do we want to preserve chester county… or not?

So this is Chester county. Do we want to preserve her or not? Because we’re running out of time if we do wish to preserve her. If we do wish to preserve her history, her great open spaces (what’s left of them), her farms (what’s left of them) , her architecture (what hasn’t been replaced by endless fields of McBoxes.)

This isn’t a Republican or Democrat thing, this is the people coming together and working to save Chester County kind of thing.

People drive me crazy when they say “Oh but if you only elect this Republican or this Democrat that change will happen.” No it won’t. When did all of you get so dumb about community activism?

All of these politicians bring YOU to them. That’s not the way you do it. The way you do it is every time you have an election, the politicians take on your issues as their issues. Because if you just continue out there to take their issues on as your issues, you will always end up the loser.

No, often it is not nice. It’s hard. It’s a slog. You have all sorts of people screaming and yelling at you and calling you names. You know, kind of like my average day being a blogger. But you have to work if you really want to save something. You can’t just say oh let’s put up a Facebook page and save something. You actually have to do the work behind it. Look at Crebilly. Those folks did not give up. And they did it.

There have been countless groups who have put up private groups and Facebook pages proclaiming their issue. But the thing is they never really get off the social media pages, do they? They don’t go to meetings. They don’t take meetings with elected officials of all levels. It’s like they expect the world to come to them. I have to bite my tongue and not say how’s that working out for all of you?

If they do have loosely held “groups“, often these days you find different members of sad aforementioned “groups” are going in different directions with slightly different objectives that are often counterproductive. It doesn’t work because you all need to come together.

It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to when you’re working for a common goal and a greater good, you leave that bickering at the door. You need to forget the whole thing about oh if we just do this one little thing for this politician then they’ll help us. No they won’t. The goal of them and their campaigns is to make all of you come around to see their perspective. As we learned years ago fighting eminent domain mean in Ardmore, you have to flip that perspective.

And if the politicians make hollow promises, then you vote them out and you start all over again. And you keep repeating the process till you have government that you can work with, that works for the people.

And I have to say after doing the whole thing in Ardmore, also gave me some of the most amazing friends as an adult. I remember the first event I attended that the Save Ardmore Coalition did years ago. I entered a room a stranger and left with new friends, Friends I still have almost 20 years later. I did not start at the very, very beginning. I heard what they had to say, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. Oh and one election cycle we flipped half of the Board of Commissioners in Lower Merion Township to politicians of BOTH political parties who made our issue theirs. And they kept their word and ended eminent domain for good a few months later. As opposed to that eminent domain circus in East Goshen recently , it didn’t take a year to unwind. That my friends was BS, just like the self-aggrandizing Libertarian “award” , “honor” or whatever was bestowed upon supervisors or one supervisor in general, like the day before their spouse became the head of the Chester County Libertarian Party. That was no better than a publicity stunt. And it made me very sad.

So now that the elections are over, it’s time for communities across Chester County to come together to save what’s left of their character. Yesterday because we were going to visit friends further out in the county from us, we had this gorgeous drive back and forth. It made me think. It made me appreciate all over again the beauty of where we call home.

This also means that we have to start getting busy with our state elected officials, the lame ducks and the ones poised to take office in January. They need to start helping us preserve where we call home. And that means changing certain laws so that is possible.

One big thing requiring change is the Municipalities Planning Code. It hasn’t been comprehensively updated seriously since like 1969. And the last time it was comprehensively updated, do you know what one of the developments was that happened as a result of changes? Chesterbrook. We need fewer developments and that means we have to lobby for these people to get off the rear ends and enact an act of the state constitution. We need to redefine suburb and exurb. We need more meaningful historic preservation and land preservation with built-in components to make it more attractive so that more people are interested in doing it.

This isn’t my job to do this. I am a curtain raiser, and I am once again drawing attention to this very important issue. We live in a beautiful place that is not that far off of being completely ruined forever. And those of us who come from the Main Line can tell you all about that because once upon a time the Main Line was truly beautiful and somewhat magical with amazing homes and properties. Now it’s just a suburb with too many people with misplaced senses of entitlement.

