tale of little dog found

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On Saturday we had to rush one of our animals to the emergency vet. We go to West Chester Vet which also has one of the best emergency clinics around.

As my sweet man was checking our critter in for treatment, a family who had driven up from Chester came into the vet hospital with a little dog wrapped up in a towel or blanket or something similar.

The child of this family had found the little dog whimpering and crying in either an abandoned house or some sort of garage. And they had driven until they found a veterinary hospital which was open. ( My other guess is they had to drive to find a veterinary hospital that would treat a dog that they found like this.)

As they were handing over the dog (which had been stabbed) to the veterinary technicians the blanket or towel or whatever the dog was wrapped in opened and my sweet man says the little dog’s insides were peeking through the stab wound (or wounds as I do not know which).

I was told by my source at the CCSPCA later that the dog had been stabbed by a mentally unstable person and the police were involved. Little dog looks to be a chihuahua or chihuahua mix.

When we checked on our sick dog on Sunday, we inquired after the little dog. Little dog had come through surgery like a champ and was starting to eat.

This evening when we picked up our critter we heard that little dog continued to improve. We asked if they had a link up for donations as a lot of people would like to contribute to little dog’s care. I also know a couple of people who would adopt little dog and give her a kind and loving home. Unfortunately, because this is an animal cruelty case they could not tell me anything else.

However, NBC10 is on the case and they have this to say about little dog, who has apparently been named Hope:

NBC10 Philadelphia: Dog Stabbed in Animal Cruelty Case


A dog brought into a local veterinary medical center over the weekend with stab wounds is “eating, drinking, and happy,” according to a nurse at the facility.

Kelly Fusco, a veterinary nurse at the West Chester Veterinary Medical Center says that the Chihuahua mix was rushed into the center by a family who said they found the pouch whimpering inside of a garage.

The dog who’s been given the name “Hope” by the veterinary staff is doing well after receiving emergency surgery to repair lacerations to her leg…..The case, which is being handled by the Chester County SPCA, is being treated as an animal cruelty investigation.

Hope is doing well and expected to make a full recovery, according to Fusco. She will remain at the vet until the investigation is complete.

I know nothing else about the dog. If you would like to contribute towards Hope’s care, please call West Chester Vet (610-696-8712) during normal business hours. They often do amazing acts of real kindness like this. Many vets will not do things like this. They are so awesome to do things like this that this makes me really proud as they care for our pets and the pets of many friends of ours!

Disclaimer: This is an extremely busy vet practice ALL of the time and I say call or maybe just Facebook them because I have no other answers. My guess is when they have something to say about this they will put something on their Facebook page or maybe tell NBC10.

We should also thank the unknown family who drove and drove to see that an injured dog got proper care. So many people wouldn’t bother, especially given the weather we have had.

Also a word of thanks is due to the Chester County SPCA and Main Line Animal Rescue for their caring and concern.

As for whomever did this, there should be a special place in hell for anyone who is cruel to animals, shouldn’t there be? I don’t get how anyone can do something like this to a helpless creature do you? May justice be served for little Hope, right?

St. Francis sure was looking out for this dog, wasn’t he? Or maybe the angel dogs once known as Argus and Fiona?

Get well soon, little dog named Hope. You are in excellent hands and a lot of people are pulling for you.

***Photo credit Kelly Fusco West Chester Vet and NBC10 Philadelphia

judgement day

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Gabriel Pilotti has faced his punishment on his animal cruelty conviction.

Judge Nagle a short while ago gave Pilotti 2 years probation, 90 days on a monitor, restitution $800 per dog, $1000 fine, no guns , 200 hrs community service.

I have thought about this long and hard, and a component of true justice is mercy. Did he show mercy to those dogs?

The answer of course is a resounding NO.

But given his age, although he may have deserved some jail time, I have to leave this to the experts, namely Judge Nagle and the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

The greater punishment in my eyes is he has been branded by the courts and a jury of his peers as a dog murderer. He loses his guns too.

He is in a permanent jail of sorts the rest of his days because he has to live in a community that does not respect what he did.

So he can go to church and his born-again Christian glory all he wants, he is in the eyes of the public something else entirely.

His supporters have already begun to leave comments up here, and they’re calling this a victory. I am not sure exactly what it is they have won, and they should in all honesty consider it in reality more of phyrric victory.

Justice has been served, and Argus and Fiona did not die in vain.

That is all I have to say for now.

Thanks

deliberation has begun…

We heard closing arguments this morning and the jury has been charged with the task at hand. The photo is a street scene in front of the courthouse. I realized when I was cropping it that the people standing outside there are Pilotti and his familial supporters. But there is no expectation of privacy in a public space, is there?

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justice for argus & fiona: pilotti trial day 2

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Another long and emotional day in West Chester.  A bunch of us sat in support with Mary Bock and later Mary and Bill Bock (they both had to be released by the court as they had both testified the previous day).

Of course while we were sitting in court, lovely people were leaving messages like this on the Justice For Argus & Fiona Facebook page:

scott urban1

We have been receiving messages like this since the whole Justice for Argus & Fiona thing began.  Some of them have been quite vile.  We have chosen not to make a big deal out of it.   But this message was just one too many today.  Mr. Pilotti testified in court today to angry phone calls he received, and we did not condone that behavior any more than this behavior exhibited above.

Today Mr. Pilotti testified.  He wore a very 1970’s looking light tan colored suit and a mauve-tinged shirt and a very loud tie.

Also today we heard from West Vincent Police Chief Swininger. The Chief and the ADA presented into evidence the entirety of Gabe Pilotti’s interview at the West Vincent Police Department in February (February 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm I believe was when this took place.)  The jury and all in the courtroom listened to this 55 minute interview.

Interesting things today occurred with reference to the shooting including wasn’t Mr. Pilotti afraid he might hit his sheep with buckshot spray? And later in the afternoon the Judge asked Mr. Pilotti why he chose buck shot over bird shot?

There was much discussion about a prior incident when Mr. Pilotti shot a pit bull (maybe two, I am not certain.) In that 2012 incident (May, I believe) the dogs had taken down his neighbor’s animals.  Mr. Pilotti did not lose any animals in that incident although I think it was said one of his animals had puncture wounds. I believe they said his neighbor suffered a loss of a few animals and a few injured in that 2012 incident. Mr. Pilotti also seemed to admit under oath that Argus & Fiona had not harmed any of his animals. There was much discussion about the dogs, how they were shot, where he was standing, so on and so forth.

Mr. Pilotti held up o.k. under questioning by his own attorney, but a good lawyer always preps their client.  They went through his personal history after a fashion and discussed that he had kept sheep since the 1970s and he considered himself a shepherd to his flock.

The shepherd thing came up a lot. Like a theme or something. I like sheep and goats. Cows and chickens too.  But I know it takes a lot to be a farmer.  Some people aren’t farmers, they are more hobbyists. It is obvious he loves his animals.  But the Bock family loved theirs too, right?

Mr. Pilotti did not seem to hold up as well under cross by the Assistant District Attorney. At times, he almost seemed argumentative or maybe just defensive, I couldn’t tell.

A couple of times during his time on the stand there were admonishments from the judge to Mr. Pilotti and to his attorney. But fair is fair and those of us in the peanut gallery were told to pipe down at the end of the day too.

One witness that was called by the defense was that guy who had walked Bill Bock over to Mr. Pilotti’s the day of the shooting – Dallas Definbaugh. He is Mr. Pilotti’s across the street neighbor I guess.

Several other character witnesses were called before the defense rested – A Linda Reichert (neighbor of a neighbor), Steve Hobbs the Pastor of the Vincent Baptist Church, a Bill Malenke (neighbor), the husband of a niece (?), a very pleasant gentleman on a cane, and two church members Shirley and Quenton Craft. It was nice to hear them say nice things, but it doesn’t in my mind negate what happened.  What happened was wrong in my opinion, and I am allowed to have that opinion.

Then the defense rested.

The jury was interesting to watch during the day.  They paid close attention and even asked for an audio recording to be played back so they did not miss anything.

This is a case that I am not certain what will happen in the end.  We can only hope for the right thing, and that no matter how nice a guy is to go to church with or live across the street from, shooting puppies is not right.  But no  matter what, the case was heard before a judge and jury and to me that is a victory.

One thing I kept hoping for today was that when Mr. Pilotti was on the stand part of me hoped he would have apologized to the Bocks for shooting the dogs, but I guess that is just wishful thinking and only something that would have happened on TV? (this would make an interesting episode of Law & Order, though)

Tomorrow everyone closes and then the jury is charged with their most important task: to decide guilt or innocence.

Closing arguments will resume at 9:30 in courtroom 8 on the 7th floor in West Chester.

And while we were in court more came out about the current state of affairs at the Chester County SPCA.  So it is a double dog posting day. Stay tuned.

justice for argus & fiona: pilotti trial day 1

argus and fiona

I now understand why reporters say sometimes what they see in a court room haunts them.  I will be haunted a long time by the crime scene photos which were shown of the slain Bernese Mountain Dog puppies Argus & Fiona.

The  scene photos (I am not a police officer so I don’t know what  to call them), were not intentionally gruesome, they were what they were. (We saw a photo of the shotgun too.  It was not one that repeats, either, which means the buck shot had to deliberately reloaded, correct?) There seemed to be some sort of quiet sidebar conversation as in jury and audience could not hear) before the audience, judge, and jury saw the photos.  I am thinking it had to do with the photos – but I don’t know for sure.

The photos – Argus lay there on the ground like he was shot in mid-flight.  He seemed to be facing away from us.  Then there was the photo of the female puppy Fiona. This photo made me cry (several things made me tear up this afternoon- so much was so hard to hear)  it was so heart and gut wrenchingly awful.  Fiona was curled in a semi fetal position staring at the camera with lifeless eyes. That is the photo I will see in my head for a long time it is so awful.

But back to the beginning.  Three papers were there: Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily Local and Brandywine News Media.  There were Argus and Fiona friends and family and supporters on one side and Gabe Pilotti had a mish mosh of people on his side.  I never saw the man in person before today so I have no way of knowing who was family and who might have been church folk. I will note that whomever they are had minor children with them, who were in the room when the photos of the shot up dogs were displayed.  Not to judge, but would you have wanted your children to see that? The smiling Pilotti from the mug shot was not present today.

Ramsey, Pilotti’s attorney referred to a “media campaign” over this issue.  He seemed to make a lot of referrals to the Justice for Argus and Fiona Facebook Page and obliquely this blog (or in my opinion that is what it was) like we were all bad people for talking about this.  Judge Nagle seemed to shut this commentary down on several occasions as being somewhat irrelevant to the case at hand.

Pilotti’s attorney was somewhat brutal with the Bocks.  But that is a defense attorney doing their job I suppose.  I do think the defense attorney was unnecessarily hard on Mary Bock in particular – asked her something like did she have remorse over the whole incident.  My personal opinion was that asking something like that was gratuitously nasty.  She was practically in tears having to relive parts of that awful day as it was.

Pilotti’s attorney seemed to make a big deal out of these neighbors of Pilotti’s that the Bocks used to be friendly with – people named Dallas and Kelley Definbaugh.  I wonder, are those the people holding Pilotti’s gun?  Anyway, it is not like it is some dirty secret.  The couples used to be friendly, more from the wives knowing each other and kids being in same sections of classes at school.  But that changed. The kids moved on into different groups and classes at school and the wives don’t hang out any more.  So what?  Do you keep in close contact with people with whom you no longer share any meaningful commonality? I don’t.

I wouldn’t know the Definbaugh people if I fell on them, and am just getting to know the Bocks, so I can only go with my gut.  I like the Bocks.  They are honorable people who experienced something so horrible.  And when you see the photos of those dead puppies from that day and hear about how they were moved in a front end loader or a tractor or something to the township building the day they were shot, well let me tell you, you get a much more clear picture of how these people have suffered.

Remember this news report?

I also did not get why Pilotti’s attorney kept bringing up a letter that Mary Bock wrote to her neighbors after her dogs were shot. I mean get real, there are tons of kids out there and tons of people with dogs.  If she wanted to tell her neighbors is that so wrong?

And Pilotti’s attorney wants to make a big deal out of this blog?  I did not drive his client to shoot those dogs.  And I am not condoning violence against his client, only like hundreds of others out there hoping for justice and a strengthening of Pennsylvania dog laws.

Today we heard from Officer Russell from West Vincent Police Department.  He was the first on the scene and apparently present later when Pilotti was interviewed by police. He seems like a totally honorable and stand up guy.  He also seems to be some sort of authority on fire arms and he spoke with some intelligence about the gun used – a 20 gauge single shot non repeating shot-gun with 9 pellet buck shot if I have it correctly.

Officer Russell recounted that fateful February day calmly with some degree of detail. He remarked that at the time (as in day of shooting) he found Pilotti’s answers “vague”. (his verbiage) . He reported that on the day of the shooting in front of the Police Chief he asked Pilotti for a written statement to assist in the investigation. He stated that Pilotti in his opinion seemed hesitant to do so, but eventually went back to his garage and sat down and compiled a “list”. Officer Russell also described seeing the dogs.  He reported that Argus took a fairly direct hit to the head and the dog’s head was “kind of blown apart.” He described Fiona’s position (that I saw in the photos) and the blood coming out of her mouth and I believe he said on her paws.  I will admit the photo of her so disturbed me that I could not get past the quasi fetal position and lifeless eyes staring at the camera.

District Attorney Tom Hogan appeared in court to watch for a while at approximately 3:45 p.m.  That made people sit up and take notice – he is a busy guy so you know he can’t audit every court proceeding.  I was thankful for his presence.

I stayed until just before the defense was going to cross-examine Officer Russell.  People in the court room said that got out of hand.  I remember before I left Officer Russell stating that they wanted to talk to Pilotti again because “something did not seem right.”

Pilotti’s attorney at one point referred to when Pilotti had shot dogs before, but West Vincent locals told me that those dogs were shot on a neighbors property because the neighbor’s animals were being mauled and is that not the truth?  So that was something different from when Argus and Fiona were shot, huh?

And I have to ask (bearing in mind my limited knowledge of buck shot) but if  Argus and Fiona were actually pursuing sheep why is it the audience and jury didn’t hear about injured sheep? Or see photos of bloodied sheep or dead sheep? I ask because as buck shot was explained today to everyone in that courtroom it sort of spreads or sprays out, right?

Watching the face of the jury all afternoon was quite interesting.  That is all I will say on that.

Court continues tomorrow at the Criminal Justice Center in Downtown West Chester, PA.  I strongly urge dog lovers to attend if possible. The Bock family and the memory of these puppies deserve our support in a peaceful way as an extended community.  It is a public proceeding and the courtroom is open, not closed. You can go to all or part of tomorrow.  Parking is not expensive in the new garage, either. You just park, go through the court screening and ask to be directed to Judge Nagle’s court (7th floor room 8 off the top of my head)

Today was deeply disturbing and very emotional. But I am glad I went. It makes me even more resolute than ever that dog laws need to change.

And here is some of the media coverage:

Trial begins for 73-year-old accused of killing neighbor’s dogs
Mari A. Schaefer, Inquirer Staff Writer 

Posted: Monday, September 9, 2013, 4:54 PM

In a case that outraged animal-rights activists and generated national  attention, a trial began Monday for a Chester County man charged with killing  his neighbor’s dogs because he believed they posed a threat to his sheep.

Gabriel Pilotti, 73, of Chester Springs, was charged with cruelty to animals  for shooting the two Bernese mountain dogs — 2-year-old Angus and 1-year-old  Fiona — after they had escaped the fenced yard of their owners, Mary and  William Bock….In his opening statement, Kevin Pierce, assistant district attorney said  Pilotti willfully and maliciously killed the two dogs in cold blood and then  left a voice message for a neighbor bragging about the incident……Argus was shot in the head as he  trotted up toward Pilotti and that Fiona was shot as she ran away. Pilotti did  not try to yell at the dogs or chase them away with a broom, he said.

“He choose to go to the most extreme measure first,” said Pierce.

Also noteworthy?  The Chester County SPCA which is currently under fire in Chester County and beyond did NOT bother to show up today.  I found that extraordinarily cowardly.  They should have put the other stuff aside and shown up for the dogs.  Good thing no one was depending on them for anything.

Here is the Daily Local:

Daily Local: Motives differ as trial starts in dog shooting case

WEST CHESTER – Gabriel Pilotti, the 73-year-old West Vincent resident on trial for shooting two dogs that wandered onto his property, was portrayed in two different lights Monday as his case opened in the Chester County Justice Center.

To the prosecutor, Pilotti was a trigger happy man who shot first and asked no questions – taking the matter of dogs in his pasture to the “most extreme measure” by killing the two dogs without provocation.

“This is a simple case of a cold blooded killing of two family pets,” Assistant District Attorney Kevin Pierce told the nine women and three men on the jury in Senior Judge Ronald Nagle’s courtroom. He said the defendant “mowed down” one of the dogs as he “moseyed” toward him, and then reloaded his shotgun and shot and killed the second, younger dog as it ran from the yard.

media advisory: justice for argus & fiona trial set for jury selection monday, sept. 9

argus-and-fionaIt’s to be a very dog-centric week on this blog, apparently. The day of justice is nigh.  We received word via the Bock family this morning that jury selection begins Monday, September 9th:

announce

This odyssey began for me on February 19th when I saw a cross-post about these puppies who were shot on a friend’s Facebook page.

Then I heard this:

Since February we have suffered the ups and downs of this case with the Bock family.  We have rallied and supported the family as a community.  And as a community of Chester County residents and dog lovers it is time to come together PEACEABLY and show our support for the Bock family and in a  PEACEABLE manner express our hopes for justice.  We need justice so the family has closure.

pilottiThat does NOT mean going anywhere near Gabe Pilotti, unless you don’t want him to face a judge and jury of his peers and be held accountable? Unless you want him to become the victim in this tragedy in place of the true victims: the Bock family and two deceased Bernese Mountain Dog puppies.

Here is the docket: CP-15-CR-0001099-2013  – that is a fluid web-based docket, so you can also follow it online.

Justice for Argus & Fiona can be considered a necessary component or step in reforming dog laws can’t it?

The Chester County Courthouse is in downtown West Chester, PA. Consult the court’s website for directions.

this and that

DSC_0071The nature of humans and writing is a weird and complicated process, often because of what the reader expects from the writer.

Some posts write themselves in the middle of the night.  That is the genesis of this post.

Sometimes I do not sleep well.  I am on a drug for the treatment of breast cancer called Tamoxifen.  I have three years to go and one of its side effects is it can affect your sleep.  I don’t often talk about the whole breast cancer thing here, I have a dedicated (and well-respected blog for that.)

On this blog, I have had people who have taken issue with me speaking about my breast cancer. But  it is part of me and like it or not, and it has shaped my life experience.

Ironically, having had breast cancer has taught me many positive things including the value of life and living life well and being happy.  It gave me the courage to pursue my dreams, yes, like writing.DSC_0140

A lot of what annoys people about my discussing my breast cancer is when I measure it against other experiences. As it is the hardest and most difficult thing I ever experienced personally, heck yes I measure other experiences against it if the spirit moves me.

I have learned in life that often if your opinion differs from the comfort zone of others that can prove problematic.  Especially when you write.  You can verbally state your opinion more easily than if you write it down.  But the thing at the end of the day that people don’t get is I write for me.  Writing is first and foremost something I do for myself.  And I do actually do research things which I am curious about.

Maybe someday I will have a book in me and not just a blog or occasional byline. Maybe I will write the memoirs of a female blogger.  I will say I do have self-published photography books that I have done, and that was quite an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

DSC_0109As I make my way through this writing experience, I am often amused at what strikes a nerve. One of the first nerves was writing about West Vincent Township.  Then came horse rescue. Wow horse rescue is still one of the largest read topics on this blog with a close second to Justice for Argus and Fiona. And then there is of course my asking if a favorite restaurant would survive because of listings in both sheriff’s and tax sales lists coupled with an additional land purchase for another restaurant in another county.  Chicken little you would think the world was ending for verbalizing what quite a lot of people are still talking about.

Also amazing to me is how many people like my recipes and photography. I am so pleased about that.  Recipes and photos are something really personal to me, so I really am happy that people are receptive to both.

Not all, however, have been receptive to my photos.  Take for example the odd responses from the woman who grew up with the Women’s Lib Barn (yes I did do some research to ascertain it was a woman writing to me.)  To this day I shake my head at that – I loved that barn for so many different reasons and my photographing it was like paying homage to it.  But she so soured me on it, that now I just drive by….I don’t even look at it.

That was my favorite barn in Chester County.  It is the first one I really noticed when I moved here.  It spoke to me.  As a woman I find myself often torn between the old and new, and the old roles of women versus the women of today. It also speaks to me because to me it also represents the uniqueness, individuality, and independence of the people of Chester County – traits I admire and respect.

I also write about parenting on occasion, collecting (as in antiques and collectibles) and gardening. At my core, I am part Domestic Diva or Suzy Homemaker.  I love that for the first time in my life I actually have time for all of this, and can experience it without guilt or reserve.  I love sharing those experiences with people. I even write about childhood recollections.

I used to focus more on activism based blogging. That was what I did then, and while it still has a role in my writing, it is not the main focus. I will write about things that I find curious. Or strange. Now, I write about whatever strikes my fancy, and share fun things I discover along the way.

DSC_0096Recently I have written a couple of things that are in the category of religion and beliefs.  We should be able to talk about this stuff.  I have in the past too.  As a Catholic and as a human being I have expressed my disgust over pedophile priests.   I have also  touched on born again Christian stuff.  No one had a problem with that or pedophile priest discussions.  But when I touched on Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy, holy tomato Batman! It is like I personally corrupted the Holy Grail.

To me Anthroposophy represents communes and cult-like behavior. (Communes are intentional communities and intentional communities are communes, right?)  Oh my!  I have had people rear up….all associated with Waldorf or Steiner Schools.  Am I the first to question Anthroposophy or Steiner? No.  Go ahead, read THIS and THIS and THIS and THIS and THISWaldorf Watch a site devoted to this.  And then there is Waldorf Straight Talk and a lot of things submitted by former teachers to different sites. I am sure some can say they are all disgruntled employees or residents, but are they? I know one story personally.  It is not mine to share, but suffice it to say it was a former Kimberton Waldorf teacher and the person is hardly an axe grinder.

If you look at the comments regarding this touchy  topic I have this man who has popped up who told me I was “afraid of my neighbors” and that I had a “fear piñata” I swung wildly at. He is in addition to the woman who just seems angry in general that I have expressed an opinion on this.

The man wants to help me “confront” my fear and that by my opinion which as an individual I am entitled to have that I have instead performed an ad hominum  attack by “labeling” them. Oh and that I write in order to sound clever. And that I am not real.

Ah yes, the most devastating comment: because I don’t agree with what he is indeed trying to sell me, I am, therefore,  not “real”.

Am I a fan of CSAs, organic farming, taking care of the mentally and physically challenged in our community, and Kimberton Whole Foods? Yes to all of the above. Except when I measure saints among us, my definition of saints and Godly people are derived from a more traditional religious beliefs and practices. And yes I am aware that CampHill has done some truly nice things.  After all was it not CampHill Special School that took in the family of one of the defendant’s in the Milton Street trial a few years ago? That was very generous of them and honestly a good deed.

DSC_0247I am quite real, and I am clever, but not in the derogatory way the commenter intended.  And I am not fearful.  I merely stated my opinion based upon the research that I did.

It is always funny to me that people will feel free to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be writing about.  I have to ask why they aren’t writing if they feel so strongly about certain things?

Some accused me of perpetuating “hearsay” while stating my opinion.  I have to ask is the renowned publication The Atlantic “hearsay”? Is it only “hearsay” because they don’t want to believe people are writing about how they feel about Waldorf, Steiner, and Anthroposophy?

The Atlantic: Is This Grade School a ‘Cult’? (And Do Parents Care?)

 Nov 30 2012, 1:39 PM ET
Waldorf schools are popular with progressives. But how do you feel about a dose of spiritualism with your child’s reading and math?
Would you send your kid to a school where faceless dolls and pine-cones are the toys of choice? A school where kids don’t read proficiently until age 9 or 10 — and where time spared goes to knitting and playing the recorder? A school where students sing hymns to “spirit” every day?
DSC_0123

I am a fairly simple person with a complicated brain . I think about a lot of different things.

Things like why people abandon their homes, factories, churches, and farms and so on fascinate me.  You know I love to photograph the old and abandoned and there seems to be a lot of that in Chester County, unfortunately.  I believe it goes with areas that still have a rural component.

abandoned

Abandoned and desolate, this house suffers from not only overt neglect, but a dispute to its historical net worth. A friend was kind enough to share this photo. The location is (if I have it straight) is slightly west of Valley Forge Park , sort of behind VF Baptist Church.

Some days I write about things that make me go HMMMM and other days I also write about things I cook.  Other days I write about both. It’s just the way it is.

Like take this weekend for example – I made a tortellini saladtortellini salad with cucumber, shallots, string beans, tomato, tossed with fresh basil and Italian flat leaf parsley and rest with a homemade lemon tarragon mustard caper vinaigrette -The dressing ispeach pie homemade and came out of my head as I was preparing peach pie filling. Yes, I also made a double crust peach pie with the delicious peaches from Northstar Orchards whom I visit at The East Goshen Farmers Market.

And if Sears would ever come fix my oven, (even Whirlpool/Maytag is upset with Sears) I might roast tomatoes and write about it.  Roasted tomatoes make for awesome gazpacho as well as being delicious on their own as just a vegetable.

I also  write about simple fun things for my home when the spirit moves me.  I love the Smithfield Barn and Resellers Consignment for that reason.  This weekend at Smithfield Barn I got the vintage pie plate in which I baked that pie photo captioned above.

Some of the things I write about are things that I grew up with.  Like lamps.  My mother had these two lamps in our home growing up.  She hasn’t used them for years in her current home and had put them in a closet.  Over the weekend she passed them along to me along with for a lack of a better description, lamp parts.  You would be amazed how much better a lamp can look with a harp that gives a shade a different height.

The lamps are totally “me”.  The shades I plunked on them I had in the attic.  They came from a lady who used to be at Black Angus or Stoudt’s Antiques in Adamstown – she made these amazing pierced lampshades. I don’t even know if she is there any longer.  My friend Anna’s mother got me hooked on these lampshades as well as my mother – they both had this style of shade on lamps in their homes.

See the lamps – they are so fun:

lamp 1lamp 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lamps are in different parts of the house and I am so enjoying them! But as my mother said I like quirky lamps.  I think these are very cool!

I love old stuff. Not necessarily antiques, but vintage.  Setting my table with funky old dishes and vintage linens is total fun to me.

I actually organized my old linens yesterday.  I have accumulated them in essence for pennies on the dollar because I get them at thrift shops, tag sales, church sales – wherever I see them that I like them.  But I refuse to pay oodles of money for them. I love vintage linens basically because the quality is so much better than a lot of what you see today.  Also a lot of times it is just that much more fun.  I have a few kitschy 1950s and 1960s tablecloths for example – totally fun.

Also in the textile area are vintage and handmade quilts.  Again, I look at church sales, farm/barn and even on eBay.  I only buy what I can use and I am limited on what I am willing to pay.

Not one of mine. Made by a friend of mine for her granddaughter. A modern quilt that captured the vintage essence I love.

Not one of mine. Made by a friend of mine for her granddaughter. A modern quilt that captured the vintage essence I love.

What else is on my mind today?  Something troubling my friends who live in Schuylkill Township.  They are facing quite the unsavory and dense development more suitable for urban living on a parcel of land that makes some refer to it as Groundhog Day – apparently it is a bad repeating nightmare for residents in a particular spot where they have bog turtles, rare bats, serpentine asters, bald eagles roosting and the DEP, US Fish and Game, have all been involved in the past.  There are apparently steep slopes, egress and traffic issues.  It feels like an uphill battle to these folks where the developer always wins.  Who even cares about environmental and social degradation anymore is the last thing one friend said to me.

I know nothing except there is a public hearing TONIGHT.

Schuylkill Township

I know nothing much about  Schuylkill Township.  I think this is what has residents upset (click LINK). Here is their agenda.

I will fully admit that this whole create zoning to satisfy a particular developer or a slew of developers is problematic.  One needs to look no farther than Lower Merion Township in the heart of the Main Line.  When I tell you I spent years at meetings on similar development nightmares, I kid you not.  They have these zoning overlays that were in essence designed for specific developers so they could build (one developer who is familiar to Chester County even referred to one overlay as “his zoning” and a meeting.)  Another thing?  When new developers appear on the scene, they then append the original zoning to satisfy even more developers.

Now Schuylkill Township says (and I quote):

“Planned Residential  Developments” which are designed to afford flexibility to respond to growing demand  for housing of all types and design.  The  proposed Planned Residential Development Ordinance will allow mixed residential  uses on properties of at least 60 acres in Schuylkill Township.

The thing is this – I keep waiting for any of this zoning in any municipality to actually be about the residents with the best interest of the residents born in mind. I hate to sound jaded but it never is.  These weird zoning things are for the lining of the township ratables pockets and the developers.  The most bang for the buck on the profit margin side. If the zoning doesn’t fit the plans politicians want, they change the zoning. The flip side is when you try to get them to change the zoning to protect residents, environment, open space, you choose, it never seems “doable” does it? Or if they do regurgitate changes they are insufficient or weak enough that what people were trying to avoid happens anyway.

Zoning boards blame planning and commissioners/supervisors.  Supervisors/Commissioners/Planning Commissions blame the Municipalities Planning Code

Yes, community planning is a passion.  Where you live is a big deal.  And I hate to sound like a Myna bird but once open space is gone, it’s gone.  Once historic and older homes are gone, they are gone.  You can’t save everything, but communities should plan better to save some things.

I will also repeat my assertion that The Municipalities Planning Code is incredibly outdated and needs an overhaul.  How they looked at suburbs and exurbs and rural areas in 1968 is different from today. And the part of the code that Schuylkill Township is claiming like the divine right of kings has to do with Article VII of the  Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, Act of 1968, P.L. 805, No. 247, as  reenacted and amended. Now this portion was last updated in 1988.  Don’t you think a few more things have changed since 1988?

What does this portion cover? Here:

AN ACT

To empower cities of the second class A, and third class, boroughs, incorporated towns, townships of the first and second classes including those within a county of the second class and counties of the second through eighth classes, individually or jointly, to plan their development and to govern the same by zoning, subdivision and land development ordinances, planned residential development and other ordinances, by official maps, by the reservation of certain land for future public purpose and by the acquisition of such land; to promote the conservation of energy through the use of planning practices and to promote the effective utilization of renewable energy sources; providing for the establishment of planning commissions, planning departments, planning committees and zoning hearing boards, authorizing them to charge fees, make inspections and hold public hearings; providing for mediation; providing for transferable development rights; providing for appropriations, appeals to courts and penalties for violations; and repealing acts and parts of acts. (Title amended Dec. 14, 1992, P.L.815, No.131)

Note this covers Transferable Development Rights?  That is what many residents in West Vincent are fighting as they also fight to keep their tiny, rural community from being overdeveloped.

You know, to control things like this from happening:

cluster f

cluster f 2

clster f 3

Having nothing to do with Chester County, I also have the Syria of it all on my busy brain.  I guess I just have an Obamariffic problem with a purportedly peace-loving president who pulls troops out of places like Iraq and Afghanistan to send them to Syria. So yes, I am thinking in this case a little isolationism might be good for the United States. 

We can’t be everyone’s champion and big brother world-wide if we can’t fix issues on the home front.  We have people starving and dying every day in the United States.  We also have a crappy economy that could deal with a little love not a few more smoke screens to divert away the attention of the average American.

Anyway. That is it for the day.  Love me or hate me, this is my blog.  If you do not like what I am writing about, I will miss you, but will completely understand if you go find other blogs to read. But the reality of life is we can all have different opinions.