land conservationists/preservationists in chester county should watch this curious case…in willistown

This is a post I have been struggling with. I am a big supporter of Natural Lands. But I am not sure what to think here.

Summerhill Preserve is acreage in Willistown. It was put in preservation. But was the intent of the gift of this land and the preservation of it to make it a public access site, or just a preserved swath of land?

I used to see stuff fly by the past few years mostly about birds and Summerhill. Here are some screenshots and note that these screenshots don’t seem to go anywhere now when you click on the link:

Ok well stuff gets updated and moved around on websites and links get broken. No biggie. But when you go to Natural Lands website and put in Summerhill all you get now is a handful of very old articles mentioning but not centered on Summerhill. I never thought much of it, because I never thought Summerhill was like a place you could just visit, although I am sure I would love it like I love so many of Natural Lands properties. But Summerhill? Not on their list of places to visit. I just checked again today.

Again, no big deal. I have always thought, whether it is right or wrong, even if land is in conservation/preservation, it is not necessarily just open to the public. And Natural Lands kind of always said that about Summerhill. Note this screenshot from a few years ago I found for an event listing about Summerhill :

So then someone randomly asked me what was going on with Summerhill. I replied truthfully, wouldn’t know, had forgotten about it. Why had I forgotten? Because I never knew you could visit it and it had been ages since I even saw something mentioning it.

Well there is a wee problem and Natural Lands is in court with the Summerhill neighbors. And Willistown too I guess? But this is not the same as the strange case of Wildflower Farm and those neighbors. No comparison. Among other things so much of this land abuts private property. It’s not a working farm, it’s land — open space.

If you ever ask anybody who lives adjacent to a trail or conserved land or even a park they will tell you there is good and bad and living La Vida COVID in some cases has made it awkward at times. Sometimes stupid human tricks prevail – leaving trash, trespassing on private property and taking stuff, even urinating and worse from our much loved trails onto private property. It happens. Sadly, it happens. I have heard about it on the Chester Valley Trail and the Radnor Trail even in years past on the trail at Haverford College. People have told me similar stories like this near Willisbrook in Willistown. Stupid human tricks and a lack of respecting boundaries and private property, and of course it makes you wonder if they even respect the actual nature preserve or trail?

This is not the fault of the people responsible for the trails or nature preserves, in my humble opinion. It is probably impossible to babysit all of these properties all of the time and how many operate is somewhat on an honor system of dawn to dusk without real actual bodies on site to close and open properties?

So it begs the question of ironing things out so people know what will happen with what they donate land maybe? And ironing out what the public can and can’t do also perhaps? Is it not OK for preserved/conserved land to just be well passive, pristine, and preserved? As in maybe it’s left alone or maybe it’s an occasional very special space not open dusk ’til dawn to the public? And what if that is what a donor or grantor said in the first place? What if that is what conservation easements said? So maybe you can’t just pave paradise after all and put up a parking lot or you can but not necessarily everywhere?

I remember when the Summerhill place was for sale, conserved land was a selling point (and it was in the Willistown Conservation Trust Barns and BBQ as well):

So yes, neighbors moved in here knowing about the land preservation/conservation. But I think the question from reading an Orphan’s Court thing is original intent vs. I guess Natural Lands wanting to open this up and build a parking lot, etc? But I am having a hard time envisioning how they would even do this because of all of the properties that touch what Natural Lands has if that makes sense?

After reading this Orphan’s Court thing, it makes a person wonder if the neighbors here are wrong? Because if the original intent was just preserved land and that can be proven, are they wrong?

I love Natural Lands. I know some will think me horrible for raising this issue. But isn’t it important? After all you want people to donate land but land in conservation and save it from development, right? That is why I feel this case bears watching. It also looks like there is other stuff other than what is in Orphan’s Court brewing.

I am sharing the Orphan’s Court thing. Not trying to slam Willistown Township or Natural Lands. But this makes for interesting reading and pondering. And these strike me as VERY different neighbors than the OTHER Wildflower Farm thing and a different situation altogether, correct? To me this will be a case that no matter what happens will possibly lay things out a little more clearly for others in the future and will you agree when all is said in done? I am all for the race to preserve open space to quote another organization, but it should be less foggy, and simple right? Or wrong?

Time and judges will tell.

and just like that…even our t.v. characters age…and all of our lives change as we age and that’s o.k.

This morning I had a giggle. Sex & The City started on HBO in June, 1998. Cable was ridiculously expensive and I remember hunting the various COMCAST “special deals” just so I could have HBO. Nope, no Manolo budget here. I was single, watching the ultimate single girl television show.

Ok yes, I have talked about this show before, but come on? The original was a big part of all of our lives. Kind of like Star Trek for some of the guys I know.

I loved the cast, part of which was New York City. The clothes and the shoes I could never afford unless they were dumped at Loehmann’s or Daffy’s or Century21. And I could never walk in the shoes. The shoes I left and still leave to my sister (and her fabulous shoe closet/racks.)

This morning I had a giggle because I realized that way back when I used to watch Sex & The City in bed like my big single girl not so secret, sometimes with a glass of wine. Now I watch And Just Like That on Thursday mornings in bed with a cup of coffee.

Yup the 50s. Struck me as so funny. I don’t know why. Well maybe because I watch the new show drinking my coffee and then I go and clean up the rest of the kitchen and sort the laundry. Back then, in the Sex & The City Days, yes I did laundry and cleaned up the kitchen. Just didn’t admit it out loud.