And that suburban sprawl continues to move west, or should I say march west because it’s not flowing, it’s attacking. Every time you turn around there’s another development planned. Or land getting gobbled up now by things like data centers and worse which we don’t know enough about here in this area, but in other areas of the country they’re fighting tooth and nail to get these things out of their communities.

We also don’t have to scream to be heard. When we scream we’re no better than those people that annoy the crap out of us at every school board meeting because they are undoubtedly uncomfortable with their own sexuality, so everything they perceive as different, is bad.

Anyway, it’s not just t-shirts and post cards and endless lawn signs that are going to bring us change. It’s involvement in our communities. And it’s consistent involvement, not involvement when the horses are out of the proverbial barn and nothing can be done.

Since the onset of Covid we have the ability in a lot of places for hybrid meetings. They are both virtual and in person. And most meetings are recorded now, and if you are in a municipality that does not record their meetings, start there. You have a right to have your meetings recorded, and/or you have the right to record the meetings in their entirety and broadcast them on YouTube or Facebook live or whatever.

I think the beauty and character and history of this county are worth preserving. That’s all I have to say. But people have to be willing to get involved and stay involved.

I am a realist. Not every old house can be saved, not every old farm can be saved. But I think as an extended group of communities, we can ask better of our elected officials all the way to Washington DC when it comes to this. But we all have to put the political BS aside and try.

Thanks for stopping by.

a beautiful saturday in marshallton

Yesterday was the celebration of Humphry Marshall’s 300th birthday and Marshallton was alive with happiness and history. It was so much fun!

These are the events I love. A pretty day spent with friends and family walking around a wonderfully pretty and historic village. I went around lunchtime and we started with lunch at the Four Dogs Tavern (fabulous), and then we explored. This way, I escaped the politicians who like to appear at fall events during election season.

I was a little disappointed the blacksmith shop was closed but thrilled that the Merchant of Menace was open!

I had a lovely afternoon. Enjoy the photos. I will also note that we are supporters of the Marshallton Conservation Trust.

pay it forward: contribute to the love thy neighbor fund

When a friend texts you a photo like this holding THEIR wedding photo, you feel like the room is spinning. And in my world, we have been so caught up in a very sick dog in ICU at VRC, I had no idea my friend’s barn caught fire Saturday morning.

Thankfully, none of the animals or humans living on the farm were killed or injured. And no, the house didn’t catch fire. But they had just moved to the farm and were painting the farmhouse and fixing her floors….so all of their possessions: furniture, clothes, pictures, kid’s toys, books, shoes, etc, etc WERE IN THE BARN. Along with farm equipment.

The barn and contents are a total loss. Thanks to the marvelous firefighters in Chester County, the house was saved and so were all humans and animals. Kimberton Fire Company took the lead here, and they were so amazing.

It is a daunting loss. But we love our friend Ashley May Brenner and we are paying it forward for her, like she does for everyone else, every single day. It’s who she is. A hard working, pretty, intelligent woman who is also a young widow. She has the biggest heart. And she needs not only a barn raising right now, she needs a life raising.

So some of us who are her friends, along with some of our friends have banded together to give Ashley and her family a hand up. We have started a Go Fund Me and truly hope to surpass our posted goal because fundraising platforms charge a percentage. We are hoping you can help us out? Any amount you can spare?

Please?

