are people actually thankful on thanksgiving?

In less than an hour, it will be Thanksgiving. 2022. What am I wondering this year? Something some may find odd: I am wondering if people are actually thankful on Thanksgiving anymore ?

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. These words are exceedingly overused in our everyday vernacular. They are almost too casually tossed out here and there, like verbal popcorn. I question if people really are any of those things sometimes.

We live in a beautiful, yet often cruel and hateful world. Just look at social media. It is a modern way to keep us connected, yet it’s a bully pulpit for so many to be so hateful. I know my critics will scoff at that idea, since everything they project on me, they actually do.

Ironic, isn’t it? The pious perfectionists of social media are the ones who do the most damage. They have narrow comfort levels and in some cases, narrow knowledge bases, which of course leads to their narrow opinions, narrow world view.

These people have made a difficult couple of years for all of us, more difficult. Which brings me to why I am thankful. I am thankful I am not those people. I am thankful those people are not my people in all of their judgmental glory.

Life is not some perfectly staged silent tableaux. Life is messy and real and in technicolor. We need to give ourselves permission to live our lives out loud. Every day will not ever be perfect, nor should it be. It’s time for all of us to stop the apology tour for the skewed perspectives of others. Be thankful for who we are as human beings. Be thankful for those who see us.

That is not to say that we all couldn’t stand to be a little more kind at times. Sure we all could, but that doesn’t mean we are supposed to roll over and have doormat stamped on our foreheads.

I am thankful and grateful. For my life. For my friends and family.

Thanksgiving marks the start of a season where so many feel so alone. Even if they aren’t. In the season of giving, sometimes just a simple checking in can help some people.

2022 has been a crazy year I think. And very hard and full of loss for some, change for others, and maybe a bit of both for a lot of us. Sadness and gladness, bittersweet, hard, eventful, exhausting.

I think all of us can also say we are happy to have survived La Vida COVID. So many did not. And COVID has definitely taught us not to take a lot of the everyday for granted.

I will never pretend to have all of the answers in life, or even some answers because I always have questions.

Anyway, as it is after midnight, it is officially Thanksgiving.

Gobble, gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving.

it’s november, so of course we need soup…french onion mushroom soup….

I have a slight obsession with French Onion Soup. I’ve written about it before and my quest to find and develop a recipe I really liked and I think that was in 2015. I have been fiddling and fiddling with the way I make it, and I think this is the best batch so far.

My friend Karen‘s mother made the best French Onion Soup I’ve ever had anywhere. It was even better than the H.A. Winston soup that we all loved growing up. But I’ve kind of developed my own now which isn’t bad if I do say so myself. But I definitely have a memory of being in Karen‘s mother’s kitchen when she had that soup cooking. The aroma and the fragrance of it just filled the room.

I start my soup the day before with roasting my beef bones in the oven for beef stock. Then I throw everything into a stockpot with wine, water, and a 32 oz. container of low salt beef broth. To that I had a couple of carrots, celery or Celeriac (celery root), onion, fresh herbs, and that’s how I make my beef broth. This time I made my beef bone broth with Celeriac, because that is what I had. I cook this for a few hours. I let it simmer and cook down and condense. If I do it in the instant pot it takes a lot less time for the broth component.

I prepare the beef bone broth the day before because I like to fish the bones out of the broth and dispose of them, and then put the broth in the refrigerator overnight because then as you can see from the photo I shared above, I can skim the fat off the top very easily. This bone broth I made this time was truly gorgeous. This morning it was totally gelatinous like a consommé. That’s what you want.

Also, people always ask me how many beef bones I use. Honestly? It varies and this time I had 10 beef bones.

I line a big sheet pan with aluminum foil. Then I sprinkle them with just a smidge of olive oil and add salt pepper, Herbes de Provence, and garlic. When I roast them I do it at a 375° oven. I just keep an eye on the oven I think they were roasted through in about 35 to 40 minutes. Then I just turned the oven off and let everything cool down a bit before I bring them out of the oven and throw them into the stockpot as indicated above.

These bones were actually a surprise I did not know I still had in the bottom of our chest freezer they had come with a meat order from our local butcher, Worrell’s. Truthfully, you really do have to go to a local farmers market meat purveyor, or a local butcher shop to get good bones. And ask before you want to make the soup, because it’s not like the good old days and they don’t always have the bones.

