why some just aren’t suited for public office

People in the end will vote for whomever they choose. I like to educate people on the candidates and what they do, and my opinion on how they will be if elected.

When someone decides to run for public office, they are in the public view. What candidates say and do becomes fair game as they are candidates for elected political office. So I am not breaking new ground or doing anything wrong. Also my opinion is covered by the first amendment.

Now that being said, if I lived in Willistown, I would NOT vote for Susan Rosso. I don’t expect candidates for public office to know everything, but one does expect them to have a grasp of the basics. Politician in training, Susan Rosso does not.

She says she’s King of the World but is she?

She deals in vague, foggy, dot.dot.dot statements. She heard, she thinks, she’s not sure. But tell her what ails you and she says if elected will make all your problems disappear with a magic wand and promises of a glorious future. I am always suspicious of candidates who promised everyone something different because they generally don’t deliver on anything do they?

And then there is this whole thing where she says she supports the residents fighting pipelines. She says she protested in Harrisburg. Then how is it she does not know that most of the residents fighting against the pipelines in Chester County have no love for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and feel completely betrayed by him? How does she not know that a few years ago he came to Chester County and essentially had a photo op with affected residents, and they never heard from him again? That he does nothing to help residents over this issue and in fact, blocks people on social media who question him about this?

So then she POSES with him for HER own photo op recently? And then posts it because visually it looks like a visual endorsement whether or not it actually IS an endorsement?

And then there are the hyper local issues. She likes to promise things without actually knowing how things work. And criticize the meeting minutes in Willistown which are the same kind of minutes taken by all townships. They are not verbatim, they are summary. And then there’s the whole thing of why Willistown doesn’t record their meetings. Well I asked the same question truthfully, and I believe their answer that equipment is on back order because like most everything else in the land of Covid it’s on back order. So I told them how I noted East Goshen was doing their meetings, and that municipalities like Phoenixville and East Whiteland use the Municipal Meeting service. But I kind of think these townships have to have some of their own basic equipment first?

And then there is her response to people wondering why she took her grandchild to the opening of a beer garden. Why people asked is because of how vulnerable small children can be to COVID and you just don’t know do you? It wasn’t a bad thing to support a local business opening in another local municipality, just why bring a baby to essentially a bar combined with COVID? Now while that photo remains on her campaign page, the John Fetterman photo seems to have been suppressed ?

Oh and she seems to have been speaking to me personally when she asked me if I don’t patronize establishments that sell alcohol, and that couldn’t be further from the truth, although I do not drink beer – I just don’t like it. The truth of the matter is I live an immunocompromised life and have older relatives . I am not comfortable in particularly crowded situations, and I only attend things selectively if I am fairly comfortable that the majority of the people are vaccinated and also being careful. We are still living the COVID life, after all.

And then there is Wildflower Farm. Wildflower Farm and how they are being treated is a legit worrisome issue in Willistown and Chester County. It is no joke that small farms are at risk everywhere, and while she has been asked to state her position on said aforementioned issue as a politician, a candidate for public office, she seems to have played dodge ball with the issue? Now on one hand you can’t really blame her because it’s a political hot potato, but this is the job she is asking Willistown residents to consider her for, correct? So when she says she isn’t taking sides is that true?

Here:

Okay? So she’s NOT taking sides, but she’s taking sides? Huh? I guess it’s full on political pretzel logic season? And how can she opine on what she obviously knows so little about? And she’s offering an opinion yet it seems like she hasn’t even been on the street because she doesn’t actually know where on the street the farm is located? She seems to be parroting what the neighbors who filed a zoning action against the farm want out there, but again, she’s not taking sides? Does that make sense to you is that who you want in a local elected official? Someone who doesn’t actually understand the issues, no the processes, and keeps thinking if she says it’s because she “heard it” somewhere she won’t be held accountable as a politician?

I mean Wildflower Farm is this crazy issue now. And it’s been living in the shadows for months. I had somebody send me a screenshot of some thing they found on Google. The message basically said that I was wrong that this was an event venue. OK they sent me a screenshot of a farm that is a wedding venue in Ontario Canada called Wildflowers (plural) Farm!