Here is what we said in the Go Fund Me:

Love They Neighbor❤️

This past weekend an amazing local family lost just about everything in an early morning barn fire. Having just moved in two weeks ago all of their furniture, clothes, toys, and household items were being stored in the barn while they did some painting and renovating. While the true blessing is that no one was hurt and the animals were all rescued safely by our amazing local fire companies the reality is that a home needs furniture, and lamps and stuff, closets need filled, kids need toys, and so on. I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing this family for several years now and while I agree with her that all that was lost were just things and things can be replaced I also believe when a friend, a neighbor, when anyone needs help you simply help in any small way you can. This woman is truly an amazing, strong, and beautiful soul.. having lost her husband unexpectedly one month ago, to moving her family and animals to their new farm two weeks ago, to now this she has been nothing short of courageous and strong through it all. Always finding the silver lining in anything and everything she can… she is amazing, her kids are amazing, her animals bring smiles to so many, and it’s time to show them some good old local love in the form of a “house raising”. While the barn raising will happen in the future it’s the house we are focused on filling now… so…the barn is joining together with several other amazing local community members to reach out far and wide for help…

Help comes in all ways and forms… it comes in donating gift cards to the family for supplies, food, and more…. in contributing to a go fund me that will be going live later today, and most importantly through kind words, love, and support from the community around you. It takes a village and this village is going to show up for this family.. so if you can help rebuild dreams, help fill the house, help create new memories and smiles thank you. Thank you for showing this amazing family what a village can do when led by neighborly love…❤️

And… always, always, always remember your local fire departments.. always there when you need them and always going above and beyond.

❤️Love what…. and who…are local ❤️

If you want to help with this “house raising” gift cards can be dropped off at the barn (425 Little Conestoga Rd Downingtown). If you have furniture or other items to donate off the wish list please send me a private message to coordinate. 

If you’d like to send a card or note or something else to show your neighborly love that too can be dropped off here at the barn. If you’d like to help delivering furniture and other things let me know! First load is headed over today!! And if you’d like to help in any other way please just reach out….

Let’s join together to show this amazing family what a community can do when we all lend a helping hand❤️

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you❤️❤️❤️

~LOVE THY NEIGHBOR ❤️ASHLEY MAY BRENNER FUND❤️

Hunting for anything that might have survived among the ashes.

But for the Grace of God go any of us here. This could be any of us. So we are asking for the community to rally for one of our own.

Here is the story told by Kimberton Fire Company (CLICK HERE.)

I really hope that people in Chester County can put aside their differences that seem to grow by the day to help this family.

At the end of this post will be a slideshow of photos. This next photo is what the barn looked like before the fire. It was a magnificent 18th century barn and they also want to rebuild.

Shortly after they moved into Cloverleaf farm just outside the village of Kimberton.

Please help if you can. Even sharing to someone who can help if you can’t is a help. Yes this is personal for me, because Ashley is my friend. And she did not ask us to do this, because she is so self-reliant and independent. But she is our friend and we want to help. So please consider helping us help her.

Here is the link to LOVE THY NEIGHBOR ❤️ASHLEY MAY BRENNER FUND❤️ or https://gofund.me/55805ac1

Thank you for stopping by and thanks for reading.

But for the Grace of God go any of us. Also, please support your local fire department wherever you live.

not a fine chester county tradition: demolition by neglect

105 S. Whitford Road 7/13/22

Recently I wrote about two historic houses within close proximity to one and other on S. Whitford Road in Exton (West Whiteland Township.) I am revisiting it today because I just don’t understand no matter what the municipality how this is OK.

I am also including the rotting historic farmhouse with a fabulous probably rotting barn behind it at 310 Lancaster Avenue in Frazer (East Whiteland Township) which I have been writing about for years (like the Joseph Price house at 401 Clover Mill Road at the corner of South Whitford in Exton, West Whiteland Township.) 310 Lancaster Avenue is the Clews & Strawbridge property, which if I recall my research correctly is three parcels under the same entity name.

Historic farmhouse at Clews & Strawbridge 310 W. Lancaster Avenue, Frazer (East Whiteland Township)

What is interesting about the Clews and Strawbridge property is I found a website today for self storage units there. I hope the storage is an inside the historic farmhouse given its dilapidated condition.

What I don’t understand with this location like the other two in this post is why people can’t take care of them? Why the demolition by neglect? And these are hardly the only examples in Chester County, either.

