Sometimes you just encounter some fun or interesting stuff while out with your camera.
While the world goes crazy around them, the animals of rural Pennsylvania seem to be doing just fine …
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.
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.
Socially distant dispersed outdoor recreational fun was had by all.
Here is a look around the Lancaster County Farmers Market in Strafford. It’s not in Lancaster County, so I suspect the name has more to do with the origin of some of the vendors. This is a great place no matter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Historic Sugartown is well worth the visit and is especially lovely in the Spring and Fall.
Here are some outtakes of my recent photography tour of Chenoa Manor in Avondale, Pennsylvania.
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.
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.
It was great to meet some of the animals.
The property is available for events a has some lovely gardens.