Today was a VERY nice day, and long overdue. A beautiful day with nice people, people who do real good in this crazy world in which we live. A day where everyone was friendly, people were fine wearing masks at a school as we are still living the COVID life. A day with no one with an axe to grind, only positivity and community in the best sense of the word.
One of my friends from Shipley is part of the development office team at Church Farms School. She told me a while back one of my friends and classmates from Shipley, syndicated cartoonist Robb Armstrong would be honored and be part of the Farm Fest parents Weekend 2021. Robb’s cartoon strip is called Jump Start.
This weekend has many activities and it was also the dedication of the buildings Church Farms has been working on and renovating and creating adaptive reuses of on campus. This school should get a historic preservation award for adaptive reuse. Greystock Hall and the Buck Family Center for the Arts were dedicated, they announced the Joseph E. Rhile Endowed Scholarship, and presented their inaugural CFS Medal to Stacey Shreiner Kley, Caroline Buck Rogers and Cannie Crysler Shafer.
So my friend Robb Armstrong was the youngest nationally syndicated cartoonist and is perhaps also today the most widely syndicated black cartoonist. I will note that I think there are only four syndicated black cartoonists. He created the interior of our Shipley yearbook, and we were all memorialized in his drawings. At Syracuse, where he majored in Fine Arts, he penned a strip in college newspaper called “Hector”. His strips are still drawn by hand, and he is also a motivational speaker.
Robb spoke to the kids, and faculty, and parents, and the rest of the guests (which had a rather fun Shipley School contingent!) I am including most of what he spoke about. I missed the first few moments because of connectivity issues. I am also including the opening remarks from the Head of School, The Reverend Edmund K. “Ned” Sherrill II. I found him to be such an inspiring individual. He is a Head of School that is there for his students. He refers to what they do as “for the boys”.
It was a day that was full of good. For a few hours we left the strife and nastiness of everything locally, regionally, and in the world behind. It was so nice. It was also inspiring and soul rejuvenating. To see actually good people, spend time with them, learn what they had done and what Church Farms is about today, was just so nice. My husband and I had a wonderful time, and we also got to see a couple of our favorite teachers from high school.
If you are interested in Church Farms School or would like to make a gift, please visit their website.
I will note for the record, I was not asked to write anything, am not being compensated for this or photos. I am just paying it forward.
Enjoy the Church Farms Boys Choir, they are one of three videos I am posting.
Moms Against Suffocating Kids. You just can’t make this stuff up.
How about Kids Against Suffocating Moms?
First of all, personally I am too damn old to protest in the rain. Secondly it’s SUNDAY, don’t they have anything else to do? Thirdly what do they think will happen because they stood in the rain outside a mall on Route 100 at Route 30? Literally no one blink their lights or beeped the horns in support. The people in the car next to us were laughing hysterically.
Also there is that whole thing about respecting our beautiful United States flag and not flying it in inclement weather? So Captain America, do you not respect our flag enough? The flag, our flag, should not be subject to weather damage. Maybe that is an all weather flag, but still? There are actually federal guidelines. How is this even a flag-bearing occasion?
Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up. I would say they should volunteer on a pediatric ward for kids with COVID but who knows if they even have shots?
I have always been fascinated with people who do metal detecting and treasure hunting. I think it’s just cool and I also like the history involved. So this morning, Chester County Metal Detecting came out to our home and scanned our property and woods.
Sadly no fabulous examples of local history were found but we did find a lot of really old shotgun and looks like rifle shells. The rifle shells are interesting because one of my neighbors tells me that Chester County is shotgun only.
These lovely people do this for fun there is no charge they’re not treasure stealers and they love what they do! I met them in part because they scanned a friend of mine‘s home and they were at a nonprofit event for the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust recently.
They have a Facebook page and a website if you would like to connect with them and have them come visit you. It’s a totally fun experience and I highly recommend it! Besides, you never know what little bit of history will be unearthed!
I was there today visiting (I was a guest in their home, nosy neighbors) and for 25 min aguy 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.
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.
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?
I am glad it finally happened, and I will also own the fact that I have never been a huge Josh Shapiro fan, but he has finally started to do good here. A lot of us have been aware of him for years and truthfully that dates back to when he was Chief of Staff to then Congressman Joe Hoeffel. A lot of us who were involved with saving Ardmore’s historic business district from eminent domain for private gain had interactions with him early on. And to be honest back then he didn’t really pay attention to us as those concerned residents, and then we just sort of watched as the rest of people did in southeastern PA as he took one political job then the next. He’s a politician, so I’m just being honest here. But I am so happy that this finally happened. And I say thank you to AG Josh Shapiro.
But who else am I saying thank you to? My amazing friends who have devoted so much time to this. So much time. As someone who lives in close proximity to where Adelphia wants to do the same thing, I am grateful for their years of work. And it’s not over yet. It’s really just beginning.