Joseph Price House 401 Clover Mill Road,
Exton (West Whiteland)

The Joseph Price House at 401 Clover Mill Road is so sad. That is a magnificent property, and it appears to be on still buy two old men in Ambler. I think at least one of them used to live around maybe? I also know they have had offers for that property for restoration/preservation but in this case it’s demolition by neglect meets greed isn’t it?

Today it looks like some kind of cheap roofing material was being thrown up to cover the holes in the roof and some of the porch roof. So is that because they’re trying to sell it or is there actually still a tenant/caretaker living there? There used to be but the more it deteriorated, people just wondered but Loch Aerie had a caretaker living there as that was rotting up until the end. And Loch Aerie is a prime example that restoration and a viable adaptive reuse is entirely possible. Loch Aerie went from a proverbial lump of coal for decades to a glittering diamond.

And the farmhouse at 105 S. Whitford is also legitimately historic. It’s even recognized by West Whiteland Township as such. It was part of the Oaklands estate. And was it also not once also a family home to a very popular former Chester County State Representative?

When I went by both houses along South Whitford Road today I was astounded by the condition of the property at 105. The farmhouse looks sad but not completely dilapidated yet. But give it time because if no one pays attention it will get that way.

Demolition by neglect is an old unpleasant thing in so many communities. A few years ago you even saw foreclosure versions of that when banks would come in and take over the properties and just leave ghost houses, or whatever the correct nickname was.

I don’t know what the future holds for that farmhouse but shouldn’t it matter somehow? Shouldn’t the condition of the property matter somehow? And that’s the whole thing: you get that not every historic house can be saved or every old house or every beautiful swath of land, but this whole demolition by neglect and chest high weeds thing is ridiculous. Don’t the people that live in the area already matter? Shouldn’t these property owners at least be respectful of the township in which they have these properties?

It’s just that in spite of how difficult Pennsylvania seems to make historic preservation because they just don’t offer nearly what a lot of other states offer, there are people who still want to restore these properties. It would just be nice if there was more restoration and less demolition by neglect.

now open: sycamore & stone

So yesterday I did a thing. I went and checked out the new Sycamore & Stone on 401!

Jeff Devlin‘s new property is one I am familiar with, because I used to patronize the antique store that was once in this barn. I love this property and was sad when it went up for sale because I was afraid some developers would snatch up the property and the beautiful barns and house would disappear. However when Jeff announced he had purchased this property I was totally psyched because I knew it was going to be saved, preserved, and wonderful!

Along with the barn which has the store there will be other things available to do on this property including the house becoming a fabulous Airbnb.

This is the kind of preservation in real time and adaptive reuse that Chester County needs more of! I will note that I first came to know Jeff and his fiancée Janelle, through our mutual friend Meg Veno, proprietress of Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm and the soon to be opened Mechantile at the Jenny Lind House in Historic Yellow Springs Village.

I will note that both the Mercantile/Jenny Lind and Jeff’s Sycamore & Stone are both located in West Pikeland Township. West Pikeland is a treasure trove of amazing historic properties. I hope that Township realizes how fortunate and blessed they are that they have people willing to come in and do these amazing adaptive resources that are viable on historic properties.

Jeff’s store is a feast for the eyes and there is all sorts of fun stuff! It has a great Americana country vibe. It’s a lovely space and shoppers feel relaxed in it. It is almost like welcoming someone into a great big farmhouse and not just a hands down super amazing barn. I gravitate to places that are warm and welcoming. And their staff is equally warm and welcoming!

One of the things I liked best are the reproduction hog scraper candlesticks he has available for sale. I collect the actual vintage/antique variety, so these are a real favorite with me! If Jeff Devlin had a wish list for customers mine would be to carry hand dipped taper candles that fit into hog scrapers because that is the right shape for them!

I look forward to this property further coming back to life and it is such a joy to see the work occurring on it every time I drive by. Jeff is a quality craftsman, and such a nice guy so I am glad he found his spot here on this property. My only lament is I don’t have a super old farmhouse for him to help me restore!

