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.
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 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.
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?
Sometimes the sunsets out here are just so cool. I wasn’t sure how yesterday would turn out but the clouds and light in the end, were awesome. There was even a faded rainbow.
I have loved the historic village of Yellow Springs down Art School Road in Chester Springs for years and years. I was first introduced to the village by my late father. He loved the art show and the antique show the village no longer hosts in the fall (but should.)
We would come out to the village, attend the art show or antique show and have lunch at the now closed Yellow Springs Inn. At first the restaurant was in the building known today as “The Washington”, then it moved to the Jenny Lind House.
I don’t remember who exactly was in the Jenny Lind House before the Yellow Springs Inn went to live there. But I knew a little bit of the history and that it was a boarding house. Run (and built) by a woman named Margaret Holman.
Truthfully the history of Yellow Springs Village is so very interesting. As a related aside, Margaret Holman is but one of many women who played important and pivotal roles in this village over time and throughout its history. Now we add my friend Meg Veno to that list of historically important ladies. With her renovation of the Jenny Lind house and the amazing adaptive reuse that still nods to the past in process, she is bringing new life and a fresh set of ideas to Yellow Springs Village.
Restoring Jenny Lind is so positive for this magical village. And I was so glad to see people out enjoying the art show and picking up their box lunches from at the Jenny Lind today!
The restoration is not complete there are still at least a couple more months of solid work ahead of them. But today I had the privilege and honor to see the progress and how the renovation was coming along. I was literally almost reduced to tears. I had no idea that once upon a time at a Life’s Patina Barn Sale when Meg mentioned to me that she was looking for another project, and I happened to tell her that the Jenny Lind house was in bank foreclosure and the restaurant gone, that this would happen.