Friday, July 29, 2011


Unionville usually slows down this time of year, with so many folks heading north to the land of lobster rolls, blueberries and loons, to the races at Saratoga or to remote camps in the Adirondacks (one friend can reach his cabin only by seaplane; another actually looks forward to living without electricity. Shudder!).
So I was mildly surprised to find the parking lot full at Catherine's at lunchtime; I got the last parking spot and my car was almost sticking out into the alley.
Catherine's a really nice spot for a relaxed lunch, and it's always fun to remember what it looked like way back when it was Sestrich's grocery store. My lunch companion and I had terrific chicken-salad sandwiches and iced tea, with peach pie and blackberries and marvelously strong coffee for dessert.
(Curious readers often ask how it is that I am not 200 pounds. Answer: That lunch filled me up for the rest of the day. Also, I exercise a lot, and hard.)

The Gardener

A basic tenet of sports gambling is "Bet with your head, not your heart." In other words, if you want to be successful, you have to jettison emotions, like hometown or college loyalties, and focus instead on cold, hard statistics like the line and the over/under.
This probably applies to gardening, too. Yes, yes, I know I should trim my pachysandra and lamium with geometric precision if I want it to look like the houses on the garden tour, but I'm just so proud of how exuberantly they grow and spread. My moonvine has climbed so tall that it's commingling with the white pines, like Jack's magical beanstalk or sloppy bookkeeping-- what right do I have to chop it down?
And who could expect me to pull out a stray clump of yellow volunteer four o'clocks just for the sake of symmetry? They're out of kilter, yes, but they smell like heaven.
And really, a window box is for geraniums, not for the bird's nest that's tucked in there. If I removed it, sure, I could cram in a few more plants -- but I just can't do it. The little bird was so clever to find such a great sheltered spot for the babies and to weave its nest so painstakingly from pine needles and walnut fronds.
Oh well, when I want perfection, I can always visit Longwood.
Now: who's ready for some football?!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Believe it or not, there are less than four weeks of summer left until the first day of school in the Unionville-Chadds Ford district. The school year will start Monday, Aug. 29. But the first two weeks are short ones: school will be closed both Friday, Sept. 2, and Monday, Sept. 5, for Labor Day.
At least, that's the schedule as of now ...
Another end-of-summer ritual is the "Shutdown Week" at all the YMCA branches, when the staff gives the place a thorough spruce-up and installs new equipment. It's the week of Aug. 22 for the Kennett Y and the week of Aug. 29 for the Jennersville Y; thoughtfully, they stagger the weeks so you can visit another Y for your workout. I was amused to see that this year they're trying to change the name to "Enhancement Week." Looks like even the Y isn't immune from the lure of "spin"!

Cooling off

As if the wet dogs, entertaining babies, spicy salsa, hot dogs and beer weren't enough to guarantee a great party on a hot day in West Marlborough -- there was also a creek-fed swimming pool! Slipping into the chilly, clean, non-chlorinated water was wonderfully refreshing. Thanks to my kind hosts for a great afternoon!

Tweedale update

The folks who are trying to persuade the local Girl Scout council to keep Camp Tweedale open are taking action on several fronts:
1. They've prepared a petition to "Save Tweedale" at You can locate the petition by typing "Tweedale" in the search box.
2. They've set up a website,, and a Facebook page, "savecamptweedale!"
3. They've scheduled a community meeting at the Mendenhall Room of the Mendenhall Inn on Route 52 at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24 "The purpose of this meeting is show community support for Tweedale remaining open (not the divestment of it!)."
As an amusing footnote, next year the U.S. Postal Service will be issuing a stamp to celebrate the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary. Ironically, "The stamp features the silhouette of a girl with binoculars looking into the distance. A scene within the silhouette features a girl in mid-stride with a walking stick and backpack on a summer trek. The environment is composed of large redwoods, a lake and a distant forested mountainside with small ferns in the foreground."