Anyway Sycamore & Stone is yet another reason to shop local! Enjoy the photos!

Sycamore & Stone is located at 1251 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, PA. Right now the hours are WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY 12PM-7PM, SATURDAY 10AM-7PM, SUNDAY 10AM-4PM.

I will note that I have not been compensated in any way, shape, or form to write this post. I’m merely visited the store and I am now a happy customer: I like to shop local and support the businesses of people I know.

#shoplocal #shopsmall #stonehouserevival #schoolhousewoodworking #home

spring barn sale weekend at life’s patina!

Life’s Patina is a beautiful, happy place to visit. The seasonal barn sales are fun to go to. It’s a dream of creativity and just pretty things to look at.

Friday, April 29. 10 AM – 5 PM

Saturday, April 30th. 10 AM – 5 PM

Sunday, May 1st. 10 AM – 4 PM

A portion of Life’s Patina Spring Preview Party ticket sales and merchandise sold during our barn sale will be donated to CARE’s Ukraine Crisis Fund, which aims to reach 4 million in Ukraine with immediate aid and recovery, food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance, prioritizing women, girls, families and the elderly.

These events are both indoor and outdoor. The parking is field parking so if the weather looks like it’s going to be funky check their Facebook page or website.

Even if you don’t need to buy anything you may find a little something or a large something that you cannot live without. And you will enjoy every minute that you are there!

LOCATION: Willowbrook Farm, 1750 N Valley Rd, Malvern, PA 19355

just another dying farmhouse along 202

When you are headed on 202 south, just before the light at 926, there is a farmhouse or two. The one right on the corner of 926, still looks inhabited but the one before the corner ? It’s falling apart literally.

I thought maybe this old farmhouse was a Crebilly house. My sources however tell me that it is not part of Crebilly but at one time Crebilly did try to acquire it.

I would love to know the history if anyone knows. It’s in really bad shape.

Here is it’s barn or similar kind of structure:

Here are some closeups and other photos I was able to get of bits of the house as a passenger going by:

today on wildflower farm

Lily the flower truck was the happy spot to be over in Willistown Township today. And no, there was no neighborhood disruption, no people partying in the street, lines on the road, and parking on neighbors’ lawns. But people were stopping and. buying flowers before a holiday weekend. From Wildflower Farm. It was nice, and not frantic or unpleasant like those more shall we say NOFIMBY would have you think.

How do I know? Simple. They are my friends and I pitched in and helped make the arrangements a lot of you purchased today. And before someone thinks something nefarious, I volunteered to help. I had stopped by to drop off fresh vegetables from my weekly vegetable box that no one in my house will eat, and to take some flower photos. I have taken flower photos there before. I love flowers and gardening.

Wildflower Farm has a big hoop house. Right now with the sea of daffodils growing outside, there is this hoop house full of Ranunculus of many colors that were just so spectacular. It was flower heaven today. But with two little kids home on Good Friday and flowers to cut and arrange for people, I pitched in this afternoon.

This is an actual working farm. I had plenty of time to observe on a beautiful spring day. Their property is a little slice of heaven.

The neighbors would have you believe this property is something that it’s not. Sending out a double sided glossy mailer no better than some nasty political season piece is not inexpensive, but it’s a little obvious and in my opinion is not having their desired effect.

Several people who stopped by Lily’s honor flower “bar” remarked that the reason they showed up was the nasty misleading junk mail they received. They showed up to buy flowers and bear witness to the fact that (wait for it) Wildflower Farm REALLY IS A FLOWER FARM!

The noisiest thing on Castlebar Lane today were the landscaping trucks who literally took up more than half the width of a fairly wide street – they were down at the bottom of the street on the right before Providence Road. I also did notice a man driving a nice red pickup truck driving back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm who didn’t stop to buy flowers. Some woman went by on foot all dressed in black, and a neighbor on one side of the farm parked his vehicle at the top of his driveway for a bit. Guess he was getting his mail.

