slightly disgusted with mankind and we need to come together and find peace

This is just one of my photos. It has absolutely nothing to do with the post.

I am beginning to understand why people move to cabins at the tops of mountains and don’t talk to people. We are living in very strange and angry times and I really wish people would just hit the pause button or take a freaking breath sometimes.

I saw pictures (media coverage) this weekend of people who went to Washington DC. They went to party with Trump on the White House lawn for 4th of July. Now no one can dispute going to Washington DC on the Fourth of July is a very American patriotic thing, the thing that disturbed me is all the coverage I saw of this event no one really was wearing masks. No one was social distancing. And it looked more like a political rally than a celebration of the nation’s birthday. That in and of itself was very distasteful to me. Right or wrong, to me it was very much a Marie Antoinette let them eat cake pre-French revolution kind of a thing.

But now I can’t help but wonder who in those crowds will get COVID-19 or bring it home and give it to somebody else? Because I don’t think they’re going to self quarantine do you?

I had another friend tell me again yet today about how uncomfortable their neighbors make them because all they’ve done essentially is party since coronavirus broke out. And I’m not trying to be a wet blanket, everyone likes to get together with their friends and family. But we don’t live in normal times and there are things we have to pay attention to. The proof is in the pudding as it were because there are spikes occurring all over the country of this pandemic virus.

I mean how embarrassing is it that European countries do not want to let an American in across their borders right now because of the virus and because of how our country is treating the Coronavirus?

Then there is the incredible tension because of well, racism in this country. We’ve had protests, incredibly violent protests at times from coast to coast. We are long overdue in truly addressing this heinous issue.

No one can have a conversation about anything and every conversation is combative and too many of them take place online and not face-to-face. Again, because of the times we live in having newly emerged from stay at home orders. We are truly living in the era of nasty keyboard idiots.

And another new thing that keeps happening. For every community where you say “Hate Has No Home Here“, “ Black Lives Matter“, or other similar signs there are also signs once again supporting local police departments. The impetus of course is to remind people that not everyone in law-enforcement is a bad person. And that’s true. I think, however, all of these different kinds of signs are stirring up people positively and negatively and I have to wonder can we take our protest signs down for a while across-the-board in general? And learn to co-exist peacefully?

And then there is the economy. There are a lot of people out of work. There are a lot of small businesses who are suffering greatly and will never open their doors again in some cases. There are people who also have gotten their salaries cut. I think with everything that has been going on since 2020 started is just creating so much tension that no one knows how to process it.

We need a do-over on 2020.

Global pandemic, unstable economy, and racism. They say bad things come in threes let’s hope this country is done now for a while, right?

Here’s a novel idea: maybe we should all just stop fighting one and other for five minutes and try to shut our mouths and open our ears and listen to what other people are saying. Maybe we should be open to hearing the points of view of others. Maybe we should all try to be better people. Maybe we should pay it forward with something positive however we can.

Part of the problem today again is no one can have a conversation any longer. No one can have a civil discussion about anything. You never know when you open your mouth if you’re going to say the right thing or the wrong thing, so I find myself for me being unusually quiet. Until now.

The impetus for this post, is all the stupid stuff I see going on in community Facebook groups. We’re all supposed to be neighbors, yet all I see is people who want to tear other people down or just starting fights. I would like to think that therapy is cheaper and perhaps anger management as well.

We live in an angry, hateful world right now. And we have to do our part to make it better to enact positive change. But change comes with trying to be tolerant of other people, walking away from stupid online arguments. I think life is hard enough right now at times, so hard, we need to just pause.

Once again, as I’ve said before, I think a lot of the fuel to the fire of negativity in this country comes from Washington DC. They only have one goal: benefiting themselves.

Our forefathers fought and bled and died and suffered so that all of us could be free. What would they think of us today? Would they be shaking their heads in disgust?

I don’t have the answers. I wish someone had the answers. But it’s too damn hot and I think people have to start to take a breath so we can come together as a nation.

Peace people. We need peace. We need love.

malvern borough have you learned nothing since eastside flats?

Development is a funny thing. I see all of these amazing adaptive reuse and other projects everywhere but in the area we call home. Chester County is overrun with bad and/or inappropriate plans. And yes there is one that concerns me in Malvern Borough. But first we need to talk about the last development which caused me concern there before due to it’s hulking nature: Eastside Flats.

