden wall, walk over the edges of neighbors’ walls and climb down into my garden to hang out. It was quicker than walking around a long city block. I am happy to report she is alive and well and living in London with her husband and children.

I was told not to touch this subject with a 10 foot pole by a friend, but I feel I must. Yes I have certain plants that I do not plant because they are poisonous to domestic animals.

This topic comes up a great deal in my gardening group. And I do get frustrated sometimes by the questions. I understand that they are valid, but I grew up in a house that wasn’t childproofed to death, so did my stepson, and nieces and nephews. This also goes for a lot of my friends’ children.

Common sense dictates a lot of this. Watch young children carefully when playing outdoors. Keep indoor plants safely out of the reach of children. Teach kids from a young age to ask an adult before eating or drinking anything. Don’t eat wild plants in front of little kids who will mimic you.

You can have a garden and have small children. And the thing is, like teaching them to cook, or even just make cookies, they will probably have fun.

I have friends who often had a more grown up garden in the front yard, and out back where the kids played was more basic. That seemed to work.

You can give your kids their own “first garden” in a few pots, a low to the ground rectangular planter, or window boxes. Or you can give them their own section to tend in the garden beds you have already established. Start seeds early inside like sunflowers,zinnias , cosmos , vegetables or culinary herbs. Or buy starter plants somewhere.

Connecting with the earth and gardening is such a positive thing.  Many local arboretums even offer gardening – Tyler Arboretum, Jenkins Arboretum, Morris Arboretum, Mt. Cuba Center,Longwood Gardens, and more. Here is a whole link on Eventbrite (click on hyperlink) for all sorts of  gardening related events that are kid friendly.

There is this website called KidsGardening.org which has all sorts of information. They have an entire section on gardening basics. The have other sections on garden activities and even growing guidesThey are based in Burlington, Vermont and even have a spot on their website about designing school gardens. They are a non-profit. They have been around since 1982.  I think they are awesome.

We seem to partially live in a cotton batting world where kids are so scheduled and often overly protected.  Sometimes they just need to be kids.  I think gardening is one of those things that helps that along. Give them parameters like you do when teaching them other things. Most of all, remember, the garden doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a fun thing you can do together, learn together, and create memories with.

I still remember how fun it was when we planted my first tomato plant, and I learned how to tend my herb plants. As a child, I also loved learning how to make terrariums. In high school I was a Shipley Sprout and we even competed in the Philadelphia Flower Show!  I won a couple of ribbons too for forcing bulbs! (Not first place, but it was still awesome!)

On the U.K.’s Telegraph website there is this article:

Churchill family gardening
Seeds of success: gardening with kids cultivates life skills  

5 SEPTEMBER 2016 • 10:45AM By Victoria Lambert

Anyone who has gardened with children will know what a pleasure it is to pass on skills and see the next generation developing a passion for planting.

There may be the odd moment where “weeding” decimates your new bedding plants or a snail collection is released en masse into the veg patch, but research shows we should stick with it as experts increasingly point to the value children get from gardening and being outside.

These benefits range from the chance to be active and get away from the omnipresent screens, to real mental health gains.

Back in 2000, a Texas A&M University survey of children under 12 actively involved in gardening projects in school, community or home settings, found benefits to children’s self-esteem and reduction in stress levels.

Closer to home, Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) research continues to back this up. It suggests children perform better at school if they’re involved with gardening, and many will develop a greater interest in healthy eating if they get to grow their own veg.

Caroline Levitt, who founded the Diggers Forest School and Nursery near Midhurst, West Sussex, believes the benefits of outdoor work even for the smallest children are huge. She says: “Children can learn so much and have fun, too.

“Gardening involves lots of different activities, such as design of the garden and choice of what to plant, and it can be a good team or friendship building exercise, as they take turns to water plants and share the weeding. This is also a good way to learn responsibility.

“Gardening can also be a fantastic sensory experiment, handling dry earth or gloopy mud and even worms! It is a great way for children to naturally learn patience while they watch their produce grow.”