But other than that, nothing remarkable. It was a lovely day. As I assembled little flower arrangements I pondered why again this is such a threat to these NOFIMBY neighbors? Why can’t they see how nice this is?

I loved working with all of those fresh cut from the field and hoop house flowers. Many of the daffodils had a wonderful and sometimes heady fragrance.

I also saw first hand how hard the Heenans are working. Are they our traditional ideal of what farmers are supposed to be or perhaps even look like? But what are farmers supposed to look like anyway? Is there a farmer stereotype handbook somewhere?

Anyway, for those who doubt? It is a flower farm. For real. Also for real? Those neighbors are NOFIMBY.

Read yesterday’s post HERE.

Stop and smell the flowers. And buy some flowers from Wildflower Farm on Castlebar Lane in Malvern, Willistown Township, Chester County.

the wildflower farm tale continues: giving it the good old NOFIMBY college try in willistown

Wildflower Farm posies (yes grown there)

I love the smell of “placed” media, don’t you ? It’s marvelous spin describing a working farm as “an event venue”.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about a little piece that has appeared in places over the last day or so. It’s about Wildflower Farm. But this time, it’s from the neighbors perspective. And I am of the opinion, and allowed to have the opinion that it smells of professional placement. It’s not even honest, is it?

Yes it’s a clear case of spinny, spin, spin isn’t it?

I mean let’s get real these neighbors will do anything to get this farm and these people out of their neighborhood, won’t they? And you have someone who is portrayed as Mother Freaking Theresa in a sweet little media-esque blip when she has shown her true colors even at public township meetings?

And the Emmy goes to…the NOFIMBY (no farm in my back yard) neighbors of Castlebar Lane.

Oh bless their cold, dark hearts and clap, clap, clap. Cue the tiny violins of pity with a side of barf bag. Sorry not sorry that is how this makes me feel.

Neighbors of Wildflower Farm, a Point of Contention in Willistown Township, Share Their Side of The Story

By Leah Mikulich
Published: 5:30 am EDT April 6, 2022

Wildflower Farm in Willistown Township has been a point of contention for months, as neighbors believe they have been demonized on social media and ignored by township officials, writes Davis Giangiulio for Main Line Tonight. 

Lonnie Gray owns one of the five homes on Castlebar Lane, a quiet cul-de-sac where Ryan and Lori Heenan bought two properties and opened Wildflower Farm. They planned it to be a flower farm that would offer small workshops and classes. 

However, when its opening event drew around 100 people, Gray and several other neighbors voiced their concern, and it ultimately led to a call to the police…

Gray is adamant about one thing.

“We are not trying to shut down the Heenans,” she said. “We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.” 

The neighbors have complained to the township about the farm. However, after the Heenans reached what neighbors allege was a “backroom deal” with the township without anybody else’s input, they decided to involve lawyers.

vista today 4/6/22
Main Line Tonight wrote about Wildflower Farm and covered it before.

Let’s unpack this: It’s not an event venue, it’s a farm. And is it REALLY true that some affiliated with these people tried to inquire or perhaps set up the farm early on when they made a folksy, friendly inquiry to see if they could host a small gathering there? And was the answer not essentially that the Heenans did not know then it would be possible? They were not told yes, no deposits were taken, and no “event” was planned or held, was it? It was a fishing expedition, wasn’t it? Yes, yes person who asked, I know this happened and I know who you are and I found that very sad that you stooped so low to shall we say, curry favor with whom you perceive to be the popular kids of the McMansion set?

The berm I have dubbed Mt. Rushmore after seeing it live in the fall

Let’s also discuss Our Heroine of Castlebar Lane. When we last left she was (metaphorically speaking) wringing her hands in a seemingly “placed” puff piece? Their side or just her side? Are we to interpret that the NOFIMBY neighbors aren’t really so bad, they just fear for their PUBLIC road in Willistown Township? That they really aren’t UNneighborly when they call the police on their neighbors? And is this the neighbor with that Brooklyn Bridge project of a Mt. Rushmore berm that always seems to be being worked on whenever I have popped over to visit my friends the Heenans? And that’s a funny thing, Our Heroine always seems to have lots of vehicles in and out? I mean, maybe I am imagining things, but does she have a home based business that generates traffic? Or is that just berm building?

