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.

The Life’s Patina Fall Barn Sale is open to the public September 24th, 25th & 26th:

📌‼️We are back!!! This September, we’re bringing you our latest fabulous vintage and new home accessories, decor, furniture, gift items, and architectural salvage at our Fall Barn Sale. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be open to the public without a scheduled appointment so head on over to peruse all of our artfully curated finds while taking in Fall at Life’s Patina. Local purveyors of fabulous artisanal foods will be holding tastings and creations from local artisans will be shown as well. A portion of all proceeds from the sale will be donated to the amazing Speak Up!, a nonprofit dedicated to helping teens develop supportive relationships with the adults in their lives.

Barn Sale Hours:

Friday, September 24th, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Saturday, September 25th, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday, September 26th, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm📌‼️

It was a wonderful way to spend part of the last official day of summer! I hope you will check out Life’s Patina this weekend! BRING YOUR MASK PLEASE!

easttown officials bring the uglies to berwyn

Berwyn is a gem, or was a gem. It’s getting redevelopment within an inch of it’s life, and the development is neither gracious or blending in. Just one cram plan after the other.

The development is garish, jarring, and thus far rather cheap looking. Apparently Easttown Township wants them all crammed in like lemmings.

Easttown officials as in the elected persuasion are not user friendly. They are most succinctly put self-serving, snide, and sanctimonious. They all no better than the peasants. They are quite feudal in attitude.

The erectile dysfunction going up on Route 30/Lancaster Avenue is even more disturbing than it appeared on all the plans. And you know how those plans are presented -always like the proverbial Elysian Fields.

The houses behind the erectile dysfunction look like Lego McMansions and are so crammed together you will hear the neighbors flush their toilets. It’s a cute and cozy relationship between the builder and listing agent too, right? And if there were fewer houses in this nouveau “Berwyn Village”, it wouldn’t be so bad, but once again it’s just too many damn houses.

The erectile dysfunction seems like it’s trying to maroon the Berwyn Tavern. It was the old Fritz Lumber site. Now everyone knew once Fritz closed it was going to be developed, but once again it’s going to be too much and too big. Between all of the apartments here and the monstrosity yet to break ground across Lancaster Ave at “Berwyn Square”, Berwyn is getting supersized in the worst possible way.

When that project is finished it’s going to be as ugly as what has happened and is still happening in Ardmore, PA and elsewhere.

Urban Canyons designed solely to line the pockets of developers. Maybe they will fund a traffic signal here and there, but they will just plop this crap on a community and move onto the next project.

These development projects stresses infrastructure, first responders, and school districts…just to point out SOME of the obvious. Communities are never in my opinion adequately or justly compensated for having to suffer through this crap.

R.I.P. charming Berwyn. Hope the ratables will be worth it, Easttown Township.

mrs. stull’s tomato jam

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.

Thanks for stopping by!

day after ida

Gibson’s Covered Bridge has been Idafied. DAHS board member photo.

This is a post of mostly just photos. I have been gathering them today so we don’t forget what happened.

The news says most of Chester County got 6 to 8 inches of rain but that’s not counting the floodwaters from creeks and streams and rivers. I think where I am got at least 9 inches.

Green Lane Bridge, Philadelphia

This was a totally crazy storm and it’s not over yet and in Chester County places like Downingtown have been devastated and down around Chaddsford, Route 1, Creek Rd. , 202…. you name it roads are closed and I’m guessing they are going to be closed for at least a couple of days if not longer in spots.

Historic structures like Gibson’s Covered Bridge in Downingtown sustained terrible damage. I heard through the grapevine that house on the Perkiomen washed away and people wonder if that’s the reason why the Arcola bridge is closed but I’m not there there so I don’t know?

Vine Street Expressway Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia is insanely flooded and even the Vine Street Expressway is under water. Lots of parts of the expressway are closed, and all sorts of other roads and streets. And parts of South Jersey are also devastated. In particular an area I happen to like called Mullica Hill had tornadoes like the Wizard of Oz go through.

On the news, all the meteorologists are talking about climate change. Hurricane Ida’s aftermath in the Delaware Valley is living proof of how bad it is. And then there’s the whole thing of development. We have to have a conversation in every community about Stormwater management and development. We need a lot less development in our lives because the water in storms has nowhere to go.

Gladwyne, PA

Feel free to send flood photos to the blog via the messaging component of the Facebook page for this blog.

River Road, Roxborough.

It’s a lovely sunny day today but please if you can stay put, stay put.

in downingtown area school district, someone needs to fact check margie miller and those backing her….facts matter…

The crazy train stopped at Downingtown Area School District last evening at what should have been a lovely back to school evening.

And innocent LOOKING kindergarten teacher (but not employed by DASD), Margie Miller is once again the Fibber McGee candidate for DASD. She’s backed by Republican PAC Keeping Kids in School, founded by Clarice Schillinger who used to work for State Rep. Todd Stephens (R., Montgomery).

…But this PAC doesn’t care about facts or coloring outside the lines as they also back the WCASD candidates like the QAnon gal, #AnonymousAda, Ada Nestor who was in Washington DC 1/6/21 but Keeping Kids in School PAC don’t seem to be bothered by this candidate’s actions and squirrelly politics.

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.

bless their hearts, more nastiness

The man above wishes to be famous, so I am obliging.

I received this comment overnight to this blog. I perceive it to be threatening in nature.

One funny thing is I had to look up what NPC was (Non Player Character), and it still means nothing to me because I do not live by video game jargon.

I know people on school boards and elected officials and even reporters are no stranger to nasty comments and emails like this these days, but it seems like since 2020 and prior to that because of the election, people have no boundaries and feel behavior like this is acceptable.