I had the pleasure of working with Carolyn Naccarelli of Chadds Ford on some community projects, and she was such a nice person -- organized, creative, and funny, with great visual taste. There were a few times when things were getting a little hectic -- I can't remember if it was bad weather, or maybe some last-minute no-show volunteers -- and she was calm, took it in stride and kept her sense of humor. She died July 21 at age 55, and she will be missed. Let's hold her husband, Art, and family in the light.

Go Jem!

The folks at Baily's Dairy at Pocopson Meadow Farm reported on Facebook: "We had to take one of our favorite girls, Jem (the speckled cow on our labels), to New Bolton Center yesterday. She was having troubles calving. Thanks to the great staff at NBC, we will be bringing her, and her healthy new 95-pound calf, home any day!"
And, sure enough, a few days later Jem and her calf returned home. "She is VERY happy to be home with all her bovine friends."

Limestone facts

I was taking my recycling to the landfill this morning and noticed a faint haze of white above the fields on the north side of Street Road, west of Chatham Road. As I approached I saw a few trucks from Martin Limestone spreading a coating of white powder, I assumed limestone, over the fields.
When I got home I did some research.
"Liming with Martin's pulverized limestone neutralizes soil acidity and naturally replenishes vital calcium and magnesium – the nutrients which help maintain fertile soil conditions in plant root zones," according to Martin's website. "By maintaining a proper soil pH, you can increase the effectiveness of high-cost fertilizers and herbicides which do not work as well in excessively acidic soil. It also increases the effectiveness of other natural soil nutrients such as phosphorus nitrogen, and manganese which are sensitive to soil pH."
Although the website says that fall and early winter are the best times to apply lime, "Whatever time of year you choose, our unique boom spreading application of dry agricultural lime provides efficient and balanced coverage of the soil. This combination of even soil coverage and timely application is the most effective use of limestone."



I was lunching by myself on Tuesday and eavesdropped on the professional couple at the next table who were busy organizing every hour in the rest of their summer. She had her schedule book open and he had his smartphone humming, looking up when the Phillies were playing, what HersheyPark's hours are, where the closest paintball facility and water park are, how far Annapolis is, even weather forecasts for going out on their boat.
I think they both must supervise a lot of underlings because they repeated their final, complicated plans to each other so many times that they stuck in even my mind. Every day was fully mapped out; the woman seemed concerned that one Monday was free.
"I'll put `Question mark, Orioles,' OK?" she asked.

Hot metal

A friend who has a bronze foundry in Cochranville said that because of the heat he's been postponing the hottest part of his job: pouring molten bronze at 2,100 degrees. He's had to run the air conditioning in his shop so that his wax molds don't soften. He keeps slurry, the gray, semi-solid material he uses for casting, in tanks that are constantly churning so that the slurry won't set up. If the shop gets too hot, the water in the slurry starts to evaporate, which makes the material thicker, which creates friction with the churn, which creates more heat, which makes more water evaporate ... you get the picture.
A friend who keeps chickens bemoaned losing three of her best hens to the heat. She let the survivors out of their coop out so they could seek shade under the bushes -- but at the risk of becoming lunch for a hawk.
But most of the outdoor workers I've spoken to much prefer the heat to the cold and snow.
I talked to a PennDOT worker while getting gas at Landhope the other morning, and he said said he's gotten used to the summer heat and just drinks a lot of water. "I used to like snow," he said. "Until I got this job."
Another fellow said he and his building crew members watch each other carefully during the heat. Sweating profusely is OK, he said; when he sees a guy stop sweating, that's when he gets concerned.
And a vet I was chatting with was recalling without pleasure the icy days of winter, when medications she was trying to give would freeze up in their vials.
So what would you do? I asked.
"Take 'em into the barn," she replied.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A bigger barn

On the evening of July 21, Denis and Bambi Glaccum showed the West Marlborough Township supervisors their plans to enlarge their barn and add an apartment above it.
The Glaccums, who live on Route 82 between West and Newark Roads, want to rebuild their barn, adding two stalls (there are now four) and a three-bedroom apartment above for their daughter and her family. The renovated barn would be the same height as the old one, and the Glaccums have already received permission for a well and septic system.
The supervisors didn't make a decision that evening, because they want to allow the township planning commission time to review and comment on the plan. They also want to review the Glaccums' lease for an adjoining property to make sure they will have enough ground to comply with the township's "two-acres-per-horse" requirement, and they want more information about parking and the driveway.
The discussion will continue on Tuesday, Aug. 2, at 8 p.m., after the planning commission meets at 7 p.m.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Where's Tony?

The last we saw convicted con-man Tony Young, he was being led out of a Philadelphia courtroom in handcuffs. His wife asked Judge Juan Sanchez to recommend that he be sent to a Florida prison so that she could visit, but the judge seemed unmoved by her pleas.
I asked my reporter pal Mike where Tony ended up, and he found out that he was assigned to the Federal Correctional Institution at Jesup  in southeast Georgia.
According to its website, this is "a medium security facility housing male offenders. It has two adjacent satellite facilities: a low security facility and a minimum security prison camp, both housing male inmates."
I read the inmate manual and all I can say is, prison life sounds like a nightmare. Everything is controlled: your clothes (khaki pants and tucked-in khaki shirt), daily schedule, possessions, meals, hygiene, visitors, TV and computer use.
One hopes Tony is paying close attention to the following paragraph in the manual:
"The Bureau of Prisons strongly encourages inmates to satisfy their financial obligations; i.e., special assessments, court ordered restitution, fines and court costs, Judgements in favor of the United States, other debts owed to the United States, and other court ordered obligations ... You should make every effort to satisfy your financial obligations by paying the maximum amount."
Paying back the millions that he scammed could be tough on his new salary, though: the top-paying prison job pays only 40 cents an hour.
Prison is a long way from Tony's former homes: FCI Jesup is 756 miles from West Marlborough, 1,367 miles from Mount Desert Island and 387 miles from Palm Beach.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


How is it that I just now learned about Bakers at Red Lion?
My friend Karen was raving about this little part-time bakery at Route 926 and Doe Run Road, and then her daughter phoned this morning to tell me that the French flag was flying -- which means the bakery is open for business.
So I stopped by after playing tennis, pulled over onto the side of the road and walked in. The unbeatable smell of fresh-baked bread surrounded me. There were long loaves of French bread, round loaves of crusty bread with sprigs of rosemary, brownies, sun-dried-tomato bread, and a basket of "baps" -- little boules, each wrapped in a square of foil, with a chunk of butter on top. The baked goods change from week to week but there are always baguettes.
The bakery is self-service and on the honor system; you write down your purchase in a notebook and leave your money in a coffee can.
I bought a loaf of French bread with a wonderfully salty crust ($4) and could not resist trying a bap ($1), which I ate it in the car for lunch. Butter was dripping onto my hand. I licked it up like a cat. It was a fabulous experience.
Mesdames Barbara Churchville and Nancy Fenstermacher are the owners of this delightful bakery. What a find!
Look for the French flag!


Don't be surprised if you see both Spanish and English wording on cartons of Coors Light and Miller Lite this summer. According to a July 12 piece in the "Wall Street Journal," large brewing companies are targeting the Spanish-speaking market in the United States. Anheuser-Busch is increasing its spending with Spanish-language media, and Bud Light is sponsoring the fall tour of Pitbull, the Cuban-American rapper (real name: Armando Christian Pérez), who performs the enormously catchy "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)."
The article says the beer companies are looking to expand their audience to the Hispanic market for two reasons: because "high unemployment has damped the spending power of its core customers -- men ages 21 to 34" and also because "by 2030, Hispanics will account for 23% of the nation's legal-drinking age population, up from 16% in 2010."