Wildflower Farm is but one issue in Willistown. Like other municipalities, it seems to be rife with issues these days.

But whomever you choose, chose them for the right reasons. Maybe Susan Rosso will surprise everyone some day and get her act together and become a viable candidate, but right now in 2021? She’s not a smart choice. Why? So many reasons, but another example is some days she is like the ultimate poster of fake news. Haven’t Americans in general had enough of that?

Again, I don’t expect candidates, especially those who have never sought any type of elected office to know everything, but they do need to have a grasp of the basics. Susan Rosso is not that candidate. She doesn’t even know who lives in her township or area. That is electoral rolls 101. And she seems obsessed with stormwater on Jacqueline Drive? Why is that?

Someone said to me recently but when it comes to politics I’m not afraid to call a spade a shovel. It’s a long the category if I don’t suffer fools lightly. And my final word on this topic is I really cannot stand when political parties tell you the only reason you should vote for someone is because they are of your political party. That is the dumbing down of politics, and the last reason. So don’t be dumb, check out your candidates beyond the cute little political hat they wear.

Thanks for stopping by.

talk is cheap

This is going to be a good old fashioned vent your spleen, so if you aren’t down with that, turn away now.

Scarier than 🎃 Halloween, it’s election 🗳 season. These are considered off year elections, and this year I think it’s because of all of the “off” people running.

These brand spanking new politicians and candidates are throwing their words around: “Blah, blah, blah….US. Blah, blah, blahWE. Blah,blah, blah…OUR.”

Wait there is a very important object pronoun missing, the word ME. Because that is what the over-promisers, the over-worders REALLY care about: themselves. This is not about you the fellow local residents , this is about them.

Here in Chester County you are seeing this with wild abandon. In Supervisors races, Borough Council races, and God help us all, the school board races.

And I sit and I watch them get residents all lathered up all over social media every day. They are like the sham tent revival preachers of the Great Depression. It’s smoke and mirrors, people. And if you are dumb enough to elect them you will be screwed.

A lot of these candidates have zero clue and give zero f😳cks about how things work. And because so many residents don’t understand even basic municipal process, they get sucked in. Kind of like Alice down the twisted LSD rabbit hole.

Oh yes I am in rare form today. I own it. But I just don’t understand how so many people don’t understand. Especially the candidates.

First example is development. You know how I feel. I feel there is too much of it, it looks cheap, there is zero design ethic, it’s too dense and most of all it has nothing to do about the communities in which they are being shoved. It’s about how much money a developer can make.

The thing is this, is there MORE municipalities could do? Sure, but everyone forgets one big glaring thing: the Municipalities Planning Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is guiding this entire sh🤬t show. And it hasn’t been comprehensively updated since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Things have been added here and there, but not a comprehensive overhaul that redefines suburbs and exurbs, gives meaningful protections to communities, land preservation teeth, ways to have meaningful, lasting historic preservation and MORE.

After Ida there is a lot of uproar about stormwater management. Yes, more could and should be done but look at what’s causing the issues: climate change for one. Over-development for another (water has nowhere to go kind of like all of the deer.) Oh and everyone acting like their municipality is an island? Hello what neighboring municipalities do also affects you. And don’t let someone tell you that it’s better if it’s “cluster housing“ or a big tall penile building – it’s all about cramming them in like lemmings and it has very little to do about protecting the community from stormwater issues. It’s about developer profit margins.

One of my favorite examples is the Gulph Creek in Radnor Township. North Wayne in particular. Things which occurred in a neighboring township, Tredyffrin, essentially move the water into North Wayne. If I recall correctly, residents have said a lot of the problem comes from whatever Church of the Savior in Wayne did, but it’s been a few years since I spoke to anyone about that.

So look at the high development municipalities. Yes, I realize that’s a long list. The pleas of their own residents falls on deaf ears, so do you actually think they care what neighboring residents think?

