Monday, January 30, 2012

Up to date

A Unionville friend who is a self-described foodie but non-techno geek just discovered Wegman's app for her iPhone. It lets you browse through recipes, and when you select one, the app automatically populates your shopping list with the ingredients you need and then even arranges them for you by supermarket aisle, so you don't have to look all over the store for an unfamiliar item.
"It is just so cool!" she said.
Not only is it a time-saver, but the recipe for Chicken with Peach Gravy was "one of the best ever." She stored it in the recipe file that the app created for her.
She said she also used her iPhone when purchasing a new mattress. She scanned the barcode at the mattress store and watched a three-minute video that gave her all the information she needed.


There's a flyer on the bulletin board at the Unionville post office advertising a self-improvement seminar entitled "how to date yourself."
I imagine the lecturer mean it in a Valentine's Day sense, like how to become a person you would enjoy going out on a date with. But when I first saw it, I thought it meant, how to make your old-fashioned nature obvious to one and all.
I don't need to attend a seminar for that, as my younger and much, MUCH hipper friends and family members would attest with enthusiasm.
And another friend interpreted "dated" a completely different way. She said she and her husband were out fox-hunting for four hours on Saturday, and the next day both of them felt every single year of their age.

Chinese New Year

Like Daisy Buchanan missing the longest day of the year, a few of my friends consistently manage to miss the fabulous Chinese New Year's buffet at the King's Island restaurant in the Superfresh shopping center east of Kennett.
"Why didn't you tell us?" they'll gripe to me afterward.
Consider it done. The buffet is going to be on Sunday, Feb. 12, and Sunday, Feb. 19, this year. A few old pals (meaning, of course, that our friendship is of long duration; nothing to do with our respective ages) and I have made it a tradition to go each year. The food is just delicious, and we always spend a leisurely afternoon eating and catching up with the news.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Flower power

We are so lucky to live so close to Longwood Gardens! This morning I needed to get away from a particularly tedious editing project, so I drove over there and spent a few hours wandering around. I love the smells -- the Oriental lilies, the carnations, the grapefruit tree -- and it was fun to see the tomatoes, melons, nasturtiums and marigolds already sprouting in the greenhouses. The bells in the carillon were clanging away, and people were lining up an hour ahead of time for a concert in the conservatory ballroom.

In addition to the beautiful plants, I don't know a better spot for people-watching. I was especially amused by two photographers prostrating themselves before the cineraria.
And have you noticed Longwood's new logo? It looks to me like a combination of a stylized daisy and some fancy calligraphy -- very nice.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Early risers

I took the long way home today on one of my favorite "No Winter Maintenance" gravel roads and was surprised to see an extremely early skunk cabbage sprouting in a sheltered marshy area. The daffodils and crocus are about an inch high in the back yard, and the snowdrops are already blooming outside my back door. Now if only we'd get a proper snowstorm...


Perhaps you remember my post a few weeks ago about how Lone Eagle Road, in West Bradford, is so named because back in 1928 the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh made an emergency landing nearby; "Lone Eagle" was the name of his plane.
Shortly after the item ran, I got a message from my loyal reader Tom Cummings, who had just turned four years old in 1928 but remembers the incident well and had some photographs of the plane that he wanted to show me.
I went over to visit him in his Mortonville home on Wednesday afternoon and came back with two stories, and I'm not sure which is better.
Mr. Cummings said he and his mother took the horse and buggy to the train station to pick up the mail and heard the news about Lindbergh's landing (getting the latest local news at the post office; some things never change!). They immediately drove over to the pasture, where people had had gathered from far and wide (many of those who brought their cars got stuck in the mud) to saw the silver plane.
Lindbergh and his passenger, his attorney Harry Breckenridge, had been forced to land in heavy fog and hit a fence rail while landing (Mr. Cummings said souvenir-hunters quickly snatched up the splintered rail). They spent the night at a nearby house with the Elkinton family, and a few local men were assigned to keep an eye on the plane overnight.
He said before Lindbergh took off the next day, he had all the kids line up and shook hands with them. He said he has tried to identify which boy is him in a photo that he has ("I tried a magnifying glass and everything"), but unfortunately he can't. As Lindbergh flew off, he dipped his wings to the crowd.
Mr. Cummings was kind enough to take me over to the site, on which the Chestnut Ridge housing development is being built. I wonder whether the new residents are aware of what happened in their back yards back in 1928.
And the second story?

