contrasts in frazer

There had to be brand spanking new apartments built and perched on Lancaster Avenue in Frazer.

They look like every other No Tell Motel architectural style apartments that are going up everywhere.

But one would think they would care about other housing that’s pre-existing along the same stretch of highway right?

Here is your contrast below. The photos of certain houses, which are apparently also cloaked with invisibility. It’s a shame those renters can’t live in thought to be swanky apartments, or even properties that are maintained decently, right?

meanwhile in exton…

Dear West Whiteland Township,

This is quite the contrast isn’t it? A pretentious A.F. Rolls Royce with a vanity plate and a beggar. A little after 8PM, or slightly before this evening.

A perfect storm of a photo.

Location? The shopping center where Giant, Sephora, and Home Sense are, just to name a few.

I don’t like city style begging in Chester County and for some reason people always seem to beg around this shopping center. I am surprised West Whiteland isn’t more on top of it.

However, looking at this photo kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?

Extremes.

have you been to frazer antiques lately?

Have you been to Frazer Antiques lately? I had not been since right before COVID19 hit. Well today we went and it was so much fun!

I took a bunch of photos and I am sharing them with all of you.

#ShopLocal #ShopSmall

Frazer Antiques. 351 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, PA 19355. (610)- 651-8299. Open 10AM – 5PM.

today was a wonderful day to visit the west chester growers market!

I had not been to the West Chester Growers Market since COVID19 hit. Today we went back for the first time and it was awesome!

These are among the things that I missed during COVID19 and I was so happy to be there on such a pretty day! We had company in from out of town and we wanted to show her the market.

The West Chester Growers Market is the original producer only market in Chester County. Outside Saturdays 9AM – 1PM . May through December with some other limited hours in the off season. Always on the corner of North Church and West Chestnut Streets in downtown West Chester, PA.

bits of history

Bits of history can be as fascinating. I stumbled across this check from 1867 when I was looking for treasures at one of my favorite spots. This was drawn on the National Bank of Chester County.

The National Bank of Chester County was founded around 1814. In 1837 it’s iconic bank building opened at 17 N. High Street in West Chester, PA. And another fun fact? Until 1857 it was the only bank in Chester County. The bank no longer exists, but its location/building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I found a little about Francis H. Gheen:

So that check was written to him two years before he got married. $300 was a larger sum in those days, I wonder what he was being paid for?

Thanks to a Find a Grave contributor, I can share his obituary from 1921:

📌Francis H. Gheen, son of Edward H. and Phebe J. (Hickman) Gheen, was married to Ann E. Brinton in Philadelphia, Pa. on February 25, 1869.

Daily Local News, West Chester, Chester County, Pa
January 25, 1921

Francis H. Gheen

After an illness lasting about ten days, Francis H. Gheen passed away last evening at his home on North High street. He was in the 85th year of his age.

The deceased was born July 6th, 1836, on the farm of his parents, Edward and Phoebe Hickman Gheen, in East Bradford, on the property purchased by the late Bayard Henry. He received his early education in the public schools of the township, and was then sent to a private school in Vermont, but came back home later, and remained on the farm. When his father ded he took possession of the place, making it a model farm. He afterward purchase a farm of his own.

It was n 1869 that he came to West Chester and started in the banking business, being located where the Farmers & Mechanics Trust Company now stands, the firm being known as Gheen, Morgan & Co. Later, Mr. Gheen decided to open an establishment for making wagons and selling the same, and established himself on East Chestnut street, where he continued in business for along time. Later, when he quit this line, being a fine judge of horses and cattle, he entered into a partnership with the late William Wells, which he continued until the death of Mr. Wells. Mr. Gheen then retired from active usiness life, and has since enjoyed remaining at his home or visiting his children at their homes.

Francis H. Gheen may be truly termed the “dean” of fox hunting in Chester County, for at the early age of ten years he possesed a pony which he rode to the hunts near his home, and later owned a fine pack of hounds. He loved the sport in a sense more than words can express, but any violation of ethics of clean sportsmanship brought his views to light quickly. He attended almost all hunts, and when not in the saddle he was on the hills and could tell nearly all the haunts of the foxes in the county. He believed that the younger foxes should be protected and taught to lead the hounds and as a result, frequently went to their dens and fed the little ones. His recountals of hunts of the past always brought a crowd of young and old listeners, for he know (sic) many incidents of great interest. For several years past he had been preparing for publication a book entitled “seventy Years a Fox Hunter” which will be published. He also enjoyed gunning and frequently went South, always returning with much game.

