morgantown and beyond

Morgantown is in Berks County. It flows into Lancaster County.

And a tacky casino is coming to Morgantown. And a Super Wawa…across from a Turkey Hill on 23 just at the Berks and Lancaster County line.

Change is coming and I don’t think it’s good. I think the casino is a mistake and I also think no one really cared what residents which included generations of Amish and Mennonite farmers think. I think the state is completely disrespectful here. I think it’s going to bring more problems in the long run.

And no I don’t like casinos. Any of them. And Penn National? They are doing the Morgantown Casino and how about their former director of benefits who had a penchant for stealing?

I think small towns like this are at risk all over the state. Farming communities too.

But does anyone care?

it’s 2020 why does pennsylvania still allow this crap?

It started innocently enough. A friend of mine shared a horse needing a home on her Facebook timeline. It seemed like the horse was in rather dire straits. So I shared the post. And someone steered me towards this article:

Animals Angels: HomeInvestigationsHorsesNew Holland Auction, PA 6/18/18
New Holland Auction, PA 6/18/18
Date: Thursday, June 28, 2018 – 12:20

The horse sale started. There were several thin horses going through the sale, however, all were within the legal limits of Pennsylvania law. One draft horse had a milk leg and horribly neglected feet. Prices were average and all the kill buyers were obtaining their share of horses.
Investigators walked outside to check for animals left in trailers. Inside the farrier barn, they noticed a group of horses in poor condition. An emaciated draft horse not fit for sale under PA law. An emaciated grey with a large bleeding sore on his point of buttock. Two thin and depressed looking Standardbreds. Observing from a distance, investigators noted that the auction veterinarian Dr. Holt, proceeded to check the animals. When approached by the investigators, he stated that these horses belonged to a horse “collector” named “Gene” and that this individual would gather up horses in bad condition and flip them. He added that these horses would not be going through the sale and that he had “told him the law”.
Investigators documented the condition of the animals when they were confronted by “Gene”. Claiming they were interested in purchasing the animals, Gene became friendlier and stated that these horses had been brought in by a kill buyer from Virginia and that he was flipping them to a rescue. He bragged about being well connected to over 40 rescues and how much money was to be made with this set-up. He elaborated that the “man from Virginia” did not like to deal with the rescue folks, that’s why he was being used as a middle-man. Suddenly, Gene’s phone rang, and the auction veterinarian Dr. Holt was on the other end. After listening to Holt for a while, a concerned looking Gene hung up the phone, called his transporter and urged him to come to the barn. “They have been seen, I need to get them out of here now…”, Gene told the person on the phone. Judging by his reaction, it is entirely possible that Holt informed Gene of our investigators’ presence, potentially putting their safety at risk.

So who is Eugene Horn? His Facebook profile claims he is an animal trainer at the Philadelphia Zoo. 

So I called the zoo and got transferred to human resources. I think at first they thought I was completely nuts. But I said I just want to verify if this guy is doing horse rescue and he says he’s a trainer at the Philadelphia Zoo is he really? The woman said well first of all we have keepers we don’t have trainers. So is this man someone who works for your zoo I asked again? they said no so who is this guy really?

Equine Rescues Scams says this guy is a fake. They also seem to have put a lot of energy into alerting people.

If you visit their page on Facebook there’s a lot about a lot of fake horse stuff up there. I haven’t posted on questionable horse rescue in years. The last time I questioned horse rescues I received all sorts of menacing and threatening private messages and comments.

But what made me sit up and take a look at this was also another post people are sharing about a baby cow that needs a home. And it’s this same person this page is talking about:

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a distinct affinity for cows and goats and chickens and horses. It’s probably good that I don’t live on a farm. But I do know farmers. And I do know that Holsteins are very expensive beasts.

A four day old Holstein calf should be with its mother or being hand bottle-fed if its mother died correct? So this really bothered me to see this. and then somebody else posted one of the guy’s horses and I thought here we are again in 2020 and where are the people the two large animal stuff that are supposed to keep an eye on things like this? LAP or whatever?

As far as unregulated horse rescues and charities go here’s an article from January out of a New Jersey paper: Unregistered horse rescue charity raised $344K, but cash landed in personal account, officials say

By Jeff Goldman

Updated Jan 13, 2020; Posted Jan 13, 2020

A Mercer County woman who took in more than $344,000 in donations for what she described as a horse rescue charity put the money in her personal bank account and never properly registered the organization, officials said.
Dina Alborano, of Hamilton, used the internet and social media to promote her “I Care I Help” thoroughbred rescue organization, authorities said. She accepted more than $330,000 in donations via PayPal and personal checks in 2018 after reeling in more than $12,000 the previous year, the state Attorney General’s office said in a statement Monday.

So I don’t understand still to this day why the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Attorney General’s office doesn’t look into problems like this in Pennsylvania?

Josh Shapiro needs to take action. He’s our Attorney General. Follow this LINK to contact his office.

Sometimes I think rescues of all kinds start with well-intentioned people who get in over their heads. I don’t know what to think here.

bloombox: garden plants hand delivered straight from the source to you.

I love my plants. I love to garden. So now is the time when I start accumulating what I am going to plant.

Recently I became acquainted with two gentlemen from Lancaster, PA. David and Chase have this business called BloomBox.

This is an independent small business and the model is simple: great plants, reasonably priced delivered to your door. And by delivered, I mean hand-delivered. Not packed in the shipping box and sent FedEx or USPS or UPS. Delivered as in the grower comes to you.

This morning I decided to place a small order. I need to get my herbs, perennials and some of my bedding plants sorted. Herbs especially are something I buy a great deal of because my garden is in part a cottage garden. So I mix a lot of herbs in with my perennials and shrubs and trees and bulbs.

Much to my delight, after placing my order around eight something this morning, there was a knock at my door. And there was David co-owner of BloomBox with my plants!

My plants were in beautiful condition and exactly what I ordered and exactly what I expected. They also gave me a beautiful little Primrose to plant as a gift. They do that with all their customers.

David and I spoke for a brief time and I will be ordering from him again. To me this is an extension of shop local. And right now orders over $45 are delivered for free. Their delivery area is fairly wide but you still have to check your ZIP Code to make sure they serve you before you place an order.

They are not certified organic, but they are clean growers so in my opinion they don’t have to be certified organic. I know how they’re growing and what they’re doing.

Give BloomBox a try! I will also note that I am not a compensated blogger, and I have not been compensated for my opinion here in anyway. I am a new customer of the business and I am impressed so I am sharing this with all of you.

BloomBox checks all of the boxes: quality, value, customer service.

I will note that I am not going to directly put all of these into the ground just yet because it is still a little early. I will be bringing my plants into the garage and covering them outside with landscape fabric until it is warm enough.

Spring is here, so go dig in the dirt!

buying pansies and other tales of just a little bit of spring

This week my friend Sara and I made the first trip of the season to Black Creek Greenhouses in East Earl, PA. (211 E. Black Creek Road, East Earl, PA 17519 (717) 445-5046)

Yes, it was a little early, but it was just one of those things where we wanted to see plants growing in greenhouses!

It was a lovely drive up and I have photos to go through which I will share. It was so nice to leave the fields of Tyvec wrapped McBoxes taking over Chester County and take in the fresh tilled fields and even a field full of little lambs!

Now some of the fields were a little “ripe” as they had been spread with manure but we didn’t mind- it smelled like spring. It was so nice to see the rolling fields and farmhouses.

Black Creek has amazing selections already. I bought a few plants (including some pansies), but mostly I got supplies. Gardening gloves, a new pair of pruning shears, the smelly lobster compost from Maine, twine, and so on.

Black Creek is a place we just love. Not only are the plants incredibly reasonably priced, but it’s one of those places that you can find the old-fashioned annuals and perennials you don’t see any place else. It’s also my favorite place to buy herb plants for my planting beds.

It was just so nice to see things growing! And I also got a Boston Fern for my family room!

If you go, they are not open on Sundays and they will be closed on Good Friday.

picking stock at antiques for tourist prices

DSC_0034On a trip up into Lancaster County this past weekend we stopped at what from the outside appeared to be a promising antique and antique salvage place along Lincoln Highway in Parksburg called Pheasant Run Antiques. A giant bank barn with  architectural salvage displayed from the exterior.

The best part about this antique store was the creative way they merchandized a lot of things. Cute tableaus interspersed with salvage.

However, with no offense intended to the shopkeepers, I personally won’t stop twice. I do not like mostly picking stock priced at antiques for tourist prices.

Yes they have some architectural salvage, yes they have some primitives, but the merchandise is rough for the most part and all is quite over-priced comparatively speaking.

Antique show prices are more reasonable than what I saw.  And I also saw some stock that appeared to be reproduction (like a black metal possibly iron candle chandelier) , not antique and it wasn’t marked as such.

They advertise as having sale days “for the trade” (or other dealers), and maybe they swap and dicker with them for better pricing, but for what I saw there, I would rather keep on barn picking.

If you just want to go to educate your eye, they do have fun salvage to look at here and there.

may days

These are the glory days of spring as she heads towards summer. The azaleas and viburnum are starting to bloom and the air is filled with the perfume of viburnums and lilac.

It’s just so pretty outside.

My garden is shaking off the last of the winter doldrums and perennials are popping up everywhere. We have new critters : three hares that seem to scamper everywhere. Hopefully they will stick around, but you never know as we have foxes.

I would say the foxes have been pretty active because I never hear my neighbor down the road’s chickens and I have the past couple of days.

The farmers are big time in their fields, turning over soil and beginning to plant. During the day you now hear the hum of their tractors. Except if you’re in Lancaster County like I was again today, and there I have seen teams of mules and plow horses.

It’s evenings and days like these that I feel sorry for people who can’t appreciate life around them. They miss out in so much.

As I sit on the porch writing this, it is a lovely evening. The birds are twittering and trilling away as sunset fades to dusk and dark. Enjoy your evenings !

long row to hoe?

14089320363_43b49dc9a5_oI don’t know why, but every once in a while when I am editing photos, an image evokes a memory. And not necessarily a visual memory.  Some of them are audible memories like a conversation remembered, a snippet out of time.

Such is the case with a photo (see here) that I have named “Long Row to Hoe”.

Once now a fairly long time ago I knew a man who was in essence, a sharecropper’s son.  Nothing wrong with that, but it led to the occasional farm analogy.

Anyway, this man used to like to say he was “looking for someone to pull the plow with.” On it’s face it seemed quite romantic a thing to say.  Down the road it was discovered it really wasn’t so romantic. But I think that had to do with the true nature of the person, not the phrase.

But good or bad, the phrase and analogy have stuck with me because if it is to be taken in a positive light it is an analogy for a partnership. And in my opinion good relationships are good partnerships as well. That is not all they are, but that is part of the formula. You know the formula of love and mutual respect and so on?

It was what it was, but when I was editing my photos that phrase popped into my head when I reached this photo.  That and the story my friend Sara told me of driving past a farm on a road in Lancaster County where you could see an old man instructing an equally old woman on plowing or planting a field.  As in she was doing all the work and he was directing traffic so to speak.

I hope this photo to be something more positive than that in reality.  Or I would like to think so. It could be a mother showing her young boys how to plant. And I hope it’s that.  Otherwise, it is indeed a long road to hoe….with an overseer in a plaid shirt….