So now I am a few episodes into the new show. I like it. It’s getting a lot of flak like the actresses were supposed to have been cryovaced and opened as their 1990s selves once again. Well gee, that would be a neat trick. They have aged, pretty damn well if you ask me and you can see a little “work” but at least they don’t have frozen face syndrome. I have seen a lot less of that frozen face syndrome since COVID started, but still, it’s out there.

Probably I am an anomaly. I don’t do fillers or injectables. No plastic surgery, still on my original body parts. If liposuction didn’t look incredibly painful, maybe that would be an option (I am actually joking) but I think I will just try to exercise more and eat less? I am not a perfect 10 now, wasn’t back then. After breast cancer surgery, people kept telling me about their favorite plastic surgeons. Well once you have had a couple non-elective surgeries that kind of hurt and if you hate needles, that is not really an option. Besides, ask your radiology technician sometime what they have to do to get a mammogram on ladies with glorious fake breasts. One word: contortion. Two words: no thanks.

Things about the show that still crack me up is they all still breathe the rarified air. They are mixing in more everyday kind of available clothes, but still the wardrobes and where they live. Pretty fun and fantastical. But those are ladies in menopause and I envy them their lack of hot flashes. Or they could just be like my mother was back then and simply not acknowledge their existence.

The conversations have shifted some with them. The hair coloring vs. not coloring crack me up. Oh I have had those because once I started breast cancer treatment I stopped experimenting with color. It was never much to begin with, just the occasional semi permanent color job. Now a decade plus later, my hair still has a lot of my original dark. I will admit some days I freak myself out because when I look in the mirror I see my paternal grandmother Beatrice, but for me I made the right choice. And my hair actually looks and feels better.

I am aging. I will admit to taking collagen supplements, but with age comes dry skin. But when I look in the mirror, except for the occasional glimpse of Beatrice and wondering how almost 60 years of life seem gone in a blink, it’s ok.

Now these television characters and the actors which portray them have all aged. I kind of like that they have aged right along with me. I think I would have been upset if the re-boot occurred with a new young cast.

I often wonder what women think as they age. We all know quite a few who aren’t doing it quite gracefully. The still too short skirts, tight pants, and short shorts. Overly carefully lit selfies and professionally taken social media photos. Some of these ladies have amazing figures, others do not. It’s just about aging gracefully, perhaps with humor. I mean we do have options other than mom jeans, right? I will admit to missing my leather and sued pants, however, and being able to wear strapless gowns.

Back then when the original show aired, I was wondering what this current part of my life would be like. I had a bunch of friends who married young, and I couldn’t see myself in their lives then. I wasn’t ready. It wasn’t about sowing the proverbial wild oats, never did so much of that, it was just about growing into myself I think. I wasn’t there yet. (However, I will tell you that back then, I still did cook, go antique and vintage treasure hunting, and garden.)

One of the best things for women about these shows is showing the relationships between the women and their partners, and the dating then and now. I was never much of a dater although I did it. I always found recreational dating much like the job interviews for the jobs I didn’t want.

But the characters the women’s characters dated in the original series? Cracked me up. I could see them in so many people my friends had dated and even I dated. Like Mr. Big. We all had one of those, I think. But we didn’t marry them, so it’s kind of no wonder they made her a widow. But I do know some young widows, so on the other hand I actually get that (and wish it on no one.)

And the Samanthas. We all had them, even if their clothes weren’t as good. But they grew up too, and not all friendships transcend the test of time. So no matter why that character is gone, I get it. I have a lot of my core friends, but I am exceptionally lucky. Some of the other friendships didn’t make it but it kind of falls into that saying about friendships being reason, season, or lifetime.

Truthfully I am glad to be me now, and that I am not dating in my 50s. I am grateful for my life and marriage. I know who I am, I know who he is. We aren’t ever perfect, but I know what it is to love and be loved, and there comes a point where that is just right and very lovely. Now granted, I know I am a very lucky woman, and I never take that for granted (or try not to.) However, I will completely admit it’s a little annoying that he can still imitate my high school self walking down the halls at Shipley carrying my book bag. So no, I do not get away with much, ladies.

Another thing I admire about the new series are the people they have around them. It’s not just bars and cosmopolitans. It’s the bitchy women’s committees and PTA savages. It’s the reinventing yourself when you thought you were all set, including sometimes starting over.

We can all relate. After all, I still remember the first time I did a car rider line, didn’t know where to go, and got in the wrong part of the line. I was literally surrounded by mini vans and had moms and dads who got out of their vehicles to SCREAM at me. Oh and the teachers and school personnel watched from the sidelines like it was a spectator sport.

And then there were the moms who wanted their high school kids to slow dance at their dances like “the holy spirit was in between them.” Had to bite my tongue with that one because did they actually know what their teenagers were up to and it certainly didn’t involve the holy spirit. But hey, whatever gets you through the day.

And now today add to the average and annoying PTA moms we have the anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, conservative beacons of light who will save all of us from ourselves while searching for that perfect hair color shade. The new Stepford Wives.

And then you have the not Stepford Wives who are just amusing. Self-described social media experts because they have a few Facebook group pages. And they still copy their material from everyone else and don’t have an original bone in their bodies. And they still want you to think certain communities adjacent to the Main Line are the Main Line, and why? Is the Main Line all that and a bag of chips? No sadly, and hasn’t been in years, just like there is no real “society” left to photograph.

Thanks but no, I will take me, lumps and all. It’s ok to age. We have much better shoes to choose from these days, and you only have to have a rocking chair on your front porch if you want one.

