back in the saddle

pretty

Snapped this photo while on vacation in Amagansett, NY recently.  If I were a horse I would want to live at Stony Hill Stables.  That place is immaculate and the animals so happy.  And yes, they have a few retired race horses living there with all the right paperwork too I am told.

This photo was just such a beautiful and peaceful, yet unpretentious scene so thank you for the indulgence.  I have a LOT of photos to share from the trip, I am still editing (I took over 1000 photos).

Back in the saddle getting back to everyday life means more gardening and barn picking and all that good stuff! Back in the saddle also means getting back to some of the blogging of it all.

I am not some blogging newbie.  I have been at this long before it was either fashionable or trendy.

Some might not care for my opinion or some other blogger’s opinion, but opinion is one of those great things allowed in the USA courtesy of our founding fathers.

Just because I blog it does not make me a free publicist or phtographer.  I get paid for that if that is what you want.

I also always do my research and trust me there are a lot of people who should deeply appreciate the fact I do not let loose with all the info I dig up on the public record. My sources, generally speaking are honest and above-board, and as a source I am also trusted by the media….because I do my homework. So have a care. And if you want to split hairs and play semantic monopoly, that is fine. But don’t play me or play passive-aggressive patty-cake.  Fibs always come out. And telling people different stories catches up with people, it’s a tough game to maintain, yes?

This blog is different from the purely activism/civic activist- based blogging I used to do, but occasionally you will find that here because there are just things I believe in.

Take Justice for Argus & Fiona – the two Bernese Mountain Dog puppies shot months ago.  Their family and dog lovers everywhere are still waiting for justice to be served.  Mr. Pilotti now apparently wants a jury trial of his peers, so apparently from what the Bocks tell us via the Chester County District Attorney’s office that has yet to be scheduled and there is to be no plea deal – another rumor we heard.

Mr. Pilotti we have not forgotten.  Chester County DA? We have not forgotten.  What he did was wrong. It was intolerable cruelty. And it is really frustrating to be doing things the right way from our end, yet there is no justice and the dog laws have not moved one bit.

And for those hopping all over my back because I think West Vincent and the District Attorney should have confiscated the gun used to shoot the dogs pending the outcome of a trial? Get over yourselves. That is not something unusual.  What is unusual is the fact that one simple thing never happened did it?

Here is the docket link.  The first page has a docket entry of bitter end of summer for a new trial date but have no way of knowing if it is for real.  My somewhat jaded opinion is it would be easier for the District Attorney and Mr. Pilotti if everyone forgot about the dead puppies but why should we? So it can happen again?

But what do we expect with anything having to do with West Vincent? Normalcy?

Hankin_Settlement

Speaking of West Vincent, Chickenman just celebrated his 4th anniversary.  Everyone should read his anniversary message because if you live in West Vincent with this local government no one can afford to be an ostrich with their head in the sand can they?

Chickenman 4th Anniversary Missive

http://chickenman.medianewsonline.com/

And in the whole West Vincent of it all, another thing I believe in is the preservation of Birchrunville Village.  So check out the flyer titled BirchrunvilleFlyer – you had beter get involved if you love the village because it is about to be super-sized if government officials get their way. a development plan proposes to insert 3 additional buildings plus parking for almost 50 cars, effectively creating a commercial strip mall in front of the historic schoolhouse building!

Birchrunville People sent out a message:

Please join concerned residents for a discussion at the Birchrunville Café on Saturday August 17 at 10AM.  Learn what you can do to help make sure township ordinances are properly enforced in order to retain the character of this historic village. Also…Please attend the next scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday August 26. For more information, please check out the web site http://birchrunvillepeople.com

I hope everyone is having a delightful summer!  As always, thanks for stopping by!

the art of custom cabinetry, woodworking, and furniture

custom-kitchen-lg-aCabinet makers, custom furniture builders, and artisan wood workers are a dying breed.  It takes real artistic talent combined with years of work. Some people call themselves cabinet makers and so on, but they really aren’t. Seriously, it is an art form.

I love custom woodwork and cabinetry.  It’s luscious and beautiful.  baker

I do not often promote businesses and if I do I must have personal experience with them.  I am going to introduce you to one.

Sherman & Gosweiler Fine Cabinetry and Woodworking. They have been in business  since 1976 and I LOVE their work! If you can dream it, Dick Gosweiler can build it.  Whether it is an urban space like a chic Manhattan apartment or townhouse; a penthouse on Rittenhouse Square; a second home in Bay Head or the Hamptons; or even a simple mahogany-bookcasesfarmhouse in Chester County this is who you want.

In addition to making your dreams for your home come to life this company also can olengdo period reproductions.  One of my particular favorites are the mantelpieces and mantelpiece surrounds they have done over the years.  I mean don’t you just hate to see people put gobs of money into either a new house or an extensive renovation only to cheap out on a stock mantelpiece and/or mantelpiece surround for a den or living room or great room?

On my wish list for my home someday I would love one of their mantelpieces.smuckler

Anyway, just was thinking about house stuff and thought I would throw this up here.

Sherman & Gosweiler have a website and a Facebook fan page. If you need their services they can be reached at (610) 270-0825.  They are located at  401 East 4th Street in Bridgeport – that is their physical shop, but they travel pretty much anywhere for installations and whatnot.

What they say about themselves is as follows and utterly true:cherry-dining-table

Since our inception in 1976 we have always had the same philosophy: To craft beautiful and functional cabinetry delivered on budget and on time.  We are committed to making the entire experience easy and pleasurable for our clients. From creating a great design to a trouble-free installation, we are available to answer your questions and coordinate with other tradespeople on the job. Let us show you why scores of interior designers, architects, builders and hundreds of homeowners have put their trust in us.

american pie

In last September’s New York Times Magazine Mark Bittman wrote an article called Bye,Bye, American Pie. No it wasn’t the impetus for this post, but it is a good read.  This post takes inspiration from the farmers where I have been vacationing until a few hours ago: the farmers of Eastern Long Island, NY.  One farm in particular called Balsam Farms in Amagansett.

I feel like I have been cheating on my favorite Chester County Farmers, but I have to tell you the produce I bought while on vacation is truly amazing.   I think there is something with the fertile yet sandy soil that makes a difference.

Seriously, and it sounds like sacrilege, but the tomatoes I have had kick the rear of Jersey tomatoes.

And another interesting thing to note is in a lot of cases this organic produce I have been purchasing is less money than some of what I buy locally in Chester County.  I figure that is well worth mentioning since everything having to do with the Hamptons is equated with super expensive.

So this pie is all mine oh me oh my.  The recipe is not an exact science, and I am trying to get better with that.

Peach Apricot Pie

Crust:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup oatmeal (Quaker quick oats will do – but PLAIN – no flavored stuff!!)

1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons sugar (white)

3 tablespoons of ice water

dash of cinnamon

dash of ginger

Mix all dry ingredients.  Cut in butter after cutting butter into teeny pieces.  Incorporate butter into dry ingredients until little crumbs are formed.  Add the water.  Bring it all together into a ball of dough that is not over-mixed, wrap well in plastic wrap so it is air-tight and refrigerate for  2 hours.

As you are getting ready to bring your dough out, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

After the crust is sufficiently chill, roll out between sheets of plastic wrap lightly dusted with flour.  Place crust carefully in a pie plate – I guess mine is a 9 inch – I have vintage glass pie plates and this was one that was shallow as opposed to deep crust.  Fix your edge of the crust by gently crimping with a fork and put crust in pan back in refrigerator to stay cool while you assemble the filling and streusel topping.

Filling:

2 tablespoons corn starch

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 cup of brown sugar

Peach Apricot or peach preserves

5 or 6 regular sized peaches

5-8 small apricots

lemon juice

Slice up the fruit into thin slices.  Sprinkle a little lemon juice over them to keep them from turning brown and toss gently with sugar, corn starch, flour, spices. Set aside.

Streusel Topping:

1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup oatmeal (same kind as above)

3 tablespoons of butter diced up

1/3 cup sugar (white and brown mixed together)

cinnamon and ginger to taste

Mix all the stuff together for the streusel topping in a small bowl until uniform crumbs are formed.  Set aside.

Remove crust from fridge and pour fruit gently and evenly into crust.   Dot fruit filling with dabs of preserves. You aren’t completely covering the top with preserves, you are dotting.   Evenly distribute streusel topping over this and bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees depending upon your oven.  You may wish to create foil “hood” to cover crust edge so it doesn’t burn.

Cool pie before serving on a counter or table or wherever it can cool off unmolested by pets or humans.   Serve with whipped cream sweetened with honey and ginger or vanilla ice cream.  Refrigerate leftovers.