Also look at the Chester County Planning Commission. The Executive Director is NOT a resident of Chester County. He hails from the land of high density infill development, Lower Merion Township. He sat on their planning commission and after seeing him in action for a number of years, the guy is pro-development, always. Just look at their Landscapes website. They have some municipalities looking like King of Prussia meets Bensalem meets a major city like Philadelphia. And those municipalities aren’t islands, so their overdevelopment affects other municipalities, infrastructure, and school districts.

Cue the State Representatives and State Senators. They go all Pontius Pilate at this point. You can always count on a resounding chorus of “we can’t possibly become involved in local issues” from not all, but a lot of them. The truth is they have the ability to enact change that would be beneficial at a local level. My favorite example is they need to do an act of the state constitution and update the municipalities planning code.

On a local level, they required updates to comprehensive plans from municipality to municipality. These comprehensive plans need to actually reflect what residents in the municipality really want. For the most part it seems to reflect what lobbyists, special interests, and politicians currying favor from wherever want.

I do wish however there was like a night school class residents could sign up and take that explains how municipalities and processes work. They literally used to have such classes in certain townships from time to time years ago, and it’s helpful. that way people know about things like why the meeting minutes are in fact summary, and how it’s not a crisis if there’s a mistake in the minutes that’s why they are reviewed at the next subsequent meeting and voted on and voted in with corrections.

Do I think that municipalities who aren’t regularly recording their meetings and broadcasting them to the public need to step up to the 21st-century? Yes but I also know some municipalities that have a lot of equipment on back order because like everything else post Covid it’s on a slow boat from somewhere else.

However, residents have the legal right to record meetings so maybe there are some residents who could help record the meetings? I have friends that used to do that quite regularly in West Vincent and Caln.

That being said, residents need to participate in their own fate where they live regularly, not just when a crisis point is reached or someone running for office decides to whip up the plurality into a feeding frenzy in order to achieve what THEY want, which might not be what YOU want.

Every day I get messages from all over Chester County about things going on. I can’t shed light on everything and I don’t think I should. The topics I write about are the topics that interest me or means something to me.

If you want good government don’t just complain, become part of the change that needs to happen. Learn about how things work so you can then constructively figure out how you as a community wish to make things better. Do not depend on politicians running for office to be your mouthpiece.

Go to and/or watch your meetings.

Never forget these new candidates/politicians especially should be telling you definitively how they feel and what their position is on specific issues from community to community. Not double talk, what they would do specifically and their opinion and position specifically. This is very important when it comes to the new kids on the block. They want to replace who’s there, but why should you vote for them? And don’t tell me it’s just because they might be your political party, that’s the worst reason ever.

Venting over. Do your homework. Learn how things work. Ask candidates hard questions. And don’t let them to deflect to whatever it is their opponent is saying. You need to know what they are going to do. And if they can actually do it. And rest assured with the overpromisers? They generally don’t deliver.

The sun is shining go out and enjoy your day.

Thanks for stopping by.

renewed faith in humankind

Church Farms School, Exton, PA

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 Armstrong speaking at Church Farms School, October 16, 2021

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.

quick wildflower farm update

Inside the hoop house – zinnias and lisianthus and more!

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

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

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


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

I could look at this view all day!


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

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

The restored barn and hoop house


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


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


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


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

#SupportSmallFarms

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

this is wildflower farm

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

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

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

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


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

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

They are an organic farm.

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

#PayItForward

#SaveSmallFarms

#MeanPeopleSuck

#ShopSmall

#SupportSmallBusinesses

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

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

#HateHasNoHomeHere #TeamWildflowerFarm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What am I talking about?? THIS:

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

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

Yes, completely WTF.

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

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

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

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

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

OK class can you all say “WTF” now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That being said, what can you do?

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

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

(3) Sign and forward their petition.

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

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

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

#SaveSmallFarms #BeAGoodNeighbor #ShopLocal #SupportSmall #MeanPeopleSuck

more collateral damage in gladwyne, pa from hurricane ida

Old real estate listing photo
for Gladwyne’s 1690 House – it was for sale a few years back.

Damage from Hurricane Ida was a hot topic among fair goers at the Harriton Fair yesterday. I know because I saw Lower Merion Commissioner Scott Zelov getting his ear bent about it, especially about the Mill Creek Road Bridge.