Well, that would be Mr. Cummings himself, a widower, a local history buff and a member of the Greatest Generation. He was in the Marine Corps during World War II, fought at Iwo Jima in the Pacific ("I didn't think I'd make it out alive," he recalled), and earned two purple hearts, which he keeps in a glass case with his military ID card and other memorabilia.
I turned to him and said, "You are a hero, sir." It was an absolute honor and a privilege to meet him. And next he has promised to tell me about the storm that devastated Ercildoun!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Woolly bully

For his birthday I gave a young relative a really neat book about the Abominable Snowman, aka the Yeti, aka Big Foot.
I have since regretted the purchase.
"Tilda," he announced the other day, "You're a Sasquatch!"
I was taken aback and protested that I'm not hairy, I don't climb trees, and my feet are size 7-1/2 (38 European).
So? he objected. I could still be a female Yeti. The key point, he said, is that "you live out there in the country!"
I turned to his father, but he was no help at all. In fact, giving a portentous nod, he turned to the page that had a map of sightings in North America and pointed, with a flourish, to the Sasquatch icon located RIGHT OVER UNIONVILLE.

Goes with the territory

On Wednesday a new woman showed up for a class that I go to at the Jennersville Y, and the teacher was delighted. She welcomed the new participant and asked if she had any injuries that she, the teacher, should watch out for.
The woman said she didn't, and explained that though she's an avid rider she feels as if she needs to work on her core muscles.
"Wait a minute," said the teacher, who knows a thing or two about equestrians. "You're a horse person and you don't have any injuries?! I don't think so!"
"Oh," said the new student with a chuckle. "Well, yeah. I thought you meant a real injury, like, had I broken my spine or something."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


The West Marlborough Township Zoning Hearing Board gathered at the township hall on Tuesday, Jan. 24, but it wasn't a very long meeting. The township's attorney, the Whip Tavern's attorney and the attorney for some aggrieved Springdell neighbors agreed to postpone the hearing for 90 days so that the parties have more time to try to reach an agreement.
"All counsel are in agreement," said the township's attorney, Dwight Yoder, "which might be a first for this matter."
This is the latest chapter in a long-running and complicated disagreement involving the Whip, which attracts a big crowd and, the neighbors say, diminishes their quality of life by producing parking issues, littering, noise and so forth. Most recently the neighbors appealed the township's ruling that the Whip could use the house next door, which it owns, for business purposes. The Zoning Board ruled in the neighbors' favor, and the Whip is now appealing that ruling to Chester County Court of Common Pleas. The Whip also has asked the township to amend its zoning rules to give the Whip more flexibility to provide parking for its patrons.
The new hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board is set for April 18 at 7 p.m.

Fun with Science

An obituary for Norman Edmund brought back some happy childhood memories. Mr. Edmund founded Edmund Scientific, a store in Barrington, N.J., that was a science-fair geek's dream. I still have a prism that I bought there as a kid, and I wish I still had the plastic disc with heat-sensitive liquid crystals that would change color when you touched the back of the disc. They had collections of minerals, some that glowed under black light; all kinds of mirrors and lenses, with various powers, diameters and curvatures; weather instruments like anemometers; and real military-surplus spy scopes and aviation devices. I LOVED the place.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


At lunch today I met a woman who said she enjoyed my recent story about a friend who begged the surgeon taking out her appendix to spare her elaborate abdominal tattoo. My lunch pal is also a health care professional and said she sees a great many patients who are heavily tattooed.
What she can't figure out is when one of them informs her that he or she is "scared of needles."

