Thursday, April 24, 2014

Township meeting

The May meeting of the West Marlborough Township supervisors and planning commission is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 6. The meetings have been rather quiet and routine recently, which is of course the way I like it as a resident of our rural township, if not as someone who has a news column to fill each week. The meeting, which attracts pretty much the same diehards each month, is held in the township hall/garage off Route 82 at Wilson Road.
(The township hall is also where township residents will vote in the primary election on Tuesday, May 20.)

Jacksonville

Regular readers will recall that a few months ago there was some discussion in this column about the origin of the name "Unionville." John M., a very kind history-minded Unionville resident, struck up a conversation with me at Hood's one day at lunchtime and subsequently mailed me a 1947 monograph called "Old Jacksonville, Now Unionville: An Historical Sketch of a Small Country Town," by Joanna R. Bucknell. I have been so busy with work and garden clean-up the past few weeks that I haven't had time to read it, but I promise I'll give you a full report when I get a chance. It looks fascinating.

Hungry hungry marketers

For tax and accounting reasons, I started a company earlier this year and duly filed the required paperwork with Pennsylvania's Department of State. Within a few weeks my company started getting ads in the mail: first from a check-printing company, then from a security company, and then -- of course -- from Verizon. The solicitations went straight into the recycling bin, but I had to admire the alacrity of their prospecting.

Plant Sale

The London Grove Friends Meeting Plant Sale is from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 10. Along with the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup, the Unionville Community Fair, and the Cheshire Races, the plant sale is one of the highlights of my year. I mark the date on my calendar, my phone and my office whiteboard so I don't schedule anything else for the day.
That's because it's not just a plant sale; it's a community event where friends and neighbors from so many different circles get to catch up after the winter. I attend for the social aspect even when I don't need to buy any plants at all ("need" being a very loose term; I always end up buying at least a funky new kind of basil).
There's a soothing, reassuring sense of sameness to the sale: you know who's going to be behind the perennial table and the hanging basket stand (hi, Pat! hi, Margaret!); you know exactly where to find those beautiful bright-red geraniums and those Brandywine tomato seedlings. The young people who were kindergartners seemingly just yesterday are now taller than their parents and sporting hip haircuts -- but are just as nice as ever as they help out in the Plant Parking area.
Seriously hard-core gardeners will arrive at the very beginning of the day; I'm a bit more relaxed, and usually the first wave is leaving, arms full, as I arrive.

Home & Garden Day

Saturday, June 7, is the Bayard Taylor Library's annual Home & Garden Day. I was treated to a sneak preview of many of the sites on the tour (oh, yes, believe me, there were strings attached to my visits), and you are in for a treat this spring. Take it from someone who has been going on the tour for probably 15 years. The Special Events Committee members always line up a variety of houses to suit different tastes, but this year's selection is really amazing. Several of the houses and gardens are just a stone's throw off Route 52 in southern Chester County/northern Delaware corridor, and you'll be amazed at the places that you've driven by en route to Wilmington without giving them a second thought. My favorite had to be the grand-scale 1920s manor house with soaring ceilings, a tower, intricate carvings and ironwork, and a winding double staircase leading out the front yard.
Ticket information for the tour is available on the library's website, bayardtaylor.org.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fair Hill

I'm just back from the Fair Hill Point-to-Point Races in Cecil County, Maryland. It was a beautiful sunny, warm Easter Sunday, the races were exciting (and thankfully there were no untoward incidents), and we had a great time cheering for jockeys we knew and greeting friends, neighbors and their canine companions (including Panda the Puli, a beautiful Irish Setter, a Great Dane who was almost as big as some of the ponies, Janie the Corgi and a sweet Jack Russell/Scottie cross).
Fair Hill has a very convenient layout for spectators. You can watch the horses in the paddock and then walk to the stands, which are only a stone's throw away. From there you get a great view of most of the race course and the finish line. Then you can return to the paddock and watch the awards ceremony.
We got there early to watch the adorable pony races, and during breaks between the races (which started very punctually, hooray for the organizers!) we listened to the terrific bluegrass band.
And who knew that the Easter bunny was an equestrian?

The London Grove Oak

The awe-inspiring London Grove oak at London Grove Friends Meeting here in West Marlborough will be the subject of a lecture at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 27, at the meeting house. The speaker is certified arborist Scott Wade, who works for Longwood Gardens and coordinates the Champion Tree Program of the Pennsylvania Forestry Association (the majestic London Grove oak is one of the Champion Trees). A brown-bag lunch will follow the talk.