here we go again: a new battle for the brandywine

Photo from The Marshallton Conservation Trust (MCT) Facebook page which promotes the preservation and improvement
of the Marshallton community

It’s like development Whack-a-mole. We hear the news that Crebilly is safe for now and about literally like 5 minutes later this spectacular property on the outskirts of Marshallton is threatened by development given the sales and marketing materials on the listing. As per The Marshallton Conservation Trust’s Facebook page:

“1451 and 1452 Camp Linden Road and is often referred to as “Tarad Hill” and sometimes as the Bunny Meister Farm. It consists of 136 acres and includes land spanning from Northbrook Road on the west to North Wawaset Road on the East.”

~ Marshallton Conservation Trust September 9th, 2021

I do not know the property, but I have been by the approximate location in the past. What is left of horse country in Chester County (not being flippant but development eats up the land like a giant game of PAC-MAN in this county) is upset my sources tell me. This property is being big ass big time marketed and there is a website up called “The Brandywine.

Here are some screen shots:

The Realtor has serious chops. It’s Lavinia Smerconish, yes as in Michael Smerconish’s wife. Sadly, I wouldn’t expect him to necessarily be sympathetic to preservationists because real estate is quite simply in his blood, but wow, what if this was happening in Bucks County where he hails from originally? Would it resonate?

Realtors just have a job to do like anyone else, but wow just wow.

So here we go again, Chester County. A trust owns the land per the deed (and the name of the Trust shows up in Pocopson Meeting Minutes from February, 2021), but the address is oddly familiar isn’t it? Shame on them, but am I surprised? Nope.

Above is what the Marshallton Conservation Trust has to say. They left out expressing concern to the Realtor or famous husband. All I have to say is if you contact any of these people, be polite. It’s all sharks and lawyers.

“Traffic is slow on Northbrook Road!” ~ Friends of Radnor Hunt quote and photo 9/9/21.

I don’t know all (or a lot) of these horse-associated properties. However, the name of this place “Tarad Hill”, kept dinging in my brain. I knew I had heard of it, so I dug around to find the reference and it is Radnor Hunt Club. So not all who belong to Radnor Hunt belong to the foxhunt part, and not all who ride with the hunt are club members…but anyway, that is the reference and one can’t help but wonder, wonder, wonder what the foxhunters think? After all if this parcel gets developed in any manner, chances are they lose another prime location to ride in, right?

I don’t know. Chester County is kind of a development sh*t show at this point, so I don’t know if miracles will happen here and a conservation/preservation buyer will be found because when you read the marketing materials, it’s a just a fancy git’ r’ done and sold site, isn’t it? That is how it reads exactly – see it translated to Coldwell Banker, Opus Elite (and isn’t that company name absurdly pretentious AF?), Monument Southeby’s, ReMax in York, etc., etc.

Tarad Hill as a property is spoken about by people — apparently there is so much wildlife on that farm. Wild turkeys, bald eagles, herons, the list goes on. It is reportedly (and looks) magical. There is also historical importance. I was told the Hessians went through the property crossing at Trimble’s Ford on their way to defeat the “colonists” at the Battle of the Brandywine, causing Washington to retreat to Valley Forge for the winter. Yep, it’s more than just “Washington slept here”. Does it have bog turtles?

This property could indeed find a conservation/preservation buyer even from within the Chester County foxhunting ranks, but people have to want to save and preserve this. Of course all of the Chester County Realtors who go to Radnor, Devon, Polo matches etc, etc might have a client…you just never know, do you?

But right now, the song in Chester County remains the same: another big ass property with history is at risk. (If you would like to donate to the Marshallton Conservation Trust, follow this LINK HERE.)

Tally-Ho, Chester County, the preservationists need to ride again…and quickly.

Facebook photo found on Marshallton Conservation Trust page

BREAKING: miracles do happen – westtown said NO to toll

So it appears it’s over?

People are saying Toll Brothers is no longer the equitable owner of Crebilly because the contract was terminated, as per the group Neighbors for Crebilly/Brandywine in White. Therefore, Westtown Township Board of Supervisors then ruled tonight to deny the conditional use to build all those hideous houses.

I mean pinch me. I did have my third COVID-19 shot today so am I hallucinating? Or did this actually happen?

It happened.