Ms Levitt adds that gardening is useful for stimulating creativity. “We get them thinking about the design of the layout and in terms of how seeds are planted  – for example, neatly in rows or thrown into a pot…”

….Gardening for children is also closely linked to feelings of well-being. 

 

Rodale’s Organic Life also has an article on this:

The Importance Of Getting Kids Into The Garden

Turn digging in the dirt with your children into a lifetime of love and respect for nature. by Marti Ross Bjornson November 24, 2015

Gardens are magical, fun, and always full of surprises. Watch a child pull a carrot from the earth, brush off the soil, and take a bite, or see the anticipation in the eyes of a youngster creating a bouquet of flowers she grew. There is a natural magnetic attraction between children and the earth, whether it’s making mud or discovering a germinating seed emerge from the earth. Gardening with children, from toddlers to adolescents, opens new windows in a world dominated by technology.

Whether you are an accomplished gardener or a novice, gardening with children is your chance to partner with Mother Nature to make magic. Don’t worry about achieving horticultural perfection. Just dig in and grow something beautiful or good to eat. Your garden is your treasure chest; you and your young gardener—exploring together—can discover its priceless bounty for an afternoon’s delight or for a lifetime.

Memories last longer than one season.

 

Anyway, just wanted to point out teaching kids to garden is a good thing.

Now, to be safe click below for lists of poisonous and non-poisonous plants:

PoisonControl.org: Poisonous and Non-poisonous Plants An Illustrated List

California Poison Control System: Poisonous and Non-Poisonous Plants

not our pipeline: will adelphia gateway llc be mariner east-lite?

State Sen. Andy Dinniman. Photo from Sunday 2/18/2018 courtesy of Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety’s Facebook Page

About a month ago, I wrote a post about how I feel about the pipelines tearing up Chester County. The post was titled not our pipeline.

I am thinking not our pipeline needs to be a blog category.

Why?

Chester County is under siege from gas pipelines and Sunoco Logistics/Mariner East has proven these companies don’t care about anything other than their profits, etcetera right?

And how can we say the companies are safe?  Given the sinkholes, polluted wells, explosion fears and more?

Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety photo

In 2017 Chester County had a multitude of polluted wells, sinkholes, and other issues from pipeline projects.  They all do that horizontal or slanted drilling and it’s being done next to firehouses, schools, too close to homes, correct?  How is this all allowed again?

I am a cancer survivor. I am terrified of polluted wells.  I am terrified of pipelines.  They destroy our properties, have serious potential to lessen our property values, and here in Chester County we have a lot of limestone and other shifting kinds of soils that means we get sinkholes. (Remember that house that made the news because of one after pipeline drilling came to visit?)

And yes, there are people who are strangely OK with pipelines on their properties.  That is their right.  But if you look at it from a purely practical financial perspective, are they even adequately compensated for their land? Are they not only given a small one time paltry fee and is it not true that for subsequent pipeline owners, they don’t have to pay the land owner if new pipeline owners come in? It’s not like any affected land owners get annual compensation is there?

So economically speaking, is it ever worth it to let these gas pipeline leeches on your property? I don’t think so. To me it’s like having perpetual squatters who can cause explosions, pollute your wells, etc.

For the initial not our pipeline post I received positive comments, supportive comments, and threatening comments.  To those who disagree with me I say simply: First Amendment.  They haven’t repealed that yet in Washington.

So I learned the other day about another pipeline company.  And again with the re-purposing of old pipes for new gas and gas products which is so truly concerning. As a matter of fact The Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration issued a warning about this in September, 2014, didn’t they?

The company is one I am not familiar with called Adephia. And they are going to be sailing through Chester County PA and places like East Whiteland and East Goshen Townships because they are acquiring the old Interstate Energy pipeline. (If I am reading the map correctly – plug your address in here on the Pipeline Information Center Mapping Application.