He was a devoted father and husband and will be sorely missed by those left behind. In 1869, he married Annie E. Brinton, of Thornbury Township, and she survives him, as do the following children: Gertrude (now Mrs. Robinson, of New York); Miss Marion H. Gheen, at home; Francis H. Jr., of New York; Mrs. Helen Hunsicker, at home, and Phoebe (now Mrs. A. H. Howard), of New York. John J. Gheen, Esq., is the only living brother, Admiral Edward Gheen having died two years ago. The only sister living is Mrs. Richard Strode, of West Miner street.

While not a member of any church, Mr. Gheen frequently attended meetings of the Society of Friends.

He was a member of the F. & A. M., of this place, the West Chester Club and the West Chester Golf Club. Summing up the life history of this man, a friend expresses the view: “He was a clean and honest sportsman, a friend to all, and agood citizen.”

Ibid:

GHEEN- On Jan. 24, 1921, Francis H. Gheen, in his 85th year.

Pretty cool, huh? You never know we’re a little slip of historical paper will take you. If there is anyone out there who is a relative of this man and can prove it to me I am happy to give you this quirky bit of history.

Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend!

life and b.s.

Right at the beginning of June, I invited some friends who had been around at a very difficult time in my life to go on a special tour of David Culp’s gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downingtown. It was a thank you and a celebration of an important personal milestone: being 10 years breast cancer free. June 1, 2011 to June 1, 2021.

If you know women who have had breast cancer, each year we get extra is a blessing. Milestones like this are extremely important to mark, and I wanted to say thank you to some of these ladies, most of whom I have known since high school.

It was also another celebration and milestone. This also marked all of us finally being able to get together because of COVID-19 and we all finally had our shots. The ladies who came with me like to garden.

Pete Bannan photo 2011

One of the friends was Caroline O’Halloran who is the creator and chief writer at Savvy Main Line. She was with me and some other friends on Tuesday, July 13th, 2011 when I rang the bell at Lankenau Hospital where I had that morning finished up a few weeks of fairly grueling radiation treatment with Dr. Marisa Weiss.

When it was all over and I rang the special bell signifying the end of treatment, my friends cheered. A hospital administrator chided us for being too loud. (It was pretty funny.)

At the end of the day, I am very much alive with a terrific prognosis for a long and happy life. I am one of the lucky ones. I have lost friends to cancer including breast over the past decade, so I learned to stop and breathe and celebrate the milestones.

For a decade now I have been part of the sisterhood – women of different races, ethnicities, ages, sizes and shapes –forever bound together by this disease. It’s like the club no one asks to join. And you damn well celebrate the little victories.

I chose a garden tour.

I also invited someone whom I am pleased to call a friend for the past few years, who wasn’t with me that day. She just happens to be a woman I like and appreciate. You all know her as a Chester County Commissioner – Michelle Kichline. We have a lot of friends in common and have for years and years, and we share common interests like the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and a love for gardening.

Caroline wrote about the visit to David’s amazing gardens on her website a few weeks after the visit. It just happened because he and his gardens inspired her and struck a chord. Of course that doesn’t surprise me because David’s book The Layered Garden has been a huge influence on me personally. When I read his book it was like I had this epiphany that someone who really is a plantsman and horticulturalist gets how I like to garden. I don’t even know what printing the book is on, but it is really special.

Michelle posted the article on her page a couple of weeks ago. She also included how she loved the gardens and what a fun and just nice day it was. It’s true, it was just nice. I thought that was super sweet of her, and I was happy to have her with us.

But as is the case with social media, up rolls a jerk:

I have been called many things in my life, but “rich white people” has never been one of them. But apparently, we are all a bunch of “rich white people” who have an “eye” for horticulture according to this….well….a random white guy.

Are we to surmise that random white guy must have a political axe to grind with Michelle for whatever reason, and is also a garden critic? Ok he doesn’t have to like the garden, but his vitriol was unnecessary and unwarranted.

We all like to garden. David opened his private home garden to us on a very special anniversary for me. This day was a big deal to me. Michelle is allowed to NOT be a politician once in a while and just enjoy girl time.

I think we need to hit the pause button. We have come through 2020 into 2021 and a lot of us still have friends on both sides of the political aisle and that is ok. And that is what that snotful comment on Michelle’s page was about: politics. I don’t know what, and I don’t know why, and don’t care. WHY? Because all she was doing was sharing something nice.

I am a gardener. I love to garden. And random white guy? I do my own gardening and I earn my own money to pay for my gardening. I am hardly some heiress with a fainting couch. I even cook and clean and take out the trash.

Truthfully this is why I don’t share cool experiences on this blog sometimes like seeing David Culp’s garden. So instead a friend shares what another friend wrote about just a lovely day and we are suddenly bad people? That’s just wrong. And I say that as someone who can and does take politicians to task. But there is a time and a place for everything, and being a dick about someone talking about a nice visit to a special garden is not one of them.