Thanks for stopping by.

a thank you is in order

In 2016 I wrote five pieces for Vista Today. As many know, including my writing mentors, the editor at that time stiffed me. Also the person had all of these weird reasons for not paying like all of a sudden I was supposed to charge the people I was doing articles about which really made me scratch my head because a couple of the things I had done were obituaries so what did I do send the estate a bill or something? And of course also telling me I was a horrible writer and it took too long to edit me. (People who had edited me professionally actually laughed out loud at that when I asked them was I so bad.)

I chased what I was owed for a while and then I felt well screw them they can choke on the money. But still it sat with me a little bit because it was the principle of the issue.

Then a few days ago I got an email asking for nominations for something Vista was doing and I was feeling cranky. I replied back that I wouldn’t nominate Mickey Mouse essentially since they ghosted me on what I was owed a few years ago.

Guess what? They paid me. I received the check today just like they promised.

It was never, ever a dollar amount that would have broken me financially, it was the principal of the thing: I did the work, they have kept the articles on their website. And when you work for yourself and you’re a freelancer, it can be really difficult when people either stiff you or are slow pay. I am fortunate that this is the only time something like this happened to me.

So while I don’t agree necessarily with the way they do business all of the time, or the fact that they have some kind of involvement with Energy Transfer Company – it’s called “An Affiliated Partner”, I am saying thank you for making my issue right and paying me. (But I do think Energy Transfer anywhere on your website is not a good look.)

Thank you Ken Knickerbocker and Vista Today for paying me for those articles. I appreciate people who keep their word.

hooey

From Philadelphia to Pittsburgh they are a bunch of mean girl bobble headed Stepford wives.

Let’s start with their website image. The American flag is supposed to a symbol of our history and our values as a nation. While it is fine to have clothing or hats with the flag ON IT, to WEAR an actual flag is a sign of DISRESPECT for Old Glory.

This group is born out of the Trumpublican movement which has destroyed the Republican party. Were they born out of the Tea Party? Maybe in part, and while old GOP politicians Tom DeLay may have been skunks, he and others kept these faux Republicans out of the RNC 2000. I know because I was there, and I listened to conversations perhaps I shouldn’t have listened to, but that is what happens when big wigs think volunteers are invisible like their help at home.

Anyway, did you know on yesterday’s date In 1776, Thomas Paine anonymously published his influential pamphlet, “Common Sense,” which argued for American independence from British rule? Do the purported Pennsylvania Conservative Women even know that or have they read it or are they busy studying acrylic nails and big hair and brassy color shades not found in nature?

This mission statement and this group are FULL of hooey. They are all about banding together like a bunch of sheeple and to say they are God fearing and take responsibility for nurturing and protecting the traditions that America was founded on, is in a word, OFFENSIVE. All of these people actually FORGET what this country was founded on and why.

They claim the advocate for freedom, yet their definition of freedom is subject solely to their interpretation of the word. And again, they forget if our forefathers hadn’t quite literally bled and died for us centuries ago, they would not have their freedom to espouse their bullshit and hooey. Well I can’t title a post bullshit so I chose hooey. But I digress.

I find it endlessly amusing that the crap they spout is in part what our forefathers fought against, yet they also fought for the rights for people to have freedom of thought no matter how ridiculous their thoughts were. Hence why I asked if these students of self-focusedness actually remember their American history? Do they actually know what it is to be an American?

Thomas Paine wrote how he thought it was in essence stupid that Americans should be loyal to a mother country that he considered similar to an unfit parent. “Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families,” he wrote. He said our real connection as newly minted Americans was to people everywhere who yearned to escape oppression. “This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe,” Paine proclaimed. “Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Thomas Paine wrote about a new country with a strong government than protected the rights of the people. And can it be hypothesized that Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense” influenced the Declaration of Independence and all that followed? I think so.

But back to these women who are the nouveau champions of our proverbial values and home fires burning. Of course home fires burning implies these women keep house and cook and clean. Ummm ok, they are why take out and delivery were invented, weren’t they?

“As God-fearing women, we take responsibility for nurturing and protecting the traditions that America was founded upon.”

~ From “Mission Statement” of Pennsylvania Conservative Women (PACW) formerly known as Conservative Women of the Mainline.

Traditions America was founded on as interpreted by them? That’s actually funny.

From The Motion Picture

They also claim they are “women modernizing traditional values.”

That doesn’t even make sense. Traditional values don’t require modernizing, they are based in traditions. When you “modernize” them, they stop being “traditions.”

Who decided they were the bosses of women, men and children anywhere? They are more like religious fanatics or cult leaders aren’t they? (Purple Kool aid and a doily anyone?)

Then there are the boobs at Moms for Liberty. Note the amusing mistake in their “About” section of “Moms for Liberty, Chester, PA” . They wouldn’t survive 5 minutes in Chester, PA which is in Delaware County. Now they are a national Stepford Wives consortium. That group has people tied to a group called Patriot Voices which is a 501(c)(4) which means donations aren’t tax deductible. Oh and Moms for Liberty is also a 501(c)(4) meaning donations to THEM are also not tax deductible. And upon looking at CONservative Women of the Main Line now rebranding to whatever, I noticed their donation button is not a donation button it is a “pay now” button which means they aren’t non-profit either are they?

I wonder how many people donating to these organizations which are not registered as tax deductible non-profit organizations think what they are donating is tax deductible? Makes you wonder where they money goes right?

Then there are the other groups and these groups all discussing anti-vaxxing, anti-masking and what works (in their little minds) against COVID (this is supposedly from Moms for Liberty group):

And I find myself circling back to their use of the word freedom. So they have freedom to choose? Ok, so do I, but when did freedom become subjective? When did their freedoms become more important than everyone else’s?