The next day I start with caramelizing my onions, and today’s onions are the last I will ever get at Pete’s Produce Farm in Westtown which makes me sad. I use a combination of red and white onions. I add a little salt, a couple of tablespoons of butter, and a couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar to the bottom of the pot. You do want to caramelize your onions, but pay attention or they will burn. I almost killed them today because I was on the phone when I was doing this.

I also add mushrooms now to my recipe and that is pretty much because my husband loves mushrooms. The mushrooms, Cremini, came from Pete’s as well. I am so going to miss the produce and that store because these mushrooms were the prettiest I’ve had all year to cook with. But I have to admit that adding mushrooms especially this kind to soup add another layer of flavor that is just wonderful.

When I’m putting it all together after the onions have cooked down and caramelized, if I feel there is not enough liquid, then I will use a little additional bone broth or Better Than Bouillon to help it along. And you also cannot forget your healthy dash of Flavor Master’s Gravy Master. Why? Because that is something they put in the H.A. Winston soup when they were making it.

Today I did add an 8 ounce container additionally of bone broth. I also added a good half a bottle of wine

I wish I had a more exact and proportionate recipe written down, but I don’t a lot of times I cook things by the way I think they feel.

I will serve my French onion soup in a few minutes with a little shredded Gruyère on top but I don’t do the whole thing with the big hunk of bread and put it in the broiler. That’s too much work for me. The soup is work enough on its own. Besides it’s something I always eat around French onion soup when I get it at a restaurant, anyway.

We are also having an arugula and spinach salad with elite seasoning tomato and a honey mustard vinaigrette.

Bon appétit 👩‍🍳

why are you connected to people on social media?

Why people connect with each other on social media is something I always find sociologically fascinating. So why do you connect?

Take Facebook and Instagram. I connect primarily to maintain relationships with friends and family I don’t necessarily see as often as we did when were younger. Even former teachers. And friends of my parents and other relatives I am connected to.

In addition to the school and familial ties, there are the other friendships and relationships I have made along the way. Friends I have made as an adult, former work colleagues, neighbors, and people in the communities in which I have lived past and present.

I am not connected to people because of what they can do for me. I connect with people I like or feel a personal connection to. Sometimes that means the extended friends of friends.

When I like a business and follow their “pages”, mostly it’s because I am a customer. I will like a friend’s business page because they are my friend. That’s not the same as saying I’m promoting their business because they are my friend, because I don’t really promote businesses. If I put my blogging hat on, I’m not a compensated blogger so I like to stay out of gray areas.

When I speak about a business, it’s because I am a customer. Mostly it’s when I am a happy customer. But not all of the time. Sometimes I speak about a business to ask people if they’ve used it or gone to a specific restaurant, for example.

Sometimes when I speak of a business on social media, it has been when I didn’t feel valued as a customer or had a truly negative experience. Sometimes the business is a big business or a utility company. But when customer service is truly lacking, sometimes that is your only option to get things made right, isn’t it?

But what I don’t do is the whole disingenuous of it all. I don’t connect with people on social media because of what they can do for me. So maybe that makes folks with an emphasis on marketing confused, or makes them wish to have their heads spin around, but I actually do try to keep it real.

Facebook and Instagram is also where I follow things that connect to my interests. Traveling, although I don’t do much of that. Gardening, cooking, movies, TV or streaming shows, vintage and antique items like Christmas ornaments. Also things like decorating. I love to see what some of them do with rooms. It’s interesting. Especially if they don’t decorate for a beige, beige world.

I also will use Facebook and Instagram to keep up with nonprofits I like, and organizations I belong to which are nonprofits. Or magazines, blogs, and newspapers I read. Social issues. Local issues. Sometimes beauty products, but that doesn’t mean I will post about everything I like or buy. And you have to be careful with things like beauty products because suddenly they will show up in your feeds everywhere as ads, even if you didn’t invite them.

When it comes to a platform liked LinkedIn, to an extent that is kind of a mystery. I have never been particularly sure of the value of the platform. It has some crossover with other platforms, but in the sense of a lot of the same people I am connected to elsewhere. It’s a platform where I always find it amusing on who is “looking at me.” And that usually is linked to something I have written – people connected to politicians, developers, utility companies, people from companies that shouldn’t be utility companies and so on.

