push push push

I make no secret over the fact that I am completely over the push push push of realtors/real estate investors of all forms soliciting business since COVID19 hit.

First you have the slimy ones that send the postcards announcing they’ve been trying to reach you 95 times by postcard but they can’t find your phone number.

Or they are robocalling you via off shore call centers with heavily accented individuals reading from a script. And whether it’s postcard or robocall they all have friendly names like “Dan” or “Steve” or “Brian”.

Next come the regular residential realtor variety from the various and sundry companies you recognize. Like today’s solicitation which came addressed to both our name and “occupant“.

Dear occupant and she wants our business no less?

Of course there were other amusing things about today’s postcard from someone at Compass in Devon. Like for example it says it’s from their “Upper Main Line” office and lists a phone number. I tried to call the phone number on the postcard listed as the main office number because I want to be put on a do not solicit list. Only the number on the postcard isn’t a valid general office number and you get the recording from the phone company that this number doesn’t exist.

Now that’s just sloppy marketing and lack of proofreading, which if I was in the market for a new home or a realtor, this would knock this person out of the running right then and there. Details matter.

Then there’s the house that’s on the front of the postcard that says “just sold“. It’s one of the McMansions crammed in off of 352 on Shirtz Farm Lane…. which once upon a time was an actual farm. I made no secret of how I loathe farm to development conversions.

I guess our comparables are all going up in the area because this woman claims to have sold this house which is on a postage stamp sized lot for over $1 Million. And again…if you saw where it was it’s right there on 352 after the railroad underpass! It’s a marvel, those prices.

This is a development that once it finally got started if you blinked, you missed the houses going up. And it’s still got piles of dirt everywhere, it’s rather unattractive. Million dollar Lickety Splits.

Just so we’re clear, I have quite a few dear friends who are realtors whom I respect immensely. They don’t send out things like this. And they would never refer to someone in a mailer by name and then occupant because that’s just kind of insulting. If you need a realtor I’m happy to refer you to one of the many fine individuals I know. And they are actually truly local to Chester County and live here.

As I have said on other posts I have written about the sleazy real estate investors (house flippers) sending postcards to buy your house for cash, this is one of the byproducts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As happened the last time there was a pandemic at the turn of the 20th century, it made people want to get out of cities and move into suburbia or less populated areas. Only I think circa 1918 they weren’t bombarding people with post cards.

I appreciate that realtors I’ve never heard of or are not particularly local love our area. I just wish they would stop soliciting me. Obviously I love where we live that’s why we’re here.

Happy weekend!

soak in the beauty of chester county

Along 401. Awesome Halloween display!

Last evening on the way to an outdoor socially distanced dinner with friends, I was struck again by the beauty of Chester County. And why we need to preserve more of it and develop less all across the county.

That is all.

when smoked brisket is like a religious experience…

So it’s no secret I love Chef Paul Marshall‘s food at Farm Boy Fresh. But seriously? His BBQ brisket is like a religious experience. I never understood why people love BBQ brisket until I tried his.

And even in the rain, the brisket sandwich is off the hook. I like mine messing with tradition on a brioche bun. My husband prefers old school white bread.

Farm Boy Fresh is located at 7 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern at the Sunoco Station. You can place an order through Toast Tab and pay in advance if you like. I recommend that because this barbecue is extraordinarily popular and they do run out.

If you go don’t forget to taste the little pies. My new favorite is the mini pecan pie! Oh and I hear he might be smoking his own turkeys at some point.

And what you see in 1st photo above? That was my sandwich today!

peter’s peasant soup

Every time around this year and even into the winter my late father would make a soup. It was a pure peasant soup. It would be based around what he found fresh down on 9th street at the Italian market and from the local merchants there.

The soup would have cabbage, potatoes or turnips, onion, celery, carrots, tomatoes, fresh herbs, beans, and something cured like a small salami – a cured sausage. He liked soppressata. He would cut it into little chunks or rounds.

We were over at a friend’s house the other day and they have this amazing kitchen garden like I dream about but have no room for. So they gave us a bunch of fresh vegetables including Swiss Chard and fresh kale. Today’s vegetable box from Doorstep Dairy had a beautiful purple cabbage. So I knew I was making soup even though it’s somewhat humid out.

My father would often use a beef stock base but a lot of the time it was a chicken stock base. So last night’s roast chicken carcass went into the instant pot this morning to make bone broth. I also tossed in a little salt and pepper and zaatar spice blend.

While bone broth was cooking and cooling I chopped up all the vegetables. I threw them into my big Great Jones “Big Deal” pot. I really love their cookware and I have a few pieces now. I added a few cups of water, maybe four. I added salt and pepper and some fresh herbs. This morning I had picked basil, thyme, sage so that is what I used.

