what’s up west whiteland?

Soooooo…do the folks in the upscale Malvern Hunt development know about this proposed Uber Cram Plan next door in West Whiteland?

Because if this development happens combined with the crammerific townhouse development next to East Whiteland‘s Bacton Hill Park, “Malvern Crossing”, it sure is going to impact their lives right? And everyone else around here? Wow, just imagine the traffic alone, right?

Would West Whiteland Township care to let us in on what’s specifically up with historic Pickwick, also known as the John Kent Kane Jr. House? Will that historic house be preserved?

But back to the meeting in September that went by with nary a sound and why? For real 344 houses? Adult in description, so essentially another Hershey’s Mill type project? Really “by right”?

That’s a lot of additional development for Swedesford considering the development already in either direction…..

https://www.westwhiteland.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09152020-848

https://www.westwhiteland.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_09152020-849

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickwick_(West_Whiteland_Township,_Pennsylvania)

And let’s think about all of the other development happening all over, okay? Lancaster Avenue in East Whiteland, West Whiteland, points west, points east.

For West Whiteland all the development coming to either side of SS Philip and James, either side of Ship Road and development just keeps marching west?

In Chester County east, west, north, or south- development. Think about it, are there any municipalities without development of some kind? I mean I am sure there are, only I can’t think of any.

But back to whatever this is that will replace the rotting ghost houses on Swedesford Road. That’s a LOT. A LOT more stress on infrastructure, first responders, hospitals, schools and so on and so forth.

Just putting it out there. It’s public record. Just pick a municipality. When does it end? When do residents in Chester County stand up and band together and say enough already to development? When do we even just hit a freaking pause ⏸ button?

Thanks for stopping by.

push push push

I make no secret over the fact that I am completely over the push push push of realtors/real estate investors of all forms soliciting business since COVID19 hit.

First you have the slimy ones that send the postcards announcing they’ve been trying to reach you 95 times by postcard but they can’t find your phone number.

Or they are robocalling you via off shore call centers with heavily accented individuals reading from a script. And whether it’s postcard or robocall they all have friendly names like “Dan” or “Steve” or “Brian”.

Next come the regular residential realtor variety from the various and sundry companies you recognize. Like today’s solicitation which came addressed to both our name and “occupant“.

Dear occupant and she wants our business no less?

Of course there were other amusing things about today’s postcard from someone at Compass in Devon. Like for example it says it’s from their “Upper Main Line” office and lists a phone number. I tried to call the phone number on the postcard listed as the main office number because I want to be put on a do not solicit list. Only the number on the postcard isn’t a valid general office number and you get the recording from the phone company that this number doesn’t exist.

Now that’s just sloppy marketing and lack of proofreading, which if I was in the market for a new home or a realtor, this would knock this person out of the running right then and there. Details matter.

Then there’s the house that’s on the front of the postcard that says “just sold“. It’s one of the McMansions crammed in off of 352 on Shirtz Farm Lane…. which once upon a time was an actual farm. I made no secret of how I loathe farm to development conversions.

I guess our comparables are all going up in the area because this woman claims to have sold this house which is on a postage stamp sized lot for over $1 Million. And again…if you saw where it was it’s right there on 352 after the railroad underpass! It’s a marvel, those prices.

This is a development that once it finally got started if you blinked, you missed the houses going up. And it’s still got piles of dirt everywhere, it’s rather unattractive. Million dollar Lickety Splits.

Just so we’re clear, I have quite a few dear friends who are realtors whom I respect immensely. They don’t send out things like this. And they would never refer to someone in a mailer by name and then occupant because that’s just kind of insulting. If you need a realtor I’m happy to refer you to one of the many fine individuals I know. And they are actually truly local to Chester County and live here.

As I have said on other posts I have written about the sleazy real estate investors (house flippers) sending postcards to buy your house for cash, this is one of the byproducts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As happened the last time there was a pandemic at the turn of the 20th century, it made people want to get out of cities and move into suburbia or less populated areas. Only I think circa 1918 they weren’t bombarding people with post cards.

I appreciate that realtors I’ve never heard of or are not particularly local love our area. I just wish they would stop soliciting me. Obviously I love where we live that’s why we’re here.

Happy weekend!

shot #1 done!

Hello everyone and greetings from West Chester University!

Yes….. I JUST GOT MY FIRST COVID SHOT!

It has been a perfectly crappy day full of babysitting adult toddlers in Facebook groups so this is the highlight of my day.

Truthfully today is the highlight of 2021 so far.

I was beginning to wonder if this day would ever arrive.

The registration process was pretty seamless and the people here are so nice!

I am on the 30 minute post-shot wait and so far I just feel a little warm and somewhat thirsty. I can be shot reactive so I sit for 30 minutes while most everyone else sits for 15 minutes. There is a paramedic sitting with us in the post shot room.

I was surprisingly emotional when I got my shot.

I feel like I can breathe again.

This has been a hell of a year since we all entered the COVID19 world in which we now exist.

east or west, less development would be best

Last night I attended the virtual East Whiteland Historic Commission Meeting. One of the people presenting were representatives of the Great Valley School District.

You see, they are now faced with supersizing the elementary school campus. But nooooo of course it’s not due to wanton development in the area. Since the meeting occurred on St. Patrick’s Day I guess it was leprechauns just not being nice to them or something. Sorry not sorry for the deep sarcasm.

Anyway, the reason they were there as they want to tear things down and build new things and so on. But the district representatives did not like when I commented on the fact that school districts everywhere seem to do this following large swaths of new development in various communities. They will basically tell you it’s not true and everyone knows it’s true.

Of course I also commented that all those school districts are autonomous from municipalities, it’s still somewhat of a codependent relationship and I never for the life of me will understand why school districts won’t be honest and say “hey that’s too much development for us to handle.”

Again, sorry not sorry pointing out the truth.

I had to go out to Exton at the beginning of the week for a medical appointment. As I went up Route 30 from Malvern, I was again struck by the sheer volume of development I saw just there along that road. Every square inch that can be developed is being developed.

People are talking about the Ship Inn being for sale. Now that makes me sad because that is a very historic place. That used to be one of my landmarks years ago when I was going to a friend’s house further west. It was always this cheerful beacon on the road and so pretty and historic. Hopefully it survives.

But right where it’s located is at the vortex of a development tsunami. It’s West Whiteland and they are definitely one of the municipalities that can’t say yes fast enough to new development. Once upon a time I found these historic photos of Exton before all the development started. Night and day.

But it’s not just one municipality it’s more like pick a municipality. Look at East Whiteland. Do we really think the school district would be considering expansion if they weren’t out of room because of all the influx of people due to development? I mean come on let’s get real.

Go a little further east and you look at Tredyffrin and Eastown. Is the school district there not experiencing the same problems and need for expansion? It’s because of all the development, right? It doesn’t matter if it’s single-family McMansions, fake carriage houses, town houses, apartments, condos whatever you want to call them they are bringing people into our districts. The interesting thing is I still don’t necessarily believe that the economy is following the people so I wonder about the long-term sustainability but that’s another conversation for another day.

Go to other areas in Chester County and look at other districts. The West Chester Area School District is a monster it’s so big now. Owen J Roberts is huge, and so is Downingtown. And when you get out to areas like Elverson the kids actually go to school in a dual county district . This school district is Twin Valley, and it services two counties and like seven municipalities.

If you go east out of Chester County down to the Main Line, look at Lower Merion School District. The nasty eminent domain battles and fights because why? Because there are so many people coming into that district they needed to build another middle school. Now that middle school is going to be right on the border of Radnor Township which also has development worries of its own and only has one high school which is pretty crowded from what I’m told these days.

Of course in the case of Lower Merion School District and the location of their new school I have to ask what volunteer fire company is going to be responsible for that big complex? Especially when fire companies are going to be faced with the ongoing super sizing of both Bryn Mawr and Ardmore? So will that necessitate an additional fire company being built? Where would that go? And maybe it’s time for all fire companies to consider more paid staff because I think the volunteers are spread a little thin don’t you?

When are municipalities going to wake the hell up and realize the songs and tales of the Pied Piper-like developers and the Emperor’s new clothes they strew about are ruining our communities?

These developers are marching through our communities leaving overcrowding in school districts and stressed municipal services and infrastructure in their wake. And the Municipalities Planning Code ( aka the MPC), the Bible on which local development and zoning is based, allows all of this. It also allows all of the crazy zoning overlay districts which allow developers to get more and more into our communities.

The MPC was created at the end of the 1960s and I think it was signed in to being in 1970. It contains the extraordinarily outdated definitions of suburbs and exurbs that are still fueling all of this development today. And it’s got to stop. There needs to be a comprehensive update. And that update needs to contain language that actually protects our communities from over development. It needs to contain language that has more meaningful historic preservation and land preservation.

No matter where we live we are drowning in crappy new construction. And people don’t like when I say that because you know they’re reading this post from their McMansion. Well talk to me in 20 years and see how your house endures time and wear. I mean look at all the people alone who have had to remediate stucco in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

These developers roll into communities, they make a lot of money, they offer municipal rabbits the tiny baby carrots of ratables and they just move onto the next project. Or they will say to a municipality that they really care about the community in which they want to over develop because they live there? What do they really care about: the community or how much money they’re making?

Oh wait? What is that I hear? Oh that would be the chorus of I hate all development coming from some of you reading this post. I don’t hate all development but I really dislike the volume and lack of quality of the development we are seeing today. Why on earth do developers think that here in bucolic Chester County we want to see things that look like fake industrial?

And then there are the developers who basically take the same design and apply it to projects in multiple municipalities. Do they really think the public is that stupid? I mean maybe the local politicians are but not necessarily the people that live in these municipalities. Do we really want to live in developer created Stepford Land?

I have seen development in other areas, even urban areas that are clever and they actually have architectural design to them. Or they’re wonderful examples of adaptive reuse. My favorite recent example is something in Philadelphia called The Gotham. It was originally The Gotham Silk Factory, as in stockings. This project is amazing. It pays homage to its past yet it’s modern and new. It’s really cool. It proves you can meld old with new and come up with a good product.

But people, we have to start taking back our communities. We need to hold elected officials accountable. And even if they tell us there is nothing that they can do we still hold them accountable. And we need to find better replacements from within our communities and move these people out.

If you change the face of who governs you you can start to enact change in communities. But if it’s just the same old people sitting there year after year we are just going to keep on getting more of what we don’t like where we call home. That’s not just with local municipalities that’s with state representatives and state senators as well. So far with regard to the newbies in office on the state level I’m not really impressed. And there are some who skated in for additional terms riding on the coattails of others and they never impress me at all.

These are our communities. We deserve more of a say. But in order to have more of a say we all have to become more proactive within our communities. that starts with attending meetings. While they are all virtual, it’s much easier, so please take advantage of it. Pick a meeting and participate.

Be the change you want for where you live.

Thanks for stopping by.

what are you doing for lunch?

Tasty Table Market & Catering is one of my favorite food gems. Located at 10 Leopard Rd, Berwyn, PA 19312 they are a delight to deal with and their food is amazing! They are breakfast, lunch, take home dinner, corporate events, private events, weddings, any kind of catering you can think of.

I stopped in to pick up lunch and discovered all sorts of new things on the menu, as well as a slightly new look inside. You can go and eat your breakfast and lunch. The seating is limited but it’s very socially distanced. Oh and they serve La Colombe coffee!

Today I am having one of their Vietnamese hoagies which is a really good sandwich. I also checked out something new on the menu which is a vegetarian broccoli rabe quesadilla. Some of that is coming home for heating up at another time along with their famous crab cakes which are absolutely delicious.

Anyway check out Tasty Table. You’ll be glad you did!

And I will note that I am not being compensated in any way, shape, or form for writing this post. I am a happy customer and paying it forward and supporting gladly a local business.

#shoplocal #shopsmall

rantings of a suburban housewife: international women’s day in my house

In honor of International Women’s Day yesterday, the men in my house left not one but two sinks of dishes for ME to clean up last night that I did not see until this morning because I made the mistake of going upstairs earlier than normal .

I have tried leaving the dishes, I have tried not emptying the dishwasher, and all it does is cause more dirty dishes to pile up. And I hate the look of a messy kitchen.

I love my husband and stepson, but I do NOT love this. I have had a full COVID19 year of this, and I don’t ask for much around the house except basically things that are common courtesy or once in a while helping around the house. I would love to have these little things without having to nag about it.

Little things also include making your bed, which is something that my stepson finds particularly annoying. Essentially he treats me like housekeeping in a dorm. He finds most everything I do or say annoying.

If home, he literally stays holed up in his room either on his classes or his games. It’s a little sad because I remember the little boy who once upon a time wanted to know what I was cooking in the kitchen and who used to make me his go to childhood snack of peanut butter on apple slices.

I understand that a global pandemic has turned the world of the young completely upside down, but hello? I’m here too. This global pandemic has affected ALL of our worlds and I joke about being the maid and chatelaine, but I am kind of over it.

Some days I am very tempted to treat them like the messy girl who lived in a beach house with me and others one summer when I was much, much younger. She never wanted to do her dishes either, so we put a beach towel on her bed and piled her dirty dishes on them. After that she learn to do her dishes.

This is why a lot of the time I don’t feel I can leave the kitchen and go upstairs for the night to watch TV or read a book or whatever until the kitchen is completely cleaned up because if I don’t, I come down to this in the morning. To the male in the human species, this really doesn’t matter. But to most women I know, not leaving little dishes all piled up is a little thing that goes a very long way.

And I don’t necessarily think my husband should be stuck with these chores, either. He works hard every day. But my stepson, as much as I love him, has never really helped around the house. He lives here, and simply put, he is NOT a bad person, he is a love, but he is Captain Oblivious to everything that doesn’t immediately affect him, and sorry not sorry, I don’t expect him to be my man servant but it would be nice if he helped once in a while.

Is my life so hard? No it’s not. I have a really nice life. But there are little things in this world that make any woman feel appreciated in a household. And it’s pretty basic, little things like cleaning up the kitchen and not leaving two sinks full of dishes or even one sink full of dishes goes a long way.

File under rantings of a suburban housewife and have a nice day. #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021

beef mac and cheese…my way

Beef Macaroni and Cheese

1 stick of butter

A few tablespoons of Wondra gravy flour

Dash of nutmeg

A couple of dashes of Tabasco

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

8 ounce bag of shredded Swiss and Gruyere cheese

8 ounce bag of shredded mixed cheddar cheese

6 ounces chopped Velveeta cheese (the kind that comes in a block)

14 ounce can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

12 ounce can of vitamin D evaporated milk

1 – 1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1 lb ground beef

1 small red onion, chopped small

1 pound bag of Gemelli pasta

Salt and pepper to taste

I have never written this down, so bear with me.

First I sauté the pound of ground beef in a nonstick pan with the red onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Because I am using a nonstick pan I don’t grease it. Remove from heat.

In another pan I make my cheese sauce. It starts with a roux which is butter and flour. I just eyeball the flower and I use Wondra which is a great flower to use for things like this and gravies because it’s very fine. So I say a few tablespoons, it’s either that or a few dashes.

After the flour and butter have kind of cooked together, I had a dash of nutmeg and a few dashes of Tabasco sauce. Then I add the buttermilk.

I incorporate everything together whisking constantly and then I add the can of milk. Next I add the Swiss and Gruyere mix, whisking constantly until it’s incorporated. After that I add the cheddar and then I stir in the Velveeta chunks. As everything comes together you may have to add a little more milk. It just depends.

After it’s creamy and smooth I add the can of tomatoes which I do not drain. I then let the cheese sauce kind of meld together and I keep on stirring it. When I think it’s the proper consistency I turn it off and put a lid on it.

In a big Dutch oven I cook the pasta as per the package instructions and then drain. First I put the pasta back into the Dutch oven. Then I stir in the ground beef mixture. Then I slowly incorporate the cheese sauce until everything‘s together.

I always make a little more sauce than I am expecting but you just let your pasta sit for a few minutes with the lid on in the Dutch oven and the heat off on the stove and a lot of the moisture from the cheese sauce will be absorbed.

Serve with a salad and it’s magically delicious.

Thanks for stopping by.

chasing the covid19 shot

Trying to get a COVID19 shot is turning into a full time job. I am a Class 1A because I am still an active cancer patient on cancer meds. Yes, really. The closest I have been able to find a shot was the Wegmans pharmacy in Erie, Pennsylvania. 375 miles away.

I am registered everywhere. I waste lots of time on the pharmacy websites like Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, Wegmans, and more. And I love when people tell me oh they have shots and you go on and you try to register but no they don’t have shots…. they’re out of stock. And if it doesn’t say out of stock on the vaccine finder website, you click into the location you’re looking at and it tells you then.

I spent five days on the phone trying to get through to the Chester County Hospital COVID19 scheduling line. Five days of my life I won’t get back. I finally got through this afternoon. I am a priority registration in the system but they don’t have anymore shots so they can’t schedule until they have shots, which is probably why I got through. But the man I spoke to (his name was Rick) was super helpful and just nice.

Then I saw that report regional media has this afternoon.

Pretty goddamn disappointed in them right now. Except part of me almost understands why they did it.

I don’t know what is with Chester County not having enough shots or the state of Pennsylvania not having enough shots.

Basically, I have to wait to be called. Because there aren’t even any shots at any of the drug stores or grocery store drug stores offering shots around here.

And like I said I have signed up everywhere I can. Which is why I got really annoyed when some Democratic Committeeman posted on NextDoor:

Info to get Covid vaccinations. This is information from Pa House Representative Kristine Howard. Thank God she was elected! Hope this helps!

I know I bet you’re all excited hearing something like that right? Well don’t be she’s not breaking any new ground here and Kristine Howard never does anything. All her office does is regurgitate information that’s already out there.

When I pointed this out to the Democratic committeeman he said to me (and I quote):

“Other than whining what have you done to provide information about COVID vaccines?

The Democratic committeeman went on to mansplain to me about how he “had followed the rules” and spent 2 to 3 hours each day hunting a shot until he got an appointment.

First of all, I hate being mansplained to. Second of all,  who is he to presume with anyone? Why is it my job in particular to provide information about COVID19 vaccines? I don’t understand that.

He wants to “thank God” for a State Rep who does nothing and who has done nothing since she was first elected. As an elected official, Kristine Howard should be trying to get more shots into Chester County, not just regurgitating information already provided by MANY others to look like she’s actually doing something. As a farmer I once knew said about someone years ago, she’s more useless than tits on a bull. Vulgar, but accurate.

And our new State Senator Carolyn Comitta? Where is she? She has been kind of invisible to constituents in my humble opinion.

Who has been helpful in Chester County, PA? The county commissioners. Josh Maxwell helped me personally get correctly registered on the county website. I kept registering and it literally didn’t take. He can’t personally get me a shot nor would I expect him to, but he took the time to help me and explain the process.

Honestly the process itself is faulty. Pennsylvania is backwards. We should be able to get shots. I have friends in other states who have had no problem signing up or finding shots.

And people like to criticize national healthcare as exists in the UK but guess what? Those people are getting their shots. They are rolling them out and people are getting their shots.

Every time you turn around in Pennsylvania it’s either the story out of Philadelphia where the 22 year old who started the non-profit who was giving COVID19 shots to their friends, or like today hospital systems kind of doing the same thing. The thing about the COVID19 shot is it’s not really merit based it seems like who do you know.

Well everyone loves a good game of who do you know this is a global pandemic and who was a clear conscience can do that to jump the line? I couldn’t personally but I understand on a certain level.

People are out there every day trying to play by the rules and banging their heads against walls trying to get a shot, and there are people who are gaming the system (who may or may not be eligible for a shot) who are just taking advantage of holes they find in the screwed up system to get their shots and is that right?

COVID19 has shown us since it started this time last year to eat up our lives about how some people don’t necessarily have a moral compass. And that includes elected officials.

There should be more system efficiency, shots should be more evenly distributed, and it should be just easier to actually get a shot.  I have played by the rules since this started. I even went on voluntary stay at home before we went on mandated stay at home because of potential exposure to one of the first victims of COVID19 in Chester County and I still don’t know who that was. I just had the dumb luck of being at the same place at the same time.

So for the Democratic committeeman who serves where I live who wants to “thank God” for Kristine Howard in one breath, and in the other breath basically that I should be in essence what she is paid and elected to do, I will give Chester County Residents the direct line to the COVID19 shot scheduling line: (610) 883-5410.

I sign off on this Friday afternoon having very little faith in the system right now, as it exists. Thanks for stopping by.

 

have you tried pennsylvania distilling company?

We are winter whiskey imbibers. When I was little winter colds were pretty much treated with a very weak hot toddy. And I bake with whiskey. And yes I know it is sacrilege to use small batch whiskey in baking, but I do it anyway.

There are a couple small batch distilleries we like one is McLaughlin out of Sewickley, PA. Another is Manatawny Still Works out of Pottstown.

However, I had never tried Pennsylvania Distilling Company and they are right in Malvern. So I just did. Oh and they deliver locally.

I am not a big hard alcohol person. Small batch whiskeys are a relatively new thing for me and I don’t drink much of them but they’re nice on a cold day and great in a cup of tea when everything aches. I just tried a small sip of the Dewey’s No. 69 Small Batch Bourbon and like I said I am not a whiskey connoisseur but I like it —it’s smooth, yet rich, a little smoky and smells good. (I’m weird I go by smell which is why I’ve never tasted scotch because I don’t like the smell. )

Friends suggested we try their products and apparently they do other spirits rather well in addition. Once the weather is a little nicer and the tasting room is open I am going to go over for a socially distanced little look around because I’ve always wanted to see what a distilling operation looks like.

The other thing I liked is the gentleman that dropped off my order took the time (in his mask and all socially distanced on my front porch), to tell me about their business. And I like the story. And if you like the story of a small business then you want to support them.

Because I don’t drink very much and because I am sensitive to people with alcohol issues, I don’t talk about alcohol I occasionally buy very often. But this is a local business and if you can drink responsibly, try it. However, if you have a delivered you have to prove your age. And they will ship within Pennsylvania if it’s two bottles or more. And I think they can ship to some other states but I forget how that’s worked it’s through some kind of consortium I think.

Oh and when they can they try to go organic and local with the ingredients of what they are distilling.

So I blame my whiskey explorations on too much Acorn TV and BritBox and BBC. consider this a different kind of #ShopLocal

As always I feel the need to tell all of my readers that I am not getting anything for doing this either in payment, goods, or services. I am a regular customer.

Please drink responsibly and thanks for stopping by.

ghost houses of swedesford road: more photos

The other day I wrote another post about the ghost houses Swedesford Road and how they continue to deteriorate .

A reader sent me photos. Looks like late fall or winter before snow. And I thought I should be clear that these USED to be owned by Church Farms School but now? Some developer or commercial real estate entity. No clue who.

Is this demolition by neglect? Well what do you think? Sure isn’t preservation is it? Wouldn’t you think West Whiteland would want these structures secured?

It is a shame that they’ve been allowed to rot. Now what?