Saturday, January 21, 2012


I'm sure a lot of you remember Tom and Julie Wolfe (and their daughters, Taylor and Blair), who used to live in Unionville but retired to North Carolina a few years back. Well, Tom has written a terrific new book, "Out of Uniform," a wonderfully readable and practical guide for military veterans seeking jobs in the civilian world. Tom is an expert on the subject: a U.S. Navy veteran, he worked for 30 years for a military-to-civilian job-placement firm. I enjoyed his book immensely and the majority of his advice would be useful for any job-seeker, not just someone leaving the service.
For instance, at a job interview:
"NEVER run out of questions! Never decline to ask them when given that option. Make them kick you out the door with questions on your lips."
He uses his friend Rob Pearson's name as a fake boss or company owner in various sample letters, and he throws in anecdotes about his wife that reminded me of what an amusing woman she is and how much we miss her at the gym: 
"As I was preparing for my job search, I was advised to get ready for the "What are your weaknesses?" question. I wrestled with that for a day or two, and, knowing full well I was about to go down a slippery slope, I asked my wife for help. She took it easy on me, only pointing out half a dozen or so weaknesses."
Tom lined up some pretty compelling recommendations for his book, including this one from Mike Krzyzewski, former U.S. Army officer and Duke's men's basketball coach:
"We owe our military service members so much, including the right to compete for a job when they leave the service. This book just might give them that competitive edge. Are you a veteran? Read it! Know a veteran? Make sure he or she has a copy!"
And as a professional copy editor, I was beyond impressed with the fact that I couldn't find a single typo or grammatical error (and I really looked). He even spelled "résumé" correctly throughout!

"Out of Uniform: Your Guide to a Successful Military-to-Civilian Career Transition" is published by Potomac Books of Washington DC. Cover price is $24.95. There's a lot more information on the book's website,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The York and Ainsty

I'm enjoying Season 1 of the wonderful PBS series "Downton Abbey" on DVD, and in episode 3 there's an exciting foxhunting scene shot at Highclere Castle in Berkshire. I checked the Internet to see how accurate it was, and it gets pretty high marks, though of course there are cavillers who quibbled about things like how Lady Mary was holding her hunting whip (thong end down; imagine!).
For my part, I was watching with the subtitles turned on and got a chuckle out of the fact that the caption referred to the hounds as .... "dogs."

Truth in advertising

A sharp-eyed friend forwarded me an ad for a three-bedroom "executive farmhouse" for rent on North Chatham Road. According to the ad, one of the advantages of the house is that it's only a "short drive to the Whip Tavern."
What my friend found ironic about this is that Gus Brown is the listing agent. Yes, the same Gus Brown who has been complaining vociferously and repeatedly to West Marlborough Township about how that very same Whip Tavern is diminishing the quality of life for him and his Springdell neighbors.
I checked out Mr. Brown's other listings and found that he also has for rent a house only "a stone throw from the popular Whip Tavern." He describes the rancher as "a perfect place to call home." I guess that would be despite the noise, parking, littering and bad behavior he has accused the Whip of generating.
Update: A reader just told me she thinks I'm being unfair to Gus; she is sure he mentioned the Whip in his listings just to provide a geographic landmark.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On the Y axis

The senior Tally-hos recently visited a YMCA in another state (vacation doesn't mean a break from exercise!) and reported that compared to our Kennett and West Chester branches, they found the facility very small. My mother said she picked up a copy of the exercise class schedule, didn't find anything that suited her, and turned the page over, thinking maybe more classes were listed on the other side.
There weren't.

Sunrise, sunset

Have you noticed how much earlier it's getting lighter in the morning, and how much later it's getting dark? Yes, I know, this isn't exactly stop-the-presses material, but it just seems more dramatic to me this winter for some reason.
It used to be utterly pitch-dark at 7:05, when the boys next door catch the school bus. Now the sun is already over the horizon and I can actually see the school bus arriving, not just its running lights (this morning it had to jockey with a propane delivery truck on my narrow road).
And it seems like just a few weeks ago the sun would've been close to setting by 4 p.m., when I'm writing this item. It's still light and it will be til 5.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Man U Rules OK

I was waiting at a red light at the Jennersville intersection Monday morning when I noticed a familiar-looking sticker on the window of the vehicle in front of me: the red and yellow logo of Manchester United, the fabled British soccer team (or football clubm as they would say). My British friend George, despite living near Portsmouth, is a huge fan and, in return for an Eagles cap, sent me a Man U one.
I happened to be wearing it Monday, so I beeped at the woman in front of me and waved my cap out the window, logo facing forward. She gave me an enthusiastic thumbs-up!

There's an appy for that

Here's a situation doctors probably don't learn about in med school.
A young friend of mine showed up at the gym on Monday after a lengthy absence. She explained that the day before Thanksgiving she started feeling sick at work but thought it was just indigestion. When she got home and felt no better, her mother took her to Lancaster General in the early morning hours, and sure enough it was appendicitis.
The surgeon came in to talk to her before the laparoscopic operation and she begged him to please avoid the elaborate tattoo on her lower abdomen when making his incision.
He did, but alas he couldn't avoid two of her abdominal piercings.

