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.

maybe it is time to tell sunoco to get the frack out of chester county?


I am all for capitalism, don’t misunderstand me. However, what I don’t like is capitalism at the expense of where and how we live. And that pretty much sums up Sunoco and their quest for pipeline domination.

Take this timely news about Sunoco Logistics. And a gigantic oil spill attributed to their pipeline in Ohio…..that has affected among other things a nature preserve.

Huffington Post: Ohio Oil Spill: Mid-Valley Pipeline Leak Released More Than 20,000 Gallons Into Oak Glen Preserve

CINCINNATI (AP) — Federal environmental officials now estimate more than 20,000 gallons of crude oil — double the initial estimates — leaked from a pipeline into a nature preserve in southwest Ohio.

Meanwhile, Sunoco Logistics said Monday that the pipeline has been repaired and re-opened. Sunoco shut off the stretch of Mid-Valley Pipeline from Hebron, Ky., to Lima, Ohio, early March 18 after a leak was confirmed.

Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields said under a federally approved plan, a specially engineered clamp was placed on the 20-inch diameter pipeline, which had a 5-inch crack that leaked oil. The clamp was tested before oil flow resumed Sunday evening.

Shields declined to say how much of the oil supply was disrupted in the last week in a system that runs about 1,000 miles from Texas to Michigan. He said the information is considered internal company business…..The oil leaked into an intermittent stream and acre-sized marshy area in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve just west of Cincinnati. Teams from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio EPA and other federal, state and local agencies responded after Sunoco Logistics reported the leak at about 1 a.m. EDT March 18….. some small wildlife has been affected by contamination.

Define “some”? I have friends with existing pipelines going through their property where Sunoco is drooling to put more. These are more rural friends with land that looks like a nature preserve because it is so beautiful and full of wildlife and scenic natural water sources.

In some positive news on this topic, East Goshen this week voted to intervene along with West Goshen. I think it is SO important for these municipalities to go to the mat for their residents. Slowly some State Senators also seem to be getting involved, but my wish is they do more than write a few letters. Political resistance needs to be fierce. The time for polite is pretty much over.

I never thought I would think about this pipeline issue. But I am and someone left a very valid comment that made me think. It is on the Just The Facts Please Facebook page:

How did this argument become “Not In My Back Yard”? I appreciate the passion and concern but to say move it a mile down the road only shifts the burden onto another community.

That was never the reasons for fighting this to begin with.

The real issue is that a for profit corporation is walking over cities, towns, and communities on its way to higher profits for their investors. If we use NIMBY in this fight WE WILL LOSE.

For me it has always been about stopping the process and not allow Sunoco to steal from our state to ship 90% away. There were people in the Northeast region this winter that were freezing due to a lack of propane, while Sunoco stockpiled it. This should be unacceptable for everyone

I have to say I feel this person is correct about the NIMBY thing and makes several good points. Chester County communities should band together whether they are immediately affected or not. This is a “big picture” issue as well as being intensely personal to those affected right now.

NIMBY is Not In My Back Yard. I thank the good lord above I don’t have Sunoco in my back yard right now. But I could. Most of us in Chester County are all close enough to Sunoco and other existing pipelines. So I wholeheartedly support my neighbors’ efforts in neighboring municipalities — I don’t want this in my back yard either!

Sunoco Logistics as has been said repeatedly in the media is applying to the Public Utility Commission to become a utility for natural gas purposes. The cliff notes version is if they get this they more easily get the power of eminent domain basically to seize property when they want under the guise of eminent domain for public purpose. It’s not so public purpose, this is to positively impact their corporate bottom line so in my humble opinion doesn’t that make it eminent domain for private gain? How despicable, right? Do we work hard so we can live in beautiful Chester County so they can take our land and destroy what we have worked hard for??

Another interesting thing to ponder off of the Just The Facts Please Facebook page:

If you think that Sunoco’s desire to be honest should not be questioned, then here is something to think about.