But hey what do I know right? I am just a mere mortal and a female, and these are obviously just the rantings of a suburban housewife.

Cheers!

bolognese in the summer

Well I hope my happy hater from the other day isn’t too distressed by Bolognese sauce. Hope she doesn’t find a red sauce too angry….but I digress.

A true Bolognese sauce does take time to create. But it is one of the most delicious sauces you can put over pasta… ever. I shared Bolognese sauce before, but I am sharing this again because I change my recipe slightly sometimes.

I started my sauce first thing this morning. And that’s something that creates a memory smell for me for lack of a better description. When my father’s mother (Grandmom) used to babysit us when we were younger, and even when we were in high school she used to make her sauce first thing in the morning. (And no, this sauce is not her recipe it’s my recipe I never recall her making a true Bolognese.)

First you would smell the smell of a fresh pot of coffee (she would make it in one of those stovetop blue cornflower Corningware coffee pots). Then wafting up behind the fresh perked coffee aroma, was the smell of sautéing garlic and onion in her big sauce pot. She gave my mother that saucepot eventually, and I think my mother still uses it. It was hammered aluminum so it wasn’t like Farberware. To me those are the smells of home.

We are trying to empty out a chest freezer in the basement and I came across three 1 pound packages of ground meat. I usually use about three pounds of ground meat when I make a Bolognese.

Here are the ingredients:

THREE 1 pound packages of pork, veal, lamb, or beef. I’ll use whatever I happen to have handy.

TWO Onions. Chopped. 1 big sweet onion, 1 red onion.

SIX cloves garlic, minced. We like to keep the vampires away in my house.

DASH nutmeg or cinnamon- My late father always did it , so I do it.

Kosher salt to taste, ground pepper after you add the tomatoes.

TWO Bay leaves.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

ONE cup whole milk

ONE cup red wine or 2/3 cup red wine vinegar.

TWO cans crushed tomatoes – 28 ounce.

ONE 6 ounce can tomato paste

BIG bunch fresh basil and oregano from garden.

GOOD pasta and grated cheese.

I will start with I chopped up two onions and threw into my pan (I use one of my larger vintage Dansk touch ovens) with extra-virgin olive oil and some kosher salt.

After the onions started to get that translucent look, I added the three one pound packages of ground meat. Today I am cooking with ground pork and ground lamb which is one of my favorite combinations for a truly flavorful sauce. I added a little more salt and a couple of dashes of nutmeg.

After allowing that to cook for about 20 minutes I added 2/3 of a cup of red wine vinegar. I let that cook off and cook down for another 25 minutes approximately, and then I added one cup of whole milk. I then allowed the milk solids and everything to cook off slightly which was almost half an hour.

As I am doing the meat and the onion I do stir occasionally so nothing has the chance to stick to the bottom.

Next I add my tomato paste and stir it into the meat mixture.

Then I add the cans of crushed tomatoes one at a time. I stir thoroughly after each time. Now I add some fresh ground pepper and a big bunch of just roughly torn up basil and oregano from my garden.

My kitchen smells amazing. I don’t care if it’s July a good Bolognese sauce is perfect all year round. And I like making it in the summer because I can use all my fresh herbs.

Now the pot is on simmer and I will just let it go on simmer for a good couple of hours. Then I will turn it off. It will take a few hours for the sauce to completely cool down. At that point I will skim off any fat that rises to the top from the meat.

Then around dinner time I will slowly bring this sauce up to temperature again and serve with a good pasta, grated cheese, and a big green salad.

Good pasta does make a difference even with dry pasta. Today I am going Delco. Springfield Pasta and Mangia Famiglia grated cheese. (Mangia Famiglia is also one of my favorite sources for Italian sausage.)

A true Bolognese sauce is some thing that is truly amazing. and even in the summer it’s a great family meal option. And don’t be afraid to load up the fresh herbs. I forgot to mention I will finish this with some fresh flat leaf Italian parsley on top.

Buon appetito!

still rotting next to planebrook rd and route 30 wawa in east whiteland

Can you believe it? That rotting structure in the photo above used to be a family’s living space. Until a devastating fire, Christmas 2016.

It’s now July, 2021. Obviously if the property owner was going to restore from the fire damage they would have already begun something, wouldn’t they have?

East Whiteland Township it’s quite the contrast with the cram plan new construction apartment building going up across Lancaster Ave isn’t it? On one side from the WaWa west is the burned out place and what some describe as poverty row, and the zest for new construction that looks cheap, but will be anything but affordable across the road.

Like a Tale of Two Cities, huh?

And to end this post is a potpourri of photos of this broken down wreck of a structure going back since the fire occurred. It’s time this structure is removed, because it’s about to completely crumble. It can’t be safe, can it?