I wish I'd known about her operation earlier, because I would have sent her a toy appendix from This hip little Washington DC-based company, founded by an illustrator, sells adorable plush toys in the shape of internal organs. I bought a pancreas for a friend of mine with a nasty case of pancreatitis. How about a bright-red heart, with major blood vessels attached, for Valentine's Day?

Plaza Azteca

I'd been hearing good things about Plaza Azteca, the new restaurant in the little shopping center behind Applebee's, so the four of us stopped by for dinner on Saturday night.
The verdict?
"I can't wait to come back," said one family member.
"I give it an 11," said another.
The food was delicious and hot and the service was lightning fast. Even though the place has been open for only two weeks, it was nearly full by 6 p.m.

It's very kid-friendly -- the fast service will minimize stomach-rumbling and fidgeting -- and most of the patrons were families. There's a kid's menu, although the younger member of my family was very adventurous and ordered the Plaza del Mar, which was tilapia, scallops and shrimp in a delicious seafood alfredo sauce with mango salsa (there was very little left to take home).
The other dishes we ordered were Texas fajitas (chicken, steak and shrimp); Steak Ranchero with rice and beans; and Spinach & Chicken enchiladas. They brought us extra taco chips and kept replenishing our iced tea.
We didn't order the much-talked-about tableside-made guacamole, but we did see the cart they wheel over to your table to make it.
Our waitress, Gladys, could not have been nicer, and the manager stopped by our table to ask how things were going. And one football fan in our group was extremely impressed that, at her request, the manager turned on the TVs so we could watch the unbelievable 49ers vs. Saints game.
You can see the menu at Plaza Azteca is a chain of restaurants in six states, and judging from our experience they have a formula that works.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Here’s one for your birding life list!
On Dec. 30 my friends David and Connie Carter reported seeing a very rare albino pileated woodpecker near their home in Pocopson. 
Connie said: "The typical pileated woodpecker is a remarkable 16 – 19 inches high, has black and white feathers, and is the only woodpecker with a flaming red crest. In flight their large wings flash black and white." 
She said the albino pileated they saw on several occasions "is almost pure white, retaining the flaming red crest on the top of its head.  This is a different bird from the “extinct” Ivory-billed woodpecker found in the south."
"One birder from the West Chester Bird Club said he sat at Shaw’s bridge last year after one was seen last January for over 4 hours – excluding the time he went for coffee - and never saw it."

Connie was kind enough to share two photos of this remarkable bird.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

She IS my friend

The ukelele hasn't gotten this much press since Tiny Tim played "Tiptoe Through the Tulips."
Jessica Latshaw, a singer/songwriter from Landenberg, was on the subway in New York when some guys started playing the congas. Jess happened to be carrying her ukelele and joined in. Another subway rider started filming their jam session and posted it to YouTube, the video-sharing site.
The video became a huge hit, showing up all over Facebook and Twitter, and Jess appeared on "Good Morning New York" on Jan. 11. She was charming and beautiful. The song she performed, "Ain't my Friend," is out on iTunes.You can read about the excitement on her blog, "This Life in Writing":
"Would you like to know what, exactly, I was ‘taking in’ while I was playing and singing on the tv this morning? Why the heck did I write such a long song with so many words?!"
No one deserves a career boost more than Jess, who is not only hugely talented but also an utter sweetheart. When she is in town (her parents run the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in Landenberg) she comes to my class at the Jennersville Y and simply lights it up with her gentle grace, generosity and kindness (and astonishing flexibility; she is also a dancer).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Book Sale

It's that time of year again: the Unionville High School Book Sale will be held in the UHS gym from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, and 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, with the $8 bag sale from 3 to 5 p.m. Feb. 25. Book donations can be dropped off at UHS on Saturday, Jan. 28, and all weekdays until Feb. 22. I'm already getting my bagful together.