Now sometimes over the years I have been hard on Commissioner Scott Zelov. We know each other from things Lower Merion. But where I will always give him credit is unlike others, he shows up to events in Lower Merion Township, and listens and engages with residents. I especially give him credit for supporting Historic Harriton House and the fair because the commissioner whose ward contains Harriton can never seem to show up for anything there which I find strange because it’s a wonderful place.

Anyway, River Road in Gladwyne was hit horribly and other places in Lower Merion as well. But I did not know about other Ida collateral damage until this morning when a member of Gladwyne Civic posted the following (and I am re-posting verbatim):

‼️📌MILL CREEK ROAD BRIDGE
From Scott Zelov, LM commissioner: the Mill Creek Road Bridge at the 1690 House has to be demolished and re-constructed due to extensive damage from Ida. The engineering and design could take 9 months, and then construction could be another 9 months, meaning that the bridge won’t re-open until March 2023. This bridge is owned by Montgomery County, not Lower Merion Township. We are working with the County to try to compress both the design and construction periods. TO CONTACT COMMISSIONER ZELOV
https://www.lowermerion.org/services/township-secretary-s-office/board-of-commissioners/commissioners/v-scott-zelov 📌‼️

An old art item found on Internet of 1690 house.

This makes me really sad. The history of the 1690 house is amazing. There is this website called Living Places which has a history. I will share an excerpt:

📌The Mill Creek Historic District is located in Gladwyne, Lower Merion Township, on the west side of the Schuylkill River. Approximately ten miles from downtown Philadelphia, it is situated at the juncture of Mill Creek and Old Gulph Roads alongside of Mill Creek.

…,The area was originally settled by a Welsh Quaker named John Roberts “the miller” who purchased the rights to 500 acres of land in the Welsh Tract in 1682. Taking title to 250 acres; he set up his grist mill called “The Wain” by 1690 or earlier….The house at 543 Mill Creek Road is the oldest in the area and possibly in Lower Merion Township. Originally it was the log house of John Roberts, the Miller, c.1683. The house, which is commonly called “the 1690 house” has been expanded several times and now bears no resemblance to the original. It is 1 1/2 stories has brick chimneys, and dormers with slanting overhangs. Presently, it is sheathed with wood shingles. Over the years, Mill Creek Road has been raised giving the house the appearance of being in a gully.📌

Lower Merion Conservancy photo

The 1690 house is a private residence. It’s a gem. I actually had senior portrait photos taken at the old mill across the street- way before it was restored into a private residence.

Of course this begs the topic of bridges in this area. And roads under construction BEFORE Ida . Everything seems to take so long. Like the hanging rock on 320 and the road closure that is supposed to be done by November, 2021. The hanging rock AKA “Drummonds Head” is actually located in Upper Merion Township and they are supposedly shifting the roadway AWAY from the rock, so it’s got me wondering what they are doing to the creek on the other side?

But my point is even THAT is taking forever. And you can’t get around easily and it’s right where 76 has an exit. The Mill Creek Road Bridge being out will mean a need for a huge work around connecting parts of Lower Merion Township to other parts of itself.

But I am glad the 1690 house can be saved. Here’s hoping the re-engineering can lift it up some and save parts of the original structure to incorporate into the re-build.

Ida was a real natural terror and my heart goes out to the people who own the 1690 House and my friends on River Road and elsewhere. And no, I have not seen photos of the 1690 house post-Ida

Part of an old real estate listing of 1690 House.

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

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

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

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

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

~ 4th Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789 

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

~1st Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

changes: yellow springs farm is for sale

Catherine Renzi from Yellow Springs Farm came over last week to drop off plants. My current garden is one of many over the course of 20 years that I have incorporated plants from Yellow Springs Farm into.

During this visit, Catherine entrusted me with the news she and her husband Al are now allowing me to tell all of you: Yellow Springs Farm is for sale. And before we go any further, know one thing: this is a conserved farm. This land will remain protected in perpetuity from subdivision or development because Catherine and Al Renzi donated a conservation easement in 2001.