It’s not like some one wants to reach out via LinkedIn and offer me a dream job or gig or give me a million dollars. LinkedIn is where a lot of people go to spy, looking for that “gotcha” moment or dirt. You know, much how people view Facebook?

Twitter is something I discovered in the platform’s early days vis-à-vis community activism. I have kept up with it as a way to keep track of issues and the news, but it’s also a platform where some of my long term friends are found who shun Facebook and Instagram. It’s also a place where I keep up with gardening and cooking.

Sometimes I don’t go on Twitter very often. Like during the years a certain person was president. I found the site much more palatable after they removed him. However it doesn’t mean that his children of the corn don’t lurk and spread their vitriol and misinformation, so sometimes I pass Twitter by because of that.

Twitter is one of those places where I don’t get overly personal kind of like LinkedIn , but I observe when people use it as their outlet. I don’t even know who a lot of them are in reality, it’s just their place to express themselves.

Like everyone else on the planet, there are days where I spend far too much time on social media. But it’s not my sole thing. And I don’t use it to portray a life that doesn’t exist, either. I don’t use it as a tool to be a social climber. It’s just sort of an appendage to the modern world.

I think sometimes we all need to lose the appendage of social media and live in real time. Disconnect. Connect with other human beings more meaningfully.

And yes there are lots of other platforms I didn’t mention. But if I don’t belong to them, how do I have a basis of knowledge to comment about them intelligently. Or there are others I belong to that I use so rarely, they don’t warrant discussion.

Why did I write this post? I’m not really sure. It just sort of popped into my head this morning.

Have a great day!

welcome to philadelphia, the city of brotherly beat downs.

I am sure Radnor Township and many other municipalities are thrilled that I have decided to “phocus” on Philadelphia today.

It’s always hard to say what the most negative thing is about Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at present. And as a native born Philadelphian, I don’t say this lightly.

Filthadelphia and Crimeadelphia are two of my favorite nicknames. I was born in Philadelphia in the mid-1960s. We lived there with my parents until the mid-1970s. I saw a lot even as a kid, and one of the things that finally drove my parents from the city in the mid-1970s was crime. And it was crime in part that happened to a friend of mine and myself. We were riding our bicycles in our neighborhood and we were jumped by a gang of kids from elsewhere. We were literally two little girls riding our bikes. And because we didn’t have anything worth taking, including our bicycles, they instead smashed the glasses of my friend into her face.

As a grew up I watched Philadelphia have fits and starts of a renaissance. During the Bill Green years (94th mayor), the Ed Rendell years (96th mayor), and with the Michael Nutter years (98th) you often felt better about the City of Philadelphia. A fun, unrelated fact is one Philadelphia mayor, J. Hampton Moore, who was the 83rd and 86th mayor and a member of Congress lived at one time in the house we called home in Society Hill when I was little. The current lame duck mayor is Jim Kenney. He is the 99th mayor of the City of Philadelphia.

To me, Jim Kenney is like the Dr. Oz of Philadelphia mayors of recent history. Started out talking a big game, but there’s nothing to back it up. And now he’s just a lame duck who limps along. And then if you look at what else is happening today, it’s like every day you wonder if someone else resigned from Philadelphia City Council to run for mayor?

Philadelphia is a major city in shambles. Crime literally runs the city, and the city is also literally filthy. There is trash everywhere and then if you look at the streets within the city of Philadelphia, and the sidewalks, they are like a giant hazard every day. From potholes to broken sidewalks, random holes in sidewalks to where grates are missing and someone could actually fall in some kind of a hole and really hurt themselves, Philadelphia is disgusting. And this is so horrible because Philadelphia is the birthplace of America!

So today when I saw a post on Facebook from a friend of mine it was like I can’t keep my mouth shut any longer. This friend of mine is an artist, he is one of the premier portraitists in the United States today, and probably extending as far as different parts of the world like Europe.

His name is Garth Herrick. He is not some kind of flashy, showboating artist, he’s a working artist. He is a gentle soul and a kind person and humble. He’s the kind of person that would stop to help you if you were in distress and he would do it even if he didn’t know you. He’s just a good person. Because he lives in the city he often rides his bike because look at Philadelphia? Do you ever try to park on the street Philadelphia? Or what happens if you give up a space? Also, he is an avid cyclist in general and he cycles everywhere.