Really cool

I am not much of a gadget person, but  I love my new Weather Channel wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer. It's just amazing. You put the tiny transmitter outside, and the temperatures both inside and outside show up on the little monitor screen -- which you can move from room to room, as long as it's within 260 feet of the transmitter.
I'm looking at it as I type on a Sunday evening: it's 36.1 degrees outside and 62.9 inside. I can see how cold it is outside without even getting out of bed in the morning!
For $16 at Lowe's, it's a steal. It takes two AA batteries for the monitor and two AAA batteries for the transmitter (all of which, to my amazement, I had in my kitchen utility drawer).
It claims to have a range of minus 19.9 degrees up to 140 degrees (outside) and 14.1 degrees to 140 degrees inside. Dollars to doughnuts we're not going to exceed those.
No sooner did I mention this new toy this morning than a friend started raving about her own new favorite gadget: a multipurpose steamer that greets her with fresh hot oatmeal when she comes in from the barn in the morning. No longer does she need to worry about burned porridge or the pot boiling over. It also cooks rice and steams leftovers.

Lone Eagle

A Charles Lindbergh connection in our area? Yes indeed!
I was with my pal Susan running errands the other day, taking Romansville Road south through West Bradford Township, when we saw a sign for Lone Eagle Road. Susan, who used to live very close by, told me that the road was named after the plane that the famous aviator was piloting when he had to make an emergency landing there back in March 1928.
She did some Internet digging and found the following in a 2004 Daily Local News story: 
"According to township records, in March 1928, Lindbergh was flying the "Lone Eagle" from Curtis Field, N.Y., to Washington and became enshrouded in dense fog. He landed in a muddy field on the farm of Emmer R. Way and spent the night at the home of Charles Elkington and his wife.
He was accompanied on this flight by his attorney, Harry Breckenridge. A large crowd gathered to watch Lindbergh depart the next day.
The "Lone Eagle" was a twin of the "Spirit of St. Louis," the plane Lindbergh used for his flight over the Atlantic Ocean, aviation’s first solo transatlantic flight."

On display

I stopped in to the Willow on State gallery on Jan. 6 to see their show of works by young local artists and was delighted to recognize several of the names. A few that I noted down were Kit Ramsey's photos of skateboarders and graffiti; Kyle Kogut's piece "The Bathers," which included some haunted-looking Edward Gorey-esque figures; Julia Hudson's color-saturated flowers; and Matthew Wileyto's cartoon creatures.
Willow on State is an amusing little shop that also sells crafts, jewelry and vintage items like turntables, typewriters, books and vinyl LP albums. How funny it was to see the Roger Dean cover of "Yessongs" on display!


Have you seen the new format of County Lines magazine?
As of the January 2012 issue they've doubled in size; it's now the size of a regular magazine, and it's in full color. I think it looks really sharp. The January issue is the annual dining guide, which means it gives capsule reviews and photos of a lot of our local restaurants. The cover shows an amazing-looking surf-and-turf entree from the Hotel DuPont's Green Room.

So lucky

After a long morning of work (I'm editing a book on the history of an obscure scientific principle involving the electric eel), I needed to get out of the house. I went to the post office and then stopped by Polished on South Union Street in Kennett to get a pedicure (a cheerful cherry-red color). As always happens, I ran into an old friend there, and while our digits were being worked on we had a delightful time catching up, chatting about new restaurants, family members, the school board and our mutual brown thumbs when it comes to growing dahlias.
She told me that often, perhaps when she's about to serve on the tennis court, or when she spots a blue heron flying over the golf course, she catches her breath and feels a profound sense of gratitude -- to be healthy and outdoors playing a sport, to be leading such a comfortable life where she can pop in and get a manicure in the middle of the day.
I agree wholeheartedly. 


Littering our beautiful countryside ranks high up on my list of sins. I just got back from a walk and was appalled and angry to find two empty foil packets of "energy gel" -- one Gu brand, one Proctane -- along my road. Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but I suspect this morning's pelleton of bicyclists. I've never seen this kind of trash before, so I know it's not one of our regular cyclists.
Folks, if you feel the need for extra carbs on your Saturday morning ride, please just stash the empty packet in your pouch or pocket or wherever it came from and take it back home. Thank you.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Giant news

Grocery stores play a big part in our lives, so as soon as I heard the news about Giant taking over the Genuardi's supermarket east of Kennett I shared the news with my friends. Rumors have been circulating for some time that that Genuardi's branch would close, especially since we stopped receiving weekly circulars.
The reaction from my friends was positive, although many of us had been hoping that a Trader Joe's or Wegman's might move in. And a blog reader wrote that he wishes a store would move into the long-vacant Acme building in New Garden.

