Friday, June 24, 2016

JENNERSVILLE: If that's your bag

This afternoon I was walking across the parking lot toward the Jennersville Giant, carrying my motley collection of beat-up grocery tote bags from car dealerships, real estate firms and home-improvement businesses. I passed a woman unloaded into her car a cartload full of neatly loaded, perfectly matched grocery bags. They were white canvas with baby-blue straps and a lobster motif, like something you'd order from L.L. Bean.
"Wow, you are so organized!" I said to her.
She laughed and said she'd received the tote bags as part of a goodie package at a recent wedding.
"Believe me," she said, "There's nothing organized about it whatsoever."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

UNIONVILLE: A good place for a blaze

If I were to follow the lead of so many news outlets that use screaming, not-quite-the-whole-story headlines, I'd entitle this item "Book Burning in Unionville!"
Yes, books were indeed burned: cartons of used textbooks, that is, that were being discarded by the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. From what I gather, they caught fire while they were in the recycling truck being hauled away. The truck driver, obviously a level-headed person, drove straight to the Po-Mar-Lin fire station and dumped the smoldering cartons in the west parking lot. A half-dozen volunteer firefighters showed up and extinguished the smoky blaze.
I happened to be driving by at lunchtime Tuesday, June 21, and spotted (and smelled) the commotion.
One firefighter friend told me he even saw a book entitled "How the White House Works."
The volunteer Po-Mar-Lin firefighters extinguish a large pile of discarded books at lunchtime June 21.

UNIONVILLE: Rescued dogs on parade

The rescued dog parade at Unionville's Plantation Field on Wednesday, June 22, part of the "Jumps for Rescues" horse show, attracted two dozen canines and their human companions. The dogs were led around a grassy spot near the ring (the footing in the ring itself is too hot for their paws), and awards were given for the youngest (Benjamin), the oldest (I didn't catch the dog's name, sorry), the biggest (Nanook), and the smallest dog (Taco; competition was steep in this latter category). There was also a prize for the dog rescued from farthest away (Ireland!). Proceeds from the horse show's entry fees went to dog rescue organizations. Kathleen Crompton was the organizer of the charming event.
I didn't bring a dog, but I did get to hold a sweet little papillon named Bella during the parade while her mother showed her two rescues. She came from a breeder so she didn't get to participate.


Some of the human and canine participants in the Rescued Dog Parade at Plantation Field.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

CHATHAM: Latest plans for Route 41 traffic

PennDOT's latest plan for slowing Route 41 traffic involves installing median strips (PennDOT calls them "gateways") at the north and south edges of the village of Chatham. Officials from the state agency unveiled the plan at an informal public meeting on Tuesday evening at Stillwaters Presbyterian Church, and the church parking lot was filled with curious Chatham residents.
The northern median would be near the Chatham Diner and the southern one would be just south of Church Alley. The current northbound and southbound lanes would be shifted onto what is now the shoulder of the road to allow room for the median strip to be built. The project would be done completely on the state's right of way on either side of the road, which would speed the approval process.
Construction of the median strips could begin in 2017. The plan to construct a roundabout at the intersection of Routes 841 and 41, where there is now a flashing light, is still on the table, but the less involved "gateway" project would be done first.
Whether there would be landscaping in the median remains to be seen and would require a maintenance agreement with local officials.
The residents I spoke to at the meeting seemed pleased with the concept and happy at the thought that something might finally be done about the traffic. I heard one man asking about the width of the lanes and wondering whether oversize trucks would be able to negotiate the medians (Route 41 is heavily used by tractor-trailers).
Here are some of the charts and maps presented at the meeting.

The location of the proposed "gateways" on Route 41. Left is north (toward Gap) and right is south (toward Avondale).

This chart gives the specs for the medians.

The gateway on the north side of the village, near the Chatham Diner.

The gateway on the south side of the village, just south of Church Alley.

WEST GROVE: He should be standing up!

I complimented a Cochranville gym friend on his brand-new summer haircut, and he said he had to do a double-take when he walked into his West Grove barbershop earlier that day and saw the owner sitting in a chair getting his own hair cut by an employee.
"I had to look real close," my friend explained. "He was completely out of context, sitting down!"

KENNETT: Be prepared

A friend and I met for lunch at the Half-Moon today and found adjacent parking spots right on State Street. She went to feed the parking meter and found that it was out of order: a quarter was stuck in the slot. Being a resourceful country woman, my friend rummaged through her purse and found a nifty little Transformers-like tool, one incarnation of which was a pair of pliers. She readily pulled out the stuck quarter and handed it to me.
"Why are you giving it to me?" I asked.
"Because it's your turn to buy lunch," she said. (Silly me: I should have known.)
We sat on the rooftop and had a great view of the storm rolling in from the west, although in the end there were only a few drops of rain. What a tasty meal: I had bison sliders with a salad and my friend had a bison burger with cheese, mushrooms and caramelized onions. Yum!

Monday, June 20, 2016

WEST MARLBOROUGH: Nature notes

The other day I was chatting with a couple visiting from Hayward, California (in the Bay Area), and they were awestruck by the beauty of our area. "Verdant" is the word they used, and they also noticed how loud and distinct the birds' songs are. I agreed. The wrens in my backyard are especially merry season. They've been singing all day long and have built a second nest, this time in the bird feeder. The juveniles are very cute, with that unmistakeable cocked-up tail.
I've seen occasional hummingbirds at my feeder but not as frequently as in previous years. I'm keeping the feeder filled with fresh nectar anyway.
A few other nature notes: I had a great lettuce crop this spring but wretched luck with my spinach, and a friend reports exactly the same thing. Perhaps it had something to do with the odd spring weather. And for the first time ever, my peony bloomed! Before this spring, a few buds would develop but they'd wither away. Not this year: they opened up into beautiful huge pink flowers.