And was it not Our Heroine who said

“It’s beyond comprehension why they would invite the public to come and spend time in the country.” 

“Bringing the public into the neighborhood is completely unacceptable.”

`our heroine

And while we are at our revisionist history best, if these are neighbors NOT trying to ruin the lives of other neighbors do we remember them at a township meeting in Willistown December 2021? By all means, explain how they are lovely people not trying to ruin their neighbors’ lives?

My understanding is that a possible settlement has been reached between the township and the Heenans. Again, the neighbors who will be most affected by the traffic, noise, invasion of privacy, liability, and a reduction in the quality of life not to mention our property values have no idea of what has or will transpire through this agreement.

I understand the zoning and the Farmstand ordinance, let’s keep it to a farmstand and not a full fledged business which is what I believe the Heenans intend. You determine the quality of life in Willistown and I urge you to be guided by the long standing nature of what exists here, open space, conservation, protection of the land, privacy, and a quality of life that is the model for other townships.

Letter discovered via RTK written 12/2021

The flower truck at another farm, Life’s Patina

So the Vista piece came out of a larger more expansive “article” from “Main Line Tonight”. They have an interesting “board”. However, I will point out, we are Chester County, and not the Main Line. And Wildflower farm is in Willistown in the heart of Radnor Hunt. Historically speaking, farms were here before any of the rest of us today, yes?

So here is the article from Main Line Tonight written by a gentleman named Davis Giangulio:

Part Two: The Wild Saga of Wildflower Farm

Feeling demonized by social media and ignored by Willistown Twp., Wildflower’s neighbors share their side of the story.
by Davis Giangiulio, Contributing Editor

Lonnie Gray wants to make one thing clear: “We are not trying to shut down the Heenans. We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.”

That “event venue” is Wildflower Farm, a 4-acre property that opened in May 2021 on Castlebar Lane in Malvern. Ryan and Lori Heenan billed Wildflower as a flower farm that would host small workshops and classes. But Wildflower’s grand opening event on Mother’s Day of 2021 alarmed neighbors. “We were in shock,” Gray said. “Over 70 cars, 100 people, a pizza truck, and all kinds of stuff. We’re going, ‘Wow this is crazy.’”

It got crazier. According to the Heenans, neighbors interrupted that Mother’s Day event, causing so much commotion that police were called.

From Gray’s point of view, the commotion was caused by the Heenans’ event. She and a few of her neighbors hired attorney Marc D. Jonas at Eastburn and Gray PC to protect their rights as homeowners. “No one is going to want to live next door to that,” she said. “It’s living in a residential area and then having it become something very different.”….. Throughout Willistown Twp., and especially on Castlebar Lane, privacy is a luxury. That’s one of the things that attracted Gray, who purchased her four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 5,000 square foot home in 2013.

main line tonight

I just feel that this piece I excerpted is placed. And oh, not all of the hyperlinks in this piece work. Here are some things released under a Right to Know. Now that the public face of the neighbors of the poor, poor neighbors who feel demonized has been polished and scrubbed like shiny new pennies, how about reading what has flown around Willistown over this issue:

The above is just a sampling. Do you want me to REALLY believe they don’t want to destroy the Heenans and Wildflower Farm? And they talk about “back room deals” ? Where? Are they confusing public township meetings as “back room” deals? Yet they can send somewhat unctuous emails to Willistown Supervisors essentially saying “hop to”?

Willistown Meeting December 2021

I just do not GET IT, do you? I mean, and correct me if I am wrong, but do these neighbors NOT benefit from living in McMansions in an agricultural district? And Willistown is one of those places where farms still exist, so if they had their way would farms cease to exist? What’s their next target? Farms like Sugartown Straberries? Heartwood Farm? Ohana Farm? Windy Hill farm? Canter Hill Farm? Willisbrook Farm? That farm with the “oreo” cows AKA Belted Galloways?