Damn. It happened. A municipality actually said NO to a developer in Chester County. The only media reporting that I can see is Chaddsford Live which has covered this from the beginning.

For all you naysayers out there, this is what the power of the people can do. I have no idea what will happen next for this property. This isn’t the first development plan that has been proposed for Crebilly over the years and I don’t think it’ll be the last.

But for now, Crebilly is safe.

I would suggest in closing, that people in communities all over Chester County take the spirit of Crebilly into their municipality boardrooms and fight to preserve where they call home.

9/11 turns 20 september 11, 2021…

9/11 Memorial in New Jersey – my photo.

Time waits for no man and no woman. This is the year that is the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

As I have said before, there is more that unites us versus divides us, and we learned that from 9/11 and that it’s hard for us to see it sometimes. We are still a country divided. We can’t remain a country divided and this somber 20th anniversary is the best example why.

The news is full of stories of families who lost people on 9/11. Children who grew up without parents because they died on 9/11. This is unimaginable loss, and all of these people have gone forward with their lives which has to be so hard at some moments. Graduations, weddings, first days of school and more.

Again for this upcoming 9/11 I am also going to pause and remember two men I went to college with. I’m not going to be some kind of weird death hypocrite and say I really knew them or they were my close friends because they weren’t. They were both people I met a couple of times, but people I never really knew who were close to people important to me to this very day. They lost their lives in 9/11.

Doug Cherry worked for AON. I remember when I found out that he had died in the trade center because I worked for then Wachovia Securities, and AON had a large office literally across the hall. Someone I knew from that office had oddly remembered I went to Ohio Weslyan. So they told me when they learned the names of those who had died in their company. But that wasn’t on 9/11 that was in the days that followed. I remember afterwards the days that followed when you started to see the roll call of names of people lost. I remember when I heard about Doug I kind of felt old and felt my own mortality for the first time. He was my class, and although he wasn’t a close friend or somebody I even really knew back then, we went to a small school so you remembered the faces even if you didn’t remember the people. That was the case with Ted Luckett. He was the class ahead, and again somebody I didn’t know but remembered. But I remembered back then is he liked to sail — there were a lot of guys who went to Ohio Weslyan who were amazing sailors. Even on America’s Cup crews.

I remember when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. It was at this moment I was pulling into my garage back then where I worked for then Wachovia Securities in Conshohocken. I was listening to the radio. I remember the tears just starting to roll down my face because I knew, I knew they (terrorists) came back because I had walked out of the World Trade Center shopping concourse in 1993 when they blew up the garage. And when I say when, as the bomb detonated I was standing on the sidewalk outside looking at Century 21. If life has been different I might still have been working in New York City on September 11, 2001.

I also remember as I walked into my office that fateful day in 2001, and all the brokers were riveted to television screens in their offices and their computers, at that point in time most people didn’t believe those were terrorist attacks. They just thought like a small plane had gone into the trade center. It was a crazy surreal morning as the news started to unfold. It’s crazy how clearly I can still remember it. I think this is like it was for our parents the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. You remember where you were and what you were doing.

So it’s been 20 years, what have we learned? I found this blog post of someone’s memories of 9/11. Please read it. Someone else I went to school with and don’t remember. They were fraternity brothers with Doug Cherry. It’s heartbreaking to read.

Another of the other things I remember on this day now twenty years ago, two sisters I grew up with who were close childhood family friends and still are. One, at the time, worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The other I think worked for Marsh and McLennan at the time (can’t remember for sure), but she did work somewhere in the World Trade Center. I remember being in a panic for days until I found out they were OK. They were both out of state visiting their parents.

One of the sisters if not both were posted on missing persons lists that kept coming out back then at a rapid-fire pace. You have no idea how surreal it was to see familiar names on the missing persons lists. Especially because at this point the missing persons list were also presumed dead lists.

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I am also going to pause for a moment to remember the OTHER terrorist attempt on the World Trade Center. February 26, 1993.

In 1993, I worked in New York at that time at an office located downtown in the financial district. 44 Wall Street. Gabriele Hueglin & Cashman.

On that day, I had accompanied my office friend Deirdre to the World Trade Center to grab an early lunch and to check out some stores in the shopping concourse. We were back outside of the World Trade Center buildings, getting ready to cross the street, when suddenly the ground shook and moved. I remember that we were looking directly across the street at Century 21, a department store in Lower Manhattan.

Then something happened that rarely happens in New York: Everything went eerily still and quiet. We looked up at what we first thought were snowflakes beginning to float and fall from the sky. After all, it was February.

Then car alarms began to go off one by one like the cacophony of many distorted bells. The snowflakes, we soon discovered, were in reality ashes.

People began yelling and screaming. It became very confusing and chaotic all at once, like someone flipped a switch to “on.” At first, we both felt rooted to the sidewalk, unable to move. I remember feeling a sense of panic at the unknown.

We had absolutely no idea what had happened, and hurried back to our office. Reaching it, we were greeted by worried coworkers who told us that someone had set off a bomb underground in the World Trade Center garage.

I will never forget the crazy kaleidoscope of images, throughout that afternoon, of all the people who were related to or knew people in my office who sought refuge in our office after walking down the innumerable flights of steps in the dark to exit the World Trade Center Towers. They arrived with soot all over their faces, hands and clothes. They all wore zombie looks of shock, disbelief and panic.

Of course, the oddest thing about the first terrorist attack on New York City is that I don’t remember much lasting fuss about it. I do remember that President Bill Clinton was newly sworn into office, but I don’t remember him coming to visit New York after the attack.

Everything was back to normal in Lower Manhattan in about a month, maybe two. After a while, unless you had worked in New York, or lived in New York, you simply forgot about this “incident.”

Except if you were there, like I was, you always remember that day as well. And I am sure I am not the only one who was in New York City downtown in February 1993 who felt as I did on September 11, 2001: that immediate “they came back” feeling.

Within the last couple of years I found my work friend Deirdre again, and we are reconnected. She still in the New York metropolitan area and has a beautiful family. It is so nice to be able to know her again after all of these years.

Life must go on and time can’t stand still, but all in all I can’t help but wonder: What have we learned since about our country and about ourselves? TWENTY years after 9/11 what have we learned and what have we forgotten? What do we need to remember?

We never forget this day and never should. But what have we learned? I think we need to pay it forward as a country in memory of all of those first responders and others who lost their lives. We need to be better versions of ourselves. We need to come together as a country.

We need peace, and less racial divide and polarizing, divisive politics. Is that possible? I don’t know. But we can try.

I don’t really have that much else to say about 9/11 today. When I wrote last year we were in the grips of COVID19 which is still too much a part of our world today.

I will close with it is so almost inconceivable to me that 20 years have gone by in a blink, since 9/11 happened. Here’s wishing for a better world…

#NeverForget

estate sale find: history treasure trove of articles and a fabulous book

That is a photo of a history book about Lower Merion Township from 1988. It was this great book that was privately printed that only had 1000 copies ever printed on the original publication, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this book out there for sale other than on eBay. I bought it for $10 at an estate sale.

Inside the book was a treasure trove of articles mostly about things in Lower Merion Township but one about Radnor Township as well. The articles were from The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Main Line Times when it was still advertised as an independent newspaper.

I have only just started to read the book but I am sharing screenshots with all of you fellow history buffs that I hope you will find of interest. One thing I loved in particular is a screenshot about things in Gladwyne. it was obviously an old map and it was lent to the folks who put this book out by the father of a childhood friend.

There is so much about the history of the Main Line and Chester County the disappears year-by-year. This is why I love when I can get my hands on one of these really good local history books. I don’t know who owned this particular copy of this book but it’s a wonderful book, and the articles are fabulous.

Enjoy!

roasted squash soup

There are a lot of things I just make. There is no recipe, there’s nothing I look to, it’s just in my head. But today friends asked me to write down how I make my roasted squash soup.

So how did squash soup happen? Two weeks in a row I have gotten squash in my vegetable box. So squash soup popped into my head since it was a comparatively cool day (finally) to be in the kitchen. I decided small fresh sweet potatoes would be added to thicken it up and bone broth made in the InstantPot. Lots of fresh herbs from garden for the broth. When broth is ready and vegetables are cooled from roasting, into another pot it all goes to cook and purée with hand (immersion) blender.

So basically I lined a half sheet pan (18” x 13”) with foil, cut up all my hard sided squashes, baby sweet potatoes, and a couple of chili peppers from the garden, and sprinkled a little olive oil , some tikka masala powder, hawayij spice blend, and salt. I roast everything in a 425° oven for about 40 minutes. Then I turned the oven off and just left the vegetables in there with the door closed until everything cooled down.