Let’s talk COVID for example. If they were less concerned about the hooey that getting a shot impinges on their freedoms would we have so much COVID on the rise again? Because let’s get real, the COVID cases in the hospitals taking most of the beds are the UNvaccinated. They exercised their freedoms but are now infecting us? How are their freedoms more important than ours? What if they had been around when this country was battling things like TB, leprosy, polio?

Is freedom subjective? Or did our forefathers fight for us to equally have freedom?

And if these women are modernizing traditional values does that mean they are updating tuna noodle casserole recipes? Inquiring minds want to know what the hooey is really all about because to this inquiring mind, they are Stepford Wives Sheeple and they better check their kool aid. And at the end of the day, I do know actual real conservatives and Christians and what is predominantly roaming around self describing as that? Not any of them, nor do they actually get it by a country mile.

Bless their hearts, I am finished thinking about insanity for the day.

Political Stepford Wives | chestercountyramblings

the new trend in willistown, the land of farms and open space is NOFIMBY?

So in 2014 there was this little video done by one Robert Van Alen, a Realtor. Related to Bonnie Van Alen of Willistown Conservation Trust fame we are to presume? Now I am sure as soon as it is seen to exist still on the internet it will disappear, but until then:

So imagine the joy when a nice young family saw that their dreams to own a farm that sells FLOWERS was possible, right?

So yes, a little slice of heave called Wildflower Farm was born.

But then they moved to Castlebar Lane, which has the neighbors from hell, and yes I can indeed have that opinion. Why are these neighbors so hell bent for leather to make the dream of an organic flower farm an nightmare?

And why are these neighbors NOFIMBY ?

NOFIMBY is a new acronym developed just for this ridiculous issue in Willistown It means No Farm In My Back Yard.

So yes you ask, why are we still discussing this? Because…

Oh yes, the NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane and adjacent streets (because no all in that suit actually LIVE on Castlebar Lane) have now filed suit against their township.

Please note a very neat trick for one neighbor in particular who sits as an appointed official on the Willistown Planning Commission, right? I mean this guy as an appointed official is supposed to uphold the laws of the township like all other appointed and elected officials, right? So how is suing the township whose laws you are supposed to uphold a thing he should be doing? Shouldn’t he step down or be removed?

But I digress.

Because the other wonder is a person who doesn’t live on Castlebar, but has real estate lots there but has other property in Willistown, yet claims to have primary residence in Wyoming? Why would they care? And given their support of Willistown Conservation Trust (see this nifty article on Willistown Conservation Trust website and note photo lower right.) one would think they would find an ORGANIC FLOWER FARM ( Wildflower Farm) TO THEIR LIKING, right?

Come to think of it again I ask why isn’t Willistown Conservation Trust publicly supporting Wildflower Farm? Or are they and we all just are oblivious?

Back to the matter at hand:

Seriously, what strange hell is this? So is this really an appeal of Zoning Hearing Board decision, the settlement agreement between Willistown and Wildflower Farm, some kind of private enforcement action against Wildflower Farm, and some DEP thing that the DEP already settled?

Oh and the settlement agreement is executed and public so here:

So now what is the pretzel logic of these neighbors? Why do they hate farms so much? Why did they even move to Willistown Township if they have such issues with farms and open space on farms?

I think this is very sad. Do state laws surrounding farms not matter? Do Willistown’s laws not matter? Do farms and open space not matter? Why is ok for Radnor Hunt, their horses, pack, and follow cars OK to be on Castlebar (a public road FYI), but not a flower farm? Especially when people visiting flower farm park on flower farm? When you think of Willistown don’t you think of horses, Radnor Hunt, open space and FARMS?

Is these because these people were told NO ?

Sigh….happy new year, Chester County….

Street view of Wildflower Farm from real estate listing before Wildflower Farm came to be. Still pretty much the same view except for better maintenance and tree pruning.

my golden mushroom soup

Mushroom soup is definitely a Chester County thing. And I have tried tons of different recipes and read about different recipes and nothing quite was what I wanted.

Above is the soup I came up with. It has shredded chicken in it and I only use baby Bella mushrooms. And I use a chicken broth base. Specifically I make bone broth.

No real recipe exists BUT what I do is I make bone broth in my small instant pot (3 qt or 2.8 liters.)

I have boneless skinless chicken breast in my freezer in individual serving sizes. I used 5 portions this time that I just poach simply and then the broth comes from poaching them eventually also goes into the big pot when I get to that point. When the chicken has cooled I shred it to be added back into the soup later.

But before I do any adding back, I sauté three large onions (red and white), two shallots, two packages of baby Bella mushrooms (2 10 oz packages), Herbes de Provence and salt in butter. Just a few tablespoons of butter (maybe 5?). When the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender I’ll use a couple shakes of the Wondra gravy making flour (very fine flour for those not familiar) and stir around until it cooks in the pot.

Then I add in the shredded chicken. Then I add the bone broth (strained). I will also note that I cut up the carrots I used in the making of the bone broth into little pieces and add that as well.Then I cook down on low for a few hours and add a few tablespoons of ricotta and 2 tablespoons of cream cheese. I stir that in let it cook some more and serve. Before I serve it I add a little fresh ground cracked pepper and stir that in as well.

The soup is not clear but it’s not heavy creamy.