And at the end of the day one of the biggest problems STILL with Eastside Flats is lack of human scale and inappropriate design for the area.  They tower over everything and citify a small town in a way that is architecturally inappropriate. And I would still like to know how fire trucks can navigate this site completely in the event of fire? 

Eastside Flats still is in my opinion, architecturally unimaginative and looks like hulky, looming Lego buildings that created a canyon effect in tiny Malvern. That is NOT a reflection on the businesses there which I love and patronize. Nothing about these buildings ties into the quaint Borough of Malvern or it’s history. I said this in 2013 and I still think that.

Empty lot that used to be old store fronts

And again, this has NOTHING to do with the businesses. It’s the aesthetics, lack of human scale and even the crappy scored-to-look-like-brick-concrete-sidewalks which are a slip and fall and trip hazard. And the fact there is STILL no curb cut from the public parking lot so you don’t have to walk over MULCH. I mean how many years will it take to correct that? And there is little room for delivery trucks, so it’s not uncommon to find UPS and other trucks blocking a pedestrian’s path from parking lot to sidewalk. The finishes on the facade of the buildings are also already showing wear.

Eastside flats being built.

The consequences of Eastside Flats caused an election upheaval in 2013. Yet, Malvern Borough is still facing inappropriate development that will be completely out of scale again, in my opinion, if built. And no, I don’t have a horse in this race. I will merely be around to say I told you so if it gets built the way it looks now in the plans.

Here are the documents you can peruse that were sent to me by concerned residents in Malvern Borough (screenshots below are from these documents – it shows the evolution of proposed plans and note it doesn’t look like it’s Malvern at all):

What the resident said to me (in part):

So much local development that happens before people are aware of it, and then the only thing people can do it complain after the fact. It would be great to get public input on this before it’s an inevitability.

The residents who attended the last PC meeting raising the several concerns about this project are:
* Height – it will be out of scale and character with the surrounding buildings and neighborhood behind. They are requesting a variance for height.
* Traffic – The proposed design will have people entering leaving at the intersection of King and Bridge, adding to our current rush hour traffic woes.
* Construction – How are they going to stage this kind of construction on our overcrowded streets. They are refusing to consider another entrance off of Woodland, which would make this easier. To get the Woodland entrance they would need to purchase 2 parking spaces from the current owner.
* Aesthetics – This is a gateway to Malvern. Do we really want a corporate monolith looming above the street as our welcome to Malvern?

Another resident said:

“I think the applicant should turn his building 90 degrees on its eastern axis nearest Woodland. The short side of the structure takes up only half the King St. frontage of the current proposal. Run the remainder of the building back to the property’s 160′ depth, ending up with the same size building. Plenty of window light all around because the Woodland and King neighbor is small and not deep anyway (which the applicant should buy if possible, anyway). A now 65′ wide frontage (by 43′ high) is far more compatible with the current scale on King.
Now, what do you do with the remaining half of the lot to the west? You put in a beautiful hardscape (cobblestones, bricks, maybe even pervious, etc) all the way to the property depth, studded with lots of trees (diminishing a couple or three parking spaces, for sure, but that’s all, and don’t forget, trees reduce bare ground temperature by 30%). Maybe the drive comes in from Bridge or maybe it goes in from Woodland, but that doesn’t matter to the concept. (Woodland is clearly better for traffic, though.)
Office parking on the hardscape during business hours. The Borough gets the parking in the evening, without security concerns because no one has to go through the off-limits parking under building.On special occasions we would have a new park-like hardscape area for public events. And most critically, we all enjoy the view from Bridge, seeing lots of trees and openness at Our Town’s last main entrance.”
It’s a creative solution instead of a box building that checks all of the bureaucratic boxes. In Malvern it seems we use our ordinances to justify buildings that no one wants. “

I am told that developer folks are asking for like 4 variances: height relief, parking relief, buffer relief (going from 20 ft. to 5 ft.), relief from having to install some kind of parking island? So, if these variances are granted without conditions, such as making them subject to PC recommendations based on SALDO issues, there will be very little the Borough can do to require changes to the plan, right?

Ok so I wrote about the site in 2015 when the original buildings were coming down. I felt back then that although I understood there probably there was no way to save the 19th century storefront and other structures given the decrepit buildings they was attached to. But this is the kind of waste that makes me crazy because someone had seemingly sat on this land for the better part of what? A decade or better?

Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
History Quarterly Digital Archives October 1961 Volume 11 Number 4, Pages 88–93 . The history of Malvern by Cherri Quann

From the UpHome Facebook page years ago.

Still lost? Remember where the lovely store UpHome had their first home? Across King from The Flying Pig? What was reported to have been Malvern’s last 19th century store front? There.

So Malvern Borough, you got rid of Malvern Victorian Christmas for something not quite as memorable, although nice. Are you slowly going to be overtaken by things too large and hulking for a small Main Street oriented town? Please consider better.

And Malvern Borough residents? Some of you will send me nasty comments or post them because I am expressing concern here. That’s on you. You can be ostriches or you can get involved with your borough again.

Your choice.

If I lived and paid taxes in the Borough of Malvern I would want better for my community. I would want new construction to fit and reflected the character of the borough. So ask your borough folks when meeting will occur for this plan. Or not. Again, it’s up to you. I am merely expressing my opinion and concern.

did you hear the one about a meeting in a municipal garage, a porta potty and no air conditioning? ask westtown…

I am going to let Mindy’s words stand on their own. Yes, Westtown is trying to hold the FINAL planning commission meeting for Crebilly and Troll Brothers in a public works garage.

No air-conditioning, July.

No plumbing, July.

Porta potty in the time of coronavirus, July.

With all residents have been through with this AND coronavirus, this is the plan? Wow. One would think that with all the money the developer and family selling would stand to make one would think they could rent a ballroom in a hotel like the Desmond, right? Or hold it when all could gather safely, right?

But nooooo, it’s a saddle up occasion and here is whom to contact ASAP:

Westtown Township Main Number: 610-692-1930Rob Pingar, Township Manager: rpingar@westtown.orgWill Ethridge, Secretary Planning Commission: wethridge@westtown.orgBoard of Supervisors: supervisors@westtown.org

As Mindy says with every post, IF NOT YOU THEN WHO?

a juneteenth visit to ebenezer on bacton hill road in east whiteland

Ebenezer on Bacton Hill Road in Frazer (East Whiteland) is a sacred and historic place. It’s no secret I have written about this place for years.

The AME Church grew out of the Free African Society in the late 1700s, but the church became it’s own entity founded in Philadelphia around 1816.  So you can see given the age of Ebenezer AME in East Whiteland, Chester County, PA that it is truly part of the early days of a church and religion founded in Philadelphia.  Bishop Richard Allen died in 1831, just months before Ebenezer came to be after Joseph Malin deeded the land.

Hiram Woodyard was a Township resident and former slave who served in the Union Army as a teamster. He was a leader in the African American community and is buried at the Ebenezer AME Church. His home still stands on Congestoga Road. Other homes he built still stand. He was an inhabitant of Bacton Hill.

Without active preservation there will come a time that all which will be left of the area will be my blog posts including this one from 2017 which is an oral history complete with some really cool photos courtesy of Claude Bernadin, or this one from 2015, this one from 2016, this one from 2017, the ceremony November 2016, a post from October 2016, another one from October 2016, when for brief moment people stopped to visit the old souls now covered by weeds and brush once more, 2015 post which had links to earlier posts. Also what will survive will be the occasional newspaper article from every newspaper reporter who tried to raise awareness to this area and to Ebenezer.

Once upon a time people tried to get a Bacton Hill Historic District or something like that. It’s a shame it never happened. Because at least then there would have been a more organized history of the place.

So this Juneteenth, I was thinking of Ebenezer again and here are a few new photos scattered throughout this post. I remember the black civil war soldiers here and elsewhere throughout Chester County. I share again the oral history of one resident (CLICK HERE). I think of all of the people who have shared what they have discovered about Ebenezer over the years.

Juneteenth (on June 19) is know as Emancipation Day and also as Freedom Day, Jubilation Day, and Liberation Day. I never learned about this important day in any history class I took in school. Which is something I think needs to be rectified because it’s part of our history of this country.

Although Juneteenth is celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, it was still legal and practiced in two states – Delaware and Kentucky – until December 6, 1865, when ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished non-penal slavery nationwide.

We don’t know when exactly Hiram Woodyard was emancipated or freed, do we? His house is supposed to be a historic resource too isn’t it?