Now for the broth part. I keep a Ziploc bag in my freezer where I put the gizzards and necks from whole chickens I buy to roast. I keep those in a bag in the freezer when I want to make broth. Sometimes I even save a chicken carcass after cooking (and freeze it) but that’s not what I used this time. This time I had a bag full of liver, gizzards and chicken necks. Literally like six sets. I used my small InstantPot which makes 3 quarts of broth.

How do I make the broth besides the chicken parts? One onion cut in 4, a couple of carrots cleaned and chunked, salt, rosemary/thyme/sage from the garden. I add water, leaving approximately 2 inches clearance from the top of the InstantPot liner pot. I hit the broth button and let it cook.

After both the vegetables are roasted and the broth is cooked I let everything cool down so I can proceed to the next step. The next step is easy: I take all the squash and scoop out everything from the skin of each piece and put it into a soup pot with the roasted baby sweet potatoes, the carrots used to make the broth, and 6 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter. I give everything a mash with a hand potato masher, and add the strained broth and cook on low for a couple of hours. Then I use the immersion blender and purée everything together. At that point I put it on simmer and let it cook down a little more.

Oh and this soup does not require a dairy component. It’s good just the way it is!

That’s it! Enjoy!

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.

the darkness of politics

Fear mongering and misinformation

Being a Democrat is NOT being Socialist, Marxist, or Communist. They are actually their own individual political belief systems and ideologies.

In this country, many (but not all) people characterize their political beliefs and identify with a particular political party. You know like mainly Republican or Democrat or Libertarian?

However, that being said, there is not complete overlap between political party and political ideology, they are NOT necessarily 100% the same. It tends to be as individualistic as each person doesn’t it?

People used to be able to move about freely in this world, identifying with their particular political persuasions yet remaining individualistic.

People used to be allowed to have their own political views, as well as saying they were part of a political party. Some were more conservative than others, some more liberal. Some were just Malcolm in the Middle, neither one extreme or the other.

And that was OK.

I used to be a Republican and I was in the middle. A moderate. I was for the most part socially liberal and fiscally conservative. That is also what they used to call a New England Democrat.

But then changes, and not for the better in my opinion, began to change the Republican Party. I was still the same person but the party I had considered myself part of since I was able to vote no longer really resonated with me because the rhetoric became so incredibly uncomfortable for lack of a better description.

I realized that what the Republican Party was becoming as soon as Trump became the nominee was not something I could identify with (or live with as an updated skewed ideology.) So I became an Independent. I didn’t feel that I was a true Democrat or what I thought a Democrat was.

But because I live in Pennsylvania, if I wasn’t in one main party or the other I couldn’t vote in a primary. I vote. And then I had friends running for office as Democrats, so I changed my party once again after a couple of years.

Yet still, I didn’t feel like I fit. I was still that person politically in the middle. But what I have learned is that at least the Democrats seem to be more accepting and welcoming of the fact of people are individualistic politically and don’t have to be all of the same. We don’t have to be Stepford Wives on this bus. So I’m still not super liberal, but at least I feel like it’s ok to be me.

But then we go back to the Republican Party as it exists today. This screenshot speaks volumes because this is what made me leave: if you aren’t exactly like them, you are against them. If you aren’t exactly like them you are literally bad and evil people to be destroyed. How is it Godly and Christian of them to just be so damn mean?

Truthfully it makes me sad. But it’s something more than that because it’s just so dark.

We have had enough darkness in this country.

It used to be we could be part of a political party and it didn’t become an all consuming, all identifying thing.

What happened to the theory of the worthy opponent?

I said a few years ago that the politics of extremism would ruin this country, and I believe it is. I think as Americans we have to put this bullshit aside and start to come together. Or the darkness will swallow everyone whole.

Be the peaceful change you want to see.

Just little baby steps within your own world.

Re-learn that just because somebody is a different political party they aren’t necessarily a bad person.

Re-learn being able to have actual political and social issue conversations isn’t a bad thing, it’s a conversation.

Re-learn that our history as a country isn’t all sweetness and light and if we try to change it, we are doomed to make the same awful mistakes over and over.

