A Little Bit of This and That

Sometimes you just encounter some fun or interesting stuff while out with your camera.

I believe this is a horse-drawn plow.
The White Rock Forge Covered Bridge
Right next door is …
You can’t make this stuff up. I wonder what the origin of the name is. Does the groundhog sleep in on February 2?
Amish schoolhouse
a really cool looking small shed
I loved the shrub in front of this home.

The Animals Are Just Chilling

While the world goes crazy around them, the animals of rural Pennsylvania seem to be doing just fine …

This cow couldn’t care less.
A horse taking Sunday off.
This looks like a great spot to relax.
Laying down on the job.
A little snack in the sunshine.

May Has Had a Split Personality

This month has certainly seen some wild changes in the weather. We recently went from sunny and low eighties to low thirties within a 24 hour period. It is a relief to get outdoors whenever one can. I took some time to go in search of a trumpeter swan on Octoraro Lake. I didn’t see the swan, but the farms around this area are some of my favorite to photograph.

On my travels, I’ve noticed a lot of fallow fields and newly plowed fields in mid-May. This seems late to me for planting. Is it the weather, or something else?

Here is a sampling of the photographs.

There seems to be one picture perfect farm after another.
A peek down an Amish driveway.
A really nice, rustic bank barn. I’m seeing barns of this style all over the place now I know what they are.
Well, hello there.
Here’s a look at the whole barn.
A vert cozy looking farm.
I love the gray grasses in the foreground.
White really seems to be the color of choice for barns around here.
A few more …
for good measure.

The Groundhog Sticks Her Head Out of the Her Hole

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, that due the corona virus lock down, I haven’t been out much doing photography. I did manage to drive around my local community getting some photos of the spring flowers and flowering trees. I also checked up on two of my local state parks, which were well attended by people glad to get out of the house while maintaining a safe distance from others.

The local; cherry trees are in bloom.
Tulips are always lovely.
This pony at Ridley Creek State Park finds things greener on the other side of the fence.
These horses aren’t bothered by Covid 19.
I love this barn at Hope Springs Farm at Marsh Creek State Park.
It has a great silo.
The horses were enjoying a day in the pasture.
Down at the West Launch a kayaker is getting ready to shove off.
Someone else has a faster way to get around.

Socially distant dispersed outdoor recreational fun was had by all.

A Black and White Christmas

I am experimenting taking some black and white images from around my local area and in my church this holiday season. This is still a work in progress. Check back for more later this month.

Poinsettias lined up ready for delivery.
It’s still Advent. Like many Episcopal churches, mine doesn’t actually decorate much for Christmas until it’s the actual liturgical season of Christmas (Christmas to Epiphany).
Christmas from the little ones.
Christmas lights from around the area. You’re not losing much in black and white. People seem to like white, not colored, lights these days.
This one was red and green, however.

Autumn Visit to Historic Sugartown

I recently took advantage of the guided tours offered to visit historic Sugartown, a preserved 19th century community located in Chester County. Sugartown is an historic crossroads community dating to 1800. It features several interesting structures such as a general store, barn, book bindery, carriage museum and period homes. The website for Historic Sugartown can be found here.

Tours run from May to November on Saturday and Sunday, and there is a fee. You are welcome to browse the grounds for free. The fee is well worth it to see the interior of the general store, the carriage museum and many vintage tools inside the barn.

I’ve included some interior photographs here that are not great but give one a sense of what these historic properties look like. The interior lighting was very dark, and I was shooting handheld without much time to adjust exposure.

The tour begins with arrival to the rear of the Sharpless Worrall house, a mid 19th century home.

Lovely walk to the rear porch of the Sharpless Worrall House and General Store.
Roses blooming in November.
The rear porch decorated for Autumn.
An old well found on the property during renovation. It is 40 feet deep.

Currently attached to the Sharpless Worrall House is the General Store. The store building was first constructed in c. 1805 by Joseph Waterman when he built his home and Saddle Shop next door.  This building also served as a post office for area in the early 1800s.

A view inside the General Store.
I loved this Autumn American Flag display in the window.

We then proceeded outside to check out the Carriage Museum. This building was once in ruins, but was it was built on by the Malvern Fire Company to create a satellite station before becoming a museum. Collection highlights include a c. 1800 Conestoga wagon used to haul freight from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and a hearse used by undertaker George L. Moore of Guthriesville in the 1870s.

Some pieces from the collection.
Yes, sleighs are real and don’t just exist in Christmas carols.
The Hearse. I’ve never seen one of these before.

Tucked into the back of the Carriage Museum is a really cool dollhouse.

Across the street are several more buildings. First up is a Book Bindery, where you can sign up to take classes in the craft. The building was built in 2001 to house a world-class collection of bookbinding tools and equipment once owned by the late master bookbinder Fred Shihadeh. Today, local bookbinder, Ramon Townsend, of ColonialBindery.com, teaches a variety of workshops in the Book Bindery. 

A class in session.
Entering the Book Bindery.

The William Garrett House was constructed on 1805 and relocated to its current position in 2001 to save it from demolition. It is an excellent example of a modified “Quaker Plan” or three-room plan so often used in homes among the Quaker community. 

View of a large, old beech tree through this window.

Nearby is the Bank Barn. Typical for Chester County, this 19th century Pennsylvania barn was constructed so that hay wagons could enter the upper level from a bank. Today, the barn preserves a rich agricultural heritage through an agricultural tool exhibit on its upper floor.

The site also features the Hannah Cheever House, dating from 1835. This property was bought and restored by Historic Sugartown to save it and the surrounding property from development.

The rear of the Cheever House from the porch of the William Garrett House.
The Cheever House and the Book Bindery.

Historic Sugartown is well worth the visit and is especially lovely in the Spring and Fall.

People and Animals

Here are some outtakes of my recent photography tour of Chenoa Manor in Avondale, Pennsylvania.

I really love the relationship between the woman and goat here.
Now, hold that pose.
This donkey is quite the cheeky little girl. Hoping for mints, perhaps?
That does not look comfortable.
I think this one is self explanatory.

What a Black Vulture Infestation Looks Like

Black vultures have been making their way north in recent years and appear to be here to stay in Pennsylvania. Primarily a resident of the American south and parts of the southwest down into South America, they have been slowly extending their range north. Similar to the larger turkey vulture, they have a black, rather than red, head, and distinctive white patches at the tips of their wings.

They are a species of concern because they are more aggressive than the turkey vulture. They eat carrion, but they will also attack young or infirm live animals. They also can be quite destructive, pulling the seals off of car windows, for example. I witnessed this behavior at the Conowingo Dam Fisherman’s Park a few years ago. A hapless SUV parked off by itself was never going to be the same.

Southerners have learned to adapt and live with this bird, so expect we can too. I would hate to see the turkey vulture displaced, as they are now such a common sight, especially in rural areas. A flock of black vultures can also drive the native turkey vulture off carrion. The vultures photographed here were in southern Chester County.

Here’s the gang lined up in a row. Black vultures are gregarious, at least with each other.
Keeping an “eagle” eye out.
This cow looks more quizzical than concerned.
It’s not Santa trying to get down the chimney.

A Photo Tour of Chenoa Manor

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a photo tour of Chenoa Manor in Avondale, Pennsylvania and visit with its many wonderful animal residents. Chenoa is an accredited animal sanctuary taking in the neediest of animals with a focus on farm and exotic animals. You can visit the sanctuary by becoming a volunteer, intern or benefactor or by participating in a scheduled workshop or event.

With the help of a guide, our small group was able to enter the pastures for some up close and personal time with the animals. It is clear from the atmosphere that the animals and their welfare are the focus here. You can read more about Chenoa at their website.

An overview of Chenoa Manor.
A pasture with grazing animals.
Grazing pony and donkeys.

It was great to meet some of the animals.

Donkey Felicetta. She was rescued on her way to slaughter.
This handsome guy looked me right in the eye.
This pig was ready for bed time.
A very thoughtful expression from this goat.
A beautiful white goat.
I wonder what this duck is saying?
I think this is a goose, not a duck. I need to brush up on this.

The property is available for events a has some lovely gardens.

A lovely rustic garden at the base of the barn.
A view of the flower garden.
Blessings on those coming and going.

It’s That Time of Year

I love Fall. Not just because I hate hot weather but because I love all the other things that go with the season – colorful leaves, cozy fabrics, hot beverages, and fairs. I had to check out the Unionville Community Fair in Chester County. The fair was set on a old farm property adjacent to the high school.

Well kept barn on the property.
A view of the farmstead.
I’m not sure what this platform is but I think it has to do with steeplechase or jumping horses.

It was well worth a visit. It is rare in this area to find a festival with livestock. This aspect makes this fair unique. The lamas and goats were adorable. There was an opportunity for kids to get to milk a goat. I just wish there had been more dairy cows in the large tent.

An inquisitive goat.
Three lone cows in the big tent.
Llamas are so cute.

There were the usual fair food trucks, vendors, and activities for the kids. Polish food followed by funnel cake is a win in my book any day. While I was eating, the kids participated in a sing a long with Elsa from “Frozen.” I also bought some awesome local honey at one of the vendors. I don’t don’t normally love honey, but this stuff was great.

Time to “Let it Go” with Elsa.
The Vendors
Yummy, hot funnel cake on a rainy day.
I really liked the look of this old mill building on the way home.