These charges or the announcement of charges indicates my friends and these other activists who are just every day people. Because really, that’s how activism starts: something drastically affects you within your community. And you wake up one day and you realize you can’t just stand there and say nothing and do nothing. And we also have to remember former district attorney for Chester County Tom Hogan and his staff. In 2019 he filed charges against Energy Transfer for other things.
Today’s press conference was held at Marsh Creek right here in Chester County. Why? A bunch of these charges relate to the release of industrial waste at 22 sites in 11 counties across the state. And Energy Transfer polluted Marsh Creek last year and it was significant. For more read State Impact.
And I want to take another minute to recognize the local folks who really did this. Ladies and gentlemen you know who you are. Many of you are my friends. I am so damn proud of you.
So proud. It’s not the war, but it’s a significant battle. So hey there Governor Tom Wolf how about pulling the permits? Harrisburg could do that pending outcome of all charges and final disposition, correct?
A few years ago I went to a Smithfield Barn on-site estate sale in Coatesville. It was out of the center of town, and it was in neighborhoods which I guess started to go up post World War II.
It was this cute little two-story house with a really big garden out back. I remember that the man who lived there must have worked for Lukens Steel, because there was memorabilia from there. This house also had these cases in a library-type room full of Dicken’s Village houses.
Anyway, in this estate sale there was some great kitchen stuff, including vintage cookbooks which I love. Vintage cookbooks are simply more helpful a lot of the time. At this sale I bought a vintage canning book. I have been experimenting more and more with canning since I moved to Chester County. And a lot of it is to use produce that I grow in my own garden.
Inside this cookbook were two recipes for tomato jam. Well one is for tomato marmalade and I’m not sure if the recipe is complete or not but I am going to transcribe both recipes for all of you today.
Mrs. Stull’s Tomato Jam
1 tablespoons pickling spices
1 teaspoons ginger root
4 cups sugar
2 thin sliced lemons
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 quarts / 2 pounds firm ripe tomatoes
Tie spices in a cheese cloth bag. Add to sugar, lemon, and water in a big pot. Simmer 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook gently ‘til tomatoes clear.
Stir, cover, and let stand 12/18 hours in a cool place.
Next heat up water in a canner pot.
Ladle tomatoes into jars leaving 1/4” head space. Add extra syrup from jam pot over tomatoes. Can with a 20 minute hot water bath.
6 1/2 pints.
Mrs. Stull’s Tomato Marmalade
3 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut in pieces
1 orange seeded and sliced thin
1/2 lemon seeded and sliced thin
1 1/2 pounds white granulated sugar (or around 3 1/2 cups)
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and cook slowly – three hours – stir frequently until thick. Pour in hot sterilized jars and seal in a water bath.
Now I have transcribed the recipes for you verbatim. And I made a batch of tomato jam yesterday. I used both recipes to put it into one. I use the tomato jam recipe as the base, and then the tomato marmalade recipe was used for inspiration.
The extra ingredients I added were as follows: a small thinly sliced lime, a teaspoon or so of ground cumin, one Vidalia onion chopped fine, and one red hatch chili pepper minced.The extra ingredients I added were as follows: a small Finley sliced lime, a teaspoon or so of ground cumin, one Vidalia onion chopped fine, and one red hatch chili pepper minced. I used half a cup of water and a quarter cup of cider vinegar, instead of 3/4 cup of water.
Before I put everything into the jam pot I blanched and peeled all my tomatoes. While not difficult to do, it is labor-intensive. But I blanched the tomatoes and then I let them cool off for an hour or so. I kept some of the “tomato water“ back to use in the jam.
I will note I cooked the jam down for a few hours. Over a low heat like when I make apple butter. I really am pleased with the flavor profile of the jam and I just sort of had to fiddle with the cooking of it because it really wasn’t clear on the handwritten recipes. But handwritten recipes hidden away in vintage cookbooks are like kitchen gold.
After cooking the jam down I jarred and tidied everything up and did a hot water bath for about 20 minutes. I let everything sit out on the counter on wooden cutting boards overnight and cool, tightened the lids this morning and labeled.
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.
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.
Tonight there was supposed to be a Great Valley School District School Board Meeting. Except it was overrun quite literally by anti-maskers. (Here watch another video sent to me call it “takeover time”: https://vimeo.com/588137331 – not all but a lot of it)
Great Valley School District school board meeting was supposed to be recessed for this evening because of the people who refused to wear masks, which includes Republican Committee of Chester County school board candidates.
The police were called. F-ing ridiculous.
Kids first. Not freaking whatever self-serving politics.
Some random woman then running the meeting because she says that this is “their building” or something. Yeah, so January 6th, it is a little frightening and utterly UNACCEPTABLE. No clue who she was.
And these anti-maskers called those wearing masks “retarded” (their words) and they were wearing “face diapers”. Again, their words.
Chester County Republican School Board Candidate Sallie Campbell was observed flipping out and screaming at people in the audience….before the meeting. Obviously she is quite unstable isn’t she? And yes, Sallie the minute you became a politician as a a candidate for elected office (the school board) we can indeed wonder about you outloud.