Note that people act like bone broth is so complicated. And it’s not. When you roast a chicken save the carcass and freeze it. When you buy a chicken to roast save the gizzards, liver, and neck and wing tips and freeze them. To that you add water, celery, carrots, onion, white wine, and spices and salt of your choice and set the pot on soup/broth. It’s that simple.

I like this soup. And I like it because it’s not quite clear and it’s not super dense creamy. Super dense creamy soups look wonderful but they are hard on the digestion. And I think with this soup you also get the great flavor of the baby Bella mushrooms.

Anyway that’s kind of how I make it and I hope it works for you.

2021 in review

o))) Winter Solstice Full Moon Journey + Ceremony Soundscape... - Gabriola  Arts Council

Before I get to a recap of sorts of 2021, let’s talk Christmas decorations. Mine stay up to Epiphany (maybe a little later.) When do you take your decorations down? I have to be honest, I also just like them so much I wish the Christmas season were just a little bit longer. However, I know once January rolls around the nutcrackers and elves kind of look like they are staring at me from the bookshelves, so down they come until next year.

2021 has been a crazy year and let’s start with more current events. Recently a person purported to live in the Malvern area was arrested in West Chester after a bar fight. Not just any old bar fight, she (yes she) also was charged with biting and spitting on employees. Hey I am not making this up, just ask the West Chester Borough Police who posted it. THAT is why the media picked up the story and wrote about it.

Biting and spitting during what is still a GLOBAL pandemic known as COVID-19. Why am I talking about this? Well it made the news so I posted a link to a published article. No real rhyme or reason, I just posted it. I do post crime stuff every now and again. I will note that I posted with NO opinion. Just posted the article.

Up pops the Stepford -With -Matching -Capes- Crusaders. I was a bad person for sharing it. Why was I posting it. Oh and the best? I was a threat to the community for posting it. Say what? Oh and middle school behavior for posting it. Did I mention it was in the news?

All I did was post the link. If something is in the news and it’s posted, it doesn’t make anyone a bad person for posting a link unless of course it’s fake news. It wasn’t. Now if you don’t like something someone posts, we are supposed to be grown-ups, right? So why not just scroll by for something more to your comfort level? (I will note another news story, similar topic also has surfaced out of Bear, DE at a WaWa of all places. Same age range women. Bizarre, dangerous, and hideous behavior in the age of COVID19.)

Social media behavior in general (as in everywhere) has greatly deteriorated since the last presidential election and COVID19. Maybe all of you armchair critics merely like the sounds of your own voices but not everybody has to listen to it. And so we are clear, I am not speaking about that old-fashioned concept of disagreeing, yet having a thing called a conversation. I am referring to the beyond the nipping at the virtual ankles, being flat out obnoxious if not more. And yet these are the same people who don’t understand where kids learn about bullying.

New Year's Eve

Sometimes I turn the other cheek with these village idiots in local social media groups. This was not one of those times. I grow increasingly intolerant of this brand of bullsheit. And that doesn’t make me a bad person, it means I have had enough of those who wish to have local social media domination in a puffy cloud world where cute bunnies and unicorns fart rainbows.

Then the other day I had the best giggle all day from a writer, Brian Hickey:

“Let’s Go Brandon: the rallying cry of people who peaked in high school.”

~ Brian Hickey 12/28/21

That makes a nice segue to the comments of 2021 on this blog having to do with politics, maskers vs. anti maskers, anti-vaxxers and more:

I only posted a snippet of the hate mail comments I receive. But these show the range from I am a horrible person to why don’t I just kill myself. Ah yes the milk of human kindness at it’s finest. And mind you, I will get these comments when writing about a garden tour. It’s me I suppose. I am too different in opinion from them, I don’t know “my place”, whatever. Someone I know had this to say about one person being a keyboard tiger jackass:

I hope he accidentally uses his poison ivy as toilet tissue And deserves the kind of life that is small minded, mean, douche-y comment deserves. You on the other hand deserve to have a wonderful day that you had and being able to celebrate it free from pestilence.

Your “I’m-not-afraid-to-go-low” friend from New York.

I have to admit that made me laugh. My New Yorkers are fierce.

And as far as social media groups like on Facebook go, if you as an admin have the audacity to remove an ankle biter, that is rarely the end of it. Some of them keep trying to get back into a group. Others keep sending their friends and relatives to either keep beating their drum in their absence, or to spy and see if people are still talking about them. Hence the reason most groups these days do not let you join automatically. Everyone is tired especially of the Facebook ankle biters.

Even inane NextDoor isn’t immune from insane social media behavior. 2021 saw the oddly obsessed CVS man and the people who recently piled onto the poor woman who was just concerned about a homeless couple living in their car in a grocery store parking lot in Phoenixville. And let’s not forget the freak flag flying political posts of NextDoor and the crowd sourcing for should people call the police about things, or posting personal information publicly like it isn’t social media, although it most assuredly is.. That site in general is a big headscratcher.

Also in 2021 we had the woman who thinks Tredyffrin Easttown School District school board meetings are for her to throw extra blonde temper tantrums. She didn’t like me mocking her public comments at a public meeting. And at that time she was blathering to anyone who would listen to her (including local media) about her views on life, vaccines, masks, politics, the universe.

This was the same woman who during breast cancer awareness month (the dreaded and disliked Pinktober to many of us) posted a photo of me on Facebook in a hospital gown taken either before my breast cancer surgery or after my surgery but before I started treatment. It was like a wanted poster with piss poor timing. Among other things it was supposed to intimidate me. Purely female BS.