On Fold3, there exist some records of Hiram, including voluntary army enlistment. These photos aren’t the best but here they are:

Someone has been cutting the grass again at Ebenezer. I don’t know if it is the developer who will be building houses all around it or someone else. It’s not the AME church. They need to become involved as we believe that this is STILL their land, but will they?

I am but a middle-aged white woman. I am not black and won’t pretend I understand the black experience. I try to learn and respect it. But given the state of racism in this country and the need for all Americans to learn more of this country’s history good and bad, to me, this also means we need to SAVE sites like Ebenezer and preserve their history.

So I am calling on officials state, local, county, federal, and from the AME church to save Ebenezer. The church is too far gone to save BUT capping and preservation of the church ruin is possible. We need a study including with that sonar stuff like they use for Duffy’s Cut to map out where all of the graves are and what stones may lie beneath the dirt.

Officials also need to remember and properly notate the Bacton Hill area because it was a well settled free black community once upon a time. This needs to be done because otherwise this will all sink as a footnote to history that will be forgotten.

Thanks for stopping by.

kristine howard, the only thing you have earned is my disdain.

Kristine Howard has lit drop flooded our mailbox today. Especially loved the giant glossy mailer that says she’s “earned” her reelection. Sorry not sorry, the balls on that woman! Or her campaign.

In all my years of voting, and watching local, regional, state, and federal politics I am astounded that someone who has literally done nothing is even still a viable candidateIn all my years of voting, and watching local, regional, state, and federal politics, I am gob smacked astounded that someone who has literally done nothing is even a candidate.

If she is such a real “environmentalist“ why has she killed so many trees this election season?

She is not visible, she is not available to her constituents, she is solely available to Tom Wolf and his agenda. And whomever else her puppeteers are.

I gave her a chance two years ago and the only thing she has earned to date is my distain.

I don’t care if you vote for a purple people eater tomorrow don’t vote for Kristine Howard.

sourdough day 2

So this morning I got my sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and mixed up my first batch of dough ever. I wrote about day 1 yesterday. So welcome to day 2.

I will remind everyone that this is not my recipe, the recipe and instructions come courtesy of Tracey Deschaine who owns Dixie Picnic a marvelous scratch kitchen in Malvern/Frazer. If you live locally I hope you will patronize her business and she has been one of the bright lights in this whole stay at home of it all during COVID-19 by gifting starter and selling flour to those who wish to try.

I will be honest and say it took me almost a month to get fresh flour. Everyone has been sold out of it and even King Arthur is on a backlog for catalog ordering. But because of the generosity of Tracey some of us have been able to buy it when needed.

I actually have made bread before. Even focaccia. I took a baking class with Patricia Polin the pastry chef at The Master’s Baker. But I didn’t venture into bread making solo until now. Bread is like a fun science experiment!

So I used the food scale just like Patricia and Tracey taught me and measured out:

10 oz. of sourdough starter

8 oz. warm water

1 lb. bread flour

1.5 oz. of canola oil. (Tracey calls for Crisco but never use it so I don’t have it)

1.5 ounces of oil ends up being 9 teaspoons.

So I followed Tracey‘s instructions and first I mixed the water and starter and then I added the rest. I mixed the dough until it came together and was smooth and pliable in the bowl. I then let it rest covered with a linen towel at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Then Tracey‘s recipe asks for 0.5 oz (0.8 TBSP) of salt. That’s roughly 2.4 teaspoons. I mixed the salt into the dough and kneaded until the salt was all incorporated and the dough was once again smooth. You can feel the little granules of salt and when you stop feeling them it’s mixed.

I then took my dough and put it in a clean lightly oiled second mixing bowl and covered it with saran wrap. It will sit there and rise at room temperature for about eight hours until I take the next step.

I also decided to grow my starter again today so I could just bake next week again. The last picture in this post will show you that my bread is already starting to grow in size.

What I will do later is shape the dough and de-gas it, i.e. punch it down to remove large air bubbles. Then it will rest on a cookie sheet covered with the saran wrap I use to cover the ball this morning until tomorrow in the refrigerator. Then I bring it out to start the final process before baking.

So stay tuned and fingers crossed that I can do this right and make Tracey proud!

happy 75th frank 😊❤️

This is the thing about true community that no developer in the world or urban planner can bottle and replicate. It just has to exist. Today is my neighbor Frank’s 75th birthday. His friends got a parade together!

I am deeply honored that I was included as I am a new kid on the block, relatively speaking. I have really great neighbors. These people are good honest folk. Frank keeps chickens and through a lot of this stay at home he has been keeping a lot of us in fresh eggs. Fun fact I learned today was that he used to work for Saint Peter’s School at 4th and Pine in Philadelphia for Miss Seamens who was our head mistress or principal. So I actually could have met him when I was little.

Happy 75th Frank! We love ya!

news you can use: you CAN vote by mail and ballots are starting to flow through the mail

Like many others out there, I am choosing to vote by mail this coming primary election. The date for the primary election is now June 2nd.

When I found out in mid-March that we could do this, I registered online for my mail in ballot. I am someone, who as a cancer survivor and still active cancer patient, is considered immunocompromised.

After I registered online at https://www.pavoterservices.pa.gov/OnlineAbsenteeApplication, I first received a confirmation letter acknowledging my application. Then a couple weeks later I received an email that I mistakenly thought was from Chester County telling me my ballot was being mailed out. Only I never received anything. And because my mail sorts through Wilmington, Delaware before coming back to Chester County, I tried to contact Chester County Voter Services.

Because of the coronavirus world we live in I wasn’t successful at first in contacting the county. So I completed a second ballot application. I still received nothing. So I reached out to Chester County Voter Services again. This morning a lovely lady called me back.

Apparently the acknowledgment email we receive along with the additional email that tells us our ballots are being mailed out are generated on a state platform and not a county level. I mistakenly thought the notification of ballots being mailed out came from the county. Apparently I am also not alone in that misperception. This has created some confusion, as have a lot of things quite frankly being issued from the state level these days. (This is all uncharted territory in a global pandemic and health crisis, so for once in my life I’m actually trying not to be hypercritical.)

Chester County IS mailing their ballots now. BUT if you filed more than one application with the state (like I did) because you were afraid your ballot was lost it’s gumming up the works quite literally. Every time you do a new application it sounds like it kind of voids the other applications, so what is happening is it’s essentially a stop check in the system so people don’t get more than one ballot. Basically we’re slowing ourselves down if we’ve done this. And while I only filed a second application, there are a lot of voters who have filed multiple applications.

If you think your ballot is late but you have the email that proves that you successfully completed the application, DO NOT complete additional applications like I for one did. Contact voter services. They are essential workers so a lot of the time they actually are in the offices but the phones are restricted sometimes because I don’t think there are as many people in the officers to answer them. The phone number is 610-344-6410.

Below is a screenshot of what the online request for mail in ballot looks like. Please note if you want to vote by mail, your county office MUST have your application NO LATER THAN 5PM on May 26. Please make sure you complete and mail it ASAP when you receive it because it has to be received by Election Day which again is now June 2nd.

Thanks for stopping by.

pandemic rescheduling: billboard hearing postponement in east whiteland township

One good thing we can thank coronavirus or COVID-19 for is the postponement of unpleasant land and other development plans.

Accordingly, because the expanded Pennsylvania “stay at home“ orders now run through May 8, the billboard hearings scheduled in East Whiteland Township for April 27 and April 29, 2020 have been canceled. And rescheduled.

Today from East Whiteland Township I received the updated legal notice containing the rescheduled hearing date and other relevant details regarding the proceedings. The new date is May 26, 2020 and that will replace the previously scheduled and subsequently canceled hearing dates noted.

The hearing information is as follows:

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Beginning at 7 PM in the East Whiteland Township Building

209 Conestoga Road

Frazer PA 19355

Please monitor the township website if you were interested in this or other issues in East Whiteland Township. The township website is www.eastwhiteland.org

I applaud the township for putting residents first and their health during a global pandemic. I also can’t help but wonder is this God’s way of telling us we don’t need giant electronically lit double sided billboards on Route 30 in East Whiteland, neighboring Tredyffrin, or other places like Haverford Township or Lower Merion’s parts of Bryn Mawr?

#NoBillboards

soothing photos

I’m asking those who love the sea to join the challenge of posting a picture of a beach. Just a picture, no description. The goal is to flood Facebook especially with some positive photos instead of negativity. Please copy the text to your Facebook (or Instagram) timeline, put a picture up and look at some beautiful pictures.

DISCLAIMER photographing the ocean and beaches and sea birds are among my favorite things. So I can’t pick just one photo I am giving you a montage of photos taken either in the Hamptons or Bermuda.