Here is what got recorded that I could find so far by school district:
THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. IF YOU PAY TAXES IN THE GREAT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, WE SHOULD BE ASKING THE CHESTER COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE TO PAY THEM FOR EVERY HOUSE IN THE DISTRICT. IF THEY WANT TO RUN THE WORLD, THEY CAN DAMN WELL PAY FOR IT TOO AND PAY OUR SCHOOL TAXES.
OUR KIDS AND PARENTS AND EDUCATORS ATTENDING PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS SHOULD FEEL SAFE. WHO FEELS SAFE WITH THIS CRAP? AND THE POLITICALLY CORRECT ANT MASKERS, ANTI VAXXERS? NOT VERY PC TO CALL PARENTS WEARING FACE MASKS LIKE GREAT VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT REQUESTED “RETARDED”
Oh and the people who were the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers were recording this entire debacle. No one is quite sure where.
To the Great Valley School District: if you are going to do these meetings, enforce your policies. If people are non-compliant, have them removed.
Also tonight? People have NO IDEA who was vaccinated or not among the anti-maskers.
This is NOT acceptable. NOT Acceptable!
To the Chester County Republican Committee, and every local Republican committee within the Great Valley School District: these people were out there representing YOUR party’s SUPPOSED values. So are we to assume the Chester County Republican Committee is therefore OK with the events of January 6th in our beloved Nation’s Capitol? This is what being a Republican means? So you are ok with your people doing things like the man who yelled at the school board and called them “little bitches” and someone else calling a school board member a “pussy”?
These are the candidates NOT to vote for: Alex Enderle, Sallie Campbell, Lauren Dicranian.
Here are observations from a parent who was there:
“My recap of the GVSD SB meeting that almost was: I got there around 7.10 and went straight inside. There were already 5 other masked people in there, and 3 non-masked. There were posted papers everywhere that said masks are mandatory, and boxes of surgical masks for those who didn’t bring one. I asked Dr. O’Toole if the mask policy will be reinforced, and I was assured it will be as soon as the board members come in. It was uncomfortable sitting there as the number of unmasked people grew, and I knew at least a couple are not vaccinated. By the time the board came in, I would say there were about 45ish people in attendance, half masked half not. The masked included 2 of the school board candidates(Andrea Rizzo Region 1 and Tricia Chasinoff Region 3). The unmasked were led by R candidate for Region 3 Sallie Campbell- who before the board came in turned to us and yelled that we don’t have her permission to take a picture of her- some of us had their laptops out doing some last minute work, some had their phones texting etc. Board came in, and Dave Barratt asked everyone to comply with the mask requirement. Some angry dude called him the ‘p’ word, screamed that ‘this is our building, we pay taxes, we pay your salaries’ (nevermind that the SB positions are volunteer, apparently he doesn’t know such details). Same person insulted another mask wearing parent asking if they were retarded for wanting to wear a mask. It went on in the same style. Barratt called recess and said they will meet tomorrow on Zoom. Most of the masked parents left. I stood in the hallway for a bit listening to what was going on. Some masked parents stayed. The R crowd decided to hold their own meeting and broadcast it somewhere- there were at least 2 people recording/streaming what people said. I have no idea where. People were asked to state their name and address like in a SB meeting and speak; it was sickening to hear them and know that this shitshow will go on once school starts. Nurses stood up and spoke against masks and against the vaccine. Sallie C said a prayer and once again spoke against the book that teaches everyone that whites are racist, yada yada same old story as last meeting, and shed a tear as she told people how she had to leave certain FB groups where she wasn’t appreciated. All had a common theme: the CDC ‘recommends’ and is not saying ‘mandatory’; the PA DOH ‘recommends’ and does not ‘mandate’. The government cannot tell them what to put on their kids(masks) and cannot force them to vaccinate; this is a public school and they can decide what is best for their children. I am upset the police didn’t come and they were allowed to continue this nonsense, especially considering what happened in other states. I left as I feared for my safety. On my way out I chatted a bit with Dr Goffredo and Dr O’Toole- I don’t understand why the police wasn’t called or didn’t come(I left about 40min after the meeting was cancelled). I I am so sad with how radicalized some of our own neighbors are, and how political this all is, and it will only get worse.”
~Parent at the meeting non meeting, storming of the school board/school district meeting
Here’s what was sent to me by people in the room (turn up the volume)
They still call it “Troutbeck Farm”. Tisn’t a farm no more, is it?
Years from now, when people ask how all of the development happened, blame those we elected for not being better stewards of where we call home.
Willistown is becoming just as bad as every other municipality. Pity.
Touting yet another school district which is getting very overcrowded, right? Elite? Oh bully for them. Hope they wall themselves off. Read what Berkshire Hathaway had hawked above. They say “we do dirt.” Kind of funny turn of phrase, right? They do dirty perhaps?
Open space and farms. Hallmarks of Chester County. Now more and more just mere memories.
Weep for open space and farmland, Chester County. It’s day is more done every damn day.