The school board follies on the whole were quite insane in 2021. The ugliest of the ugliest. And it’s not over. Even if so many of the anti-vaxxer anti-maskers, and Qanon cuties lost their school board races, they are still around. At least one was a nurse. A pediatric nurse, no less. I hope whomever she works for is proud of her efforts, right? Others of their ilk did not lose and made it onto school boards. Essentially the politics of crazy will continue to threaten public school education just like it threatens the very tenets of our society and democracy.

The most frightening example of threatening our democracy occurred this year on January 6, 2021. That is another highlight of the sheer volume crazy of 2021. Who would have ever thought we would be watching news reports of mob of Americans storming our beloved Capitol? On January 6, 2021, a mob of supporters of President Donald Trump attacked the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. hoping to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes that would formalize then President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. This effort failed, and it has been in court and all over social media ever since. Mob members who have been identified are being prosecuted. One of the oldest mob members is from the West Chester area and I think I read he is in his 80s.

Living La Vida COVID in 2021 meant a lot of us spent a lot of time keeping to ourselves. And given the climate of the world around us, it was a perfectly acceptable alternative. As the world re-opened we still couldn’t be sure who was vaccinated, who was not, who had COVID, and who may or may not act crazy if they saw you wearing a mask or saw someone not wearing a mask.

This extended to a lot of our recent Christmas celebrations, which for most were considerably smaller to be safe, because what has arrived? The lovely Omicron variant. I know quite a few people who have picked it up, including at a Christmas concert I love but decided to skip this year because of COVID. Some people who were vaccinated I know who got snagged by the latest variant but they hadn’t had their booster yet. But most of the people I know who now have COVID19 have never gotten shots yet. I wonder if they will now?

Now that COVID cases are on the insane rise again, there are other issues. Remember we have one hospital in Chester County – Jennersville – closing at the end of this week, and another, Brandywine closing at the end January. It seems no one can stop Tower Health from doing this. But then again no one could stop Hahnemann in Philadelphia from closing, either.

Tower Health by these actions is essentially going to cause unbelievable problems for ALL residents of Chester County, not just the communities affected most directly by the hospitals they are closing. It’s a shame Chester County can’t sue Tower Health or federal entities like The United States Department of Veterans Affairs, isn’t it? Or can they?

New Yorker February 17, 2021 by Ward Sutton

Back to politics. The politics of extremism still rules the day. I have watched friendships erode over politics, even my own. I have a friend who is super conservative. I sent her a Christmas card like always. No card received here. Crickets.

I feel it is because I could never join the cult of Trump. I never judged this friend’s conservatism because it’s their belief system, and even if I don’t agree with a lot of it now, the world is big enough for more than one point of view. But I am wondering if I instead were judged? Makes me sad, but I can only control me. I won’t shut the door, but it makes me sad because there are a bunch of those in my life. I was fine when I was a Republican, but now I am not, I am somehow not worthy. Or I am not worthy to some because I am not liberal enough.

How did this world happen? I remember a time when you could be many political persuasions in a room, yet you would all leave the conversations friends. Now it’s “off with their heads” and you can’t have an actual conversation, let alone sit on different sides of the political fence. What good is that doing anyone?

Political cartoons: The best of October

Other things that marred 2021 was crime. Usually surrounding the City of Philadelphia, which has deteriorated into a filthy dirty, crime ridden city with a joke of a mayor and a doofus of a district attorney. But when Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon got carjacked at gunpoint at FDR Park in Philadelphia recently they got the bad guys in like a day….which NEVER happens to regular folk. I am very glad she is OK but I sure hope this keeps a GIANT spotlight on the hot mess that is the City of Philadelphia.

Crime has made it’s way more and more into what was bucolic Chester County. It sucks, frankly. And the police forces are smaller than in a big city.A lot of areas are covered by the Pennsylvania State Police. Like Charlestown where Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska-Gould went missing on April 10, 2017. In April, 2022 it is FIVE years. FIVE years.

In 2021 we saw the ugliness of development march on in Chester County. Even in a global pandemic it’s more, more, more. From butt ass ugly billboards to apartment buildings to fake carriage homes to townhouses for lemmings and more, over-development is now Chester County’s middle name, isn’t it?

We saw things like Tarad Hill Farm in West Bradford go up for sale. It remains to be seen what will happen, but it was being marketed for it’s development possibilities by the nouveau gentry who acquired it and now appears to be selling it. Support the efforts of groups like the Marshallton Conservation Trust in that area (please).

We also saw Rock Hill Farm in Willistown go into a sales agreement I guess since in that case there have already been plans submitted for development. (See here on Willistown website) That is 200 plus acres of what is not only amazing open space, but what about the history of the property? And it has Crum Creek going through it and is old-growth forest, wetlands, rolling hills and streams, and productive farmland. The big puzzle for me in this case is the son of the deceased owner or co-owner is on the Board of Willistown Conservation Trust and has been for a while, right? So why was nothing on that parcel ever put into conservation? In 2022 Willistown residents will see what will happen I suppose. So many object to it, but in the end I think the horse is sadly out of that barn. Someone recently put up a website.

Also in Willistown this year there has been the strange tale of the neighbors of Castlebar Lane and Wildflower Farm. They live in Willistown but apparently farms to them are verboten? Is this just a case of NOFIMBY (No Farm In My Back Yard) ? This is one of the most bizarre things in Chester County in 2021 and it’s so Scary Spice meets Stepford Wives meets Knotts Landing meets Desperate Housewives. Except in this case it’s a whole Scare Spice RACK. The township came to an agreement with Wildflower Farm recently, but we’ll see if the narsty neighbors (yes narsty) are finished yet. But hey look, they can always build bigger berms, right?