In Sunoco’s filing with FERC (OR13-9-000) they state that they have already committed 90% of the product to ship (par. 5). That leaves 10% for domestic use. They also cite that FERC has not established a minimum percentage of capacity that must be set aside (par. 14). Sunoco claims there is no major market in the Northeast for the product (par. 4). Apparently the 55,317,240 (2010 that live in the Northeast region are nothing compared to the Norwegian population of 5,109,059 ( Our question would be if PECO claimed the same thing and wanted to ship excess electricity to another country would this then be alright with FERC. The answer would most likely be no. PECO is required to allow any and all customers to tap their lines. A Sunoco representative, Joseph McGinn—Senior manager, Public Affairs, has already stated when asked about tapping into the line “you cannot connect into it, but if PECO wanted to get it to you then that would be a possibility.” Sunoco Pipeline LP/Sunoco Logistics LP wants us to believe it is OK for them to ship our resource to another country, not pay taxes to the townships along the way, devalue our homes & regions, and destroy the place we call home only to put money into their investor’s & politician’s pockets.

Sunoco Logistics comes in and pays once for use of your land. You don’t get an annual rental fee, if you buy a property with a pipeline from them already there you get nothing, correct? Except if you have pipeline running through your property you get all the risk of having a pipeline in your backyard, don’t you? Which includes not merely environmental concerns but economic concerns as well, right? If you don’t think property values of residential real estate won’t be affected by a pipeline running through it, I would have to say my opinion is you are ever so sadly mistaken. It doesn’t take much to adversely affect a property value does it?

In Chester County a great deal of us don’t have access to natural gas to heat with. Why? Because the only gas lines are pipelines and are Sunoco’s and some other companies for their profit. They aren’t for residential usage and supply. We can have propane tanks, oil tanks, or heat with wood or wood pellets. But that gas is for other people.

Not only does Sunoco want to suck our natural resources out and ship them elsewhere and not give residents access, they don’t even pay their fair share of taxes for using the land and sucking it dry . Which is exactly why as a Republican I am saying people all across Pennsylvania should have yet another reason to send Governor Tom Corbett packing. Start with sending him a message in the upcoming gubernatorial primary. Write in Daffy Duck if you have to.

I have also personally decided to avoid filling up the car at Sunoco gas stations whenever possible. We have plenty of other brands and stations to use out here, and well Sunoco gas stations are the most expensive most of the time anyway, so it’s also being more economical. Yes, I am talking a personal boycott…personal choice and all that if you care to embrace the concept, right?

Another thing you can do is sign and send the letter available via the Chester County Community Coalition website to the Public Utility Commission. Power is in numbers, so the more people who take the time to do this simple thing, the better.

A website called ChescoPaGreen has a lot of information. I am a visual person so the maps they have really hit home. Chester County is literally all carved up by these pipelines.

It is time to stand up to Sunoco and the rest of big and small oil criss-crossing Chester County. The ratio of risk vs. reward is skewed in the favor of big and small oil and any politician or related company or person in their pocket. We as a collective of residents are bearing the burdens and the risks. Safety, property values, environmental concerns (how many of you out there depend on wells for your water?), and so on. We don’t see much in the way of benefits and these companies aren’t even paying their share of taxes let alone actually compensating people properly who have had these pipelines carve up their properties.

If you can’t go to meetings, please contact the Public Utility Commission and ask them to DENY Sunoco. Contact television stations and ask them to join our regional news websites (like, regional and local newspapers like The Daily Local, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Main Line Media News and give residents more of a voice. Also contact elected officials. On every level for local to Harrisburg to Washington DC, but remember a lot of politicians take donations from big business and individuals involved. You probably can’t expect much from lame duck elected officials, but contact them anyway. Like Congressman Jim Gerlach, for example. He has plenty of pipeline near where he calls home in Chester County.

Again, I didn’t think this would be an issue I really cared about and I was somewhat ambivalent for a long time. But then I moved to Chester County. We live in a beautiful county and we have sacrificed enough already between developers gobbling up ever scenic acre they can get and existing pipe lines.

I am just thinking enough is the word of the day. As in Chester County has given enough.

Time to hit the pause button.

I don’t have a pipeline running through my property. But I could. That makes it more than enough for me as a Chester County resident to say “NO”. Please say “NO” as well.

Thanks for stopping by.


this winter in photos


I am pleased to offer my next book available through Blurb.  It is basically nature through my camera lens this winter.  There is a book preview for your convenience.  Blurb books make unique one of a kind gifts or a pretty treat for yourself, especially if you love photography.

Try any of the following coupons/discount codes at checkout to save on your order:


SAVE15% (first time purchasers only)



(Please note Blurb’s coupons often have a mixed bag review as far as shelf life.  These are the ones I know that are working as I write this post)

more playing in the garden

So this summer I discovered a gardening book I just loved. Truthfully I have not enjoyed a gardening book as much in easily twenty years. The book is called Suzy Bales’ Down to Earth Gardener.


Anyway, I had found this book completely by accident and bought it on a whim. I am so glad I did. It was like this author was speaking to me directly and got how I gardened. And the author happened to like a lot of the same plants as I did, including David Austin English roses. I have a friend whose David Austin English roses have move with her she loves the so much, but I digress.

So I have this rose I planted last fall on a whim when I found it on sale at a local nursery – Del Vacchio’s on 352. It was supposed to be a shrub so I planted it adjacent to a walk. Well, it has developed a far more rangy habit and I was faced with either a rigid pruning or moving it. I did not really want to move it. Something in Mrs. Bales’ book as far as her approach to roses made me think – she said she lets her roses grow how they want, so I thought “why not?” and ordered a topiary form for the garden. The form arrived a few days ago and I put it up. So simple a solution and it so works!


This is part of the fun of doing your own garden– you can try your ideas out and it’s much more cool (at least to me) than walking around after some random landscaper has put their commercial version of your vision to work. It is just more satisfying.


So today I was almost ready for a truss by the time I got it in place, but I finally found the garden bench I had been searching for. I wanted a small to medium sized vintage concrete or wrought iron bench for a corner that is a little wild but felt right for a contemplative spot.

I have been looking and looking and looking. These vintage benches are not only hard to come by but darn tasty in price most of the time. I have had dealers and pickers and flea market pals on the hunt. Saw a heavy white but slightly shabby chic cast iron bench at Brandywine View Antiques but it was a little wobbly and priced too high for me considering the wobbles. You see I wanted a bench that I could experiment with, but not too dear in price if it only lasted through a few Chester County winters. From a practical standpoint, there is only so much garden furniture I was to shift, store, and cover.

Well this afternoon on a whim I stopped at Resellers Consignment in Frazer. They get a lot of odds and ends of all types of garden furniture in all the time. A couple of weeks ago they had some really large concrete garden benches and I didn’t get them….because they were more than the price I had in my head that they should be and big enough that I had no clue how I would move it off their sales floor.

So outside I saw a bunch of great looking vintage wrought iron furniture and so on outside e front door and wondered if I would just end up with a mesh backed garden bench that I would somehow have to find room to store over the winter, but the little bench I saw was part of a pair and well I definitely did not want to store a pair. One of the owners was on site and offered to split up the pair, but then he said “well I do have one old concrete bench that is a little beat up that hasn’t made it onto the sales floor.”

Music to my ears!!!!!!

He showed it to me and it was love at shabby chic bench. I never wanted anything new, I wanted something I could plop in my garden today, yet had the look of belonging there for years and years. The price was right too: $40 because it did have a little mend in the seat.

So I hauled it home and maneuvered  it into place. Somehow I managed on my own although I shouldn’t have. I have my bench! I have plans to plant daffodil bulbs around the cement bench “legs” and I think in a year it will be like the bench has always been there.

I get so much satisfaction from my garden. It is a simple pleasure, yet so rewarding. Try a little gardening. It is so good for the soul !

an artist to check out in kennett square june 1 – 3

So I have this friend who is a wonderful artist – she does a lot of watercolor which I love and she also teaches locally.  She is also part of a wonderful program called Art-Reach in Philadelphia, and has created a travelling watercolor and poetry workshop.  I am so excited that she is really painting and creating for herself again, and not just teaching!

The artist’s name is Averil Smith Barone, and she comes by her talent  honestly and genetically, as her mother was also an amazing artist from Chester County (Valerie Lamb Smith).    I remember the first time I saw her mother’s studio at Averil’s parents’ home. It was a cacophony of beauty and color. (to this day her parents’ home was one of my favorite Chester County houses.)

Averil has definitely inherited her mother’s talent and branded her own unique and beautiful style.  You can see the artists who influence her in her work: Bonnard, Matisse, Van Gogh. I think you can take the gal out of Chester County, but you can’t take the Chester County out of the gal – you can also definitely see the influence of where she grew up in her work!

So anyway, if you have the time, check out Open Studio of artist Abby McClure,with  fabulous art by Abby McClure and Averil Smith Barone. 337 South Union St Kennett Square PA, 19348 – Friday, June 1st:    5-10pm Saturday, June 2nd: 1-8pm Sunday, June 3rd:    1-5pm.

Averil does watercolor commissions upon request as well as barn, house, and room portraits.  (610)-633-8220.  Tell her you saw her on chestercountyramblings!