Doe Run Farm hearing

On Jan. 5, at long last, Dick Hayne appeared before the West Marlborough Township supervisors to explain what's been going on in the creamery at his Doe Run Farm since August 2009.
Even though he's been making cheese and selling it at his Terrain stores and at local farmers' markets, Mr. Hayne (the billionaire founder of the Urban Outfitters chain) only recently applied for the township permission he needs to do so.
Speaking at a township meeting for the first time ever, he admitted that "this is technically a commercial use, but we look at it as an accessory use" to the site's main agricultural zoning. He explained to the board that although making cheese is "vaguely a business," he sees it as "largely a hobby" -- and a money-losing one at that.
The dairy manager at Doe Run Farm, Kristian Holbrook, provided an interesting overview of the cheese-making process and said they are currently making almost as much cheese as they have room for.
"I'd say we're using 80% of our abilities," he told the supervisors. "The cheese aging caves are very close to being maximized."
Cheese is made every two or three days, whenever enough milk is obtained from the farm's animals (27 sheep, 17 cows, 22 goats). Each gallon of milk makes one pound of cheese, he said.
He said there are only four employees, including himself, and truck traffic is minimal: a UPS pickup once a week, UPS deliveries to the creamery maybe once a month and every-other-month feed deliveries for the animals, which are mostly grass-fed. He said the cheese is made using only the farm's own milk, with no milk shipped in.
The creamery creates no odor, noise, glare or vibration, he said, and the state department of agriculture regularly tests the cheese, milk and water for bacteria. He said he tries to minimize his water use and tries to re-use as much whey as possible.
Michael J. Gladnick, a land planner for Mr. Hayne, explained what happens to the wastewater from the creamery. He said it has a permit to handle 350 gallons of water a day. This meets county requirements, which are calculated based on the number of "facilities generating effluent" (meaning sinks, toilets and drains) and the square footage of the processing facility. He said the only chemicals used to clean the equipment and tanks are detergent and a very dilute chlorine solution.
When asked how manure in the milking area was handled, Mr. Gladnick said the floors are hosed down, the manure is kept in agricultural tanks and then hauled away when the tanks are full.
Both Mr. Holbrook and Mr. Gladnick said the parking and loading area and the driveway are adequate for minimal truck traffic and deliveries, although the township's solicitor suggested that perhaps the zoning code would require a wider driveway off Hicks Road for a commercial use rather than an agricultural use.
Dave Ziel, another of Mr. Hayne's reps, argued that the driveway should remain 12 feet in width.
Al Giannantonio, the township engineer, told Mr. Hayne's reps that under the Uniform Commercial Code, the creamery is no longer considered an agricultural building because it is now being used for a commercial purpose. He said that means that the buildings would require permits from the township, along with "the appropriate fees."
At the end of the hearing the supervisors said they wanted to reflect on what they had heard and are expected to discuss the matter at their Feb. 7 meeting. 

Oo-ooo, that sound

A few notes from the Doe Run Farm hearing:
1. A man in the back row stood up to ask a question about how chemicals were stored in the creamery, and his cell phone promptly went off, playing Lynryd Skynryd's anthem "Free Bird" as the ring tone.
The board suggested that he shut it off because it was distracting.
"But it's `Free Bird'!" protested another audience member, in mock outrage.
2. Even Mr. Hayne's controversial corn crib came up for discussion. The corn crib is built too close to Hicks Road, as well as in the flood plain, and after residents complained back in November, the township pointed this out to Mr. Hayne's reps. Al Giannantonio took the opportunity Thursday to press Mr. Ziel directly about when exactly it was going to be moved; Ziel replied by saying that he considers it to be only "a temporary structure."
3. On several occasions the court reporter had to ask speakers to slow the heck down -- once when the cheesemaker was explaining in detail the cheese-making process, and another time when Mr. Hayne's attorney was rattling off language from the township's zoning ordinance like one of those rapid-fire car-financing ads on the radio.
4. In case you wondered: Mr. Hayne, who heads an empire of clothing stores, wore loose jeans, a blue and white button-down shirt with a brown glasses case in the pocket, work shoes, and a dark green ball cap (facing forward, not backward). And he has a good firm handshake.
5. Mr. Hayne withdrew his vegetable-processing application. His lawyer agree that if the use of the greenhouses escalates to anything other than for personal use, he will re-file an application.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's my line?