Gothic adventures at a Springdell farm! A friend reports that her husband:
"Retired early last night but was not the only one under the covers. He awakened when it moved, and when he tried to dislodge the thing, it tightened its grip and either bit or clawed [the husband's] back. When he finally released little claws from skin he was looking eye to blind eye at a little brown bat.
For any out-of-towners who wish to visit, we have two lovely guest rooms just waiting for you."
Unfortunately, the bat tested positive for rabies, which means that my friend's husband is going to need shots, and the kitten who played with the bat is going to need a rabies booster shot.

Turn this house into a home

A faithful reader and kind friend sent a link to the interior-design site, where there's a story about Kennett residents Emily and Andrew de Stefano and the work they've done on their house over the past two years. It's full of photos and anecdotes about the ambitious project.
Writes author Amy Azzarito:
"The home hadn’t been updated in 25 years, so the very day they moved in, they got right to work ... With Andrew working in graphic design and advertising and Emily at Anthropologie as the merchandising and visual display manager, the couple share a pretty strong aesthetic sensibility and an eclectic style that ranges from Hollywood glam to modern with a mid-century vibe. They make it all work by keeping the wall colors neutral and layering objects, textiles and accessories to create texture and visual interest."

Out of context

My friend Diana from the Y works at one of the schools in the Avon-Grove district. She said that while at the grocery store last week, she ran into one of the pupils and he stared at her in confusion.
"Yes, you know me," she told him. "I'm your lunch lady!"
His face cleared and he explained that he had just never seen her outside the cafeteria before.

A key difference

 A reader asked me what the correct pronunciation is of St. Malachi, the simple, beautiful Roman Catholic church tucked away in Londonderry Township. She had heard it pronounced both "Mala-KEY" and "Mala-KAI."
So I asked a friend who is a church member, and she told me it should be pronounced "Mala-KEY," after the Irish saint of the same name. "Mala-KAI" was a prophet and is the last book of the Old Testament.

The Dating Game

The evening of July 18 I got a beyond-excited email from my friend Denise that an old gym friend of ours, Jane, was on television, that very minute!
It seems that Jane's son, Ames Brown, was a contestant on the TV show "The Bachelorette," in which one young woman, Ashley, is courted by a batch of very eligible bachelors. In this episode, Ames, a handsome and athletic 31-year-old portfolio analyst from New York, took Ashley to his family's beautiful Chadds Ford home to meet his relatives.
Jane, wearing a pink sweater and white trousers, was lovely, slim and articulate, as always, and Ames' sister Serena was charming and gracious.
Ames took Ashley on a picnic under a magnolia tree, where they shared a kiss (I had to fast-forward through that, it was just too embarrassing), and then they took a horse-drawn carriage ride along the Brandywine (I couldn't see who the driver was but I'm betting it was one of Frolic Weymouth's carriages).
Unbelievably, Ashley wasn't impressed by all this, and Ames didn't qualify as one of the three finalists for her affections.
But: news flash! His reality TV career is not over: he will be joining the cast of "Bachelor Pad" starting August 8. Although I read the "About the Show" section of the ABC website, I really didn't understand the premise of this program. All I can say is, it doesn't sound terribly wholesome, and somehow I doubt Ames' mom will put in an appearance this time.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sushi evening

