simple joys of gardening

I just picked my first hydrangeas today and put them in a little vase on the table.  I can’t even explain the pleasure it gave me.  But it something about the very basic connection to the earth you get when gardening, and the joy is seeing something grow….and the frustration when someone eats your baby lettuce (sorry, it’s true, found that annoying.)

But as I puttered around today, I realized how happy gardening has made me since I was a little girl.  It’s one of those things I encourage everyone to try.  And by try, I don’t mean have someone else do it for you, I mean do it yourself.  That is from where the satisfaction springs.

Today I also gave the recently found old lilac a hard prune.   Once hidden under other things, she gave me a few flowers this spring so I finally knew what she was in the midst of all the underbrush.   I have had fun with old lilacs before and I have found that you give them a bit of a fair, but hard prune and a little love,  much like the hydrangeas and rhododendrons I hard pruned last year, next year I bet the lilacs bloom like crazy.

A rose I transplanted last year from a way too shady spot has also rewarded me with the first couple of blooms I have ever seen on the plant.

My garden is growing and I am telling you, if you have never gardened you should.  It is worth it and good for the soul and generally I have found whatever ails you gets a little better after a little gardening.  Plus Chester County has some terrific independent plant nurseries with reasonable prices.

Start small.  Experiment.  You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

people just crack me up

So I wrote about attending a ladies luncheon/tea yesterday.    And now the comments, they are a rolling on in.

Take this morning’s missive:

IP:, E-mail:

URL: Whois:

You are fabulous at supporting the popular image of publicists being shallow witches.  If you deal in public image and perception you may want to dial back on your bile – clearly you do not know who you are besmirching in your screed.  I was invited to this event this year and thankfully I did not attend as it is clearly populated by self-important, deluded cows clingy to dusty notions of “society.”

Well moooo then, people. I am not a sheep or of the sheeple, but I do like cows, and for the record goats and horses too.  A blog is opinion.  This is a blog.  This is my blog.  If these lovely critics actually read what I wrote, I liked the event a lot – it was very pretty.  Any commentary was on the cast of characters, which is not so unusual, everyone does it.  It was an aside, they were my observations as a people watcher.

I was also not a publicist for this event, I was a paying guest.  I went to support lovely women who work on the horse show.  What I found after sort of ditching the social scene for a decade was very amusing to me, and these nice women who work on these events have no control over that, nor does it reflect on them as it is simply is what it is.

Sorry if your collective feathers are ruffled, but having an opinion is completely allowed by law and society. Having an opinion does not make a person shallow, I must admit that was pretty funny as a “so there, take that!” kind of comment.  And I am sorry but wearing taxidermy as a hat to me, in my opinion, is right up there with Lady Gaga’s meat dress.

Having survived breast cancer, comments like this can’t really bother me as in the scheme of life they are rather unimportant in their ire. Life altering events are just kind of liberating that way I suppose.

These people  are however, entitled to their  opinions which is why I am allowing these  comments to be posted as they roll in.   I have been a blogger for a while, so if you don’t like what I am writing, don’t read the blog. It’s pretty simple.

And in the topic of people crack me up, check the story out that Main Line Media News has about (in essence) cheaters on the Main Line:

Data shows extra-marital cheating prospers on Main Line

Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012

By Caroline O’Halloran

The Main Line – the land of storied mansions, country clubs, charity balls and … infidelity.
According to new data from the extra-marital dating service,, the Main Line is the most cheating neighborhood in greater Philadelphia.
More than 210,000 men and women from Philly and its immediate suburbs are anonymously registered members of, a website that discreetly connects would-be philanderers with willing partners.
Of the 210,000, the Main Line boasts the most members per capita, followed by Old City, Huntington Valley and Fox Chase. Chestnut Hill, fifth on the list, has the highest percentage of females seeking affairs (36 percent).

lordy, warped mayberry has their feathers in a bunch

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Original Video– More videos at TinyPic


“Chickenman Posse”?   Seriously?  The Farmer-Supervisor needs to do something about his bride.  She seems positively off her meds.  Who wears the pants in that family, anyway?


I don’t know who Chickenman is, but I know who he ISN’T.  And truthfully, having been a blogger for a few years, what’s with all the positively medieval who shot J.R. over who a blogger is underneath the handle?


Anonymous writing, or a nom de plume, a pen name is as old a tradition in this country as 1776.  Let’s see, who of our founding fathers had pen names….ahhh yes, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and  Thomas Paine come to mind.   And why did they do it?  I think they were fighting corruption and tyranny or something like that, right? Aaron Cometbus, Silence Dogood, Alice Addertongue, Sui Juris,Novanglus….


In any event, from what I have seen of Chickenman, his documents either come from West Vincent or from Chester County’s website, so I don’t get the uproar or the call for taxpayer money to be used to unmask a resident?