National View: Republican resurgence in 2022 already on the horizon |  Duluth News Tribune

This year has also been a crazy year in the seemingly unending saga of the pipelines. Sunoco/Mariner East/ Energy Transfer. Josh Shapiro announced criminal charges and then it seemed like a short time later announce a run for governor, so is this for him or for the residents of Chester County? And then they just announce that pipeline work would resume? Which came first, the chicken or the pipeline? File under to be continued….

However, in 2021 here at the end of the year have been a few surprises. Let’s start with Township Managers.

Casey LaLonde is done at West Goshen. Yup at the meeting on the 21st of December, he is leaving West Goshen for greener pastures somewhere in the private sector but where? Kiss kiss Casey and will folks find you at the Joan Crawford Museum as a docent?

Then today the news eeeked out that Mimi Gleason is out at West Whiteland? Fie under Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus in West Whiteland. Will it be Après Mimi, le deluge? Only time will tell and I think people should fasten their seatbelts.

Speaking of seatbelt fastening, today I learned that in East Goshen they will be “investigating” undoing eminent domain at the Hicks Farm. That was the word used in the meeting packet for next week. East Goshen Supervisors can you not begin next week with a simple resolution to end eminent domain? Okay semi rhetorical, because they can. It was done in West Vincent, it was done in Ardmore years ago. And so on in so forth. (Good lord they can even look on the Institute for Justice’s website for how tos probably, right? They practically have a legal zoom for eminent domain. Even a good Google can help you.)

And one of my favorite bright spots was the news on Crebilly Farm in Westtown. Recently the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors granted funding to Natural Lands to begin the process of grant proposal writing for the conservation of Crebilly Farm. I had to pinch myself on that one. But prayers up, there is something to work towards, even if there does seem to be an active real estate listing on the property?

Personally this has been a year for me. I reached a ten year milestone being breast cancer free, yet I lost two long time friends to cancer. Also this year two of the great ladies of my childhood passed away, and one of my late father’s favorite cousins. And the thing is none of these losses were due to COVID-19 but COVID kept people from saying goodbye to loved ones and friends all over the globe. And if we don’t all get it together, 2022 will be another long COVID riddled year. You aren’t having your first amendment rights threatened if you are asked to get a shot or wear a mask.

BUT I still had a wonderful year with my friends and family including being able to tour David Culp’s Brandywine Cottage gardens and have a couple of small and safe gatherings with vaccinated friends and family.

Life is what we make of it and it is the simple things that bring me joy. Like a phone call from a very dear friend who just wanted to thank me for being able to see my Christmas decorations. Of course I laughed and told her but now I had to start thinking about disassembling the tree and more and putting all of the ornaments away. When that happens it is like saying good bye to old friends for a year. But then we all start planning our gardens, don’t we, so it is a cycle of happiness, right?

As we literally count down the hours until 2022, I hope some of you can just hit the pause button. I wish for you health and happiness in 2022 and pray for a more peaceful world and a little less political craziness. I won’t be unrealistic and wish for it all to disappear, but maybe hope for just a little less mania.

Thanks for stopping by in 2021. 2022 marks this site turning 10. Happy New Year kids!

meanwhile in east goshen, holding collective breath over eminent domain at the hicks farm

10 Things You Might Not Know About The Horses Respiratory System - Mel  Equine

Meanwhile, in East Goshen they are preparing for their new year and Re-Org meeting. A new face joins the board, Cody Bright, Marty retired, and hopefully this breaks up what is formerly known as the Eminent Domain Trio with only David Showy Shuey left and his lil’ grodie toadie Michael Lynch right?

So hold your breath, say prayers, rub the nose of a horse you know for good luck.

I will note it does NOT take THAT much legwork to unwind or undo an eminent domain threat of taking. JUST FREAKING DO IT! Write your letters, sign off on it and Yo East Goshen Supervisors who don’t want eminent domain? Present a RESOLUTION to REVOKE the use of eminent domain here and sign it. That is what the have done in Lower Merion and elsewhere….the elected officials need to sign their names to this!

Eminent domain is wrong. This use of eminent domain as a bully tool is wrong. The Hicks family deserves better, every resident in East Goshen deserves better than eminent domain. East Goshen streams live on You Tube and they haven’t said anything else, so wear a mask and go if you would like. The meeting is Monday, January 3rd, 2022 at 6 PM.

Hopefully, this is the last time to display this image:

May be an image of horse, grass and text that says '#HANDSOFFTHEHICKSFARM NO EMINENT DOMAIN IN EAST GOSHEN'

yes virginia, there is indeed a santa claus (in west whiteland)

Yes Virginia, #andjustlikethat apparently there is indeed a Santa Claus. The news out of West Whiteland is La Mimi is gone girl gone.

I remember when she was manager of Tredyffrin. Never thought much of her there (Terri Woodman formerly East Whiteland’s Manager was the Asst. Township Manager at Tredyffrin 1986 – 2001 as a related aside). I remember when Gleason left Tredyffrin she was doing this whole “a job is not a life” thing (What? Would I make this up? CLICK HERE)

But really WHY did she leave Tredyffrin? There were some rather questionable things that happened back then, weren’t there? The sewer main that broke in Tredyffrin Township circa 2012, right? Or lettergate? The twisted tale of Tredyffrin? And that interesting tale in Tredyffrin didn’t quite end when La Mimi left Tredyffrin for “retirement” did it? CLICK HERE.