We all do not have to be the same. We can be different from one and other. That’s what our founding fathers fought for. And that has absolutely nothing to do with being asked to wear a mask sometimes in the short term as we try to ditch a global pandemic once and for all. A global pandemic and valid health risk concerns, including to the most vulnerable among us (kids) is not a “tyrannical government” and to restore balance we need to work together, but that is not what the current Republican playbook calls for. They want to tell us about our purported lost freedoms instead of trying for actual unity in this country, or even camaraderie between different groups (including races and religions) of people. The irony is they simply don’t *get* the damage they continue to do. And if we weren’t free, they wouldn’t be able to spew their anger and vitriol and political misinformation.

The politics of extremism and misinformation are killing all of us. Every. Damn. Day. When will enough be enough?

That’s it.

Angry rhetoric and misinformation disguised as “balance”

ida, just go away…

Route 1 Chaddsford area (I think)

I don’t even know where to begin. It’s just about 9:30 PM and this storm has been a complete horror show for hours. Countless friends are flooded, some folks dangerously so.

Oxford. Photo from Twitter.

My friend Michael is trying to see the humor and said a few minutes ago “By my count, this is the 6th “100 year storm” in the last 3 years. The averages say we are due for a 500 year break!”

Sugartown Rd between Abbey and Rock Creek Cir (Easttown)

Ida a super bitch of a storm. I can’t keep up with all of the flash flood warnings, high water and all sorts of water rescue evacuations on PulsePoint.

This is all of us. Soaked.

Tomorrow it’s time to make a donation to your local volunteer fire departments. These folks will be working all night long with police and more to keep us all safe. As the thunder booms all around, this is definitely going to be a long night. Places like Oxford, PA and Mullica Hill, NJ have experienced tornadoes today.

May be an image of body of water
Bell Tavern and Downing Rd in Downingtown.

So after this storm, and we keep getting these extreme storms, we need to have conversations with government officials throughout Chester County and elsewhere. Climate change is real. More and more devastating and extreme weather proves it. Also, the development needs to slow down. Water has nowhere to go much in any storm anymore. And a lot of municipalities pay lip service to stormwater management, kind of like they pay lip service regarding parking with all these developments. I am thinking about construction sites that blew chunks of dirt and stone just recently….like the Easttown development on the old Fritz lumber. I wonder how much from that site will be all over Route 30 when daylight comes?

May be an image of outdoors

There are developments going up all over, and more planned. We need to come together as a county and demand better from officials. Hopefully after this storm they will see they need to do better in the areas of development and stormwater management. I have friends right here in Chester County who will probably lose their home to a flood again. And it’s their home. So where do they go this time?

Put your address into the FloodFactor database and see where you end up.

Stay safe tonight everyone. The slideshow are photos I have found all over social media from Ida the bitch storm.

in awe of a pure and open heart.

I was at a friend’s house this evening. She had a lovely gathering of friends. There was a lovely little origami box with a little favor in it for each guest when we left. Inside my box was a beautiful little note and a piece of pink quartz shaped like a heart.

The note reads:

📌You “wow” me because of your devotion to the community. I don’t know how the hell you do it or find the time. Unbelievable. Thank you for being so kind to me and validating me when I needed it most. I love how you are tough and strong….it has helped me so much and means so much to have your friendship. You are simply wow to me.📌

I am in awe of my friend and her kindness towards me. And her words. Her words are especially uplifting in a week where I have been called vile, a crazy bitch, and some other unmentionable descriptive and rather base adjectives.

How nice to have this little thing to treasure. I will keep this tucked away. It will always be a happy memory even years from now that will make me smile.

This whole evening made me think of a song sung at my grade school so many years ago…Simple Gifts. Here are the lyrics:

📌‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we will not be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
📌

Tonight was just that: simple gifts and a celebration of friendship hosted by a woman with a joyful and open heart we are lucky to call a friend. It bought me back to a better happy place, and made the craziness of life recently melt away.

I am in awe of my amazing friends. And it is so comforting to have them in my life. I am blessed to have my friends and family and to be able to feel love around me. Not everyone has that, and I know it.

I am in awe of this one friend in particular for her beautiful open heart and kindness to all. We live in a world where simple acts of friendship can buoy us through tumultuous and crazy times. And for me it also was an evening to enjoy the beauty of Chester County.

Thank you my friend. A big heart back at you. Thank you for reminding all of us this evening what is important in this world.

xoxo