He was going down the street in the right direction, sounds like a smaller street or something like that, and he encountered a cab coming the wrong way. What ensued is absolutely nuts, and essentially the cab driver beat the crap out of him.

After ramming Garth on his bike with his cab, it was recounted that then the cab driver got out of his car and went after Garth and his bike. Garth had nowhere to go and had warned the cab driver he was going the wrong way on a narrow one-way street. I think the cab driver sounded like he was screaming at my friend to get out of his way. The only problem with that is there were actually cars behind my friend as well proceeding in the proper direction. I don’t think he had much of anywhere to go?

According to what he said, and a statement that he and apparently another witness gave to the police it was a cab driver from Germantown Cab Company. The witness actually got the license plate according to what Garth posted.

Now let’s get to the rest of this. Germantown Cab Company has been in the news before. Not positive.

Philadelphia Magazine: Germantown Cab Company Shut Down by PPA
150 cars taken out of service.
by JOEL MATHIS· 3/10/2014, 1:46 p.m.

Philadelphia Business Journal and NBC 10report that the Philadelphia Parking Authority has shut down Germantown Cab Company, taking 150 taxis off the streets for allegedly failing to turn over proper documentation and background checks on the company’s drivers.

But that’s not the only thing. Apparently the Philadelphia Police Department didn’t show up for an hour and a half to the scene and how is that even possible????? My friend turned down their offer of medical assistance and friends took him to a local hospital to be treated that he was comfortable with. (Because that’s the thing in addition that makes this hard, when they send an ambulance or whatever to take you to a hospital it’s not necessarily where you want to go.)

My elderly mother has been accosted more than twice in front of her building in what is considered a good neighborhood by mentally ill homeless vagrants. The last time it happened it was so bad that someone kindly jumped out of a car on the street and pulled the homeless man off of my mother who was sitting on a bench next to the front door of her apartment building. When I asked my mother why she didn’t call the police she told me because when you call the police in Philadelphia a lot of the time they don’t show up or they show up hours later.

You hear horror stories about crime everywhere. But in Philadelphia it’s extra special. They have a police officer shortage to begin with, and a lot of controversy over what they call “extended tours“ for officers.

And I think a lot of this as far as the total deterioration of Philadelphia can be laid directly at the feet of lame duck Mayor Jim Kenney. He is what my great aunt from South Philadelphia would have referred to as a “bum.”

So Kenney, what are you going to do here, yo.? Why am I writing about this? Because this isn’t the end of the story. And I think this also needs airing.

When my friend was waiting for police to arrive, he posted about what happened including a photo of his battered face in his local Facebook group in Germantown. Some people were sympathetic, but others were downright terrible. He was accused of being like the living embodiment of white privilege to being called a “Karen.”

I have screenshots of these comments, but I am choosing not to share them. I think they would only serve to inflame tensions in a very beleaguered section of Philadelphia which is just tired of crime.

But victim shaming/blaming is just something I find reprehensible.

I have to ask have we stooped so low as a society that we can’t exhibit any compassion or kindness? And again my friend is a salt of the earth kind of human being, he is just simply a really good guy. I also wonder if in this instance if he wasn’t a guy reporting a crime within his local Facebook group while waiting for the police if it would have made a difference?

So that is it for this sad story of crime and victim shaming straight from the streets of Philadelphia.

I think we all need to do better and try harder no matter where we live. And here’s hoping that the City of Philadelphia does something about this. Enough law and disorder.

pay it forward: contribute to the love thy neighbor fund

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

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

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

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

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

Please?

Here is what we said in the Go Fund Me:

Love They Neighbor❤️

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

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

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

❤️Love what…. and who…are local ❤️

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

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

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

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you❤️❤️❤️

~LOVE THY NEIGHBOR ❤️ASHLEY MAY BRENNER FUND❤️

Hunting for anything that might have survived among the ashes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for stopping by and thanks for reading.

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

now open: sycamore & stone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#shoplocal #shopsmall #stonehouserevival #schoolhousewoodworking #home

truly, you can’t make this stuff up: the truth is always stranger than fiction with the NOFIMBY neighbors of castlebar lane. nothing like a little pre-easter crucifixion between neighbors, right?

Whose horse/ponies are those? Are they even in Willistown or just some random image? They don’t live on Castlebar do they? If so, better check the zoning, right?

You literally can’t make this stuff up: The NOFIMBY Neighbors Who Want To Crucify Their Neighbors For Easter?????

Yes, the NOFIMBYs have published themselves a little WIX site called http://www.castlebarlane.com/

Now, I am not accusing any particular neighbor over this website since I don’t know YET who created it, unless any of you do perhaps? Also, there is also a flyer that has been distributed. Physically mailed to residents like one of those tacky campaign glossies.

I know, I know, it is a little crazy. Especially since when you heard recently from these neighbors, it was to say “Oh gosh, oh golly, we don’t want to ruin their lives!” (paraphrasing, but here READ THIS).

I guess they didn’t like my last post when I unpacked a few things thanks to some Right To Know Requests.

(If you think an image is too small, click on it to bring it up on your screen larger)

Let’s talk vilified since those farm hating angels feel put out and/or misunderstood, OK? How about this little website recently developed?

Wildflower Farm is a farm. They grow flowers. Oh my gosh, such a threat to humanity, can you imagine????

The “review” they posted in Wix land was a FRIEND for whom they had a birthday party. NO MONEY changed hands. It was two years ago – and the friend thought she was helping by posting a review.

Next the Friendly Sons thing is a NON-PROFIT Ryan Heenan is part of and is a past president of. That was a private event that anyone could host on their property. The Friendly Sons is an Irish organization which is well-respected and has existed since the 18th century in Philadelphia, so do the neighbors have a prejudice against the Irish I wonder? Could this be a modern spin on “Irish Need Not Apply”???

And the winery license thing has to do with HONEY, as in bees make honey. If you want to make mead, you have to have a permit as far as I understand. Maybe I don’t have that completely right, but that is what that is about. It’s not about having keggers for profit.

The “brochure” was a mock up from years ago when they had not done anything and were exploring what to do with the farm. Some web person put together a mock up of a brochure that was never formally developed or distributed and apparently left it on her website as an example of work product. It wasn’t actually a real thing. Did they explore options? Sure, who doesn’t today with a farm if they want to survive? There are actually plenty of fabulous farms in Chester County you can rent space from, so it makes sense they would look into it, right?

The Mother’s Day event last year was their grand opening. Done with permission from Willistown Township.

And as far as the creek issues go, I have been on their property – NO WETLANDS. They did rebuild a stream and put it back that a prior property owner had done stuff to in order to create a winter skating rink thingy, and why didn’t the neighbors complain about that? And how did they get those photos without trespassing? Here I have photos, that I was invited to take (as in I did not have to trespass to get them) :

They do use the barn for things like family parties. But people are allowed to entertain. They even had Santa Claus for a few friends with little in November, 2020 because Santa experiences were scarce due to COVID-19. Yes, there was a photographer, so the kids had their Santa photos. NOT a public event, just doing something nice with a few friends after a horrible year so kids could have some normalcy at Christmas. How is that a horrible thing? The answer of course it’s not, but I would say the Scrooges of Castlebar Lane probably would say otherwise, yes?

It’s time to take a stand against NOFIMBY people in Chester County And to be clear, these people are not doing anything for the benefit of all in Willistown.

This is only about THEM.


And yes Ryan Heenan and family members are in real estate. Real estate investors. So what? So are lots of people.

Wildflower Farm is this family’s HOME. And they grow freaking flowers.


Would the NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane be more comfortable with say an actual developer carving up their ‘hood? Maybe they would like some townhouses or apartments where all are crammed in like lemmings?

And nothing being done on Wildflower Farm goes against state agricultural/farming laws (ACRE law). Local ordinances from what I have been told are supposed to conform to state laws?


I know Willistown people to be BETTER than this. BE better than this. Please contact Willistown Township and politely ask them to stop this madness. Their zoning needs to go along with state law. If it isn’t, they respectfully need to change that. They also need to consider the fact that one of their planning commission members is one of these unpleasant neighbors on Castlebar, and has shown up on stuff about this filed against township, hasn’t he?

Phone: 610-647-5300 (Willistown Township Phone Number)

sslook@willistown.pa.us

wshoemaker@willistown.pa.us

rlange@willistown.pa.us

mperrin@willistown.pa.us

And lest I forget to post photos of it, someone indeed paid for a campaign-like glossy mailer to go out about Wildflower Farm. Nothing like harassing your neighbors because you want the advantages of living with agricultural districts which give regular homeowners perks but not living near actual farms, right? And I have to ask again, do they have a publicist doing these flyers and placements? That would be nice to know so people can avoid giving them business in the future, right? And that mailer requires a permit so who got the permit?

And OMG BUS TOURS? 😛 😛 COME ONE. What do you think they are The Barnes Foundation or maybe Dorney Park or Dutch Wonderland? 😛 😛


Here is a mash-up of little video snippets from when they opened last year. Tell me you think these neighbors are normal in the way they treat the Heenans?

#SaveSmallFarms

I mean dayummmm, it’s almost Good Friday and Easter is Sunday. Way to nail the Heenans to a proverbial cross or try to, right?

You literally can’t make this stuff up: The NOFIMBY Neighbors Who Want To Crucify Their Neighbors For Easter.

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

Wildflower Farm posies (yes grown there)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gray is adamant about one thing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And was it not Our Heroine who said

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

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

`our heroine

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

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

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

Letter discovered via RTK written 12/2021

The flower truck at another farm, Life’s Patina

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

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

Part Two: The Wild Saga of Wildflower Farm

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

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

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

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

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

main line tonight

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

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

Willistown Meeting December 2021

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

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

Here is a state pamphlet on the ACRE LAW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

#SupportLocalAgriculture #SmallFarmsMatter #AllFarmsMatter #TeamWildFlowerFarm

For more coverage:

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

this is wildflower farm

christmas comes to wildflower farm in willistown (hopefully)

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

it’s simple: save wildflower farm.

Main Line Tonight: The Wild Saga of Wildflower Farm

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

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

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

time passages

My husband loves Al Stewart’s music. I have always liked it as well. So every once on Spotify, I turn on some Al Stewart. One of his songs is running in a loop through my brain. Has been since I received some news that kind of upended me yesterday and today. The song is Time Passages. So that is why the video is in this post. Another song too has been in that loop. Supertramp’s Lord Is It Mine. Both my husband and I also love Supertramp. Also added a favorite Genesis song and a Steve Winwood too. Might as well do the full music I liked then and today. Music helps.

But…..Damn my age is showing. The music is all from “back in the [proverbial] day”. And this really has nothing to do with what I have been trying to write since this morning. It’s like if I write it out, it becomes more real. Music cushions the thoughts.

I have been sitting in front of my computer screen. I know what I want to say, but have been somewhat stuck in my own head since last evening when I received completely unexpected news.

One of my favorite people, a friend who feels like he’s been around literally since almost forever has died. Forever meaning I think we met circa 1976 or so. I know this is something I have to write about because it just needs to leave my brain. The memories need to settle and go back to happy, not swirl in my brain like an unhappy tornado.

Yes, a lot of tears have been quietly shed today.

He was hit by a car while walking. Just a freak accident a fluke. He wasn’t sick, he loved his life, was in the prime of his life, nice career, nice man. The kind of person you want in your life until we are really old and gray, only that won’t happen now.

Somewhere in a trunk I have photos from when we were teenagers and older. So many memories. Damn it David, I am not grown up enough for this.

I will start with one a friend reminded me of last night. Sitting in the middle of my parents’ driveway and David shouting “To the airport and hop on it!” when a VW rabbit went by. And that day multiple VW rabbits drove down our then quiet road. It was a hot car then. We laughed and laughed.

Another memory sitting in my parents’ library with him and three or four other friends. Don’t know why. It may have been after JDA (Junior Dancing Assemblies.)

Ahh what were the Junior Dancing Assemblies (“JDA”)? They were formal by invitation dances. The Senior Dancing Assemblies (‘SDA”) followed. They were held at the Merion Tribute House in Merion Station. Every time it was my father’s turn to drive us kids, he got lost. I still get lost going there.

Girls in long dresses or long formal tartan skirts and an appropriate top. Note that appropriate those days was NOT short skirts or skimpy tops or even spaghetti straps or strapless. Somewhere I have the original invitation that had the dress code. It was a tradition starting to wane by the time we went. Sometimes it was a bad cover band, other times a D.J.

A few years ago, David and I had some serious giggles over JDA and SDA and that Gold Lamé dragon Mrs. Farber. She was the one who ran the dances. Seriously, she seemed to have an endless supply of Gold Lamé dresses that had these almost bullet bra tops and didn’t move anymore than her Aqua Net cemented hair do. She was terrifying. She dragged me into the service kitchen at Merion Tribute one night and called my mother on the kitchen phone to report that I wouldn’t dance with someone she picked out for me to dance with. Fortunately, David and another friend rescued me. I remember coming home that night and my mother wondering why THAT woman called her. And of course a resounding chorus of “Don’t do that again, you were lucky to be invited.”

We would camp out during JDA and SDA intermissions or breaks and hangout on the window seats at Merion Tribute House and the other seating areas and shove stale pretzels down the heater grates as we drank our slightly warm and slightly flat Coca Colas out of Dixie Cups. During those intermissions we would think up grand schemes never executed to torture Mrs. Farber. Mostly we wondered how her bras were so pointy, how big was that closet of Gold Lamé dresses, and what was actually in her hair.

And then there were our mischief night escapades. One year we took apart a split rail fence and created an obstacle course on the road. We almost got caught that year as we also toilet papered several trees. Another year someone (David) magically re-painted the tops of someone’s wrought iron fence from gaudy gold to black I think it was.

Another thing we did once in a while? Roaming around the back of the estate known as Dolobran in Haverford. Why? So we could peek in the windows of the ballroom. It was so cool. At that point I believe there was just one tiny old lady living there. That was back when said little old lady gave me a $20 bill for Halloween one year back then. I had dressed my dog up as a cat to go trick or treating.

During the high school years we all went to different schools. So there were parties at Kip’s house or Adam’s house. Then there were the Philadelphia Charity Ball Years. David rescued me a couple of times when I did not have a date and my mother said I could not go with “just friends.” So he really wasn’t my escort, but covered for me and another friend so we could go.

Eventually we all went our separate ways and wouldn’t see each other as often. While I stayed pretty much in the Philadelphia area, David and other friends were spread out all over the east coast, out west, down south. So then there was Christmas.

Christmas Eve for decades meant one Christmas party in particular for many of us in Gladwyne. So I always saw David and his family there. When we were younger, we would be with the kids downstairs in a big rec room for the most part. As we got older we migrated upstairs and would take over the hosts’ study.

Then at some point, we all stopped going. In recent years, David and I would connect by phone, email, and like so many others Facebook. We would occasionally see each other when he was up from Florida to see family still in the area.

David did things liked sent me little gifts sometimes for no reason. A couple of years ago it was a set of whimsical kitchen towels he thought I would like.

The last time we connected was his birthday….barely a month ago.

Hopping around: I remember when his mother died. April, 1978. Not too long from now is the anniversary. I remember when he called me. She was the first parent of someone I knew who passed away. His dad remarried a few years later, and his father and stepmother and siblings and family and friends all survive him. His stepmother is truly lovely. And I remember that was not easy coming into the world of three boys of various ages who had lost their mother.

My head is calmer now as I have written down some of these memories and allowed the memories of laughter wash over me. Today has been full of phone calls from some of our old friends, which is comforting for all of us. It gives us a chance to quietly remember someone who was just a wonderful person, one of our life long friends.

Telling my mother was no fun. She always adored David. My past is her past here. And his stepmother and father are still alive and such nice people. She said to me no parent wants to outlive their children.

Now David wasn’t someone who would want us to be endlessly sad. So I am celebrating him right now with a post traveling down a meandering multi-decade memory lane. The meandering includes music. What I have shared plus a favorite playlist from Spotify.

David gave his friends a precious gift one last time. And that gift is allowing some of us to reconnect. We will honor that gift and remember him. (Umm he also gave me his grandmother’s pound cake recipe and THAT is priceless.)

David, we will all miss you, and when I have my next glass of Rosé, I will lift a glass in your honor. Thanks for the memories, but it just wasn’t time enough.

The older I get, the more I realize loss is not for sissies.

Goodbye, old friend.

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!