(Yes that handy interactive map can tell you where the pipelines are.  I have friends who are NOT buying a house in a certain Chester County location because of the proximity of a pipeline to a property they were interested in.)

 

Kallanish Energy Daily News and Analysis: Pipeline buyer proposes converting line to gas from oil

The buyer of an 84-mile, 250,000-cubic-foot capacity pipeline in the Philadelphia area plans to convert the pipeline from oil to natural gas, adding new compression and valve stations to move fuel to its Marcus Hook, Pa., destination.

Adelphia Gateway, which said in November it was buying the pipeline for $189 million from Talen Energy, filed its 1,285-page application last week with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Adelphia, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced the filing late Monday, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported…..Adelphia Gateway plans to convert the southern 50-mile portion of the line, which formerly carried oil but has been idle since 2014, to transport gas southward to customers in the state’s counties of Montgomery, Chester, and Delaware.

 

So these companies all seem to say this is for our benefit until we the people discover it’s not?

I am not familiar with New Jersey Resources, either. The CEO is Laurence M. Downes.

According to Bloomberg, New Jersey Resources is in Wall, NJ and Mr. Downes compensation as of end of 2016 was  $4,875,320 and here is his bio:

Mr. Laurence M. Downes has been the Chairman of the Board of New Jersey Resources Corporation since September 1996 and has been its President and Chief Executive Officer since July 1995. Mr. Downes serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of New Jersey Natural Gas, NJR Clean Energy Ventures, NJR Energy Services, NJR Midstream and NJR Service Corporation. He has been a Director at New Jersey Resources Corporation since 1995 and Energen Corporation since May 2017. He serves as the Chairman of John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development’s National Advisory Board and Member of National Petroleum Council. Mr. Downes is a Director of the American Gas Association, Trustee of the American Gas Foundation, and a Member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Mr. Downes provides the Board with strong leadership and direction and a considerable amount of experience.He served as a Director of Questar Corporation from 2010 to September 2016. Mr. Downe has extensive knowledge of the energy industry, experience as the leader of the Company and innovative thinking. Mr. Downes’ board positions at other natural gas and energy-focused organizations have positioned him to bring experience and industry knowledge to his position as Chairman of the Board.Mr. Downes’ years of service on the Board, he has developed extensive knowledge in the areas of leadership, strategy, safety, risk oversight, management and corporate governance, each of which provides great value to the Board. He served as Chairman of the American Gas Association, Trustee of the American Gas Foundation. Mr. Downes is a Graduate of Iona College with B.B.A. in Finance and M.B.A.

Remind me again how Chester County residents are “compensated” for pipelines?

Yeah….. Not such a nice mental picture, is it?

So according to the Chester County Planning Website:

Interstate Energy Company (a subsidiary of Talen Energy) was acquired by New Jersey Resources’ Adelphia Gateway, LLC in November of 2017. As a result, the Interstate Energy Company content has been migrated to Adelphia Gateway, LLC’s website. Visit Website

The Adelphia Gateway Project, traversing portions of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Bucks and Northampton counties will convert the remaining 50 miles of an existing 84-mile pipeline in southeastern Pennsylvania from oil to natural gas delivery. The northern 34 miles of the pipeline — extending from western Bucks County to Martins Creek Terminal in Northampton County — were converted to deliver natural gas in 1996. This project will repurpose the southern 50-mile portion of the pipeline to flow natural gas utilizing existing infrastructure and will require minimal new construction. Once converted, the pipeline will transport approximately 91 million dekatherms per year of natural gas to the greater Philadelphia market.

When in service, the pipeline conversion from oil to natural gas will give customers in the greater Philadelphia area a new, “competitively-priced” source of natural gas. Adelphia Gateway intends to have delivery interconnects with local distribution companies (LDCs) and other industrial end users, such as natural gas-powered electric generation facilities, in various locations along the pipeline route.