Now a lot of what is going on here is of interest to those who follow the ACRE law, correct?

Here is a state pamphlet on the ACRE LAW:

There is an entire section on the PA Attorney General’s website about ACRE. For the entire kitandkaboodle CLICK HERE. And truthfully if Willistown is dancing with this, didn’t they dance before? A little Googling found this:

We’ve been talking about Wildflower Farm and the NOFIMBY neighbors for a long time now. How can people be so determined to all but literally kill their neighbors? Why is a flower farm so bad? I still think this is one of the ugliest examples of misplaced sense of entitlement I have ever seen.

At the end of the day, this just makes me sad. These NOFIMBY neighbors can say they are lovely, caring people but the thing is this: actions speak louder than words. If they want to be seen as good, they can’t just write lovely checks to non-profits can they? They actually have to be good. I can’t help but wonder what they are in fact costing the taxpayers of Willistown with all of this swirling nastiness?

Sadly the NOFIMBY drama seems to go on and on and on. As I said the first time I waded into this topic, I think these people are wrong. Their lives aren’t adversely affected by flowers and a flower farm. They are responsible for this swirling ugliness, not the Heenans.

I am a lover of farms. Small farms matter. All farms matter.

I am also a gardener. Plant more flowers. Stop and smell the flowers NOFIMBY neighbors. Stop this madness, except you won’t will you? So sad.

#SupportLocalAgriculture #SmallFarmsMatter #AllFarmsMatter #TeamWildFlowerFarm

For more coverage:

the strange tale of wildflower farm: in willistown when is a farm not ok to be a farm?

this is wildflower farm

christmas comes to wildflower farm in willistown (hopefully)

the new trend in willistown, the land of farms and open space is NOFIMBY?

it’s simple: save wildflower farm.

Main Line Tonight: The Wild Saga of Wildflower Farm

Vista Today: Neighbors Continue to Sow Seeds of Discontent in Malvern Couple’s Wildflower Farm

My Chesco: Neglected Chester County Barn Transformed Into Organic Farm Producing Flowers for Any Occasion

Find Wildflower farm on their WEBSITE, Instagram, Facebook, and in-person during open farm hours.

it’s simple: save wildflower farm.

I make no secret about how I feel about the nasty NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown.

NOFIMBY = No Farm(s) In My Back Yard.

These people treat their neighbors horribly. They have waged a campaign of terror against the Heenans. The Heenans crime? They came to Willistown with a dream: to create a beautiful small farm and grow flowers.

I have written about this several times now. Truthfully, I am somewhat astounded at how hate for their neighbors drives these NOFIMBY neighbors. How their hate for farms in a township that grew on farms seemingly drives them. I mean what is the public supposed to interpret from their actions? Apparently they would prefer a townhouse development or some other form of plastic mushroom development instead of a FLOWER farm?

Of course I am also astounded that I still don’t see Willistown Conservation Trust coming to the defense of Wildflower Farm, aren’t you? But given how many great swaths of land are in play in Willistown in general these days, I wonder what they are doing? How can they stand idly by and not truly take a stand for small farms at least?

But I digress.

Wildflower Farm needs our help. Please write to Willistown’s Township Manager Sally Slook at sslook@willistown.pa.us

Please tell Willistown to amend the zoning so farms and agricultural uses of land are protected. It also can’t hurt to tell the township that you specifically support Wildflower Farm and the Heenan family specifically.

I will also point out that Willistown Township has been very supportive of Wildflower Farm. This crap is NOFIMBY neighbor driven IMHO.

See this piece in Vista: Neighbors Continue to Sow Seeds of Discontent in Malvern Couple’s Wildflower Farm

#SaveWildflowerFarm

#FarmsMatter

#SaveSmallFarms

Here is what the Heenans would like all of us to know: