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

township manager dearest, and west goshen meeting follies…oh my

West Goshen Township operates on it’s better days as a little bit Pennsyltucky on this planet. Every once in a while I think they can’t get any kookier….and then, they surprise us all.

The thing about West Goshen is every time something happens, you have to wonder why do they seem to target resident in a petty tit for tat reprisal fashion? And I also have to wonder will they come after me for asking questions as well?

Before we proceed, a history lesson on the laws which gover the USA:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

~ 4th Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

~1st Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789

So now to the meat of the matter. A Facebook post made me stop and take notice. See this screenshot:

Wait? WHOA!!!! Whuuuuut? The Chair of West Goshen Supervisors Shaun Walsh was THAT rude? So I went to the meeting tape (which I have to ask if it will mysteriously disappear at some point I wonder?) and well go to around the 3 hour 7 minute mark and you tell me:

Now, full disclosure: the woman targeted at this meeting is a friend of mine. Her name is Margie Swart. She is a lovely human being. But she has a moral compass and strong sense of ethics, and asks questions, so <<<sigh>>> that can be a problem some places. I respect Margie immensely. We have gotten to know each other over the course of time, and have mutual friends.

I have to ask if Margie Swart is a target of West Goshen Township? As in a resident speaks up and there are cute reprisals? Yes West Goshen, I can indeed ask these questions.

So let’s back up a couple of years to something interesting I learned about just today. So…people can and do record public meetings, they aren’t just some municipality purview, correct? People do that to accurately preserve a record, especially on important topics. People also will record conversations with elected and public officials in public spaces. People like the media, for example. They aren’t doing anything nefarious, they want an accurate record and elected and appointed officials should be glad when citizens are conscientious, right? Maybe not?

So here is this now infamous recording from 2019 and why is it infamous? Oh I will get to that.

So there is that whole conversation of essentially, one cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy for things put into a public space, right? Now if this conversation had been recorded in a bathroom in a public building for example, that would be different, wouldn’t it? But out there in the open in a public building? Next comes the reprisal, because since it is not illegal to record in a public space to try to file charges against a private citizen like that can be considered well, a reprisal, correct?

Yes, you aren’t seeing things, West Goshen Township tried to charge Margie Swart with WIRETAPPING and isn’t that welcome to West Goshen Watergate NUTS???

Next comes this curiosity in the West Goshen required reading, yes?

How can West Goshen Township Manager Casey LaLonde claim his phone conversation was recorded? Was he present? Do you hear his voice? I mean talk about d-r-a-maaaa right? I mean his grandma was actress Joan Crawford as in “Mommy Dearest” fame but REALLY? Township Manager Dearest much?

I have another question about this process and shameful debacle. Why should a resident and taxpayer have had to file a RTK or Right To Know Request on something a township publishes in a newspaper and which is also dually published in https://www.publicnoticepa.com/ ? I mean I could see them telling her to look for West Goshen Township notices on that website on X date and Y year, but a Right To Know Request? Wait??? Do we have a new show coming to a cable channel near you? It’s Always Cloudy in West Goshen Township? Lots of municipalities seem to struggle with sunshine laws and being sunshine friendly, but why is it a problem when residents ask questions in this township?

Margie is not the first Local Government Fiscal Watchdog and Transparency Advocate I have known. I have known many and I actually participated in a lack of sunshine protest years ago in Lower Merion Township – April 21, 2010 to be exact. It was a rather large protest and township officials were out taking photos of everyone too. Here’s a photo I took:

So how did the wiretapping thing end? Well there is a middle to it also isn’t there? How would you like to be a resident named as an “involved party in a wiretapping investigation”? And this thing occurred literally TWO years ago in September, 2019 and you find out about it TODAY in September, 2021?

Shall we talk about the final disposition of this? Is that an “Oh yes please?”

The Chester County District Attorney’s said NOPE, correct? So what was West Goshen playing at exactly?

Back to the recent meeting and I have to ask is it wrong to ask for government to be accountable as to their finances for example? And what’s with odd employee or manager practices? Are the taxpayer who pay these salaries not allowed to politely inquire? And Margie WAS polite. Listen to the recording. She is ALWAYS polite. I can tell you that at public meetings, I have not always been polite, but Margie? ALWAYS polite.