It is not. I am not a public figure or elected official, I am essentially a housewife who blogs sometimes.

This person is obviously male and very angry. If by his IP address you know who he is, someone should have a chat with him. This behavior is not acceptable towards anyone.

Obviously his email is fake.

He says he lives in Willistown so his comment in situ went to the Great Valley School District superintendent and school board, Willistown and East Whiteland supervisors and police departments.

This was a comment sent in response to a post I wrote called the dysfunctional states of america.

What he said for those who will complain about having to read a screenshot is as follows:

I am a Willistown homeowner and father of current students. Several distinct but loosely related points that constitute fair warning to the renegade officials we unwisely trusted with our institutions:

* The “mask dictatorship” is reprehensible, driven by propaganda of fear and “othering” that is shockingly effective. I know this because I am a student of propaganda otherwise known as marketing.”The school board is typically dictatorial, fragile, and evidently low IQ “electing” to punt their responsibilities to some mid-level nurse in West Chester that runs the health department. Pussy is an understatement for people so frightened of the literal bogeyman as to extra-legally and casually inflict this on their neighbors.

(don’t even get me going on the Willistown sewer smash-and-grab scheme.)

* And this latter point is the most enraging: “covid” is a weaponization to deprive citizens of information from and directions to their supposedly elected representatives, notably LOCAL officials re GVSB. The GVSD is behaving like the small-minded dictators one might expect in a Latin American banana republic from the 19th C. than elected officials in the United States.

* The irresponsible government situation is intolerable. After a year of pompous official indifference to the nationwide burning, looting, mayhem and murder of BLM/Antifa, the FUD fueled “covid” sanctimony is enraging on a visceral level. When the sleepy, gentlemanly yeomen of Willistown rise in righteous anger, you should understand the boiling point has been reached.

* LEsson Learned: as a political experiment, “democracy” has proven a complete and total failure thanks to corruption and easy public manipulability if not outright idiocy. You liberal-leftist dreamers are about to see your life-long aspiration achieved but you are not going to like how it turns out with a mafia version of old school feudalism that will replace this joke of government. That is to say, the law of the jungle is kill or be killed or sometime put as Only the strong survive. A motley coalition of rabbit people stands no chance.

IDGAF if you agree with my points, if you hate them, or if they inspire you to roll your eyes while spewing some stupid canned insult so typical of NPCs.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. NO MORE.

He’s right. Enough is enough. No one should put up with this brand of verbal abuse. And it is happening everywhere.

different slaw

My vegetable box today had a couple things I was not sure would go together, but actually have quite nicely!

I had some beautiful young fresh red cabbage, and a couple of heads of fresh fennel. So I thought what could I do with them? Then I thought why not a kind of coleslaw? I’m out of carrots so I could use the fennel in place of the carrots.

Well it worked! I also added half of a red onion and a couple of apples.

Here’s what I did:

1. Grate a small to medium size head of red cabbage.

2. Clean a large fennel bulb and grate. Or two smaller bulbs. Save some of the frilly green frond tops for the dressing .

3. Grate 1/2 of a red onion,

4. Grate 2 medium apples with skin ON.

Toss everything together that you have grated into a bowl. Add a little salt to taste. I like Crazy Jane’s Mixed Up Salt.

In a separate little bowl whisk together a little handful of the fennel fronds minced, a quarter cup of mayonnaise, 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, three or 4 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

Add the dressing to the grated everything bowl and mix together. Put it into the refrigerator to chill up and then taste again before serving to see if you need to adjust the salt or pepper.

Enjoy!

when things seem to be decided ahead of time….

The meeting recording will stand on it’s own. Yo’ East Whiteland don’t Delco Our Chesco.

Well, East Whiteland did what East Whiteland does best on August 11th: cleared more hurdles for yet another barftastic development plan. What they did about Knickerbocker was essentially bend over. (Read about what meeting was about HERE)

What I found truly fascinating is even Chester County Planning paused on this plan. But nope East Whiteland and the solicitor who speaks for all these days knew better, didn’t they?

This is what Chester County said:

East Whiteland voted unanimously for the zoning changes (you can find the nitty gritty embedded in the East Whiteland agenda) .

(Watch the video.)

East Whiteland’s Supervisors seem led all meeting by their solicitor and well he works for them, correct? Tonight was one of those meetings where it felt like they worked for him, didn’t it? (Again, watch the video, see for yourself.) And is the solicitor ill? He did not look well and Sue Drummond’s Cruella de Ville scaredo-hairdo sure was something, wasn’t it?

Something that was apparent was the fact that every single supervisor acted like they made up their minds before the public hearing even occurred and isn’t that politically pathetic?

Why hold a hearing if you already have made up your collective minds?

Truly, I do not have much to say. I knew it wouldn’t matter what residents felt or said. It never does, does it?

I am glad they were so safety minded with how they did the meeting, however. That at least they did right.

How

Much

Development

Before

Chester

County

Sinks?

And about those Amazon worries that peppered the meeting? Can someone please clarify if Amazon was actually coming to town? And would that have been as bad as all of these whatevers they will be when built?

Again, I ask what do you do with an old landfill? Kind of depends what’s in it doesn’t it? What is even in Knickerbocker? Honestly I don’t know, but I wouldn’t want to live in a housing development where it used to be, would you? The family that owns the landfill wants to sell it and selling it isn’t the problem it’s what the prospective owner a developer wants to do with it and the additional density for the area which presents issues, correct?

This is another overly dense and crappy plan that will clog our roads, stress our infrastructure, and add to the overcrowding of the school district. My gosh, even the mighty Trout Unlimited showed up again, didn’t they? (Watch the video)

East Whiteland just bends over for developers at the expense of residents.