A full project description and mapping can be viewed at the following links:

Project Activity

Adelphia Gateway, LLC applies to FERC for Certificate of Public Convenience

January 23, 2018 — Adelphia Gateway, LLC (Adelphia) filed an application for Adelphia Gateway Project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a certificate authority to acquire and convert certain existing pipeline and auxiliary facilities, to construct additional auxiliary facilities, and to own and operate the existing and new facilities as an interstate natural gas pipeline system. View Letter

You can also view Adelphia’s application on the FERC website. Select the eLibrary link from the left hand side (green and white image of a computer mouse), select eLibrary from the left column, and then use the “general search” for the Adelphia Gateway Project, and enter Docket Number CP18-46. You can also find information on the proposed project on the company’s website.  Contact information listed for the project is 800-843-3179 or info@adelphiagateway.com.

 

 

 

My head is spinning. How many of these companies are going to pop up???  How much of Chester County is going to be destroyed??

#DefendWhatYouLove #NoMorePipelines #MarinerEastLite

I strongly suggest people contact State Senator Andrew Dinniman:

http://www.senatordinniman.com/contact-us/contact-senator-dinniman

One North Church Street West Chester, PA 19380 Phone: 610.692.2112 Fax: 610.436.1721

I called and left a message for Don in Dinniman’s office.  That is whom I was told was taking pipeline related phone calls.

Call or email the township where you live.

You can also file an e-comment with FERC in Washington DC:

https://ferconline.ferc.gov/QuickComment.aspx

You may also still be able to file as an Intervenor Out of Time:

https://ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp

The docket number for Adelphia Gateway LLC is CP18-46-000 .

East Goshen Township filed as an Intervenor Out of Time.  I can’t find anything on East Whiteland’s website. I am very pleased to see East Goshen act in a timely manner. East Goshen Township now has a stand alone page on their website for Adelphia Gateway.

Adelphia Gateway on Twitter is @AdelphiaGateway

There is an ANTI- Adelphia Gateway Page on Facebook (I did not create it) called:

Stop The Adelphia Gateway

Other things to read in the news about Adelphia:

Saucon Source Letter to the Editor: Adelphia Pipeline Project is Dangerous, Unnecessary
By: JOSH POPICHAK | February 13, 2018 (Excerpt only click on article title to read all of it)

Editor’s Note: A portion of the Adelphia pipeline passes through Lower Saucon Township.  

 

…In an age of so many renewable and sustainable energy alternatives is it still necessary to entertain such dangerous energy enterprises as reactivating defunct pipelines? Living in the impact zone of a natural gas pipeline is no joke. Residents along the southern portion of the previously “deactivated” Interstate pipeline are in for a grave wake-up call.

The newly-named Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Project filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity on Jan. 11, 2018This pipeline, previously the Interstate line held by Talen Generation LLC, has its own environmental impacts, risks and safety hazards, and in fact, has had anomalies occur in the recent past that have resulted in repairs to the line. Any campaign to diminish the negative impacts of this project only continues to compromise the health and safety of Pennsylvanians….Additionally, with the recent approval of the PennEast Pipeline’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, there is some discrepancy about the redundancy of projects, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order does make a record of the fact that “the expansion of existing pipeline systems was not a feasible alternative.” So, it’s interesting to find the Adelphia Gateway project submitted on the FERC docket within only a few weeks of FERC’s order granting PennEast permission to move forward with proceedings to condemn properties across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where many landowners have still refused to sign easement agreements with PennEast.

For more information please visit https://www.pipeinfo.org/adelphia. If you are concerned about the impacts of this project, please file a comment on the Federal Energy Regulatory Docket under Docket #CP18-46-000 at https://www.ferc.gov.

 

Lehigh Valley Live: Gas pipeline proposed from Martins Creek to Philadelphia
Updated Dec 30; Posted Dec 30

Adelphia Gateway plans to apply in early 2018 for project approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Operation of the existing line is regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, and once conversion is complete it would be regulated by FERC…..Environmentalists are critical of the proposal. The New Jersey Sierra Club voiced concern about New Jersey Resources’ role as a member company in the PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC proposal to build a 36-inch-diameter line from the Marcellus Shale region in Pennsylvania’s Luzerne County to Mercer County, New Jersey.

Philly.com: Business — Energy
Adelphia unveils its 84-mile natural gas pipeline through Philly; Will it spur protests?
Updated: JANUARY 16, 2018 — 12:33 PM EST by Andrew Maykuth, Staff Writer

The buyer of an 84-mile pipeline encircling Philadelphia has disclosed detailed plans to convert the pipeline from oil to natural gas, saying the project would require several new compressor and valve stations to move fuel to its Marcus Hook destination.

Adelphia Gateway LLC, which announced in November it is buying the underused pipeline for $189 million from Talen Energy Corp., filed its 1,285-page applicationFriday with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Adelphia, a subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, announced the filing late Monday.

 

#DefendWhatYouLove #NoMorePipelines #MarinerEastLite

I do not know about you, but I am over gas pipelines. It’s like Sisyphus has moved on from rocks to pipelines.

#DefendWhatYouLove #NoMorePipelines #MarinerEastLite

Photo courtesy of Del-Chesco United for Pipeline Safety

snowy sunday morning

We went to sleep to the almost silent patter of snow.  I say almost silent, because when sleet is mixed in there is the little whoosh sound.

I woke in the middle of the night and went to the window to watch the stillness below.  From the brightness of a snowy night, when everything has that unearthly sort of glow, I watched one of our foxes pad silently across the back garden.  It was old fox, whose face is a good part white now.  This fox looks like they are wearing a fur head warmer because there is a halo of fox red fur around their face, but their face now is whitened with age.

My husband laughs at me watching things in the still of the night in the back, but it’s like the woods come alive.  Deer tiptoeing across the rear of the woods, along the back neighbor’s fence line.  A trio of raccoons and even foxes eating the birdseed scattered on the ground for them.

A Midwinter Night’s Dream.

It’s lovely and almost lyrical as well as magical to watch. The sparkling new fallen snow and the woodland animals roaming in the night.  On some nights like this if the young raccoons are out, they tumble and wrestle, enjoying the freedom of playing.

Day breaks and a pinkish orange glow grows upward as light and dawn creep in.  Everything is still lush and quiet with the startling whiteness of the snow.  Then dawn is gone and skies are blue.  That is a whole other kind of beauty.

The luxury of open space means I look out to snow covered trees and branches and shrubs. Nature’s fine frosting.  I hear the woodpeckers squabbling in the tall red oak.  The mourning doves and cardinals flutter in first, followed by the other song birds.

Overhead, a hawk cries out.

This is morning in Chester County.  This is what we need to preserve before developers and greedy corporate giants like Sunoco displace all of this loveliness.  These are the moments individuals like the head of the Chester County Planning Commission does not get, because he hails from the land of infill development. Traffic noise and people squashed in like lemmings is his norm. He doesn’t live in Chester County, which I have always felt should be required. People like him do not get the simple joys of a snowy Chester County morning. Which, subsequently, is why we need more land and historic preservation, and less development.

It also makes me think of our Revolutionary War Soldiers.  For them, a Chester County Winter wasn’t so pleasant I think.  But you have to wonder, in the snow last night, did their ghosts traverse Crebilly in Westtown on silent maneuvers?

Or what about the old souls laid to rest at Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road? What kind of winters did they see?

What did William Lockwood think when he looked out of the windows of Loch Aerie on a snowy night?

Or the fine people of Chester County’s now many historic villages? What did they see? Sugartown? Goshenville? Marshalton? St. Peter’s? Malvern? Other villages? Can’t you just hear the early morning clop, clop, clop of horses drawing carts on the old streets of West Chester and Kennett Square?

When we look out our windows at the snow in the evening, or the middle of the night, or at dawn and daybreak, who else has looked before us and what did they think?

Enjoy the snow before it all melts.

save the date for a delightful day in kennett square

On a snowy afternoon this is an awesome thing to receive in the mail! Save the date for the 2018 Bayard Taylor Home and Garden Tour!

Saturday, June 2, 2018 won’t come soon enough!

This is probably the best home and garden tour I’ve ever taken. Different kinds of homes and gardens, all interesting. If you’re looking for inspiration in your own home garden this is the perfect opportunity to find inspiration. And I will note that a lot of these gardeners tend to their gardens themselves.

In the fall I love Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust’s Historic House Tour, and Chester County Hospital’s Chester County Day, but once spring is here? This is one of the things I can’t wait for!

This event raises money to fund the children’s programs and adult literacy programs as well.

Planning for this event starts in early fall when the committee selects a variety of homes and gardens in a particular area of southern Chester County.

The self- guided tour showcases unique homes representing a mix of styles from historic homes and estates to charming cottages to sleek modern residences. Gardens range from large, lush professionally maintained to pocket sized patches of brilliant flowers some with sculptural accents, from the simple, but endearing, to the elaborate and extravagant.

Every detail is attended to, leading to a beautiful, carefree day of explorations into homes and neighborhoods seldom seen by the public. Thanks to the generosity of homeowners, local merchants and artists and especially the visitors, over $600,000 has been raised since the tour’s inception. These funds have greatly enhanced and enriched the experiences and lives of Kennett Square area children.

If you have never made time for this tour, make 2018 your year to attend this event!

I will note for the record I purchase tickets for this event like any other attendee. I am not compensated in any way, shape, or form by the home and garden tour committee for suggesting this event to the general public. I suggest this event because it’s marvelous.

The photos I have posted are mine from one of their garden tours, and I asked permission before taking photos outside only.

Stay safe in the winter weather this evening and dream of spring! 😊

a little visit to the grande dame of frazer

I visited my favorite grande dame in Frazer today. I had to make a stop at Home Depot, so I had to go say hello to Loch Aerie.

I did not go inside because I did not have permission, and as a matter of fact I stayed on the perimeter because it’s very muddy and I just wanted to see how the mansion looked.

Loch Aerie is looking happier. Seriously. Her new owners have accomplished so much already! This is an awesome adaptive reuse happening.

You will notice when you look at the picture of the rear that they did have to tear off that back sort of porch enclosure because it was, well, rotting. So I’m not surprised by that in the least.

Loch Aerie is going to be lovely when she is finished! I can’t wait!

have you taken a “master’s” class yet?


I had not taken a cooking class in years before this morning. The last cooking class I took was in a beautiful private home in Bryn Mawr. But it was less hands on and more lecture. This cooking class today, an Italian Baking Class, was totally hands on and fun!
The Italian Baking Class is one of the series of baking classes offered by The Master’s Baker in West Chester, PA. The classes are moderately priced and worth every penny!

We arrived at 11 a.m. Parts of our groups were friends, and others like myself, had just signed up by ourselves. I am a decent home cook, but there are plenty of thing I want to learn how to make. Like focaccia. I am not a facile yeast bread person. So this was a great class for me to start with!
We were taken back to the kitchen and were set up in what is normally the large decorating room and split up into pairs. Then the fun began with Pastry Chef Patricia Polin.

The hours flew by as we made Focaccia, Parmesan Rosemary Grissini (like a breadstick), Dolci di Amalfi (almond lemon olive oil cake), and Biscotti.

We learned a lot about the baking process. We baked using a scale- measuring the ingredients by weight.

I loved everything I made except my Biscotti. They are not super attractive because I was impatient cutting them before the twice-baked stage.


It was a lovely group of ladies and I will definitely be taking another class when I find one I want. I highly recommend taking one of the Master’s Baker classes. I am told plans for the future include mommy and me (mother and child) classes, and more!

The Master’s Baker is a fabulous specialty bakery (wedding cakes, custom birthday cakes, and special orders only, no regular bakery cases and street traffic, etc). They are located at 319 West Gay Street, West Chester, PA 19380. We are customers of theirs, which is how I learned about the class I took today.