On July 16, I finally got to Lily, the new Asian and sushi restaurant in Kennett. Four of us went, and we had a wonderful meal and a great evening.
To start with we had green salads with a delicious tangy sesame dressing. Then came an assortment of rolls: spicy tuna (but not too spicy), masago (bright-orange flying fish roe), and California.
Three of us ordered the "Summer" sushi assortment as our entree, and Joe had the chicken pad thai, which he said was the best he has ever had. Stefi loved the paper-thin ginger that came with the sushi; normally it's just an overlooked accompaniment, but this was so fresh that it certainly grabbed your attention.
Our waitress Emily provided service that was excellent, quick but not rushed. The place was busy with families and adults like us -- we recognized several locals -- but it never felt crowded or got noisy (except possibly our table. A lot of laughter ensues whenever the four of us old pals get together).
And to top it all off, Lily is a BYOB, which definitely keeps the bill under control. The four of us each paid $24 each, including tip, for a lavish meal. I consider that a bargain.
We did save room for ice cream at La Michoacana (new flavor: shredded cheese!), and then we took a short and leisurely stroll around Kennett, with running commentary by the local historian who was in our party.
Lily (610-925-3700) is at 104 West State Street in Kennett, the former site of Challie's. Lunch hours are Monday through Saturday 10:30 to 5. Dinner hours at 5 to 9:30 Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10:30 Friday and Saturday, and noon to 9:30 Sunday.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The County eat

My pal Susan and I visited West Chester on a recent Thursday afternoon and had a great time. She introduced me to several absolutely wonderful stores.
First we stopped at an astonishing gourmet food store, Carlino's, at 128 West Market Street. The food looked fresh and scrumptious, the samples were delicious (carrot cake cake-pops!) and the employees were so friendly and helpful.
We then stopped by Pisano & Son, the boot store, 108 West Market Street, to pick up three pairs of beautifully polished and repaired riding boots.
Then we went to Éclat Chocolate at 24 South High Street -- more samples! So delicious!
And finally we called in at A Taste of Olive, at 26 South High Street, which stocks dozens of exotic flavors of vinegars and oils -- garlic olive oil, roasted sesame oil, pomegranate balsamic vinegar, avocado oil, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, to name just a few -- all stored in shiny metal jugs and available for tasting. (Do you see a theme here?) Once you've made your choice, the owner pours them out for you into labeled bottles and then seals them. Susan found a perfect hostess gift, a wonderfully compatible oil and vinegar for a couple that grills a lot of fish.
West Chester looked terrific and bustling, but we had no problem finding on-street parking. It was a wonderful little adventure for us country folk.
(Here are the websites for the shops mentioned:;;; and

Thursday, July 14, 2011

School days

Retired Unionville Elementary School teacher Don Silknitter is posting on his Facebook page class photos starting from his first year of teaching, the 1973-74 school year. If you haven't already, you might want to "friend" Mr. Silknitter and start identifying and tagging your classmates.
"Hope you enjoy the memories!!!" says "Mr. S."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Heat of the moment

I don't want to sound like a Ford F150 commercial, but hats off to those hard-working, cheerful folks who, no matter how hot it gets, are still out there weed-whacking fence lines, cutting, raking and baling hay, clearing fallen branches, and keeping our country roadsides tidy. They start before dawn and they turn on their headlights to keep on working after dark. Unlike me, they don't need to go to the gym to work out.
Whenever I'm tempted to grumble about a messy project or a vexing client, I think: Yep, it may be dull looking at a computer screen for hours on end, but I'm sitting here in a comfy chair, in shorts, with a fan on me and a glass of iced tea sweating on a coaster.

Not square

In the past two days I've seen two Nissan Cube vehicles around town, both with out-of-state tags. They're futuristic-looking, with an asymmetrical, wrap-around back window. "Consumer Reports" describes the car as"tall and boxy" with "an enormous amount of space and easy access," and an impressive 28 mpg overall. But acceleration is "slow,"  handling is "rather clumsy," steering is "vague," "wind and road noise are pronounced," and reliability is "below average."

New dog park

There's a new "Bark Park" at the Pennsbury Township complex on Route 1 (702 Baltimore Pike) in Chadds Ford. According to the park's Facebook page:
"The Bark Park has two sections, one dedicated to large dogs and one dedicated to small dogs. Both areas have shade trees, benches and incredible scenery of Pennsbury Township. Please bring your own water for your dogs!
"Meet up times are posted at the Bark Park to help encourage people (if they can) to show up at the same time, since the park is so new. The Meet Up times are Saturdays at 9:00 am and Sundays at 10:00 am.
Otherwise the Park is open from dawn to dusk everyday, except Mondays."

Sunflower fields forever

It's still the middle of summer, but I've already received a "save the date" postcard for the Unionville Community Fair's "Denim & Diamonds" fundraiser on Sept. 29.
I think the Fair's sunflower competition might be tougher than usual this year. I've noticed that many gardeners around here (myself included) were inspired by Longwood's spectacular sunflower field from last summer and have planted their sunflowers in big clumps instead of rows. August is going to be a sea of yellow!

Who are they?

A man and a woman were at two separate intersections along Route 1 the afternoon of July 10, holding white buckets and soliciting money from motorists. I've seen them there before. The guy is well dressed, wearing a tie and a traffic safety vest, and he was approaching motorists with great enthusiasm. Their buckets say they are collecting for a religious organization I had never heard of.
I would never give money to anybody without knowing exactly where it was going.
Local fire company? Absolutely, I'll drop in a few bucks.
But an unknown group that might represent something I don't believe in -- or that might be not entirely legit? Get away from my car.


I walked around to the garden on the west side of the house to see how badly it needed weeding (very badly) and was astonished to see a beautiful Oriental lily in bloom. I'd completely forgotten that I'd planted bulbs there last fall.
"Oh, my! Nice!" I said.
It was so delightful to be pleasantly surprised, to have my breath taken away by something wholly unexpected and so lovely. It was one of those daily little moments to cherish.
Speaking of flowers, aren't the blue cornflowers along the roadsides lovely this year? I don't remember seeing so many of them last year. This shot was taken along Highland Road the morning of July 17.

It's open

The Walgreens pharmacy has moved to the other side of Avondale. It was on Route 41 at Penn Green Road; now it's on Route 41 at the Baltimore Pike intersection, near where Pyle's hardware store used to be.
Walgreen Co. (yes, the store sign says "Walgreens," but the actual company name is just "Walgreen") is the largest drugstore chain in the United States, with more than 8,000 stores.

Defense Against the Dark Arts

Over pancakes this morning the topic of the new Harry Potter movie came up, and the young friend across the table told me about a former high-school classmate of hers who now attends Brown University with Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione.
It seems that in class one day, Miss Watson answered a tough question correctly and one of her classmates piped up, "Ten points to Gryffindor!"
By the way, Miss Watson is NOT dropping out of Brown, as some gossips were speculating. She's spending her junior year at Oxford, then she'll come back across the pond to Brown.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Road news

The speed limit on Schoolhouse Road, 35 mph (25 by Wal-Mart), is clearly posted, but this was obviously of no consequence to the woman in a huge black SUV tailgating me on the afternoon of July 7. She honked at me impatiently and then, at the intersection with Route 1, pulled alongside me in the turn lanes, glared at me, passed me on the right when the light changed, and swerved back in front of me to turn left into the shopping center. Was there some kind of a family emergency? No. She parked and went into Staples!
In other traffic news, I received a useful brochure from State Senator Andy Dinniman (formerly a Chester County commissioner) about progress on the Route 202 reconstruction project up near Malvern. You can follow the day-to-day progress of this roadwork (whoops, sorry, "infrastructure improvement"), including travel advisories, at

Friday, July 8, 2011

Learning Japanese

The Bayard Taylor Library in Kennett is offering a four-session "Introduction to Japanese" program on Tuesday afternoons starting July 19 and running through Aug. 9. It's from 4 to 5 p.m. and it's for ages 13 and up. Registration is required; drop an e-mail to Library Director Donna Murray ( or call 610-444-2702. Girl Scouts can even use the lessons to earn part of their Language Interest Project badge!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beer and squabbles

Doubtless you remember the series of West Marlborough hearings I reported on during the winter and spring. Some of the neighbors who live near the popular Whip tavern in Springdell say that it has disrupted their lives and violates various township zoning codes, and they appealed the township zoning officer's Sept. 29, 2010, decision that the tavern is in compliance with the ordinance.
The West Marlborough Zoning Hearing Board heard the tortuous (if not torturous) case, which stretched over hours of testimony and cost the township taxpayers almost $50,000 in legal fees.
On July 6, after reviewing all the testimony, the zoning board ruled that the Whip does NOT have permission to use the house next door for storage and business purposes. Although it was formerly used by the Country Deli, the Whip's predecessor, that "permissible nonconforming" use was "abandoned" for three years, from May 1, 1999, to May 1, 2002, which means it's no longer allowed.
J. Clayton Bright, who chairs the zoning board, said the decision "pained us" but "we have to uphold the ordinance." He stated that the Whip's owners are welcome to apply for a variance to use the neighboring house once again.
I chatted with K.C. Kulp, one of the owners, when I had lunch at the Whip on July 8. He said it's business as usual for the tavern; for now, they plan to rent some portable storage units instead of using the space next door.
Where will the storage units go? In the parking lot, taking up limited parking spaces, which means more people will park illegally on the road.
Which was one of the neighbors' complaints in the first place.

Junk mail

Say goodbye to the time-honored tradition of dumping your Landhope coffee cups and other accumulated car rubbish into the trash cans at the Unionville post office. There's a new sign up next to the lobby trash bin stating that it's FOR PAPER ONLY because the post office is now a 100% recycling facility.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Next generation

A reader sent me a charming account of the 2011 Cheshire Foxhunting Camp, attended by 16 children, ages 6 to 12. "Some were members' children or grandchildren, some came from other hunts, some had only ridden in a ring, and two were from the Work to Ride program. These last two were a great addition to the camp--unfailingly polite, good riders, interested in the foxhunting information, and thoughtful of the other children."
The campers learned about "the different kinds of hounds, how to go cross-country, learning the calls of the horn, what happens when you are hunting, how to do off a pony, and correct etiquette and dress for hunting." Singled out for special thanks were Huntsman Ivan Dowling, Barn Manager Leasa Dowling, Whipper-in Steph Boyer, and of course "Stevie Hayes, our all-around Hunt helper."
The children were divided into three groups: "non-jumpers, two-railers, and more advanced. The non-jumpers gained confidence in riding in big fields, and the jumpers had a blast jumping their hearts out. In the tack room sessions it was a delight to see how much the children learned."

Long way home

A friend attended a recent afternoon Phillies game and suggested stopping by my house afterward and going out for an early dinner. "Delighted!" I said.
He called at the end of the game, 4:16 p.m., and said he was on his way.
At 4:50 p.m. I got a text message, "I'm still in the parking lot. Ugh."
At 6:12 p.m. he phoned again. This time he was on Route 322 approaching Route 1.
Finally, just before 7, he arrived here and pretty much collapsed on my deck, poor guy.
Turns out that not only was the Phillies game letting out, but it was rush hour AND the day before the start of a long holiday weekend -- AND President Obama was in town for an event, which always wreaks havoc with traffic flow.
So the "early dinner" turned out to be tuna subs at Landhope at 7:45 p.m.


I was amused to read a newspaper story about how counterfeiters have gotten so good at faking "designer" handbags from Chanel and Hermes that even experts poring over the stitching and leather are fooled. Where's the tipping point at which the quality of a fake becomes so good that you're paying hundreds of extra dollars just for the questionable thrill of owning a real logo?
You may have gathered that I don't sport company names all over my clothing, handbag or jewelry (ahem, cars don't count). As far as I'm concerned, fashion designers and clothing stores should pay me to wear their emblems; I'm not a walking advertisement for their wares.
It was not always this way. In the early 1980s, my then-beau would buy me a certain logo'd short-sleeved shirt as a way to apologize each time he committed a relationship infraction. I amassed quite a collection before parting ways with him; after all, a $32 shirt was a luxury on a reporter's salary.
Now he buys me an expensive dinner every time he's in town.

A sad story

A friend who is a true-crime fan reports that he watched a new documentary about Wilmington murderer Tom Capano on the "Behind Mansion Walls" series on the Investigation Discovery channel. His disappointed verdict: "Nothing new and show is about 12 minutes of footage and re-enactments and 18 minutes of commercials."
Coincidentally, the program aired on July 4; on that date in 1996, a fisherman along the Jersey shore recovered the cooler that Capano, once a prominent Delaware attorney, had used to dump his unfortunate girlfriend's body overboard.

Capano is in prison for life without parole at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

Cut to the chase

Two friends who live right on Newark Road reported some excitement the evening of July 1. My friend who lives south of the dangerous S-curve said she spotted a guy screeching north, with five state police cruisers hot in pursuit. Shortly afterward, one of the troopers returned south on Newark Road. Another friend who lives north of the London Grove intersection said two state troopers zoomed past her house.
The story is that the guy being chased had been stopped on Route 1 (what for, we don't know) and took off north on Newark Road, turned right onto Route 926, and then went down Mill Road and hid. The police found him and he took off again, ending up at 926 and 841, where the troopers put down spike strips and a bunch of emergency flares (little piles of ash are still there). Despite the spike strips, the guy still got away. The police ran his tags and learned that he lives in West Grove. They had found his car, but not him, as of Tuesday morning.
(Tilda sends her best journalistic thanks to everybody who helped flesh this story out.)

On the condition that...

Two conditional-use hearings are coming up in West Marlborough.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, July 21, Dennis and Bambi Glaccum will be presenting their plans to enlarge their barn along Route 82 and add an apartment upstairs.

And at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 25, billionaire Urban Outfitters founder Richard Hayne (or more likely someone representing him, as he has never appeared at any township meeting) will be seeking approval for his cheese-making facility (see photo) and extensive greenhouse complex in Springdell. Although residents were previously assured that the artisanal cheese would be for the Haynes' personal use only, there's a resident cheese-maker and the cheese is being sold at Terrain (an Urban Outfitters store). The creamery was even the site of a recent farm visit from the Philadelphia group Fair Food.
I took a trip to Terrain in Concordville on Saturday so that I could buy some of the cheese and describe it for you (I hear it's very tasty), but alas, I was told there was none in stock this week.
I'm guessing the supervisors will be very interested in hearing how the greenhouses will be used. Residents were previously told they were built just so that the Haynes could tinker with orchids and tomatoes as a retirement activity.

On the roof

Somebody on Facebook mentioned that the top level of the Kennett Square parking garage provides a primo perch for watching Longwood's fireworks.
This seriously piqued my interest. But none of my friends was at all interested in making the expedition (they're a stodgy lot), so at dusk on the evening of Sunday, July 3, I headed into town by myself. After a stop at La Michoacana for a small dish of Brownie Delight ice cream, I walked over to the parking garage and by 9 p.m. was up on the roof, on eye level with the town clock and the air-conditioning unit for the Genesis building.
Probably 30 fireworks enthusiasts were already there, babies, energetic kids, teenagers, parents, grandparents and a contingent of lively folks in their 20s who, I got the feeling, were just starting out their evening.
We got an amazing view of not only the Longwood fireworks, but the displays coming from every direction, close and far away. You could rotate a quarter-turn every 10 seconds and view a different burst of color.
It was great, but I have to say, I missed the noise. The few miles between Longwood and Kennett were enough to mute all but the loudest booms.

As meetings go...

If all committee meetings were like the one I just attended, nonprofits would have no trouble recruiting volunteers. Three of us met outside on a heavenly summer day, on the porch of one of the most beautiful farms in Unionville, overlooking a pond with a pair of swans, ducks and gigantic Mongolian Pond Carp. Hummingbirds buzzed around the two feeders and a barn cat crawled onto our laps. With our coffee we had berry scones, cheese and strawberries from Talula's Table.
I'm not sure it gets any better.