While many land parcels in Chester County are NOT safe from wanton development, Yellow Springs Farm is.

I have know Catherine for many, many years. Before there was Yellow Springs Farm, she was a well respected financial advisor and for a few years I was a sales assistant in her office. As a matter of fact, I remember when she said she was taking her life in another direction and she and Al were buying a farm. To many of the stock jockeys, that sounded crazy. To me, it sounded wonderful.

Although Catherine started out essentially a boss, she has become my friend over the course of many, many years we have known each other. I have been buying goods from her farm as long as they have been selling them.

Yellow Springs Farm is a magical place and so beautiful. It has been a happy place for me in Chester County over the years. I always knew spring was truly here when there was an open farm day, and I could see the new kids. Kids, aka baby goats, are among the most joyful animals to be around. Goats can be a little stinky, but they are funny creatures guaranteed to put a smile on your face. The Yellow Springs goats are now gone from the farm. They went to live at another dairy.

Change can be hard, and Catherine and Al didn’t make this decision lightly. BUT people are entitled to new and different chapters, and if I am honest, when I saw Catherine had picked up her paint brushes again and started creating beautiful paintings, I knew change was coming.

Now while their location might be changing, Catherine will still be offering landscape design and consulting services (and hopefully plants!) from a new, TBD location.

With Catherine and Al’s permission, I am sharing their note to their Cheese CSA members:

📌📝Yellow Springs Farm Native Plants Nursery and Artisanal Goat Dairy will close this Fall. After 20 years of goats, gardens and countless community connections, Al and Catherine Renzi are ready to begin a new life chapter.

We are extremely grateful for the knowledge, friendships and warm memories you, our valued CSA members, have shared over the years. We could not have pursued our mission of connecting sustainable landscapes with local foodscapes without our customers, colleagues, chefs and so many Farm supporters, near and far.

The Farm real estate is for sale, but it remains protected in perpetuity from subdivision or development because of the conservation easement we donated in 2001. We imagine new owners will live their dreams here, and continue to care for this beautiful place. The goats were the soul of the Farm. They are safe, and have moved to another dairy. We receive their milk to continue making cheese until later this Fall– likely November. The dairy and cheesemaking equipment is available for purchase. Nursery plants not sold this season will come with us to our new location TBD. Change is hard to process, but we are focused on being glad that YSF happened (2001-2021), not sad that it is coming to an end. When we started this adventure in 2001, and now again in 2021, we made choices to take chances, and look forward to change ahead with refreshed aspirations. Every ending is a new beginning

We will connect with community venues and other means to pursue our interests in nature, conservation, and local food. Catherine’s creative muse, and Al’s analytical penchant for science are alive and well. We will share specifics as we know more details in coming weeks and months.

Thank you for sharing this fulfilling, challenging life chapter with us. Your support and enthusiasm for our Farm has been priceless. A piece of this place lives forever in our hearts, and we hope you too have fond memories of Yellow Springs Farm.

With warm regards and heartfelt thanks,

Al and Catherine Renzi
📌📝

So there is the news. If you are a realtor or a potential owner who is a farm lover with a conservation soul, follow this LINK and this LINK to the listing and schedule a showing. The farmhouse is sensitively and beautifully updated, and some lucky family could move in “as is.”

Yellow Springs Farm sits on a glorious conserved 8 acre parcel. The farmhouse as mentioned is restored and dates to 1850. A spring house, a bank barn, run in sheds and more await the right owner. The barn has a fabulous 1 bedroom apartment, suitable as a rental or space for visiting friends/family. If you think it’s you, contact:

Linda Burgwin
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Office Ph: (610) 225-7400
Cell: (484)- 716-0163

And no, I am not getting into the real estate listing promotion business. This is a special place and the Renzis are special people. Please if you are interested in the farm, schedule a visit through a realtor properly. Please do not just drive up the driveway for a look see.

Catherine and Al, you know I wish you nothing but the best and look forward to your next chapter. Cheers to you both!

To those interested in preserving the character of Chester County, be like the Renzis and consider conservation. Conservation and preservation go hand in hand.

the last day of summer…at life’s patina

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

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

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

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

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