Then of course La Mimi popped out of retirement and popped up at West Whiteland (when La Mimi left Tredyffrin, I predicted no matter what that article said, eventually she would pop up as a manager elsewhere.)

But I digress. Suffice it to say, I have not been a fan. (Just like I am not a fan of that Supervisor Theresa Hogan Santalucia and her sunny personality and vast vocabulary and I bet she wasn’t on board with not renewing the contract of La Mimi was she?))

Her LinkedIn is already updated.

What happened to cause the #breakup? The eternal #pipelines of it all? Over development? Being like the Red Queen / Queen of Hearts and the whole off with their heads this is my kingdom of it all? Who knows and who knows if they will ever tell right?


However, next steps also depends WHICH consulting firm will West Whiteland use to shepherd them through? I remember when a consulting firm wanted to put a piss poor interim in Radnor the year they fired Dave Bashore. (Read this article to learn more why that Radnor Manager was removed.) I forget his name but the guy was from Coatesville and had been one of the supporters of eminent domain attempt of the Saha Farm, remember? (Coatesville folk who showed up in droves to that Radnor meeting long ago might remember.) A lot of times the consulting firms use former township managers who were not the best wherever they were, so here is hoping they vet even the interim candidates carefully. And I think it would be great if the residents could view the public CVs of potential candidates.

BUT the forensic auditors who helped Radnor back in the day sure hit pay dirt. And I am NOT saying anything remotely like that occurred, it’s just common sense that if you are removing a township manager, you look at everything and the staff, right? Just in case things were not always for the good of the residents but a petty little fiefdom or corner store, right?


Happy New Year West Whiteland Township residents. Your reorg meeting next week will be one not to be missed. It will be hybrid so you can go in person or zoom it. Monday January 3rd, 6:30 PM

christmas traditions, baking, and even a miracle

As I have mentioned in previous years on this blog, in our neighborhood we have our own little tradition. We leave each other a little gift. I delivered mine yesterday and so did my one next-door neighbor, and bit by bit there are more little surprises appearing on our doorsteps in time for Christmas. We know these elves well, they are our neighbors. And this is one of my favorite Christmas traditions since moving to this neighborhood.

The neighborhood behind us does luminaries up and down their street on Christmas Eve. We see it through our woods from upstairs and it’s so lovely to look at!

I have done my baking including the Christmas stollen. This year I tried a new recipe using sourdough starter and oh and how it did rise! I did deviate slightly because I filled mine with marzipan.

I also made Lebkuchen for the first time. I could not find those German wafers you are supposed to use so I used a King Arthur recipe that makes them like bar cookies. This is the case with many king Arthur recipes I have discovered over the years I have had to tweak it. Their recipe was very dry and it omitted powdered anise which most other recipes contain. You don’t use a lot just a little smidgen. To combat the dryness of the dough, and I added about four or 5 tablespoons of buttermilk. The dough also completely crumbled apart once I was able to start to roll it the next day so I ended up pressing it into the pan. But it did turn out well and I added more liquid to the glaze because 2 tablespoons of brandy was not enough. I actually used about 4. I actually used a local Brandy that is apple brandy from Manatawny Still Works .

I will note I tried to tell King Arthur flour about the issues in their recipe and they were kind of ridiculous about it. Told me maybe I lived in a dry high altitude climate. (Umm no, live in Chester County, PA) and then they had to tell me how maybe I let some extra flower “slip into the bowl”. Umm no again so I will just tell you all my workarounds.

I didn’t get around to my anisette cookies or biscotti this year, but I baked a whole bunch of still traditional Christmas cookies. Big soft ginger cookies, sugar cookies, a couple different kind of chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, and white chocolate oatmeal cookies. On one batch of the chocolate chip cookies I was in too much of a rush and I forgot to add the eggs. So they ended up like chocolate chip lace cookies. Still perfectly edible.

Now for my Christmas miracle. I just found out that one of my growing up friends who lives in upstate New York just emerged from a coma. She was in a coma for the past two months.

It was kind of freaky the way I found out I just had this weird feeling because I hadn’t heard from her and we usually speak every couple of months. I thought about her a few days ago because I heard the old Kansas song “dust in the wind”. She and one other person I know from high school loved that song. And then the other day she just popped into my head and I realized I hadn’t heard from her.

I went to call her cell phone and the call just dropped and went nowhere. So I went to social media and saw that her brother had posted she’s been in a coma and was awake. So thanks to Facebook I was able to message and then video chat with her yesterday. That makes her the official Christmas miracle. She literally could have never ever woken up.

It was one of those things where everyone who knew thought those of us who did not know knew, only we didn’t. She was even a story in a newspaper in Auburn, NY that contains a link to a Go Fund Me to help with expenses. Yes she has health insurance, but another thing happened to her while she was in a coma for two months: somebody who went to “visit her“ in the hospital made off with her cell phone and the bank card that was tucked inside the case that no one knew was there.

As she told me yesterday this person essentially cloned her identity, emptied her bank account, and sold her expensive phone to one of those we buy used phone places near her. That apparently was caught on some kind of security camera I guess it was in a mall. As I am told the police have not apprehended this person yet but Karma is a bitch and they should just turn themselves in. I mean how do you do that to somebody in a coma? I hope as an additional Christmas present somebody turns that person in, and I think that if the phone was sold at a place that buys used phones, obviously that store knows who they are and they should come forward because that cell phone contained photos of her son who passed away a couple years ago and also of her late mother.

But for the grace of God go any of us, and his Christmas day is now literally right around the corner, I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Christmas. I also hope everyone is safe because Covid is on the rise again.

If I don’t post again, I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas.