mother nature is a cruel mistress.

Have you seen the bitty baby fawn?” My neighbors asked.

Everyone on my road was so excited by the baby fawn and the mama doe who would appear at dusk in the cornfield like clockwork. I was the only one who hadn’t seen it yet. I kept my camera on the ready at dusk but I would only see adult deer not the baby.

Until about an hour ago.

Earlier this afternoon I was over at my friends house and she had been conducting this class on vertical succulent gardening made out of re-purposed items. Well I made one and I wanted to hang it on the wall on my front porch.

So I went out to the porch. All I heard was the buzzing of flies. Then there was a slight breeze and this unmistakable odor of death walked by. At first I didn’t see anything. And I knew from the smell something was dead somewhere and then all of a sudden I saw it- the baby fawn my neighbors were so excited to see.

My first reaction was to scream. Actually it was probably closer to a guttural howl because to see that juxtaposition of innocence and death is a little more than I can handle.

Then I started to cry. Then I called to my husband, only to remember he wasn’t home yet.

Mother Nature isn’t just a cruel mistress today, she’s a bitch. I understand this is the theory of Darwinism in effect, but it doesn’t make it any easier. It’s easy to see roadkill on the side of the road and keep on going, because you won’t have to think about it again. But to see this, literally in the middle of one of my flowerbeds underneath an azalea bush, is just gut-wrenching.

I can’t clean baby fawn up. I don’t think I am even going to be able to sit on my front porch for quite a while. All I hear, even in the air conditioning, is the buzzing of all those damn flies.

My husband says from what he can tell it looks like it came to my garden to hide and die. I just feel so awful I didn’t even know it was there. He’s not sure it was actually attacked. He thinks it came to my garden to die.

There is also another dead fawn deep in our woods my husband tells me. He took baby fawn to be buried. The second fawn doesn’t look like it was attacked so maybe it was deer wasting disease?

I was having an awesome day until this. Mother Nature you are a joy sucker today. I know my husband thinks I am being a drama queen and it’s a wild animal and it’s nature, but I just am so sad right in this moment.

RIP baby fawn.

not your grandmother’s cucumber salad

One of my favorite cucumber salads is made by Hu Nan Restaurant in Ardmore. It’s hot and sweet. They do a similar cabbage salad as well.

I have never been able to exactly replicate their cucumber salad, but they have inspired my updating a summer staple.

I take three English hothouse cucumbers and peel and slice them into thin rounds. These are the cucumbers considered “burpless”. If I don’t like the way they look at the grocery store, I will use regular cucumbers and peel and cut them in half and scoop out the seeds.

When my cucumbers are all sliced I put them in a bowl and toss them with salt to taste and about 4 tablespoons of white sugar and set aside.

Salt. I am in love with a locally made seasoning salt my husband found for me. It’s called Jake’s Prime Seasoning Salt. It’s a small batch salt from Wallingford, PA. You can order it on their website. It is the first seasoning salt that I think can give Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt a run for her money.

Next I slice up thin one red onion and cut it into more bite size pieces. I add that to my bowl.

Sometimes I add a chopped up red bell pepper to this, but never a green bell pepper.

Following adding the red onion to the bowl, I add the fresh dill. I love dill and do not have a set pre-measured amount. I just chop up a healthy handful from my garden (if I have it and at present almost depleted thanks to the rain), or I buy a bunch at the grocery store.

Next comes the “dressing”. I usually just eyeball it but will attempt to write it down:

1/4 white wine vinegar (or half wine vinegar and half rice wine vinegar)

2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes or Hatch green chile flakes

I wisk the dressing together in a little bowl, pour it over the cucumbers and onions and dill in the larger bowl and mix it all up. Then I cover and refrigerate until it’s time for dinner (or lunch as it also makes a lovely luncheon salad.)

Enjoy!

even in the rain there are garden bright spots

I will admit, I have spent the past couple of days being garden cranky. Too much rain! I missed the memo where they moved Chester County, PA to Seattle, WA.

The woodland toads are happy, the slugs are happy, but me? I’m getting tired of small pools of ponding water everywhere in my garden. I just have to accept if we don’t get some good sun soon, some of my plants will rot, except I think some are already starting to rot.

I have done my best to bit by bit try to amend the soil in places where it is a heavy clay content, but all the rain has shown me where I missed. The soil in spots is extra bad with all of the rain. Shiny bright clay. Ugh. Time to dig in more grit, more sand.

But even in the midst of soggy city, where weeds grow faster than I can pull them some days, there are just so many pretty things starting to bloom now.

Hydrangeas, monarda, roses, echinacea, and daylilies all popping open one by one. The march of summer colors has begun.

Color makes a garden sing. Just make sure your colors are harmonious or you might create the headache space instead. It’s true. I have over the years had to move things because the colors were jarring where they were.

All of the rain this spring has caused a jungle lushness. And things are blooming or getting ready to bloom ahead of schedule – like a lot of my hostas. A lot of my hostas have seemingly overnight shot up flower stalks and buds.

Before the thunderstorms and crazy downpour, I wandered the garden doing a little deadheading and weeding. I also finally transplanted the zinnias I grew from seed. But mostly I just enjoyed the vibrant garden colors of June.

I also checked out where I needed to do more work. Like put down more stone on a path. With all the rain I could see where I needed more stone. Groan…I wish I did not have to put down more stone anymore than the fact I still have more wood chips to put down. Sadly, gardening isn’t all planting pretty flowers.

But we do need to take the time to sit back and look at the pretty flowers. Even in the rain.

Rain rain go away….

this is why artists are drawn to our area

Yesterday with the storms was also a marvelous day for photographers. Here are some that I took.

This is why we need more open space preservation and fewer fields of ticky tacky plastic mushroom houses.

bucket list: tickets to antiques roadshow

Waiting in line to be “triaged” at Antiques Roadshow

It only took about 15 years, but I finally got tickets to Antiques Roadshow! Tickets are a lottery process – you apply and hope you get tickets. But 2019 was my year, and in February I got the magic email that said I had won tickets for filming at Winterthur, which was today.

The drive to Winterthur once you get off the highway is magical. My friend Amy went with me as my Antiques Roadshow plus one.

We arrived and wound our way through Winterthur and the Antiques Roadshow checkpoints along the way.

We parked in one of the lots and meandered down a shady path to a building where we checked in with our tickets.

When we reached the check-in building, we then had our tickets checked again and we got in a longer line to queue up for shuttle buses.

The shuttle buses took us further into Winterthur where we assembled in yet another line and waited to be “triaged”.

Being “triaged” means they preview the two items that each Antiques Roadshow ticket holder can bring with them. We then get our tickets that list the categories our items fall into. I bought a book and a little Chinese porcelain box I picked out of a barn. My friend Amy bought some other decorative arts category items to be appraised.

It was waiting in this line that Amy and I encountered our first few grumpy old women ticket holders.

I had taken a photo of the “triage” that we were waiting for and the Winterthur building rising beyond it that we would eventually go into and this super cranky old woman with her two cranky wing women had to point out the sign a good ways up ahead where we would be in a cell phone free zone. With filming and other things they wanted our phones off, which was understandable.

But honestly this group of three cranky old women with their fearless leader of multiple comments was a bit much. I smiled and said we hadn’t reached the point of turning off our phones yet and I was taking a picture of the line leading to the building because I was writing about my Antiques Roadshow experience afterwards. She mumbled some final huffy comment and they shuffled off to their “triage” x 3.

First stop post “triage” was having my book looked at. It was a 1950s Modern Library edition of Robert Frost poetry that Robert Frost had signed up at St. Paul’s School when he was visiting as part of I think their Conroy Distinguished Visitors Program.

I love Robert Frost poetry. I had picked up this volume out of a box of books marked 25 cents at the Christmas Bazaar at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr at some point in the 1990s.

After I had given the book room volunteer their quarter, I flipped it open to check the table of contents so I could read The Road Not Taken. What I discovered next was Robert Frost had signed the book to a student. And then the book was stamped Waverly Heights Library (as in the senior living community in Gladwyne.)

I had always wanted to have this book looked at to see what it was worth. Not because I expected it to be priceless but out of curiosity.

So I stood in the book line until it was my turn. Ken Gloss of Brattle Book Shop in Boston appraised it. Mr. Gloss was kind of antiseptic about my book. He had to point out it was a student edition so the book wasn’t worth much. He didn’t love my book as I love my book. He valued it at $100 because of the poet’s signature.

Next stop was Asian Art. My appraiser was Robert Waterhouse. He and Lark Mason were doing appraisals in a courtyard in front of the Chinese Pavilion Folly. It’s actually part of a current garden art installation. He appraised a green and white Chinese porcelain box I have.

Mr. Waterhouse was very nice and my box which cost me the princely sum of $2 is a modern 20th century Chinese box worth about $20. So while my box might not be the next great artifact, it’s still a treasure to me! And Mr. Waterhouse took the time to explain to me what to look for if I ever found another box.

My friend Amy had her items appraised and was verbally accosted by yet another grumpy old lady. This one was concerned about her umbrella which was neatly folded up and not accosting anyone.

The Antiques Roadshow made for amazing people watching. And it was fun seeing everyone’s treasures while we were waiting in line. There was a couple ahead of me in the book appraisal line with a really unusual box who got whisked away by producers and there was a man to my left that show producers were talking to who had this crazy cool Civil War porcelain pitcher and some other Civil War memorabilia item that was a textile of some kind.

It was really interesting watching them do the show. We learned that for the folks they filmed although we will only see a couple of quick minutes when the Winterthur shows air, they actually take a lot of time with people. We certainly didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies from the book appraiser that was for sure, but he wasn’t as bad as all of the cranky old women.

Seriously – for all the excited happy people like us who were having a ball being at the one and only Antiques Roadshow, there were literally these legions of cranky old women. It was bizarre to watch. I am not a patient person and hate waiting in lines and I loved every minute! And the Antiques Roadshow staff? They were all so nice! It was amazing!

On our way into the gift shop and ladies room we met the current Ms. Maryland! She was my first beauty queen and couldn’t have been nicer!

We somehow missed the famous feedback booth and then were on our way back to the car. We both thought it was over too soon. It totally lived up to our expectations.

On our way home we were going to go to Buckley’s Tavern for dinner, but we ended up at Brandywine Prime.

Why?

Because when we pulled into the parking lot of Buckley’s walking into the front door was the first gaggle of cranky old women we encountered standing in the “triage” line! We looked at each other and burst out laughing and said with our luck we would get seated next to them and be under their disapproving stare for dinner.

We had a great dinner at Brandywine Prime and headed home. Amusingly enough, the Philadelphia Inquirer was there covering the Roadshow:

The 5 best finds from Antiques Roadshow’s Delaware taping

by Stephanie Farr, Updated: June 18, 2019 – 6:46 PM

Delaware News Journal was there too:

How many ‘Antiques Roadshow’ lovers can you cram into Winterthur? A lot

BETSY PRICE | DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL | 5 hours ago

I highly recommend that people fill out the application for the ticket lottery if Antiques Roadshow is ever coming to your neck of the woods. It was so much fun!

way to go radnor! keep setting the bar low on design standards!

Now granted, what was there before on the corner of Willow Ave and Plant Ave in the Little Chicago was known to many (myself included) as “the scary house.”

But I do not get why Radnor Township allows this kind of crap with zero design aesthetic to go up? The only thing this building is about is maximizing developer money making capability.

This is a prime example of how municipalities are dropping the ball. The trend of density and in this case serious infill density is ruining communities everywhere.

Directly opposite where this looming monstrosity is being built is relatively new construction. And what was built? Two pretty nice twin houses. This is an older neighborhood of what were historically smaller houses with neat back yards. Not the grand Victorians a couple of blocks over and it’s certainly not really urban.

Yet here’s this block house structure. And even worse in an area that redefines what it is to flood in even just a heavy downpour? They are totally built out on the footprint of the property. Where is the parking going to be?

Anyway this development gets an F. It truly is ugly. And is so out of place.

Bleck.