I left the vegetables almost completely covered on low and just let them cook down for probably 60 minutes. The tomatoes I used were a bunch of fresh cherry tomatoes from the garden. Probably about enough to fit in a pint container but I halved them. When the bone broth was finished (I just hit the setting for broth or soup) I fished out all the bones and the gizzards and disposed of them and added the broth to the pot.

Then I added a chopped up a small whole dry salami that I had purchased at the Tasty Table Market & Catering in Berwyn. After that I drained two cans of beans and tossed those in. You can use whatever canned beans you like. Things like cannellini beans, pinto beans, even black-eyed peas.

Now the soup sits on a simmer until some point this afternoon when I will start to cool it down and put into containers. Some I will freeze and some I will use now.

I have to tell you the soup smells really good. And it’s also a smell that I have memories of. Of course I’m a little more about cleaning up the kitchen as I go along then my father was and when he would make one of these soups it would look like a bomb exploded in the kitchen afterwards.

This soup is always best when it sits for a couple of days and then you heat it up because it gives a chance for the flavors to completely meld . All you do is serve it with a little crusty bread for the table and some grated cheese on top. It’s a basic peasant soup and it’s loaded with vegetables and you don’t really need anything else.

I hope you can follow along as to how I made this. There is no formal recipe it’s just some thing that my father made and his mother made and who knows how many other relatives in his family made.

I used my small Instant Pot to make the bone broth if you are curious about how much chicken broth to add. The small Instant Pot makes 3 quarts of broth. Now the soup condenses and cooks down because I let it simmer on a very low setting for a few hours.

Buon appetito!

what is the best part about this photo?

What’s the best thing about the scene in this photo?

Give up?

Okay here is why looking at this scene is awesome: NO DEVELOPER PIMPING DEVELOPMENT SIGNS! No Troll Brothers signs or any other developers signs for miles…so nice NOT to see for a change.

Happy Labor Day!

who is making weird paths in the corn field?

So who is cutting paths in the tenant farmer’s corn fields at Frazer Road and College Avenue on Immaculata’s property in East Whiteland Township.

This has never been done before and it’s only wide enough for a golf cart. I suspect it’s kids thinking they’re funny except this is money out of the pocket of the tenant farmer who rents the fields and I think that’s wrong.

The path seems to serve no purpose but it is destructive and it has flattened corn that is the profit of the farmer.

Farmers work too hard to put up with stuff like this.

pickling peppers…and tomatoes

I just put up some peppers because I’ve been growing a bunch of different chili peppers all summer.

This is the base recipe I used from A Taste of Home.

You know I can never do a recipe straight, so I will let you know that to my brine I added pickling spice and dill. And a little red pepper flakes because I want hot peppers. I processed them in a hot water bath and I had brine left over for five small jars of pickled tomatoes. I just used the same brine but threw in dill and basil into each jar for the tomatoes.

I don’t know how everything will taste when everything is all pickled up, but I can tell you the brine smelled awesome.

Of course I didn’t pay attention while handling my chili peppers and my hands feel slightly as if they are on fire and I won’t be touching my face anytime soon.

Something I did not expect this year is how much canning supplies have gone up in price since COVID-19 came to visit. We have paid a premium for so much for so many months. But I am guessing that a lot of people are almost homesteading because we’re all home so much more.

I may do more pickled tomatoes as it gets in to fall but I have to decide if I am making apple butter or some kind of a jam this year. Ideally I would like to do fig preserves but I don’t know if any of my friends will have extra figs I can buy from them yet, or if I will be able to source them locally at a farmers market.

When you pickle things they look so lovely in the jar. I know that sounds weird but they just look nice.

Happy Sunday all!

mailbox eggs

It’s the little things. It’s totally the little things that make every day easier to get through right now

One of my favorite neighbors checked in and asked if I would like some eggs. They have chickens that lay up a storm. I said yes if there were any left over I would love some eggs. Because eggs are one of those things that are in short supply in the grocery stores if you can find them at all.

One of my friends tried to get three dozen eggs at the grocery store today and was told by the store manager she could only have two dozen eggs. In her defense she has a bunch of kids, so three dozen eggs is the basically normal weekly get.

Anyway as I’m finishing up my self quarantine, my neighbor said he’d leave them in the mailbox. I saw my neighbor pull up and after he was gone I went out to get my mail and my mailbox eggs. And I swear my neighbors’ chickens lay the prettiest eggs. I am really honored to be among the neighbors who are beneficiaries of their hens.

But this is just one of the nice little things that people will do normally that mean so much more right now. I am blessed quite literally to have the neighbors I have. The other day one of my other neighbors was able to obtain a small container of disinfectant wipes for us. 

I just thought I would share that. I hope all of you are enjoying the warm weather this afternoon and got to soak up some sunshine.