A friend and I stopped in at ReBorn Houses, a shop in Thorndale where they service and sharpen horse clippers (the reason we were there) and other tools ("We Sharpen Anything!" reads their business card). Being a curious sort, I inquired about the disconnect between the name and the nature of the business. The fellow who waited on us explained that the company originally sold mortgages and just never changed the name when they went into the sharpening business.
Reasonable enough, I suppose.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


This afternoon I stopped off at the cemetery at Green Hill Presbyterian Church in Wilmington to pay a New Year's visit to Aunt Pauline and Uncle Mac. Sitting on the grave marker was a Top Flite 2 golf ball. Apparently somebody made a really, really bad shot while playing the 16th hole at Ed "Porky" Oliver Golf Club, which borders the graveyard.
The hapless duffer should have heeded the warning on the course's hole-by-hole description: "This hole appears much longer than it is."
One of my readers offered an intriguing alternative explanation: perhaps another relative may have been following the Jewish tradition of marking a visit to a grave by leaving a pebble behind. "Maybe someone whose religion is golf visited your relatives' resting place?" she suggests.

A big cheese

In still more Dick Hayne news, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Dec. 30 that he will receive the 2011 Edward Powell Award, and its $100,000 prize, "for contributions to Philadelphia's economic prosperity."
Says the Inquirer: "The award is granted every four years to a Philadelphia business leader in honor of Powell, a European immigrant who established a knitting mill in the city's Fairmount section."
Mr. Hayne, the billionaire founder of Urban Outfitters, will receive the award at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's annual luncheon Feb. 6.
(Thanks to a sharp-eyed friend for spotting this story in the Inquirer's business section.)


Not a lot happened at the West Marlborough Township reorganization meetings on Tuesday, Jan. 3. Bill Wylie was reappointed chairman of the board of supervisors, and Josh Taylor was reappointed chairman of the planning commission.
Mr. Wylie presented the police report for 2011 from Officer Bob Clarke: 76 days of patrol, 480 hours worked, 353 incidents, 16 court appearances, 3 accidents, 110 citations (71 speeding, 21 parking, 15 stop sign violations, 2 littering and 1 careless driving) and 33 warnings.
Mr. Wylie also presented the 2011 report from township building inspector Eddie Caudill: he issued 32 building permits, including 6 solar-panel installations.
The board also approved a new permit fee schedule. Supervisor Michael Ledyard said the new schedule has "teeth" that will allow the township to penalize those who build first and then apply for a permit (no names were mentioned).

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Get well soon!

I feel so sorry for that poor young state trooper who was hit by a motorist while sitting in his police cruiser in the median strip of Route 1 on Dec. 29. He was badly hurt, with multiple fractures of the pelvis, a broken collarbone, and internal injuries. I sent him a get-well card and I hope you will, too: Trooper Chad Burgwell, Pennsylvania State Police, 2 Moxley Lane, Avondale, PA 19311.

Monday, January 2, 2012


When the cold weather rolls around each autumn, I stack all the porch furniture, BBQ grill, hammock components, planters, etc. in one corner of the deck and cover them with a big blue tarpaulin. The first few winters I didn't secure the tarp very well and in every stiff wind it would end up in the middle of the yard. But this year, for a change, I did a great job, engineering the whole internal structure of the pile so that rain or snow will drain off via gravity, folding almost-hospital corners in the tarp, and weighting down the edges neatly and evenly. It wasn't budging til spring.
But what's that they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men? It was so warm on New Year's Day that I simply had to get out the grill to cook some tuna steaks. Which means I had to dismantle the whole production. No way will I ever be able to replicate those corners.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cover boy

Kennett Square's Mayor, Matt Fetick, is not only a nice guy but also a successful real-estate agent. He appears on the cover of the latest issue of Keller-Williams Realty's "Outfront" Magazine and is quoted in an article on short sales.
"My goal is to become the short sale king of Philadelphia,” the story quotes him as saying, noting that "in just a year, he's helped nearly 40 homeowners avoid foreclosure and sell their home through a short sale." Matt, whom I first met when he was a West Chester cop, got into the real estate business in 2005.


Hockessin chiropractor Chad Laurence reports that he has crossed another item off his bucket list: He was the first to patronize a new restaurant:
"My dad and I just ate at the new Mexican restaurant, Plaza Azteca, on Rt. 1 next to Snap Fitness and the Wal-Mart....Definitely order the Guac - they come to your table and make it in front of guacamole I ever ate! Great place!"
It's on my list. Thanks, Dr. Chad, and Happy New Year to you!