Wowee.  I realize I am new to the party of watching the soap opera in Chester County affectionately dubbed the “As the West Vincent Turns”, but they had me at attempted eminent domain for private gain….


And you wonder why I don’t care to purchase products from Birchrun Hills Farms.

Sign me eyes rolling and not Chickenman, just a Chickenman Fan.  Guess that means she’ll be talking about me, a non-resident at the next meeting? And here I am watching Hatfields & McCoys on the History Channel….and this is so much more backwoods Gothic.

West Vincent is a truly warped Mayberry.  These people are quackers.



devon horse show ladies’ day hat contest & tea 2012

Today I was a lady who lunched.  I went to the Ladies’ Day Tea at Devon Horse Show.  I arrived too late for the actual hat parade and contest, but the flora and fauna were out in fine feathers….some literally feathers, yes.

Enjoy the photos…I loved a lot of the hats, saw a lot of familiar faces, met some new ladies. 







I will admit that some of the fascinators were more than fascinating and a couple made me check the wall when I came home to see if that Pheasant was still hanging there.  I guess my issue with the birds of it all is that to me, a Pheasant is a fall bird, not a spring one. To me, those hats, were just taxidermy run amok.  But to each their own, perhaps my beautiful and more traditional black summer straw hat wasn’t to their liking, either.

There was also a tossed salad on a hat….and a very red cocktail dress before 5 p.m. There was a little bit of everything, and a dash of this and that.   Fun people watching.

We each got a nifty gift bag with a bunch of fun stuff, including cute earrings from Lisi Lerch.  The jazz ensemble is a group I actually heard in Sanatoga at a restaurant called Cutillos.

Saw society photogs doing their thing – Susan Scovill (and Susan’s photos from the preview of this event, held this past March, can be found HERE), Maggie Henry Corcoran, and Hugh E Dillon of PhillyChitChat who was there taking photos for Philadelphia Magazine. There were also a million other cameras there, some shooting for the Devon Horse Show and I am not sure where else. Bill Henley was there from NBC10.

It was like being in a room of exotic birds as there were hats and dresses of every hue and shade.  I ended up having a terrific time.  To be honest, I wasn’t so sure in the beginning because I used to attend a lot of things like this, but  I only go to occasional events now.  And when you are out of practice, it can be a tough room, especially with all that estrogen running around in a confined space.  But once the room settled in I saw many friends and had a delightful morning and early afternoon.

Photos will be loaded here, on mainlineclicks on Flickr and some on the Simple Shots Photography Facebook Page.

So yes, I came, I socialized, I lunched…and had a LOT of fun!

(And if you decide you like this blog, there is still time to nominate it for a Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Award!)

a fine how-dee-do

Readers, I have been sitting on something.  I have debated writing about it for nearly a week, and that is my litmus test on writing about something.

I make no apologies for my opinions. After all, we all have them, it is what makes this country great.

A little over a decade ago I became a community activist in Lower Merion Township.  What spurred me towards something I was hardly raised to do was respect and love for my friends the Foos who own a restaurant in Ardmore called Hu Nan.

It all started one night long ago, when my friend Betty, who is one of the most serene and lovely women I know said to me with tears in her eyes “they want to take my building.”

That was it.  That was my defining moment that I could no longer just be a casual observer in the place I called home.  Eminent domain for private gain just does that to a person.

Over the years I have worked hard on issues important to me and those I care about.  I have the respect of many in municipal government and politics, some who scorn me, some who fear me.  It is what it is. Of all the amusing things there is even a regional Patch editor who has never met me but who cut my freelance for certain Patches because I was a community activist and blogger. (yes, she has never met me.)  I found that very limited in her, but then again, if you are looking for someone to photograph and write about disposable diapers, that is not me anyway, so we’re cool. But I am grateful that I have the respect of many others in the local, regional, and even national media. And ditto for many people in many different communities.

When I heard about the Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds being threatened by eminent domain for private gain late in the fall of 2011, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut on the topic.  I just despise eminent domain for private gain. The Daily Local even published an editorial I wrote on December 13Main Line Media News  picked it up a couple of days later.

But being active in the communities where I live has never been all I have been about.  I volunteer not just for community activism purposes but to help out friends who do cool stuff – like my friend Molly who was the driving force behind the establishment of the now very popular Bryn Mawr Farmers Market.  I lent her my voice when she needed it and a few photos in the beginning because I believe in what she was doing.  And then there is my friend Janet, the brains behind Clover Market in Ardmore.  I love vintage and antiques, so when I can take photos for her at one of her markets, it is absolutely my pleasure. And on a monthly basis, save major holidays, you will find me in Ardmore with my dearest pal Sherry, snapping away for First Friday Main Line and so forth.

I have also spent years off and on volunteering for Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr, where my first volunteer gig was when I was 12 years old. A memorable adult volunteer experience was getting Willard Scott to wish the house happy 300th birthday a few years ago live on the Today Show.

And when I had breast cancer a year ago, these people  were among my supporters to get me through.  Paying it forward – it is what it is all about. And these people are fully and completely aware of my activism side when a crazy issue arises, and they respect me for that. And they do not judge me for it.

I just like people, and I like cool community stuff, so when I stumbled upon the East Goshen Farmers Market I was thrilled.  So I wrote about it a couple of times up here on this blog and have taken some glorious photos the past few markets.

About ten days ago, one of the market organizers contacted me about this blog and said they would like to link to this blog, chestercountyramblings.  I was so happy at that news.  But then the link didn’t happen.  The woman who had e-mailed me was very apologetic, she had been out-of-town, etc.  But to make sure to stop by their table at the market to say hi.

So last Thursday, along with taking more fabulous photos, I did.  The ladies were super nice, but the one who had corresponded with me pulled me aside and said she hoped I understood, but everything was so political that they couldn’t link to my blog.


Aha.  I knew immediately – it was because I have written about West Vincent Township politics and the supervisors Ken Miller, David Brown, and Clare Quinn.  And I like to read Chickenman and say so. Who would have thunk the warped Mayberry of Chester County had a reach into pristine East Goshen?  Well they do, because Ken Miller’s farm, Birchrun Hills Farms sells product at the East Goshen Farmers Market.  And I have said, and I mean it, that I will NOT purchase products from his farm because of the part he played in an attempted eminent domain land grab of the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show, along with being part and parcel of what ails that beautiful community.

Now trust me, that is very tame for me.  If I decide to get my Irish up, it can often be much worse.  But because I took that position, the people who created the East Goshen Farmers Market won’t be able to  link to my blog and I doubt will ever use my photos.  That is their right, they are uncomfortable, that farm I won’t support is one of their vendors.  I am sad that they had to go all super political PTA mom on me, especially since I am now a resident of East Goshen, but hey I am different, I get that.  Some women can’t handle that.  They see what they want to see, and do not take the time to get to know the person.  It’s cool, it’s life.

So anyway, I had told some of you that the market people had approached me to link up my blog to them, but since they hadn’t, I wanted to let you know and why it wouldn’t happen.

Life isn’t fair sometimes, but for the record I am not sorry about what I have said about West Vincent because there is a big bag of wrong going on there.  With publicly stated opinions come consequences – my blog has been shunned by my local farmers market so to speak.  And that is o.k.  People have to do what they are comfortable with, and play politics the way they know how.

I will of course continue to support the East Goshen Farmers Market because I think it is simply awesome.  I will support my favorite vendors too.   And I strongly encourage all of you to do the same.

Have a great day y’all. And if the spirit moved you, remember to nominate this blog for a Blue Ribbon Blogger Award with Country Living Magazine – it is very politically correct to do so :<}





How can you not love these vintage wooden spoons?  Don’t they just make you want to cook?!  Vintage wooden spoons if in good shape are even just pretty to look at, but I use mine.  So much more fun that new wooden spoons and for the most part are better made and utilize better woods.

it’s memorial day….pause and remember

Gladwyne, PA Memorial Day Parade

I received a comment on my Happy Memorial Day Post from a reader that is worth cross-posting:Flag in the breeze, Philadelphia, PA 2012

Flag in the breeze, Philadelphia, PA 2012

Here in the sod of Europe lie thousands of Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in two World Wars.

They are buried, row upon row, under simple white crosses or Stars of David in cemeteries in Belgium, England, France, Luxembourg, Italy and the Netherlands.

They died far from home in battles and operations known as Belleau Wood, the Somme, the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in World War I, or D-Day, Anzio and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

More than 100,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are buried in these cemeteries, looked after by the American Battle Monument Commission.

Lorraine American Cemetery in France, with 10,489 fallen, is the largest American WWII cemetery in Europe.

Here is a link to a panorama view: [CLICK HERE]

Tom Helwig U.S.M.C.

Congressman Jim Gerlach at a Memorial Day Ceremony 2010

Memorial Day Ceremony, Norristown, PA 2010

chestercountyramblings featured in a post on “preservation nation”!

I am honored!  I received a message that my post on historic St. Peter’s Church in Society Hill was cross-posted by The National Trust For Historic Preservation’s Blog Preservation Nation: Preservation Round-Up: Found on Facebook Edition

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by David Garber 2 Comments
Today’s Preservation Round-Up is a selection of stories you alerted us to on our Facebook page. As much as we have our ear to the ground for local preservation stories and efforts around the country, we can’t be everywhere at once, so we greatly appreciate your shares. Here are some recent posts worth checking out.


I am honored and psyched to be featured on their blog which is awesome, and I hope it brings attention to the plight of this church as it raises funds to raise the roof once again.

If you would like to donate to St. Peter’s, here is how you do it:

Donations of any amount can be sent as follows:

Saint Peter’s Church,


313 Pine Street

Philadelphia, PA  19106