I don’t pretend to understand everything that happens in this municipality. I can’t pretend. But as a woman, I fear for my friend Margie Swart and can you blame me? Is she safe living there?

West Goshen Township, you need to find a better way of doing things and as an aside, so y’all are also hired who was the Borough Manager of Malvern as your Assistant Township Manager? Was all that vetted publicly or just announced?

West Goshen Township, you are entirely capable of avoiding thug mentality when dealing with residents. And yes I am entitled to the opinion that y’all behave badly. Residents who demand better aren’t bad people. And this is NOT a woman screaming and cursing and disrupting meetings with violent and angry behavior like we have seen this year at school board meetings. This is a woman who wants the best for her community and the person this seems to threaten the most is the Township Manager and why is that? It’s not his personal fiefdom is it? Or is it?

I am signing off with a note that everything I posted is public record. And I am allowed the opinions I have of West Goshen Township and sure am glad I don’t live there. I also can ask questions. I don’t understand a place where the elected officials kowtow to an appointed, salaried official because he works for them not the other way around, correct? Or have they all lost their moral and ethical compasses?

My final comment? It’s often hard to participate where you live, but we have to. It’s imperative. Elect people you can believe in, and when you can’t believe in them? Replace them.

the last day of summer…at life’s patina

Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm is one of my favorite places. It has been a happy place for me since I photographed it for the first time in August of 2012. I never get tired of taking photos there.

Meg (right) and one of her fabulous designing women/right hand women, Julie (left)

This morning marked the preview of the Fall Barn Sale at Life’s Patina. My friend and I plan a girl’s day around Meg Veno’s amazing events. We went to the early session which featured “brunch with a view”, and because we had lunch plans, brunch was actually my dinner. (We were all given “brunch boxes” when leaving.)

The barn was a dazzling array of fabulous vignettes from top to bottom. I showed restraint and stayed away from the Johnson Brothers china….which was really hard. But I couldn’t say no to the fabulous creations of Tracy Phillips from Reimagined Style! And I may have snuck a fox kit statue into my garden. And bath salts from Zoet Bathlatier.

Meg and her team do such an amazing job with these sale events! And they are always so pleasant and fun! The charity Life’s Patina is introducing many of us to this time is SpeakUp! and it’s there for teens. If you go, pick up their literature as they do great things.

The Life’s Patina Fall Barn Sale is open to the public September 24th, 25th & 26th:

📌‼️We are back!!! This September, we’re bringing you our latest fabulous vintage and new home accessories, decor, furniture, gift items, and architectural salvage at our Fall Barn Sale. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be open to the public without a scheduled appointment so head on over to peruse all of our artfully curated finds while taking in Fall at Life’s Patina. Local purveyors of fabulous artisanal foods will be holding tastings and creations from local artisans will be shown as well. A portion of all proceeds from the sale will be donated to the amazing Speak Up!, a nonprofit dedicated to helping teens develop supportive relationships with the adults in their lives.

Barn Sale Hours:

Friday, September 24th, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday, September 25th, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, September 26th, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm📌‼️

It was a wonderful way to spend part of the last official day of summer! I hope you will check out Life’s Patina this weekend! BRING YOUR MASK PLEASE!

9/11 turns 20 september 11, 2021…

9/11 Memorial in New Jersey – my photo.

Time waits for no man and no woman. This is the year that is the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

As I have said before, there is more that unites us versus divides us, and we learned that from 9/11 and that it’s hard for us to see it sometimes. We are still a country divided. We can’t remain a country divided and this somber 20th anniversary is the best example why.

The news is full of stories of families who lost people on 9/11. Children who grew up without parents because they died on 9/11. This is unimaginable loss, and all of these people have gone forward with their lives which has to be so hard at some moments. Graduations, weddings, first days of school and more.

Again for this upcoming 9/11 I am also going to pause and remember two men I went to college with. I’m not going to be some kind of weird death hypocrite and say I really knew them or they were my close friends because they weren’t. They were both people I met a couple of times, but people I never really knew who were close to people important to me to this very day. They lost their lives in 9/11.

