2021 in review

o))) Winter Solstice Full Moon Journey + Ceremony Soundscape... - Gabriola  Arts Council

Before I get to a recap of sorts of 2021, let’s talk Christmas decorations. Mine stay up to Epiphany (maybe a little later.) When do you take your decorations down? I have to be honest, I also just like them so much I wish the Christmas season were just a little bit longer. However, I know once January rolls around the nutcrackers and elves kind of look like they are staring at me from the bookshelves, so down they come until next year.

2021 has been a crazy year and let’s start with more current events. Recently a person purported to live in the Malvern area was arrested in West Chester after a bar fight. Not just any old bar fight, she (yes she) also was charged with biting and spitting on employees. Hey I am not making this up, just ask the West Chester Borough Police who posted it. THAT is why the media picked up the story and wrote about it.

Biting and spitting during what is still a GLOBAL pandemic known as COVID-19. Why am I talking about this? Well it made the news so I posted a link to a published article. No real rhyme or reason, I just posted it. I do post crime stuff every now and again. I will note that I posted with NO opinion. Just posted the article.

Up pops the Stepford -With -Matching -Capes- Crusaders. I was a bad person for sharing it. Why was I posting it. Oh and the best? I was a threat to the community for posting it. Say what? Oh and middle school behavior for posting it. Did I mention it was in the news?

All I did was post the link. If something is in the news and it’s posted, it doesn’t make anyone a bad person for posting a link unless of course it’s fake news. It wasn’t. Now if you don’t like something someone posts, we are supposed to be grown-ups, right? So why not just scroll by for something more to your comfort level? (I will note another news story, similar topic also has surfaced out of Bear, DE at a WaWa of all places. Same age range women. Bizarre, dangerous, and hideous behavior in the age of COVID19.)

Social media behavior in general (as in everywhere) has greatly deteriorated since the last presidential election and COVID19. Maybe all of you armchair critics merely like the sounds of your own voices but not everybody has to listen to it. And so we are clear, I am not speaking about that old-fashioned concept of disagreeing, yet having a thing called a conversation. I am referring to the beyond the nipping at the virtual ankles, being flat out obnoxious if not more. And yet these are the same people who don’t understand where kids learn about bullying.

New Year's Eve

Sometimes I turn the other cheek with these village idiots in local social media groups. This was not one of those times. I grow increasingly intolerant of this brand of bullsheit. And that doesn’t make me a bad person, it means I have had enough of those who wish to have local social media domination in a puffy cloud world where cute bunnies and unicorns fart rainbows.

Then the other day I had the best giggle all day from a writer, Brian Hickey:

“Let’s Go Brandon: the rallying cry of people who peaked in high school.”

~ Brian Hickey 12/28/21

That makes a nice segue to the comments of 2021 on this blog having to do with politics, maskers vs. anti maskers, anti-vaxxers and more:

I only posted a snippet of the hate mail comments I receive. But these show the range from I am a horrible person to why don’t I just kill myself. Ah yes the milk of human kindness at it’s finest. And mind you, I will get these comments when writing about a garden tour. It’s me I suppose. I am too different in opinion from them, I don’t know “my place”, whatever. Someone I know had this to say about one person being a keyboard tiger jackass:

I hope he accidentally uses his poison ivy as toilet tissue And deserves the kind of life that is small minded, mean, douche-y comment deserves. You on the other hand deserve to have a wonderful day that you had and being able to celebrate it free from pestilence.

Your “I’m-not-afraid-to-go-low” friend from New York.

I have to admit that made me laugh. My New Yorkers are fierce.

And as far as social media groups like on Facebook go, if you as an admin have the audacity to remove an ankle biter, that is rarely the end of it. Some of them keep trying to get back into a group. Others keep sending their friends and relatives to either keep beating their drum in their absence, or to spy and see if people are still talking about them. Hence the reason most groups these days do not let you join automatically. Everyone is tired especially of the Facebook ankle biters.

Even inane NextDoor isn’t immune from insane social media behavior. 2021 saw the oddly obsessed CVS man and the people who recently piled onto the poor woman who was just concerned about a homeless couple living in their car in a grocery store parking lot in Phoenixville. And let’s not forget the freak flag flying political posts of NextDoor and the crowd sourcing for should people call the police about things, or posting personal information publicly like it isn’t social media, although it most assuredly is.. That site in general is a big headscratcher.

Also in 2021 we had the woman who thinks Tredyffrin Easttown School District school board meetings are for her to throw extra blonde temper tantrums. She didn’t like me mocking her public comments at a public meeting. And at that time she was blathering to anyone who would listen to her (including local media) about her views on life, vaccines, masks, politics, the universe.

This was the same woman who during breast cancer awareness month (the dreaded and disliked Pinktober to many of us) posted a photo of me on Facebook in a hospital gown taken either before my breast cancer surgery or after my surgery but before I started treatment. It was like a wanted poster with piss poor timing. Among other things it was supposed to intimidate me. Purely female BS.

The school board follies on the whole were quite insane in 2021. The ugliest of the ugliest. And it’s not over. Even if so many of the anti-vaxxer anti-maskers, and Qanon cuties lost their school board races, they are still around. At least one was a nurse. A pediatric nurse, no less. I hope whomever she works for is proud of her efforts, right? Others of their ilk did not lose and made it onto school boards. Essentially the politics of crazy will continue to threaten public school education just like it threatens the very tenets of our society and democracy.

The most frightening example of threatening our democracy occurred this year on January 6, 2021. That is another highlight of the sheer volume crazy of 2021. Who would have ever thought we would be watching news reports of mob of Americans storming our beloved Capitol? On January 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. hoping to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes that would formalize then President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. This effort failed, and it has been in court and all over social media ever since. Mob members who have been identified are being prosecuted. One of the oldest mob members is from the West Chester area and I think I read he is in his 80s.

Living La Vida COVID in 2021 meant a lot of us spent a lot of time keeping to ourselves. And given the climate of the world around us, it was a perfectly acceptable alternative. As the world re-opened we still couldn’t be sure who was vaccinated, who was not, who had COVID, and who may or may not act crazy if they saw you wearing a mask or saw someone not wearing a mask.

This extended to a lot of our recent Christmas celebrations, which for most were considerably smaller to be safe, because what has arrived? The lovely Omicron variant. I know quite a few people who have picked it up, including at a Christmas concert I love but decided to skip this year because of COVID. Some people who were vaccinated I know who got snagged by the latest variant but they hadn’t had their booster yet. But most of the people I know who now have COVID19 have never gotten shots yet. I wonder if they will now?

Now that COVID cases are on the insane rise again, there are other issues. Remember we have one hospital in Chester County – Jennersville – closing at the end of this week, and another, Brandywine closing at the end January. It seems no one can stop Tower Health from doing this. But then again no one could stop Hahnemann in Philadelphia from closing, either.

Tower Health by these actions is essentially going to cause unbelievable problems for ALL residents of Chester County, not just the communities affected most directly by the hospitals they are closing. It’s a shame Chester County can’t sue Tower Health or federal entities like The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, isn’t it? Or can they?

New Yorker February 17, 2021 by Ward Sutton

Back to politics. The politics of extremism still rules the day. I have watched friendships erode over politics, even my own. I have a friend who is super conservative. I sent her a Christmas card like always. No card received here. Crickets.

I feel it is because I could never join the cult of Trump. I never judged this friend’s conservatism because it’s their belief system, and even if I don’t agree with a lot of it now, the world is big enough for more than one point of view. But I am wondering if I instead were judged? Makes me sad, but I can only control me. I won’t shut the door, but it makes me sad because there are a bunch of those in my life. I was fine when I was a Republican, but now I am not, I am somehow not worthy. Or I am not worthy to some because I am not liberal enough.

How did this world happen? I remember a time when you could be many political persuasions in a room, yet you would all leave the conversations friends. Now it’s “off with their heads” and you can’t have an actual conversation, let alone sit on different sides of the political fence. What good is that doing anyone?

Political cartoons: The best of October

Other things that marred 2021 was crime. Usually surrounding the City of Philadelphia, which has deteriorated into a filthy dirty, crime ridden city with a joke of a mayor and a doofus of a district attorney. But when Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon got carjacked at gunpoint at FDR Park in Philadelphia recently they got the bad guys in like a day….which NEVER happens to regular folk. I am very glad she is OK but I sure hope this keeps a GIANT spotlight on the hot mess that is the City of Philadelphia.

Crime has made it’s way more and more into what was bucolic Chester County. It sucks, frankly. And the police forces are smaller than in a big city.A lot of areas are covered by the Pennsylvania State Police. Like Charlestown where Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska-Gould went missing on April 10, 2017. In April, 2022 it is FIVE years. FIVE years.

In 2021 we saw the ugliness of development march on in Chester County. Even in a global pandemic it’s more, more, more. From butt ass ugly billboards to apartment buildings to fake carriage homes to townhouses for lemmings and more, over-development is now Chester County’s middle name, isn’t it?

We saw things like Tarad Hill Farm in West Bradford go up for sale. It remains to be seen what will happen, but it was being marketed for it’s development possibilities by the nouveau gentry who acquired it and now appears to be selling it. Support the efforts of groups like the Marshallton Conservation Trust in that area (please).

We also saw Rock Hill Farm in Willistown go into a sales agreement I guess since in that case there have already been plans submitted for development. (See here on Willistown website) That is 200 plus acres of what is not only amazing open space, but what about the history of the property? And it has Crum Creek going through it and is old-growth forest, wetlands, rolling hills and streams, and productive farmland. The big puzzle for me in this case is the son of the deceased owner or co-owner is on the Board of Willistown Conservation Trust and has been for a while, right? So why was nothing on that parcel ever put into conservation? In 2022 Willistown residents will see what will happen I suppose. So many object to it, but in the end I think the horse is sadly out of that barn. Someone recently put up a website.

Also in Willistown this year there has been the strange tale of the neighbors of Castlebar Lane and Wildflower Farm. They live in Willistown but apparently farms to them are verboten? Is this just a case of NOFIMBY (No Farm In My Back Yard) ? This is one of the most bizarre things in Chester County in 2021 and it’s so Scary Spice meets Stepford Wives meets Knotts Landing meets Desperate Housewives. Except in this case it’s a whole Scare Spice RACK. The township came to an agreement with Wildflower Farm recently, but we’ll see if the narsty neighbors (yes narsty) are finished yet. But hey look, they can always build bigger berms, right?

National View: Republican resurgence in 2022 already on the horizon |  Duluth News Tribune

This year has also been a crazy year in the seemingly unending saga of the pipelines. Sunoco/Mariner East/ Energy Transfer. Josh Shapiro announced criminal charges and then it seemed like a short time later announce a run for governor, so is this for him or for the residents of Chester County? And then they just announce that pipeline work would resume? Which came first, the chicken or the pipeline? File under to be continued….

However, in 2021 here at the end of the year have been a few surprises. Let’s start with Township Managers.

Casey LaLonde is done at West Goshen. Yup at the meeting on the 21st of December, he is leaving West Goshen for greener pastures somewhere in the private sector but where? Kiss kiss Casey and will folks find you at the Joan Crawford Museum as a docent?

Then today the news eeeked out that Mimi Gleason is out at West Whiteland? Fie under Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus in West Whiteland. Will it be Après Mimi, le deluge? Only time will tell and I think people should fasten their seatbelts.

Speaking of seatbelt fastening, today I learned that in East Goshen they will be “investigating” undoing eminent domain at the Hicks Farm. That was the word used in the meeting packet for next week. East Goshen Supervisors can you not begin next week with a simple resolution to end eminent domain? Okay semi rhetorical, because they can. It was done in West Vincent, it was done in Ardmore years ago. And so on in so forth. (Good lord they can even look on the Institute for Justice’s website for how tos probably, right? They practically have a legal zoom for eminent domain. Even a good Google can help you.)

And one of my favorite bright spots was the news on Crebilly Farm in Westtown. Recently the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors granted funding to Natural Lands to begin the process of grant proposal writing for the conservation of Crebilly Farm. I had to pinch myself on that one. But prayers up, there is something to work towards, even if there does seem to be an active real estate listing on the property?

Personally this has been a year for me. I reached a ten year milestone being breast cancer free, yet I lost two long time friends to cancer. Also this year two of the great ladies of my childhood passed away, and one of my late father’s favorite cousins. And the thing is none of these losses were due to COVID-19 but COVID kept people from saying goodbye to loved ones and friends all over the globe. And if we don’t all get it together, 2022 will be another long COVID riddled year. You aren’t having your first amendment rights threatened if you are asked to get a shot or wear a mask.

BUT I still had a wonderful year with my friends and family including being able to tour David Culp’s Brandywine Cottage gardens and have a couple of small and safe gatherings with vaccinated friends and family.

Life is what we make of it and it is the simple things that bring me joy. Like a phone call from a very dear friend who just wanted to thank me for being able to see my Christmas decorations. Of course I laughed and told her but now I had to start thinking about disassembling the tree and more and putting all of the ornaments away. When that happens it is like saying good bye to old friends for a year. But then we all start planning our gardens, don’t we, so it is a cycle of happiness, right?

As we literally count down the hours until 2022, I hope some of you can just hit the pause button. I wish for you health and happiness in 2022 and pray for a more peaceful world and a little less political craziness. I won’t be unrealistic and wish for it all to disappear, but maybe hope for just a little less mania.

Thanks for stopping by in 2021. 2022 marks this site turning 10. Happy New Year kids!

holiday landmines…and other thoughts

Today was the day I had slated to address our Christmas Cards. It will have to wait until tomorrow. I hit a holiday landmine this afternoon.

I received a few Christmas cards, and ever the Christmas card addressing procrastinator, I thought I would open them. Well one was a note from a friend who lost their spouse. They said something along the lines is the problem with looking at photos is you can’t hold hands with it.

That just made me stop. So beautiful and yet so sad and heart-breaking and tragic a sentiment. It made me remember the breadth and depth of their love. And I know there are others out there in my friend group who is having the same emotional struggles right now.

So I thought to myself, tomorrow is another day and I will do the cards then.

It made me think of last week when I was getting out more of the Christmas ornaments. Every year I know these boxes containing some of my late father’s ornaments are in a certain ornament tub in the attic. Every year the boxes fall apart a little more, and the handwriting fades a little more. And every year, I am a puddle for a few minutes all over again when I see them. And I remember when the boxes were newer and sturdy. And the handwriting bold and definite.

Christmas is magical. And often bittersweet. And sometimes it can be sad within the beauty of the season. I know quite a few people this year who will be spending the holidays with one person down in their lives. Someone who completed their circle in some way.

We need to take a beat and pause during this time of year. These are the things that are actually important — those who remain and those who have left us. Christmas memories. Keeping old and good memories and making new ones while remembering those who are no longer here.

All of this occurred to me today as those twisted Stepford Wives in the local chapter of “Moms for Liberty” who released their book burning list I guess recently (or it surfaced again in time for Christmas?) The list includes The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Outlander by Diana Galbadon, Forever by Judy Blume (which they were flipping out about when I was a kid), Beloved by Toni Morrison.

The funniest bad book was 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James which literally made me laugh because the kids are probably stealing it from their mother’s bedside table – and yes that book is total trash. And of course all of the books that are geared towards kids who may be LGBTQIA are always bad, and well let’s sprinkle the world with extra racism at Christmas to show how Christian they all are. But let’s not forget as soon as you tell a kid something is BAD, they want to know all about it.

All I can think is how can these people have such sad, narrow-minded lives? And then my mind goes back to people I know who are struggling this Christmas season. As my friend Tom said:

“The most moronic group name I’ve seen in a while. They don’t know what they want to believe and others to follow. Liberty defined is, “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” So by asking authority to impose restrictions on freedoms is insane.”

I don’t know what it will take for people to wake up in our world and realize being different is what makes us unique. It makes us individuals. It makes us human. And these oddly empowered people who worship still at the altar of extremism in politics Just.Don’t.Get.It.

People in this country and in other countries have lost so much over the past couple of years, can’t they just take a beat, take a breath and remember what this season is supposed to be about? They are as bad as the Scrooge neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown who were nothing short of miserable at the meeting the other night where the township announced the settlement agreement with Wildflower Farm.

I just don’t get people. I want to think some of these people may also find the holiday season difficult except they seem to be like this all of the time, right?

Christmas is in 10 days. Can we be kind and supportive of those who need it and stop all the extraneous B.S.? (And that includes the crazy rage-o-riffic impatient driving patterns everywhere.)

But oh yes! Before I forget: HUMOR. The Christmas star on this local tree has had too much Egg Nog, apparently:

That reminds me of the tree we had as a kid that my mother swore had spinal meningitis. It looked all perfect on the lot and we got it home and it leaned at such an angle that my father put it in a corner and kind of leaned it against the wall so people didn’t notice as much!

Personally, I miss my father and my great aunts and my brother in law and my maternal grandmother at Christmas. These are the people who loved Christmas even more than me I think. And they always made it fun…even if decorating a tree with my father could be maddening because he had a specific ORDER to adding ornaments to the tree. And I just realized now that I *think* I do the same thing. So that just made me smile.

Well that brings another rambling stream of consciousness to an end.

Try loving one and other for at least a short while? Life is short, it’s Christmas.

Bah humbug to all Christmas crabs and to all a good night.

christmas comes to wildflower farm in willistown (hopefully)

This evening at Willistown Township, the Township officials voted in an agreement with Wildflower Farm, specifically a settlement agreement. As I am a friend of the Heenans, I knew the agreement was coming, but was waiting for the official evening which was the Supervisors Meeting this evening. I have not been privy to the terms of the agreement, I should be CLEAR about that. I also didn’t ask because it’s not my business. I am just happy an agreement was reached.

Well, here it is:

I have to admit the Willistown Supervisors were very patient with the charming neighbors of Castlebar Lane. Still can’t decide if they are Super Stepford, Desperate Housewives throwbacks, Knotts Landing or just jerks of the first order.

And yes, Castlebar dwellers, that is my opinion and I am allowed said opinion. I would never have thought twice about any of this if I hadn’t seen things with my own eyes, including but not limited to someone driving back and forth and back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm’s driveways when I was there one time. For quite a while. I still think that was super creepy and stalkeriffic.

One of the neighbors, who was speaking a lot during settlement agreement identified himself as Frank Houder. He is on the Willistown Planning Commission and his business has gotten a lot of work out of Willistown Township over the years, correct? So I guess as an observer this evening I am a little surprised that he seemingly doesn’t get how things and ordinances work?

I don’t know. It’s a great mystery of life. How these neighbors can be so horrible even when tamed down at a meeting being recorded, escapes me. Again, my opinion and it’s allowable. But those people are why I do not go to many meetings and am grateful for Zoom and streaming. I can watch them and have my meeting Tourette’s and not disturb anyone. Because frankly, people like this make me want to stand up and tell them they are terrible and would they please just STOP.

So all these Scrooges of Castlebar Lane and their ilk will now sit and stew in their McMansions with their cold, dark hearts?? Will they keep filing things against Wildflower Farm? Will they keep essentially spying on Wildflower Farm?

People, it’s freaking CHRISTMAS. Do you get the whole reason for the season? Do you get how horrible you have been to your NEIGHBORS you supposedly wish to get along with?

And why do these neighbors think they should have been privy to a settlement agreement between the township and the farm? That has nothing to do with the neighbors, does it? Or do these people think so highly of themselves that everything has to do with them? (Umm hello, if the world revolves around them, stop it I want to get off.)

Well only time will tell what the Scrooge Collective on Castlebar Lane does. Here’s hoping they just accept they live in an area where farms used to be more plentiful than McMansions. Here’s hoping they realize how LUCKY they are to have a Wildflower Farm in their midst. I mean what if they were allowed to be pig farmers? Me thinks pigs would be far more offensive and odiferous than flowers, yes? And they could have a field of townhouses or ticky tacky new construction crammed in, but they are looking at a FARM and a nice rehabbed one at that. Be GRATEFUL.

As a gardener I have shared my garden resources with this farm – sources for unusual bulbs, tubers, roses, and native plants/trees. As a gardener, I am thrilled to have them close to home. They are wonderful and their flowers are awesome and so is their honey. And they are nice people I have come to know and I am grateful to call friends. Nice people. Beautiful children, hardworking. Chester County is LUCKY to have them.

Merry Christmas Wildflower Farm. Your friends and customers and nice neighbors believe in what you are doing!

Here are the prior posts on Wildflower Farm:

October 7, 2021: the strange tale of wildflower farm: in willistown when is a farm not ok to be a farm?

October 8, 2021: this is wildflower farm

Merry Christmas Heenans! Can’t wait for spring flowers!

december 1st musings

Well dear readers, it is December 1st. 2021 is in the home stretch.

And what a year it has been. More crazy politics and the COVID-19 of it all still lurks, now with a new variant just in time for Christmas: “Omnicron”. (Who names these things? The hurricane namers?)

In some regards it has been a good year, in some regards rather difficult.

For me it has been a year of personal loss. A friend I had since 7th grade left this earth literally right after we did the memorial service for another friend I had since the 10th grade and lost during 2020. They were tough losses for me. Then almost too close together two friends from adulthood, and I wouldn’t have ever met one, had I not known the other. Then a favorite cousin, and two of the ladies who were part and parcel of happy memories of childhood and Society Hill…and whom I had seen throughout adulthood. The older we get, every now and again the fabric of our lives snags and pulls at our heart and memories.

I will admit parts of this year just got to me. Sometimes for different reasons. Yet here we are, entering into the Christmas season, one of my favorite times of the year. It makes up for me missing all the months of mad gardening, which still make me look out of the window to wonder what everything will look like when it comes up next year.

2021 was a year I definitely marveled at people…like the woman who posted the photo of me on Facebook in a hospital gown during October (AKA “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”). The photo was from either right before my 2011 surgery or just after but before I started treatment. More recently, is this rather obsessive and wound guy who is running around social media calling me a “shill for CVS” because I had posted information I had learned because I had the initiative to go to CVS corporate and tell them how bad things were here and ask what they were going to do about it. Once again I have to say, I am not paid to do these things and am not a compensated blogger.

2021 was us getting back to trying to feel normal and see friends and family. But I have to ask, who else almost has a panicky feeling if they are somewhere where a lot of people are? Or even if it is not a lot of people it feels like a lot of people? Of course now we are getting into corporate Christmas party season. I do not miss those days and wouldn’t be going if I was still a teeny cog in a large corporate wheel.

2021 is a year where the hangover of 2020 politics haunted us all year long. I expect these politics will haunt us for a very long time. I miss some whom I consider friends, but who don’t seem to have time for me now that they consider me ” super liberal” which I am still truly not. But I can’t and won’t conform to Stepford Wife style politics or herd mentality and follow the sheeple. Simply not my jam, and those who truly know me have no problem with that no matter what their politics are. I wonder will we ever be able to have civil political conversations again some day?

2021 was feeling like I was under siege as a blogger at times. I have been blogging long before it was commonplace and I will never understand why I am so, shall we say, “fascinating” to some? I am not so unusual, I actually quite ordinary. Is having a point of view that doesn’t have to be crowdsourced first on Facebook so unusual?

2021 was a year I cherished my family and friends even more than ever. But there for the Grace of God, go I. When you look at what others are going through, you do quite literally count your blessings. Life is not a Hallmark Christmas movie with a hero at the end and a happy ending, but it’s not so bad, and I am blessed. A phrase I don’t use often like tossing bits of popcorn into the air. But this year marks my 10th year surviving breast cancer among other things.

For all of us, it has felt like an eternity since our world went upside down in March of 2020 due to COVID-19. And honestly, I don’t feel we are out of the woods yet. And please, save your conspiracy theories like the one I heard last weekend when someone said to me that the people spreading COVID-19 were all the people who got their shots. And that, friends is one of the more irritating as hell aspects of 2021: it has been the year of the anti-masker/anti-vaxxer. By all means, keep protesting in front of malls and such, just stay out of my way. And don’t tell me I am wrong if I wear a mask somewhere. I hate wearing masks, but sometimes you just have to.

Now I am going to turn my attention towards getting my decorations up for Christmas. I am excited to be able to share this holiday season with some of my family. Nothing huge, but it will be Christmas.

I am, however, amused by somewhat extended family whom I have not heard from since way before COVID -19 hit inquiring as to Christmas plans. I would be offended, but that would require more head space than it deserves. Yes, it’s Christmas but umm where have you been? Some people sadly have no sense of their own optics based on behavior. You can’t always ask, sometimes you have to give.

Today I marked December 1st by having a photo taken with Santa. Nope sorry, that is my photo for my Christmas memories, but he was a rather marvelous Santa as you can see in the photo.

Seeing a Santa today really made me believe in the magic of Christmas. Here’s hoping we all have a magical season sprinkled with happiness. (And if you use Spotify listen to their just released list of what we listened to in 2021 – I like my list so far!)

Ho ho ho and thanks for stopping by.

thanksgiving 2021

I don’t know that I have anything particularly profound to say this Thanksgiving. It has been quite a slog these past two years between hideous politics and COVID-19. This will be the year that a lot of us finally have a true holiday with family. Hopefully it will be a day to just pause and be together.

Some will travel, others will open their doors to friends and family. For some I know, it will be a perhaps bittersweet and poignant start to the holiday season – it has been a year of loss for so many.

I lost a few friends this year who passed away. Two were friends I made in adulthood, two were among the great ladies of my childhood, and one more recently was a neighbor for many years and a friend for so many more years preceding that.

How do we honor these wonderful people who were in our lives? I guess by trying to be the best people we can be. It made me think of this Dutch Hymm we used to sing this time of year when we were at St. Peter’s titled “We Gather Together”.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday filled with history and tradition. Hopefully we can all gather and have wonderful days wherever we are. Awesome that will mean watching endless football, and the first year I do that will be I don’t know when because I don’t really watch football. And I bet some of my armchair critics are saying “Aha that’s what’s wrong with her!” (Should I ‘fess up that I don’t like beer now too?)

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday for us and dates back to 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is now acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the “colonies.”

For the centuries that followed here in the US, “days of thanksgiving” were celebrated by individual colonies and then states. It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

This year a lot of Thanksgiving Day Parades will return. Our new normal thanks to COVID19 will be meeting our old normal, Thanksgiving Day Parades and activities.

But for some the holiday season is hard, and it kicks off tomorrow. I hope they get through it o.k.

Take tomorrow to enjoy your time with your people whomever they may be: your family, your friends, your neighbors. And take a moment to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving.

art makes me happy

I have written about family friend and Philadelphia artist Margery Niblock a few times before. Her art is just something I have loved since I was a child. She was kind of my first artist.

She was a part of my childhood and I remember her home studio and her prints wafting in the breeze pinned to a clothesline with old fashioned wooden clothes pins at the Head House Craft Fair.

Margery also was one of my teachers back in the day. As a child she taught me to do woodblock and linoleum prints. I actually wasn’t that bad at it. It was a very fun process.

So recently, a very nice friend gave me some prints that he and his wife had collected while they lived not too far from where we lived when I was little. Prints I had literally not seen since I was a child! And three were owls! (I love owls!)

Receiving these prints was so exciting! They had literally never seen the light of day since they were purchased.

I took them over to Framers Market Gallery in Malvern to be framed. (Jayne and Dave the owners do all of my framing and re-framing at this point.) Jayne and I spent a good part of an afternoon about a month ago choosing the framing and mats. The store is so much fun because they have so many beautiful choices.

So here we are! The finished product!

Art makes me happy. And it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive to have value to you. Buy what you like and hang what you like. Check thrift shops and flea markets and fairs and local art shows. Find your artist and enjoy them.

Thanks for stopping by!

a meander

Different things matter to different people. I can be a little introspective at times. But I also often think things happen for a reason.

Last week was another week of my past and present being together. It was a weekend of family and friends. Still small and careful gatherings in our COVID19 world. And masks where asked without complaint.

I am really lucky to have amazing friends in my life, including from grade school and high school. I saw some more at a brunch yesterday. And my family, I just love.

One of my friends did something yesterday which was so touching. He told me how much it meant to him that my husband and I were the way we were in high school, and that he was grateful that we were always just his friend.

You see, back in the late 70s and early 80s, Main Line private schools were integrating yes, but it doesn’t mean that there weren’t huge invisible dividing lines inside the schools. There were. Maybe not all of the time, but they existed. My friend spoke of being a black boy from West Philadelphia at a Main Line private school – in this case, my alma mater, Shipley. I never really thought of it until yesterday, but him coming to school with us at first must’ve been literally like putting him on a different planet.

Maybe I was just that naïve back then, or maybe it was just a different time but I didn’t think of a lot of this then. He was just another one of my high school friends. And he was a nice guy who grew up to be a nice man. I did recognize that the truly not so invisible dividing lines often existed, but I often didn’t necessarily pay attention to them like I didn’t pay attention to cliques back then. My friends were simply my friends.

There’s that phrase hindsight is 20/20, except when I’m looking back now I’m looking back with the eyes of an adult. Back then I was just a kid. But no matter what our race, creed, color I think we all have to live through the past to reach today, right?

I guess this is why today, I often have issues with what I see going on around me. And part of what I see going on around me is a general dumbing down of life, even after all that we have gone through in this country over the past few years.

A lot of that dumbing down occurs on social media. I actually had a conversation with someone yesterday afternoon where they were talking about how are you bridge that gap between what’s actually going on in your life and what people want to see on social media? I guess the short answer is you have to live your own truth. Nobody’s lives are perfect.

Things I’ve seen lately on social media that drives me crazy include the responses people have to those discussing some of the particularly bad school board candidates who have cropped up. I’ve written about them.

A lot of these candidates are just absurd. And they’re not absurd in a good way that they are just good theater and amusing to see go by, they are absurd because they are such bad candidates that they could cause real damage to local public education systems.

But here in the fluffy white clouds of social media you can’t call a spade a shovel or a shovel a spade or even a trowel. You can’t actually have your opinion the way you wish to articulate it. And I’m not saying cursing up a storm, just telling people how you feel and why about a candidate in a school board race. Apparently a lot of us, myself included, did not get the memo with the requirement of pink fluffy bunnies and bubbles. And they have new champions like the couple of blogs which have cropped up for the election season.

I’m being called ageist and mean because I simply don’t understand how a candidate who has been invisible the entire campaign season for the school board races in Great Valley School District who is a teenager and college student will have time between classes and keggers to be on a school board? That is not ageist, that’s accurate. It’s common sense. If she was Alex P. Keaton with boobs, we would have seen a lot of her around, not just her Cher/Madonna campaign signs all of a sudden a couple of weeks before the election.

I think it’s that whole theory of everybody gets a gold star today, instead of actually earning the gold star.

But the thing about this weekend, is it was yet another weekend after such a long time, where I actually spent time with people who matter to me, including family, and reveled in the ability to have normal conversations with people. There wasn’t that built in censorship of overly paranoid political correctness, there was just good conversation. And even if we didn’t agree 100% with the other person’s opinion, there were no Facebook-like meltdowns. We talked, we laughed, we shared.

This matters to me. It matters to me to be able to have realistic and real conversations with people. They don’t necessarily have to be super deep all the time, they can be light social setting chit chat.

Being real matters. And part of being real is not sitting your entire life on Facebook telling people an alternate view of reality. Maybe your life on your planet is grand, I don’t ask people to move there and elect you supervisor of a real place, or to a school board.

And then there are the people who hide in the shadows and send all the nasty messages about what you write and say.

While we are speaking Facebook, let’s talk about the people whom you don’t know who just want to message you whenever the spirit moves them. Sometimes that spirit is moving them in the middle of the night, or other times it’s just when you’re not available. And when you tell them you’re not available, they don’t respect those boundaries they don’t take those social cues, they just keep going. These are the people that demand respect, but they don’t give respect. If you were to contact any of them, their response would be “why are you contacting me?“ yet conversely, you are supposed to just drop everything when they private message you?

It’s like society is becoming a caricature of itself. It’s kind of fascinating to watch, but it’s also equal parts scary and pathetic. In the 18th and 19th century there were scores of political and social commentators who wrote these fabulous plays and drew these damn funny cartoons and lampoons of life in that time.

Take Richard Brinsley Sheridan who wrote the play “School for Scandal” in 1777. It was a comedy of manners. It’s still a hysterical play. Most of you have no idea who he was or this play, which of course is an entirely another conversation on what I think is lacking in today’s world and in education . But think if we had a time machine and we took Sheridan from the 18th century London to 21st Century today and put him on Facebook. What would he have to say?

I can tell you at the end of the day my friends and family are what matter to me. Having a home we love, husband and child I love, pets I love. What matters to me also is being able to do things like garden because it brings me joy. Or to decorate for Christmas.

What doesn’t matter at the end of the day is the minutia. And there are people who definitely count within that minutia because that’s where they should be, in the category of minutia.

Liberals of convenience running for supervisor don’t impress me, and don’t tell people to vote for them because they are your political party, anymore than anyone who has a brain should vote for a good percentage of these newly minted politicians running for school board. Remove the political parties, and look at the people as individuals and listen to what they are saying and not saying.

This seems to be the season of a lot of social media candidates. You don’t see them around, but you see them on social media. A couple you don’t even see on social media, and you don’t see them around. These are not anyone’s candidates. These are jokes.

And while I would love it if people adored my opinions 24/7, in truth it would actually be a little creepy. Life is made up of variety, not Stepford Wives named Karen. Stupid doesn’t live here.

The lack of behavior modification, the ability to take social cues, and respect boundaries is something that bothers me regarding social media. Sadly it has spilled over into the real world. Hopefully it will eventually correct itself.

Thanks for stopping by.

(A brief post script on the photos- I took them but they don’t have any real connection to this post. I just like the variety of architecture that you find in places. And the graffiti was in a place I had never noticed it before.)

quick wildflower farm update

Inside the hoop house – zinnias and lisianthus and more!

🎈UPDATE 🎈 the neighbors on Castlebar against Wildflower Farm in Willistown apparently had their zoning appeal tossed by zoning last evening. I am told the phrase used was “lack of jurisdiction” to hear their appeal.

Wildflower Farm will be back in front of zoning in a few weeks.

Snapdragons. They just remind me of childhood, because it was
one of the first flowers I ever grew.


I will also note that not all neighbors on and adjacent to that street are against the farm. I think that is an important distinction not always noted. Also important to note is that not all of the “neighbors“ who have been involved with these zoning challenges of Wildflower Farm actually physically live on Castlebar Lane. That is a matter of public record, isn’t it?

I could look at this view all day!


And I am stating for the record that I am not the spokesperson of the Heenan family or their attorneys which is the latest rumor being spread. I am a friend of the Heenans, have a brain in my head, a legal right to express how I feel about this issue, and am an occasional customer of their farm. I am also a gardener, so I appreciate their efforts to rejuvenate their farm which frankly needed cleaning up, and their interest in flowers and trees and native plants and bee-keeping.

This Wildflower Farm property is zoned agricultural, BUT truthfully they could have IGNORED all that and built a giant McMansion when they purchased it. But instead they opted to restore the house and the barn and bring a viable adaptive reuse to existing farmland.

The restored barn and hoop house


The Heenans should have been welcomed into their neighborhood, yet they have been treated most poorly by some. For the record I happen to live on a cul-de-sac, and if this farm was on my street I would be unbelievably happy.


I think Willistown folk and other related people interested in this topic that it is really great that you are interested in supporting Wildflower Farm through this process and please continue.


🌸🐝Flowers bring happiness. We know, it’s why we garden.🌸🐝


I am using some of my photos of the farm taken last week, and I am also sharing a photo of the Radnor Hunt which does go through their property sometimes. Not all property owners allow the hunt to pass through any longer.

#SupportSmallFarms

May be an image of horse and outdoors
Radnor Hunt passing through. So cool!!!

this is wildflower farm

I broke the story yesterday about Wildflower Farm and I’m going to keep talking about it.

I was there today visiting (I was a guest in their home, nosy neighbors) and for 25 min a guy in a dark SUV drove back-and-forth in front of their farm to see who was sitting on their patio. I finally waved at him and called hello (loudly) and he went away. I guess a middle-aged white woman sitting on someone’s patio as a guest drinking a sparkling water is a threat?

Can I tell you how BEAUTIFUL and serene and peaceful Wildflower Farm is in spite of their neighbors? I walked through their magical woods and walked every outside row and every hoop house row of flowers. I am a gardener, I was in heaven. And their trees are awesome. Including things like native redbuds and Japanese maples that they have planted. I can also envision their fields alive with peonies and hydrangeas, too.

We talked gardening. I shared my gardening resources for bulbs and native plants. I also shared with them Chester County farms also that are small producing farms. Why? Because those farms and farmers are embraced by their neighbors, not absurdly reviled.


The majority of the neighbors on this street where they live have that extra special development mentality that I abhor. They sure are the types who should be living in a Stepford Wife Toll Brothers or similar development where everything is samey-samey cookie cutter and they can’t plant flowers, but the petty tyrants of homeowner associations reign supreme.

Wildflower Farm is zoned to be a farm. They aren’t throwing raucous parties 24 /7 they are a young family with two beautiful children who have a dream to have a farm and grow flowers.

They are an organic farm.

And what I saw today with the person in the SUV driving back-and-forth and back-and-forth and back-and-forth with my own eyes, they are experiencing harassment and must feel as if they are constantly under siege.

If someone chooses to live differently or simply, these pig-ignorant types of people find fault with it. It’s literally heart breaking that they cannot see the beauty here through the trees. But it’s like a blood sport to play whisper down the lane and to gossip inaccurately and cruelly about this young family? That’s Christian, God-fearing behavior?

The people who live in this neighborhood on Castlebar Lane where poor small farm is located are not all bad. But the majority of them seem so off the hook unpleasant in my opinion, it takes your breath away. I don’t understand how these people can do any of this with a clear conscience? They trespass on their property, they fly drones overhead to try to say they’re doing something wrong and they’re not, and for what? What do they gain?

A friend of mine (who lives on a farm) said to me that they don’t get these people who want everything big box and cookie cutter.

Take the neighbor on one side? Building this giant berm so they don’t have to look at them which is something that is so ludicrous to me because if I lived next-door I would want a clear view so I could see what flowers they were growing! They have totally cleaned up this property it’s beautiful, and it has the most gorgeous woods. You look at it and it makes you think like this is what Chester County is supposed to be.


What is happening to these people is literally insane. And the fact that one of the people giving them a hard time and filing zoning things and other stuff is on the planning commission in Willistown Township just blows my mind and then there’s the other people who have lots (as in empty lots of land) on the road but don’t actually live there who have been big for years with the Willistown Conservation Trust? And if you go through publications of the Willistown Conservation Trust you see other names also in this bizarre NIMBY situation? I don’t understand these people apparently farms are OK just not in their neighborhood but it’s zoned agricultural, it’s not just a residential area so I really don’t understand the pretzel logic? (And FYI the candidate for Willistown Supervisor who seems to be doing a lot of promising including helping their horrid neighbors? Remember THAT at the polls. Those who over-promise to everyone, never deliver but that is a separate conversation.)


Wildflower Farm deserves ALL of our support. They are up in front of zoning next week and Willistown and I have posted about it it is a public meeting and if you’re not a resident you don’t have standing so you won’t be speaking but you can go and support in solidarity. Especially if you are a FARMER.

The Willistown Township Zoning Hearing Board will meet on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. Sugartown Elementary School – Gymnasium 611 Sugartown Road, Malvern, PA 19355

The Heenans are the people we want as neighbors in Chester County, and in a time where every square inch is developed they are farming and growing wildflowers and are into native plants.

Willistown also has a regular supervisors meeting on October 11 at 7 PM which is also a public meeting. Charles E. Coxe Memorial Campus. 688 Sugartown Road, Malvern, PA 19355


Please lend these nice people your support. Supporting farmers benefits all of us. Their dreams should not die because they have the biggest bunch of jerky Stepford village neighbors ever created. NIMBY anti-farm hell. Petty tyrants. And that opinion is allowed.


Also they have a petition. Sign the petition please, but also please consider attending the zoning meeting, especially.

#PayItForward

#SaveSmallFarms

#MeanPeopleSuck

#ShopSmall

#SupportSmallBusinesses

I would also say in the short term to think twice about donating to Willistown Conservation Trust. If these neighbors are the kind of people supporting them I don’t know about you but you really want to be around them? But I would encourage you to support Natural Lands, of course.

I love flowers. I love farms. I love nice people. So you know I am Team Wildflower Farm, are you?

#HateHasNoHomeHere #TeamWildflowerFarm

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

I took this photo recently at Life’s Patina where Wildflower Farm was part of an event there. I was super impressed by them and their flowers.

This is a strange tale of really surprisingly unpleasant and in my opinion oddly not neighborly folks. That being said, since they seem to be the litigious types, nothing here is not either a photo taken on a public road, photos of the farm I am writing about OR public information. Oh and that lovely thing called the First Amendment.

This is the strangest case of bad NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).

This is a case of life is short, can’t we (literally) just enjoy the flowers and get along?

So how did I become aware of this? Recently someone said to me, have you seen the local zoning notices lately? And I said nooo….because your eyes can cross and glaze over if you read too many (just kidding but it’s dry stuff.)

Well then blow me over, one was about a local small farm…and most shocking, located in Willistown Township, supposedly the land of happy open space and farm loving people. So dear readers, I think I stumbled upon a case of those who shall we say perhaps move out here for the bucolic vistas and “country”, but oh hell no, put that farm someplace else?

What am I talking about?? THIS:

Yes, I have been having some OMG moments over this. You see, I live in a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors. My friends live in nice neighborhoods with nice neighbors, but Willistown? One of the prettiest place in Chester County and it seems to be plagued by these bizarre occurrences of late? There was that whole thing of ruffled feathers over chickens, and then there was the political candidate who couldn’t seem to behave at a public meeting where she wishes to become queen and reign, and now this? These nice people not only sell their flowers, they believe in farming organically, and educating people. It’s an entire desirable package and a pretty little farm.

So they are talking about Wildflower Farm. As in they grow Wildflowers organically. As in they are this super nice, charming, lovely young couple with two adorable little kids, a golden retriever, etc.?

Yes, completely WTF.

These neighbors in my humble opinion (which I am allowed to have), seem literally hell bent for leather in driving them out of town. And why? And when you read that zoning notice you want to rub your eyes because of a couple of the names that pop right out.

Again, public information sourced from Willistown Conservation Trust website and Willistown Township Website. And if you go into the Willistown Conservation Trust reports of donations, etc., some of the other names pop up.

So explain to me how these champions of community involvement and dare I say it, conservation have problems with an organic FLOWER FARM???

When did everyone get so mean in beautiful Willistown????

But it doesn’t stop with the legalities of a zoning challenge, does it? Nope, nope, nope. How about trespassing? Poison pen letters? Blocking the farm’s driveway so people can’t enter? Flying drones over their property?

OK class can you all say “WTF” now?

Poison Pen Letter Envelope
Did this car break down? Is that why it’s blocking a fellow neighbor’s driveway?

I have seen videos of trespassing. But that is not my tale to tell. But I guarantee you Willistown Township has seen and probably has those videos. Along with the mysterious drone video output, correct?

And speaking of Willistown Township, I feel sorry for the township. I am sure they don’t want this and when did it become the purview of municipalities to have to babysit neighbors with wild hairs up their rears?

This is not quite the haves vs. the have nots, but the haves are a wee bit unbelievable with their let them eat cake, no farms in our back yard NIMBY scenario, correct?

And here is the narrative submitted recently to Willistown by Wildflower Farm:

This is all so very, very ugly. Is this what we as a society have become? Instead of TALKING with our neighbors, people just harass, harangue, and sue our neighbors? And then sometimes people wonder why other people just sell out to developers and walk away?

I just don’t understand how this is happening in Willistown Township. This is one of the most farmer friendly, farm friendly places. Yet these people seem to be (as I said before) hell bent for leather on destroying the lives of the owners of Wildflower Farm?

WHY????? These are NICE people. Thoughtful people. Small farm, organic farmers. You know the future we WANT for Chester County? Farms are disappearing by the day, this is the stuff that makes quality people NOT wish to move into communities, buy farms, preserve land.

These neighbors won’t like my opinions, but they put this out there in the public viewshed like bad Karma waiting to explode, and you know me and my love and respect for farm owners, farmers, and what Chester County used to be about. And I wish they would reconsider their path. This ugliness taints communities. It is so unnecessary. And Willistown? Don’t they need to stand up for small farmers AND large landholders, right?

No drama intended, I fear for this young family at Wildflower Farm.

That being said, what can you do?

(1) Support the farm (here is their website.)

(2) Read up on the ACRE Law because you have to wonder if these residents wish their township to violate that?

(3) Sign and forward their petition.

(4) If you are a resident of Willistown or a fellow local farmer or a customer or just a lover of organic Wildflowers, show up for the Heenan family at the upcoming zoning meeting: Willistown Township Zoning Hearing Board will meet on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., at Sugartown Elementary School, 611 Sugartown Road, Malvern, Willistown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.

That’s it, this is all I have got. I just think this whole scenario is wrong. I am shocked and saddened that these adults have gone all Lord of The Flies, Rambo, whatever on a young family farming the right way and adding positively to the community.

Please pay it forward and politely and calmly support this family, this farm, their business.

#SaveSmallFarms #BeAGoodNeighbor #ShopLocal #SupportSmall #MeanPeopleSuck