Doug Cherry worked for AON. I remember when I found out that he had died in the trade center because I worked for then Wachovia Securities, and AON had a large office literally across the hall. Someone I knew from that office had oddly remembered I went to Ohio Weslyan. So they told me when they learned the names of those who had died in their company. But that wasn’t on 9/11 that was in the days that followed. I remember afterwards the days that followed when you started to see the roll call of names of people lost. I remember when I heard about Doug I kind of felt old and felt my own mortality for the first time. He was my class, and although he wasn’t a close friend or somebody I even really knew back then, we went to a small school so you remembered the faces even if you didn’t remember the people. That was the case with Ted Luckett. He was the class ahead, and again somebody I didn’t know but remembered. But I remembered back then is he liked to sail — there were a lot of guys who went to Ohio Weslyan who were amazing sailors. Even on America’s Cup crews.

I remember when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. It was at this moment I was pulling into my garage back then where I worked for then Wachovia Securities in Conshohocken. I was listening to the radio. I remember the tears just starting to roll down my face because I knew, I knew they (terrorists) came back because I had walked out of the World Trade Center shopping concourse in 1993 when they blew up the garage. And when I say when, as the bomb detonated I was standing on the sidewalk outside looking at Century 21. If life has been different I might still have been working in New York City on September 11, 2001.

I also remember as I walked into my office that fateful day in 2001, and all the brokers were riveted to television screens in their offices and their computers, at that point in time most people didn’t believe those were terrorist attacks. They just thought like a small plane had gone into the trade center. It was a crazy surreal morning as the news started to unfold. It’s crazy how clearly I can still remember it. I think this is like it was for our parents the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. You remember where you were and what you were doing.

So it’s been 20 years, what have we learned? I found this blog post of someone’s memories of 9/11. Please read it. Someone else I went to school with and don’t remember. They were fraternity brothers with Doug Cherry. It’s heartbreaking to read.

Another of the other things I remember on this day now twenty years ago, two sisters I grew up with who were close childhood family friends and still are. One, at the time, worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The other I think worked for Marsh and McLennan at the time (can’t remember for sure), but she did work somewhere in the World Trade Center. I remember being in a panic for days until I found out they were OK. They were both out of state visiting their parents.

One of the sisters if not both were posted on missing persons lists that kept coming out back then at a rapid-fire pace. You have no idea how surreal it was to see familiar names on the missing persons lists. Especially because at this point the missing persons list were also presumed dead lists.

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I am also going to pause for a moment to remember the OTHER terrorist attempt on the World Trade Center. February 26, 1993.

In 1993, I worked in New York at that time at an office located downtown in the financial district. 44 Wall Street. Gabriele Hueglin & Cashman.

On that day, I had accompanied my office friend Deirdre to the World Trade Center to grab an early lunch and to check out some stores in the shopping concourse. We were back outside of the World Trade Center buildings, getting ready to cross the street, when suddenly the ground shook and moved. I remember that we were looking directly across the street at Century 21, a department store in Lower Manhattan.

Then something happened that rarely happens in New York: Everything went eerily still and quiet. We looked up at what we first thought were snowflakes beginning to float and fall from the sky. After all, it was February.

Then car alarms began to go off one by one like the cacophony of many distorted bells. The snowflakes, we soon discovered, were in reality ashes.

People began yelling and screaming. It became very confusing and chaotic all at once, like someone flipped a switch to “on.” At first, we both felt rooted to the sidewalk, unable to move. I remember feeling a sense of panic at the unknown.

We had absolutely no idea what had happened, and hurried back to our office. Reaching it, we were greeted by worried coworkers who told us that someone had set off a bomb underground in the World Trade Center garage.

I will never forget the crazy kaleidoscope of images, throughout that afternoon, of all the people who were related to or knew people in my office who sought refuge in our office after walking down the innumerable flights of steps in the dark to exit the World Trade Center Towers. They arrived with soot all over their faces, hands and clothes. They all wore zombie looks of shock, disbelief and panic.

Of course, the oddest thing about the first terrorist attack on New York City is that I don’t remember much lasting fuss about it. I do remember that President Bill Clinton was newly sworn into office, but I don’t remember him coming to visit New York after the attack.

Everything was back to normal in Lower Manhattan in about a month, maybe two. After a while, unless you had worked in New York, or lived in New York, you simply forgot about this “incident.”

Except if you were there, like I was, you always remember that day as well. And I am sure I am not the only one who was in New York City downtown in February 1993 who felt as I did on September 11, 2001: that immediate “they came back” feeling.

Within the last couple of years I found my work friend Deirdre again, and we are reconnected. She still in the New York metropolitan area and has a beautiful family. It is so nice to be able to know her again after all of these years.

Life must go on and time can’t stand still, but all in all I can’t help but wonder: What have we learned since about our country and about ourselves? TWENTY years after 9/11 what have we learned and what have we forgotten? What do we need to remember?

We never forget this day and never should. But what have we learned? I think we need to pay it forward as a country in memory of all of those first responders and others who lost their lives. We need to be better versions of ourselves. We need to come together as a country.

We need peace, and less racial divide and polarizing, divisive politics. Is that possible? I don’t know. But we can try.

I don’t really have that much else to say about 9/11 today. When I wrote last year we were in the grips of COVID19 which is still too much a part of our world today.

I will close with it is so almost inconceivable to me that 20 years have gone by in a blink, since 9/11 happened. Here’s wishing for a better world…

#NeverForget

in awe of a pure and open heart.

I was at a friend’s house this evening. She had a lovely gathering of friends. There was a lovely little origami box with a little favor in it for each guest when we left. Inside my box was a beautiful little note and a piece of pink quartz shaped like a heart.

The note reads:

📌You “wow” me because of your devotion to the community. I don’t know how the hell you do it or find the time. Unbelievable. Thank you for being so kind to me and validating me when I needed it most. I love how you are tough and strong….it has helped me so much and means so much to have your friendship. You are simply wow to me.📌

I am in awe of my friend and her kindness towards me. And her words. Her words are especially uplifting in a week where I have been called vile, a crazy bitch, and some other unmentionable descriptive and rather base adjectives.

How nice to have this little thing to treasure. I will keep this tucked away. It will always be a happy memory even years from now that will make me smile.

This whole evening made me think of a song sung at my grade school so many years ago…Simple Gifts. Here are the lyrics:

📌‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we will not be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
📌

Tonight was just that: simple gifts and a celebration of friendship hosted by a woman with a joyful and open heart we are lucky to call a friend. It bought me back to a better happy place, and made the craziness of life recently melt away.

I am in awe of my amazing friends. And it is so comforting to have them in my life. I am blessed to have my friends and family and to be able to feel love around me. Not everyone has that, and I know it.

I am in awe of this one friend in particular for her beautiful open heart and kindness to all. We live in a world where simple acts of friendship can buoy us through tumultuous and crazy times. And for me it also was an evening to enjoy the beauty of Chester County.

Thank you my friend. A big heart back at you. Thank you for reminding all of us this evening what is important in this world.

xoxo

in downingtown area school district, someone needs to fact check margie miller and those backing her….facts matter…

The crazy train stopped at Downingtown Area School District last evening at what should have been a lovely back to school evening.

And innocent LOOKING kindergarten teacher (but not employed by DASD), Margie Miller is once again the Fibber McGee candidate for DASD. She’s backed by Republican PAC Keeping Kids in School, founded by Clarice Schillinger who used to work for State Rep. Todd Stephens (R., Montgomery).

…But this PAC doesn’t care about facts or coloring outside the lines as they also back the WCASD candidates like the QAnon gal, #AnonymousAda, Ada Nestor who was in Washington DC 1/6/21 but Keeping Kids in School PAC don’t seem to be bothered by this candidate’s actions and squirrelly politics.

This PAC claims to be non-partisan but I call bullsh🤬t on that. And they should just be who they are, not try to hide who they are. I don’t know what the end game is for this political action committee (PAC) except to get Republican candidates in office which wouldn’t be a problem for me if they were backing sane, rational candidates because in Chester County they are backing the super screwy. Even the Philadelphia Inquirer has asked lots of questions about the QAnon and anti masker candidates and more so really, what do they want? Sister Wives for School Board? The Handmaids Tale candidates for school board?

So I have to ask where Margie Miller and “Friends of Margie” gets data?

Margie teaches kindergarten at a school NOT in a public school district (in essence private) and she is running on a platform to not raise taxes, right? It’s interesting that the increase in taxes being discussed is for an all day Kindergarten program for Downingtown students? She hasn’t offered a way to generate this revenue to fund an all day Kindergarten program that I can find and would a public school all day Kindergarten be a threat to her current school or something?

I have no problem with someone saying they don’t want to raise taxes, but when they essentially accuse someone of being solely responsible for any taxes being raised in the DASD they should offer alternatives.

So last night was a back to school event and Margie Miller’s pals blanketed all of the cars in a parking lot with their crap. And their crap is aimed at my friend, Rebecca Britton. And these people didn’t clean up the mess they left, which means school personnel had to, which means taxpayers paid for Margie’s Mess, correct? How is that saving money?

A back to school night should be about the kids, not Margie Miller’s selfish political motives. I mean my gosh one would think that Margie should have put as much effort into her campaign paperwork correct?

Yesssss….and is it true Margie Miller didn’t file her PAC paperwork on time so she was fined? So then is it true she not only filed the late paperwork but she only filed one page of the 17 page document? So yo’ Chester County Voter Services why did you accept incomplete paperwork? Chester County Voter Services when will a new letter of campaign violation be issued on bad paperwork?

This woman cannot even follow basic election laws, so does Downingtown Area School District really need this hot mess in office? IMHO that should be a resounding NO.

Margie I hope you are a better teacher than school board candidate but you have to wonder what you teach kids judging from your campaign actions? And who exactly is running you since you don’t ever seem to want to answer questions on your campaign Facebook page either but you (they?) delete any comment or question that makes you uncomfortable?

Dear Margie Miller oh gurrrllll, we’ve got your number. And my final comment is you would holler like a stuck pig if they blanketed your kindergarten parking lot with flyers from Rebecca’s campaign. Your behavior is disgraceful and if you were a kindergartner you would be in time out facing a wall wouldn’t you?

Folks don’t put DASD in time out, keep Rebecca Britton as a School Board Director in your Region 4.

chester county melting pot?

The above T-shirts crack me up, although I can’t take credit for their creation. You can buy them through My Chesco.

I thought of them this morning when I saw a post on NextDoor about moving to Chester County but being from Delaware County…and how moving here was a huge culture shock.

Different, yes, but culture shock? Meh, not so much in my opinion.

Now I was a newcomer not so many years ago and it was different. But that for me I think was mostly that I had not only lived in one place before Chester County for so many years, but because I was in my mid-40s. When you are younger or have young kids I think it’s just easier to assimilate and find commonality. I couldn’t have kids and was moving here and becoming a stepparent.

I think what made the move adjustment take time was because I was moving into a very established community, where people had lived for generations. However that was one of the things I liked best about coming to Chester Country. People put down roots and stay. Of course, with all the development these days I wonder if that will stay the same in the future? Because it didn’t stay the same in other places like the Main Line and Delaware County and other parts of Montgomery County.

Now as for the Delco pizza of it all I can’t really comment. Never had Gaetano’s and never understood the religion of Picas. Yes, sacrilege, I understand but I do not hail from Delco, I came from Main Line/ Montco. And I like my own pizza better with the exception of Tacconelli’s and the former Mack and Manco, now Manco and Manco in Ocean City, NJ. And out here Fiorello’s makes amazing pizza too.

What was immediately different for me personally when I moved to Chester County, was simply put, people were just a little nicer. The Main Line was super bitchy with a dash of misplaced entitlement by the time I left thanks to the Nouveau Main Line. Social climbers had created a blood sport, and those folks are exhausting (as well as ridiculous.)

Now I know plenty of people who refer to parts of Chester County as “Delco West” and for some I suppose that’s how they see it. I don’t. I see Chester County as Chester County a place with a rich heritage and am so glad I am here. I could wish for LESS development because that would put it in the category of “Delco West” via that perspective.

I have always known folks who grew up in Delco as quite literally “Delco Proud” and I respect that, it’s where they are from. It’s their Mother Ship so to speak. I wish I could say that about the Main Line but I can’t because the Main Line might have her history and memory pages on social media (where for some odd reason people are obsessed lately about discussing the Pew family and an estate that was broken up decades ago), but it has changed so very much. And not for the positive.

I will always have a lot of great as well as mediocre memories of the Main Line, but it is no longer my homeland and is not my Mother Ship. I do not miss the Main Line. I miss friends, but I do not miss living there at all. I love living in Chester County in spite of the nasty comments I get occasionally about what I write about.

And Chester County feels like home because it is home. Home is where my heart and friends and family are, right here in Chester County.

Thanks for stopping by.

life and b.s.

Right at the beginning of June, I invited some friends who had been around at a very difficult time in my life to go on a special tour of David Culp’s gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downingtown. It was a thank you and a celebration of an important personal milestone: being 10 years breast cancer free. June 1, 2011 to June 1, 2021.

If you know women who have had breast cancer, each year we get extra is a blessing. Milestones like this are extremely important to mark, and I wanted to say thank you to some of these ladies, most of whom I have known since high school.

It was also another celebration and milestone. This also marked all of us finally being able to get together because of COVID-19 and we all finally had our shots. The ladies who came with me like to garden.

Pete Bannan photo 2011

One of the friends was Caroline O’Halloran who is the creator and chief writer at Savvy Main Line. She was with me and some other friends on Tuesday, July 13th, 2011 when I rang the bell at Lankenau Hospital where I had that morning finished up a few weeks of fairly grueling radiation treatment with Dr. Marisa Weiss.

When it was all over and I rang the special bell signifying the end of treatment, my friends cheered. A hospital administrator chided us for being too loud. (It was pretty funny.)

At the end of the day, I am very much alive with a terrific prognosis for a long and happy life. I am one of the lucky ones. I have lost friends to cancer including breast over the past decade, so I learned to stop and breathe and celebrate the milestones.

For a decade now I have been part of the sisterhood – women of different races, ethnicities, ages, sizes and shapes –forever bound together by this disease. It’s like the club no one asks to join. And you damn well celebrate the little victories.

I chose a garden tour.

I also invited someone whom I am pleased to call a friend for the past few years, who wasn’t with me that day. She just happens to be a woman I like and appreciate. You all know her as a Chester County Commissioner – Michelle Kichline. We have a lot of friends in common and have for years and years, and we share common interests like the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and a love for gardening.

Caroline wrote about the visit to David’s amazing gardens on her website a few weeks after the visit. It just happened because he and his gardens inspired her and struck a chord. Of course that doesn’t surprise me because David’s book The Layered Garden has been a huge influence on me personally. When I read his book it was like I had this epiphany that someone who really is a plantsman and horticulturalist gets how I like to garden. I don’t even know what printing the book is on, but it is really special.

Michelle posted the article on her page a couple of weeks ago. She also included how she loved the gardens and what a fun and just nice day it was. It’s true, it was just nice. I thought that was super sweet of her, and I was happy to have her with us.

But as is the case with social media, up rolls a jerk:

I have been called many things in my life, but “rich white people” has never been one of them. But apparently, we are all a bunch of “rich white people” who have an “eye” for horticulture according to this….well….a random white guy.

Are we to surmise that random white guy must have a political axe to grind with Michelle for whatever reason, and is also a garden critic? Ok he doesn’t have to like the garden, but his vitriol was unnecessary and unwarranted.

We all like to garden. David opened his private home garden to us on a very special anniversary for me. This day was a big deal to me. Michelle is allowed to NOT be a politician once in a while and just enjoy girl time.

I think we need to hit the pause button. We have come through 2020 into 2021 and a lot of us still have friends on both sides of the political aisle and that is ok. And that is what that snotful comment on Michelle’s page was about: politics. I don’t know what, and I don’t know why, and don’t care. WHY? Because all she was doing was sharing something nice.

I am a gardener. I love to garden. And random white guy? I do my own gardening and I earn my own money to pay for my gardening. I am hardly some heiress with a fainting couch. I even cook and clean and take out the trash.

Truthfully this is why I don’t share cool experiences on this blog sometimes like seeing David Culp’s garden. So instead a friend shares what another friend wrote about just a lovely day and we are suddenly bad people? That’s just wrong. And I say that as someone who can and does take politicians to task. But there is a time and a place for everything, and being a dick about someone talking about a nice visit to a special garden is not one of them.

But hey what do I know right? I am just a mere mortal and a female, and these are obviously just the rantings of a suburban housewife.

Cheers!